Community Transit reducing weekday bus service in spring to reflect labor shortage, fewer riders

Community Transit bus
Photo courtesy Community Transit

Community Transit on Wednesday said that starting March 20, it is reducing weekday bus service — mostly on routes serving King County — due both to a current labor shortage as well as lower transit ridership.

“We are consistently focused on providing reliable service that meets community needs,” said Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. “These changes will ensure we are able to operate all service scheduled and provide the right level of service for the current level of ridership.”

Ridership on Community Transit services is at 55% of levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency said it anticipates a continued steady, but slow growth in ridership, citing surveys indicating that many former riders said they will return to using transit when their employers call them back to the office.

At the same time, the agency said, transit agencies locally and nationally have faced a shortage of drivers, causing many to cut service. Community Transit said it is stepping up recruitment efforts so that it can accommodate steadily increased service as light rail comes to Snohomish County in 2024.

Through its March service change, Community Transit said it is reducing weekday bus service, specifically targeting trips and times of day with low ridership. To maintain essential local bus service, most of the changes are on routes serving King County, the agency said.

Service to and from the newly opened Northgate Station will see the greatest changes, as ridership to the northernmost light rail station remains low, Community Transit said. This will also affect Sound Transit’s Routes 511 and 512, which Community Transit operates.

The Swift Green Line between Seaway Transit Center in Everett and Canyon Park in Bothell will be reduced from a bus every 10 minutes to a bus every 12 minutes. This change eliminates 28 trips a day with a small impact to riders.

Other reductions are spread out among different routes and times of day when ridership is generally low, the agency said.

Details about Community Transit’s service change are available at communitytransit.org/servicechange.

The transit agency also said it will not be printing its Bus Plus schedule book for the spring service change. Riders can request a printed schedule for their route by calling 425-353-7433 or emailing riders@commtrans.org.

Schedules will be posted at bus stops over the next few weeks. Preview schedules will be available at communitytransit.org/schedules the week of Feb. 28.

“The situation in our community is constantly changing and we need to remain flexible,” Ilgenfritz said. “If we see ridership demand picking up and we have enough drivers, we may decide to add more service.”

  1. Had community transit provided consistent service sometime in the past 9 years maybe rider use would be up. CT has always had a reliability issue. Thry can blame it on covid or staffing shortages all they want but it has been years and years of this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.