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2023 Annual Report

CEO Mike

Welcome to Pierce Transit's 2023 Annual Report. We appreciate you taking time to explore how your local transit agency served our community over the past year.

In 2023, Pierce Transit laid the groundwork for future improvements, including adopting ORCA LIFT, a reduced fare program that decreases barriers to using public transportation; making our fleet cleaner and greener by switching all diesel-powered vehicles to Renewable Diesel; introducing battery electric vehicles into our agency and Rideshare fleets; and launching Runner on-demand service in Puyallup.

We also focused on safety, rounding out our Public Safety workforce to support a safe transit experience for you.

In 2023 we spent a lot of time with you – the people of Pierce County – attending more than 100 outreach events to talk with you about our agency’s services, collecting your feedback and suggestions to improve our services, and helping with community events, such as providing express rides to the JBLM Airshow & Warrior Expo.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support of your local transit service, Pierce Transit. We look forward to serving you in even more ways in 2024.

Mike Griffus
Pierce Transit CEO

Your Ride, Your Way

woman riding bus

In the summer of 2023, Pierce Transit launched its “Bus System Recovery Plan” public involvement process to strategically increase transit service. The process was designed to help Pierce Transit better understand customers’ current needs and how to bounce back from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including recommendations for service options that will help improve mobility for all residents, current riders, and future riders.

We conducted open houses and surveys, asking the public to weigh in on how the agency should prioritize its limited resources and what services are most important. The community responded that they would like to see more frequent bus service, and more expanded hours of service.

Based on this public input, Pierce Transit created a Recovery Plan that will enhance bus service in six phases, as staffing and funding allow. Pierce Transit’s Planning department embarked on an unprecedented approach to align routes and schedules, improve service connectivity for passengers, boost on-time performance, and reduce split shifts for Bus Operators, supporting better work/life balance in our workforce. We implemented the first phase of the plan in March 2024 with improved route schedules, a new ondemand Runner service in Gig Harbor, and the new Stream Community Line between Spanaway and Tacoma.

Spotlight on Safety

shuttle operator

The SHUTTLE paratransit team operated in 2023 with zero preventable traffic incidents.

This team of professionals operates in many tight, restrictive locations that were designed for smaller vehicles. To service their passengers, they must navigate alleys, apartment complexes, strip malls, under canopies, at shopping areas, and around heavily congested parking lots. Their daily mission is a unique one: providing transportation services to community members who are elderly and/or have disabilities which limit their ability to safely access other forms of transportation. Without these dedicated SHUTTLE professionals doing what they do, many members of the community would suffer restrictions which could keep them homebound and even be life threatening. Each of the operators is not just a highly skilled transit professional; they perform their duties with kindness, patience, compassion, and dedication to each of their passengers. Safety truly is their highest priority.

Pierce Transit’s Transportation Assistant Manager had this to say:

“Part of the reason I have stayed in this line of work for 33 years is that we care deeply about the service we provide and the passengers, as well as each other. Making sure our passengers arrive safely to each destination has always been a priority for us, from making sure customer service takes thorough information, to the driver who escorts the customer to the door. We take pride in this and having zero preventable traffic incidents just shows this commitment. I’m extremely proud of our team!”

Out and About


Pierce Transit was proud to provide express bus service to and from the 2023 Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airshow & Warrior Expo in July. The public turned out for this free event in record numbers and Pierce Transit supported attendees with free parking and bus service from two Lakewood locations.

PT Trolley, Pierce Transit’s Route 101, returned during the summer to provide service between the historic downtown Gig Harbor waterfront district, Harbor Hill, and the Uptown shopping district. Trolley service ran twice a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays from July 1 through August 31, and connected riders with other routes at the Kimball Drive Park & Ride. The PT Trolley offers a fun and affordable summer activity for families, reduces traffic and the need for parking along the Gig Harbor waterfront, and benefits the environment over driving a single occupancy vehicle. You can look for this service again in Summer 2024.

To inform the community about our services, Pierce Transit employees attended more than 100 outreach events in 2023; 97 of those shifts were staffed by employees from departments across the agency who were eager to share information about Pierce Transit’s services with their neighbors. Venues across the service area included community forums and networking mixers; community support organizations; special events; resource fairs; Chamber gatherings; neighborhood council and business district meetings; higher ed; healthcare; and agency presentations.

