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Big Changes Coming at the End of March
There are a lot of changes coming to Pierce Transit at the end of March. Bus routes and how customers ride them will be adjusted based on community input and to make the most of resources available. Exciting new ways to get from Point A to Point B are arriving.
Why are we making changes?
- Throughout the last half of 2023, Pierce Transit conducted a robust public engagement campaign, 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 Bus System Recovery Plan that will enhance bus service in six phases, as staffing and funding allow. We will implement the first phase of the plan in March2023.
Improving Bus Routes
- On March 31, Pierce Transit will make schedule improvements to all local routes with the exception of Route 57 and 214. Some changes will be minor; others will be more significant.
- The schedule changes will allow buses that stop at the same place to come together at a similar time,vastly improving the transit experience for riders making connections.
- We have also used new software to conduct in-depth analyses of every route based on traffic and other factors, providing more accurate schedules and ensuring buses will arrive on time more often.
Additional Service Improvements
- There will be three additional elements to Pierce Transit’s March 31 service changes:
- Launching a Runner on-demand service zone in Gig Harbor, offering a new transit option in areas that are difficult to safely serve with a bus, plus extended hours and connections to other transit services.
- Retiring three low-performing routes (and a portion of one other route) and transitioning those riders to Runner zones. As of March 3, these Runner zones will entirely encompass the areas of the retiring routes, plus offer on-demand, curb-to-curb, accessible rides with longer hours of service.
- Using the savings associated with retiring these routes to add Stream, a high-capacity transit service, between Spanaway and downtown Tacoma, offering a frequent, rapid and convenient morning and afternoon service with a faster trip.
New Gig Harbor Runner Zone Coming
- Pierce Transit Runner is an on-demand service that offers curb-to-curb transportation, typically in areas with limited transit options.
- There are now five Runner zones serving Pierce County, providing connections to Ruston and along Ruston Way, the Tideflats, JBLM, in the Spanaway/Parkland/Midland area and in Puyallup.
- A new Gig Harbor zone will launch March 31, 2024.
- This zone serves the City of Gig Harbor and the surrounding area. The zone includes St. Anthony Hospital, Tacoma Community College Gig Harbor Campus, and the Tom Taylor YMCA. It will also serve Purdy and Kimball Park & Rides, where riders can make transit connections to local and regional transportation.
- The Gig Harbor Runner is available seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- We introduced an improved app with the Puyallup Runner last November. The new, dedicated Runner app --launched with the Puyallup zone -- will add the Spanaway, Ruston, and Tideflats zones starting on January2, 2024. Gig Harbor Runner will also use this new app when it launches March 31, 2024.
- For more information on Runner, including hours and fares, visit PierceTransit.org/Runner.
Runner now in Transit App
- Transit app provides real-time arrival information for all Pierce Transit buses and other transit services across the region, as well as ticket purchase options.
- Transit app now includes Pierce Transit Runner, making trip planning and transfers to or from fixed routeeven easier for our riders.
- When customers open Transit app, they will see the closest fixed route services and now they’ll also see Runner as an option if they are in a Runner zone during the times it is active.
- Information on Transit app and how to download it is available at PierceTransit.org/transit.
Underutilized Routes Retiring
At the March 31 service change, Pierce Transit is transitioning some routes that have historically low ridership and limited schedules.
- Routes 13, 63, 425, and portions of route 409 will now be served by Runner.
- Those routes will be retiring March 30 and transitioning to Runner. Rather than a Pierce Transit bus, customers will see Pierce Transit Runner vehicles serving those areas.
- Runner provides a superior level of service with expanded hours, on-demand availability, curb-to-curb service, and ADA accessibility, all for the same fare as riding a regular bus.
Stream Pacific Avenue Coming Soon
The Pierce Transit Board approved implementing Stream Pacific Avenue service along the 14.4-mile Pacific Avenue/SR-7 corridor from Tacoma to Spanaway on March 31, 2024.
- Stream service will offer many benefits, including:
- Service in addition to the existing Route 1, providing another option on weekday mornings from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. and afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m. for commuters looking to make a more direct trip
- The bus will stop at only 14 major bus stops, saving significant travel time between Spanaway and Tacoma Dome Station
- It will help us provide near-term relief for overcapacity Route 1 riders
- This service will offer a new and vital connection to Tacoma Dome Station, including Tacoma Link lightrail service and timed connections with Sounder trains.
- Finally, it will allow for future, phased-in improvements, such as upgraded stops and additional speedand reliability features, such as Transit Signal Priority, which speeds up the trip by signaling the trafficlight to stay green longer so the bus can get through the intersection
Free Youth Transit Pass
- Youth ages 18 and under ride fare free on public transit throughout our region.
- Regional transit partners, including Pierce Transit, offer free rides to youth.
- Young people who have an ORCA card are strongly encouraged to register the card online at myORCA.com or by stopping by our Customer Service Center at Tacoma Dome Station, to ensure their card continues toprovide free rides until their actual 19th birthday
- If you know a young person who would like to learn how to ride transit, check out our new webpage full ofYouth Ridership Resources: PierceTransit.org/YouthRidershipResources
Pierce Transit Careers
- We have an ongoing need for bus drivers and mechanics, as well as employees in administrative roles.
- Pierce Transit is a great place to work, offering excellent training and benefits such as health insurance anda generous retirement plan.
- Candidates for Journey Level Mechanic or Transit Operator positions receive a $5,000 signing bonus ($2,500after passing probation and another $2,500 after one year of service). We are also paying up to $2,500 inmoving expenses for certain positions when people need to move to accept the job.
- If you know someone looking for a rewarding career with excellent benefits and training, please encouragethem to visit PierceTransit.org/careers to apply.