Sustainability at Pierce Transit
Sustainable transit reduces a community’s environmental footprint from transportation and enhances its quality of life by making travel more enjoyable, affordable and timely. At Pierce Transit sustainability is a core value, addressed in terms of both the services we provide and how we operate.
Pierce Transit plays a key role in reducing the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road and the pollution they generate. In 2019, our customers skipped 9.3 million car trips, taking Pierce Transit buses, paratransit rides or Vanpools instead. Pierce Transit’s commitment to sustainability is reflected throughout the conception, planning, design, construction and operation of our system. We believe sustainability practices must make good business, public, and environmental sense by balancing the community's economic, social and environmental needs.
The APTA Sustainability Pledge
Pierce Transit has pledged to adopt sustainable business practices and strategies. We track, measure and report progress. We administer these practices on an ongoing basis to continually improve them over time. As a signatory to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Sustainability Commitment, Pierce Transit actively supports and responsibly serves our community.
Dedicated Green Team
Pierce Transit’s Green Team comprises representatives from a variety of departments including Data Analytics, Marketing, Maintenance, Safety & Training, Community Development, ADA Accessibility and Planning. The goal of the Green Team is to establish sustainability outcomes for the agency and develop best practices, benchmarks and data collection protocol to measure outcome attainment.
Data collection protocol includes:
- Identify potential areas of improvement
- Develop matrices to measure data
- Increase employee awareness of PT sustainability practices, as well as awareness in community
- Quantify results to demonstrate success, areas needing further development
The Green Team works to:
- Improve Public Awareness of our agency’s sustainability efforts
- Emphasize our modernization
- Increase community partnerships
- Expand our community experience
We believe that making sustainable strides benefits all by enhancing our brand, expanding regional connections, and helping improve local air quality.
Savings are realized through installation of LED lighting at Tacoma Dome Station parking garages, transit centers, and at headquarters on our bus lot. This new lighting provides brighter illumination, movement- and daylight-sensitive fixtures to reduce time lit, and lower utility bills.
Each September, Pierce Transit participates in Drive Electric Week, a national celebration of electric vehicles. An event is held in Steilacoom showcasing locally-owned electric cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles; Pierce Transit’s electric bus has been a guest of honor the past three years.
With efficiency and sustainability in mind, Pierce Transit provides Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) to employees for use when travelling to meetings or running agency errands. There are two charging stations set aside for these cars with more charging stations to be installed as part of our base master plan.
Hybrid electric vanpool vehicles are now part of our fleet, available for community use. Tacoma Public Utilities partnered with Pierce Transit to became the first recipient of 8 plug-in Vanpool vans for their employees.
Large mixed recycling bins are provided around our headquarters, in high-use areas, and each employee is offered a small desk-side bin for daily collection.
Employees are reminded of which items to recycle and which to throw away by posters placed near the bins, at all-staff meetings and Green Team updates.
In order to encourage recycling efforts in our Maintenance department, bins are placed throughout the shop, near the offices and break room.
Fluids used in the operation of our buses and fleet vehicles, along with materials used for parts and repairs, are recycled. Cardboard boxes and packaging materials from our parts warehouse are, too.
Water used in our bus wash is also recycled. The water is collected and processed through a filtration system. The only water wasted is that remaining on the coaches when they leave the bus wash.
Our CEO has asked that no department purchase water or other beverages in single-use plastic bottles.
Those teams that work out in the community during summer months are provided with insulated cooler jugs they can refill with water throughout the day.
Maintenance staff have large coolers of water and Gatorade available at several stations in their shops. Operators are provided with reusable bottles and cups and the Employee Wellness Committee awards insulated water bottles and other containers to employees who participate in wellness challenges.
Filtered water bottle filling stations are available throughout our headquarters.
In 2018, Pierce Transit approved a vehicle idling policy intended to protect the health of our employees, passengers, and communities; conserve fuel, reduce pollution and harmful effects to the environment; prevent premature engine wear, and minimize operating costs. This policy applies to every Pierce Transit-owned vehicle. Here’s a summary of what it covers:
- Pierce Transit vehicles will not be parked with the engine operating for more than five minutes unless it is essential for the performance of work.
- This limit applies to all Pierce Transit vehicles, unless the vehicle is idling under specific circumstances to be clarified by supervisors (including outdoor temperature extremes).
- In cases where the operator must leave the vehicle and interior and/or clearance lights must remain ON, certain rules apply.