Supporting Our Community

youth holding orca card

Pierce Transit does more than provide traditional transit rides. We also jump in to help our community in unique ways, and when it’s needed most. In 2023 Pierce Transit provided free rides to cooling centers when the weather got hot, and rides to warming centers when temperatures dropped, ensuring everyone had access to comfortable shelter.

In 2023 the agency adopted ORCA LIFT, a reduced adult fare program available to low-income individuals that reduces barriers in using public transportation to access community resources. Pierce Transit also provided free ride days throughout the year, including the day after Thanksgiving to encourage people to ride the bus to shop local. The agency also continued to support young people in accessing education, jobs and other resources with our free rides for youth program, and the number of those rides grew by 200 percent in 2023.

These are just a few of the ways Pierce Transit serves as a critical resource to the people of Pierce County.

Using Your Tax Dollars Responsibly

The vast majority of funding for Pierce Transit’s services comes from local sales tax. The agency collects 6/10ths of a penny 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 receive sales tax at double that rate, giving them the opportunity to provide more local transit service. Pierce Transit provides as much service as possible with the funding available; the agency also maintains a healthy reserve as required by agency policy. In 2023 Pierce Transit earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 39th year in a row, the highest level of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Almost 70 percent of Pierce Transit’s budgeted expenditures pay for employees to provide the service in the form of wages and benefits. Eighty-four percent of Pierce Transit’s employees are directly related to service on the street; just 16 percent are in administrative roles. Some of the agency’s revenue comes from providing Sound Transit Express contracted services.


Changing Lives, One Ride at a Time

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Annual Passenger
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Annual Miles
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Average Weekday
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22% Increase in ridership

Building Out Our Clean Fleet

Our fleet became cleaner and greener in 2023.

One of our most significant sustainability accomplishments for the year was switching all diesel-powered equipment and vehicles to R99 – Renewable Diesel. Renewable diesel is made from renewable feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats and waste materials; burns cleaner and with fewer impurities, and significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional diesel. While Pierce Transit has operated most of its fleet on Compressed Natural Gas for decades, in 2023 the agency began the process of transitioning to Renewable Natural Gas, which comes from dairy farms or landfills that produce methane and offsets exhaust emissions.

On the electrification front, in 2023 the agency introduced battery electric vehicles into its Rideshare fleet, as well as for agency support vehicles. In the summer we cut the ribbon on Pierce Transit’s first on route electric bus charger in downtown Tacoma, significantly expanding the daily mileage the electric buses can operate.

4 Hybrid cars 10 CNG SHUTTLE vehicles
20 Hybrid buses 123 CNG buses
13 Hybrid pickups/SUVs/vans 22 Renewable diesel buses
9 Battery electric buses 1 Renewable diesel sweeper vehicle


More Runner

looking at sign

Pierce Transit Runner is on-demand public transportation within dedicated microtransit zones that allows customers to book rides straight from a smartphone. Each service has its own zone or designated pick-up/drop-off spots where a rider can travel within the zone, plus make “first and last mile” connections between a rider’s starting point and other transit services. In 2023, Pierce Transit offered Runner services in five zones: JBLM, Ruston, Tideflats, Puyallup, and Spanaway.

Runner provides on-demand transportation to the public, connecting students, workers, seniors and others, including those with limited mobility, to and from community resources, appointments, school, work and transit hubs around our service area. 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.


rideshare driver

In 2023, Pierce Transit changed the name of their Vanpool program to Rideshare, encompassing more flexible options for sharing rides together.

This change reflects a trend from around the region. We also began adding different vehicles to our fleet: more SUVs and crossovers as our customers are requesting smaller vehicles than a typical van. Perhaps best of all, we changed the required size of a Rideshare group from five people down to three, allowing many more opportunities for groups to form and thrive.

