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Bothell bus routes spared by budget ax, but 'shortened considerably'
Responding to public comment, the board of directors of Snohomish County Community Transit adjusted plans to totally eliminate two bus routes serving northern Bothell.
However, claiming they needed to close a $5 million budget gap this year, the board acted on March 4 to increase fares by 25 cents and cut all service on Sundays and major holidays.
Those cuts and fare hikes affect regular bus lines, as well as Community Transit’s paratransit or DART service.
Fares increase June 1. Service reductions take effect June 13.
“We did our best to avoid cutting service for two years, but we can no longer do that,” said Community Transit Board Chair Dave Gossett, who also chairs the Snohomish County Council. “We looked at every alternative to suspending Sunday and holiday service, but the other options were even more painful. ”
In Bothell, the two routes on the chopping block were 106 and 121. Both were spared, more or less. According to Community Transit Public Information Officer Martin Munguia, both routes 106 and 121 will be shortened considerably and make only two round-trip runs each day. Community Transit has not released exact schedules for either revamped route.
In the case of Route 106, each morning, two buses will follow the current route, but only between the Park and Ride in Canyon Park and the campus of the University of Washington, Bothell via the North Creek Business Park. Route 106 will travel only southbound in the mornings, northbound only in the afternoons.
Further, once changes are instituted in June, Route 106 will not continue past Canyon Park into Mill Creek as it does currently. Riders who wish to reach Mill Creek will have to transfer to a Route 105 bus or some other route that reaches their final destination.
Community Transit agreed to basically the same arrangement for Route 121. Again, two buses will follow the current route each morning and each afternoon, running between Canyon Park and the UW-Bothell, this time making a side trip down 23rd Avenue Southwest in Bothell. Route 121 will run northbound only in the mornings and southbound only in the afternoons.
As with Route 106, Route 121 will be shortened and will end at the Park and Ride in Canyon Park, no longer going on to the Lynnwood Transportation Center. Persons wanting to reach Lynnwood will need to transfer to a different bus.
Regarding routes 106 and 121, Munguia said those side trips — or “jogs,” as he called them — along 23rd Avenue and into the North Creek business center are important. They are largely what separates routes 106 and 121 from paired routes 105 and 120.
After studying ways to cut costs, Community Transit staff had recommended the agency’s board eliminate single stands of many paired routes, namely the strands that included lesser used loops into various areas.
Citizen complaints ultimately persuaded the board not to completely scrap routes 106 and 121. Munguia said board members were convinced total elimination of the routes would have resulted in a major inconvenience to some riders.
In order to pay for keeping runs in Bothell and several others spared by the board, Munguia added bus runs on State Route 99 were reduced. To Munguia that is something worth noting, as SR 99 obviously is a major Snohomish County thoroughfare.
Judging from Munguia’s comments, routes 105 and 120 will not be affected by the changes approved March 4, other than the system-wide elimination of Sunday and holiday service.
In addition to Sundays, beginning in June, Snohomish County buses will not run on Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Memorial Day.
All in all, in a press release, Community Transit said it is reducing service by 80,000 hours or 15 percent. Some other potentially notable cuts that went forward included certain runs to the Boeing plant in Everett.
Riders can find details on all route changes at www.communitytransit.org.