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2022 Annual Report
CEO on the Go!
Dear Community Members,
In 2022, Pierce Transit took on new projects to build for the future and serve you even better.
One of our biggest initiatives was inviting youth 18 and under to ride free. In 2022, we helped more than 20,000 young people access these free rides, with more getting on board every day. This has given our youth access to many more opportunities, such as jobs and after-school activities. It has also given them a chance to get familiar with transit and learn how to become life-long riders.
Also in 2022, we made it more convenient to ride. Riders can now purchase Pierce Transit tickets through the Transit app – so customers can plan a trip, buy a ticket and track their bus ride all in one app. We also brought online our fourth “on-demand” Runner service, this time in the Spanaway/Parkland/Midland area. And we simplified our Vanpool payment system and offered smaller vehicles for the new way people ride. We continued planning for future service, breaking ground on the agency’s first new transit center in decades and planning the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit line. Finally, we continued serving our community in important ways, not just with regular services, but through things like free rides to warming and cooling centers.
Thank you for your interest in Pierce Transit, and for reading our 2022 Annual Report.
Pierce Transit CEO
Transit Benefits ALL of Us...Whether We Use It or Not
Over the past five years, Pierce Transit’s safety culture has resulted in a 65 percent reduction in preventable accidents.
We know staying safe while riding transit is one of our customers’ top priorities. It’s ours, too.
That’s why Pierce Transit continues to go the extra mile to give you a safe and comfortable riding experience. In 2022, we implemented several new initiatives aimed at keeping you safe while on the bus and at our facilities, including:
- A new public safety model that includes having security staff on site at our major transit centers
- Working with federal partners to conduct regular safety drills
- Innovative training for bus operators to ensure they are the safest on the road. This includes virtual reality training, so drivers are already familiar with safety inspections, road hazards and routes before getting on the road. We have also incorporated drones into our training, so trainees can see their turns and other practiced skills from above and better understand what’s required to safely operate a bus.
In 2022, Pierce Transit expanded its partnership with Transit app, to include in-app transit ticket purchases.
Whether a customer is riding for the first time or uses Pierce Transit frequently and needs to plan a trip, they can download Transit to find the fastest way around Pierce County and the region. An informative video is online at PierceTransit.org/transit.
With Transit app, riders can:
- Find out when the next bus will arrive as soon as the app is opened
- Track real-time vehicle locations on the map
- Tap “GO” for step-by-step directions
- Tap “Buy Ticket” too, all in the same app!
- Set favorite destinations for easy trip planning
Transit provides real-time arrival information for all Pierce Transit buses and other transit services across the region.
# of passes distributed: 20,000 through schools/ outreach and about 700 through Pierce Transit’s Customer Service Center.
Along with regional transit partners, Pierce Transit celebrated the start of the school year by offering free fares for youth ages 18 and under on all Pierce Transit services and on transit systems around Puget Sound.
This free program helps provide access to after-school activities, jobs and volunteer opportunities. Young people learn how to ride transit, and connect to their community, at no cost to them or their families.
The Free Youth Transit Pass was made possible through the Washington State Legislature’s Move Ahead Washington transportation package.
“The Free Youth Transit Pass has removed a huge barrier for our students at Clover Park School District, especially our unaccompanied and homeless students. Our unaccompanied students now have more freedom and can do things that were previously challenging due to lack of consistent transportation, such as get to school if they slept in or had an appointment, obtained a job, and engaged in extracurricular activities. The free passes have also allowed our families struggling with homelessness and lacking personal transportation the ability to have reliable transportation to doctor appointments, after-school activities, community events, grocery shopping, etc. The Free Youth Transit Pass has had such a positive impact and provided our students with the opportunity to engage in life and the community in a way that many of us take for granted.”
– Melissa Ford, MSW
McKinney-Vento & Foster Care Liaison,
Clover Park School District
We partner with Pierce County Department of Emergency Management in a variety of scenarios, including emergency evacuation planning and other major events in our community.
Federal, state and local partners came together this year to make a new Transit Center in Spanaway possible; we broke ground on the facility in October 2022.
We are excited about this new transit hub, serving Route 1 and soon a Bus Rapid Transit line, in the southern reaches of Pierce County that will connect community members to local and regional public transportation services and take single-occupancy vehicles off congested roadways in our area.
The facility will be built in two phases and is funded jointly by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration. Phase 1, currently under construction, will feature a bus turnaround, a 38-car Park & Ride lot, comfort station for bus drivers and passenger drop-off area. Phase 2, currently in planning, will increase parking to 250 stalls and include enhanced entrance/exit infrastructure.
Pierce Transit also works closely with local emergency management teams to ensure a prompt, coordinated response to community incidents and situations. As a transportation provider, we are a critical part of the incident response network.
Using Your Tax Dollars Responsibly
The vast majority of funding for Pierce Transit’s services comes from local sales tax.
The agency collects six-tenths of one percent on every dollar spent, or six cents on a $10 purchase.