Pierce Transit is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners, representing the communities in the agency’s service area.

board member

Kristina Walker, Pierce Transit Board Chair
Tacoma City Council

Opening Doors to Opportunity

Bold changes and improvements being made in 2024 are based on YOUR feedback in 2023. We heard that more frequent service and greater span of service should be our goal for 2024 and beyond, and that’s where we are headed. We are an agency that values civic responsibility and environmental sustainability, and that’s reflected in our investment in electrification, forming partnerships with organizations that support ridesharing, and reducing carbon emissions by providing environmentally friendly transit services. Thank you to everyone who submitted comments, engaged with our team, and responded to surveys over the past year to help us make Pierce Transit “your ride, your way.”

Pierce Transit 2024 Board of Commissioners

Kristina Walker
Pierce Transit Board Chair
Tacoma City Council

Marty Campbell
Pierce County Council

Olgy Diaz
Tacoma City Council

Doug Fagundas
Represents Cities of: Fife, Milton, Pacific, Auburn, Ruston, Steilacoom and Gig Harbor

John Hines
Deputy May, City of Tacoma

John Hoheusle
Nonvoting Labor Representative

Jim Kastama
Mayor, City of Puyallup
Represents Cities of: Edgewood and Puyallup

Ryan Mello
Pierce County Council

Shannon Reynolds
Fircrest City Council

Jason Whalen
Vice Chair,
Mayor, City of Lakewood

What's Next


Where is your local transit agency going next? Here are a few destinations along our road in 2024:

Gig Harbor Runner. In late March 2024 Pierce Transit introduced its next on-demand Runner service, this one in Gig Harbor. The Gig Harbor Runner offers new ways to connect to high schools and the Tacoma Community College Gig Harbor campus; shopping areas; medical appointments, including at St. Anthony Hospital; other transit services; and more.

Stream Community Line. Starting April 1, Pierce Transit implemented a high-capacity transit service on Pacific Avenue between Spanaway and downtown Tacoma. This “Stream Community Line” service is frequent, rapid and convenient, with upgraded amenities at stations, and fewer stops, contributing to a faster trip. Stream buses run on weekdays from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. The service is offered in addition to the existing Route 1, which runs along this roadway, and makes a new stop at Tacoma Dome Station for additional transit connections. Stream Community Line is a partnership with MultiCare, which is the official naming sponsor of the line.

Improved Bus Schedules. This Spring Pierce Transit made schedule improvements to most of its routes. This includes scheduling buses that stop at the same place to come together at a similar time, vastly improving the transit experience for riders making connections. We also conducted an in-depth analysis of each route based on traffic and other factors, resulting in more accurate schedules and better on-time performance.

vote icon

Upcoming 2024 elections will be held on August 6 and November 5.

Find out how to register to vote, where to drop off your ballot or how to change your address at or by contacting Pierce County Elections:
2501 S. 35th St. Suite C, Tacoma, WA 98404-7410
253.798.VOTE (8683)
Follow on X/Twitter for updates! @PierceCountyAud

© 2024 Pierce Transit, All Rights Reserved. Site Design and Development by SiteCrafting

Trip Planner Help

Trip Planner Tips - Entering Locations

To create a trip plan you need to enter both a starting location (origin) and an ending location (destination). For information about stops, schedules, or service at a specific location, you only need to enter one location.

The Trip Planner recognizes most street intersections and addresses as well as many landmarks in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties. If what you entered is not immediately recognized, the Trip Planner will offer you a list of options. You can choose one of the options, but if your intended location is not there, select the "Revise Original Entries" link to return to the entry page and change the entries you have already made.


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  • You don't need to type in St., Street, Ave., or Avenue, or similar street types. The Trip Planner shows the possible alternatives as options if needed. (Example: type Conifer & Jones instead of Conifer Circle & Jones Boulevard.)
  • You don't need to type in the directional designations for streets, but if a direction name is part of a street name, you should include it. (Example: type 3rd & Main instead of 3rd S & S Main. But type 34th & West Viewmont for 34th W & West Viewmont Way W.)
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Government Sites: Pierce County Health Dept, Pierce Co Sheriffs Office, Tacoma City Hall

Major Commercial Sites: Tacoma Mall, Sheraton Hotel

Transportation Facilities: Sea-Tac Airport, Greyhound Bus Depot

Schools & Colleges: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Community College

Sports & Leisure: Cheney Stadium, Pt Defiance Zoo

Medical Facilities: Group Health, Tacoma General Hospital


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