This is the lowest rate among similar-sized transit agencies in Washington state; in fact, peer agencies in Snohomish and Thurston counties collect about double that rate. Pierce Transit provides as much service as possible with the funding available and the agency also maintains a healthy reserve fund. Pierce Transit has earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for 37 years in a row.
Eighty-five percent of Pierce Transit’s employees are directly related to service on the street; just 15 percent are in administrative roles.
Changing Lives, One Ride at a Time
ELECTRIFYING YOUR RIDE IN 2022
9 electric buses
15 electric vehicle chargers on site for buses, other EVs
$3.87 million grant to purchase 3 electric buses and infrastructure
100,000+ miles driven by electric buses
Walking the Talk
Pierce Transit received Pierce Trips’ Best Commuter Business award for 2022, one of only three organizations in Pierce County to achieve Gold status.
This designation recognizes the agency’s commitment to reducing car congestion, fuel consumption and air and water pollution in our region. This was accomplished through providing commuter benefits to employees, engaging with employees to promote sustainable transportation options, and successfully reducing the number of employees driving to work alone.
Because we are a public transportation agency, it just makes sense for Pierce Transit, as an employer, to encourage employees to use smart commute options and to “walk the talk” by using public transit to get to and from work.
Pierce Transit also assisted companies in providing commute options to their employees. As of December 2022, there were 212 active vanpool groups and 34 ORCA Business Accounts.
Runner has the same fare as riding a Pierce Transit bus. Service runs seven days a week on all Runners except JBLM. We provided 5,620 Runner rides in 2022.
Pierce Transit Runner is on-demand public transportation that allows customers to book rides from a smartphone within dedicated microtransit zones.
Each service has its own zone or designated
pick-up/drop-off spots to help make “first and last mile” connections between a rider’s starting point and other transit services. Currently, we offer Runner services in four zones: JBLM, Ruston, Tideflats and Spanaway.
The Spanaway Runner, launched in August, connects students, workers, seniors and those with limited mobility to and from community resources, appointments, school, work and transit hubs in Midland, Parkland and Spanaway. Runner uses smaller, wheelchair-accessible vehicles to provide trips when and where needed, and to make it easier to reach local and regional transit options.
“You just can’t beat the cost savings– $800 a month in fuel, bridge tolls and parking! Extra bonuses are shared driving responsibilities, use of HOV lanes and well-maintained vans.”
–Longtime Vanpool Rider
In 2022 Pierce Transit revolutionized the way our customers vanpooled, making it easier and more affordable.
A new “part time” rider option gave riders who don’t commute every day the opportunity to join a vanpool and pay a reduced, part-time rate, rather than full-time fees.
A new flat rate fare structure simplified payments and options, giving riders a predictable and consistent fare.
Ride only occasionally? A new daily rider service gave commuters with unpredictable schedules the opportunity to reserve open seats on existing vanpools.
When the number of riders required to start a vanpool dropped from six to just three, Pierce Transit offered smaller vehicles to fit riders’ needs.
Vanpooling is easier and more affordable than ever. It’s also a great way to get to know your colleagues and enjoy a relaxing, carpool-lane commute.
Jump on board with us soon!
Pierce Transit is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners, representing the communities in the agency’s service area.
Marty Campbell, Pierce Transit Board Chair
Pierce County Council
In 2022, our lives began returning to many pre-pandemic norms, with the resumption of in-person meetings, appointments, and social gatherings.
Pierce Transit was there to connect people with these activities, and with life in general.
With this shift, the agency was able to return its focus to building for the future. We were excited to roll out the Free Youth Transit Pass, to help the next generation learn how to make transit part of their lives. Work continued on designing Bus Rapid Transit and improving Pierce Transit’s base of operations to support expanded public transportation options in our service area. We broke ground on a Transit Center in Spanaway to help connect more parts of our community to our region. We also continued to build relationships with local, state and federal partners, and unveiled new app-based and on-demand services, to ensure what we provide meets the needs of everyone we serve.
Thank you for your interest in Pierce Transit, and for reading our 2022 Annual Report. We look forward to bringing you even more innovative service options in 2023.
Pierce Transit 2022 Board of Commissioners
Where is your local transit agency going next? Here are a few destinations along our road in 2023:
Pierce Transit is adopting ORCA LIFT, a regional reduced fare program for income-qualified residents. Riders may pay a reduced bus fare based on household income less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For more information, visit PierceTransit.org/orcalift.
Pierce Transit’s base is 34 years old and in real need of modernization and safety upgrades. Today’s transit fleets are part-vehicle, part-computer, requiring specialized facilities, tools and specially-trained staff to care for them. Electric buses require chargers, extra-long or extra-tall buses require larger maintenance bays, and growing fleets require more space. A future Bus Rapid Transit system will also require specialized vehicles with unique service needs. The agency has begun a multi-year base modernization project that will help us serve transit riders well into the future.
Pierce Transit’s goal is to convert 20 percent of our fleet to zero emissions by 2030. The agency is conducting a Fleet Transition Plan that will serve as a road map for us to meet that goal.
The agency continues planning for the South Sound’s first Bus Rapid Transit project, running 14.4 miles from downtown Tacoma to Spanaway.