Swift Blue Line

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Swift Blue Line.svg
Swift Blue Line in Everett (29082105874).jpg
A Blue Line bus in Everett
Overview
SystemSwift
OperatorCommunity Transit
GarageMerrill Creek Base
VehicleNew Flyer DE60LFA
StatusOperating
Began serviceNovember 29, 2009 (2009-11-29)
PredecessorsCommunity Transit routes 100 and 101
Route
Route typeBus rapid transit
LocaleSnohomish County
Communities servedEverett, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Shoreline
StartEverett Station
ViaEvergreen Way,
State Route 99
EndAurora Village Transit Center
Length16.7 miles (26.9 km)
Stations31
Other routesEverett Transit routes 7 and 8,
Community Transit route 101
Service
Frequency10 minutes
Weekend frequency20 minutes
Journey time44 minutes
Operates5:00 am – 10:45 pm
Annual patronage1,621,838 (2015)[1]:37
TransfersSwift Green Line at Airport Road
RapidRide E Line at Aurora Village
TimetableSwift Blue Line schedule
←   {{{system_nav}}}       Green Line →

The Swift Blue Line is a bus rapid transit route operated by Community Transit in Snohomish County, Washington, as part of the Swift system. The Blue Line is 16.7 miles (26.9 km) long and runs on the State Route 99 and Evergreen Way corridor between Everett Station and Aurora Village Transit Center. It has 31 stations in the cities of Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Shoreline.

Swift has the highest ridership of any Community Transit route, carrying over 1.6 million total passengers in 2015.[1]:37–38 The service also has the highest frequency out of all Community Transit routes, running at 12-minute headways on weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and 20-minute headways during early mornings, late nights, and weekends.

The Blue Line opened with 28 stations on November 29, 2009 as "Swift", becoming the first bus rapid transit system in the state of Washington and costing $29 million to construct. Four infill stations in Everett were opened in 2011, and a southbound infill station serving Edmonds Community College opened in 2016. It gained the "Blue Line" moniker in August 2016, with the announcement of a second line, the Green Line, that opened in March 2019.

Route[edit]

The southbound platform at Pecks Drive Station along Evergreen Way in Everett

The Blue Line, designated internally as Community Transit Route 701,[2] begins at Bays G and H at the south end of Everett Station.[3]:72 Buses travel north on Smith Avenue, passing the station building and parking lots, and turn west onto Pacific Avenue towards Downtown Everett. The line continues west on Pacific, stopping at a station split between Wetmore and Colby avenues near the Snohomish County Government Campus, before turning south onto Rucker Avenue. The next station pair, split between 40th and 41st streets, serves The Everett Clinic and the Everett Memorial Stadium complex, as well as the northern terminus of the Interurban Trail.[4] Buses travel south in general purpose lanes on Evergreen Way, passing over State Route 526 north of Casino Road Station.[5] The road continues southwest as State Route 99 into the unincorporated community of Lake Stickney, where the Blue Line stops at Airport Road Station, a transfer with the Green Line to the Boeing Everett Factory and Mill Creek,[6] and Lincoln Way Station north of an interchange with State Route 525.[7] The line enters the city of Lynnwood and moves into business access and transit (BAT) lanes at 148th Street Station,[8] where a queue jump signal for northbound buses was installed in 2012.[9][10] The Blue Line continues south on State Route 99 through Lynnwood, serving the Lynnwood Crossroads area at 196th and 200th streets and the Edmonds Community College with a southbound-only stop at 204th Street, and continues into Edmonds to stop at the Edmonds Swedish Medical Center.[11] The line crosses over State Route 104 and enters the city of Shoreline in King County, before it turns east onto North 200th Street and reaches its southern terminus at Aurora Village Transit Center Bay 9.[12][13][14][15]

Stations[edit]

The Blue Line serves 33 stations, grouped into 16 pairs, on its 16.7-mile-long (27 km) route,[16]:3 spaced approximately one mile (1.6 km) apart from each other.[16]:4 Swift stations consist of a 40-foot-long (12 m), 10-foot-wide (3.0 m) covered shelter on a 60-to-70-foot-long (18 to 21 m), 10-inch-high (25 cm) platform that allows for level boarding onto buses.[16]:4[17] The platform and shelter also include a roadside beacon that is lit at night, graffiti-resistant weather barriers, two Parkeon ticket vending machines,[18] two ORCA card readers, and a next bus arrival sign. Buses stop at all stations,[19] are allowed a dwell time of 10 seconds, and use curb bumpers to guide them closer to the platform.[9][17]

Transfers from the Blue Line to other bus routes are possible at every station, served by shadow service running on the State Route 99 and Evergreen Way corridor between Blue Line stations and frequently-spaced stops. Community Transit route 101 runs from Aurora Village Transit Center to the Everett city limits at Airport Road Station, and Everett Transit routes 7 and 8 run on the Swift corridor within Everett.[3]:35–50[20] There are several intersecting routes that connect Blue Line to Sound Transit Express service on Interstate 5 in Lynnwood: three routes on 200th Street near Crossroads and Heron stations travel east to Lynnwood Transit Center;[11] and two routes on 148th Street travel to Ash Way Park and Ride.[21][22] The Blue Line's terminals also provide a connection to regional services that run south to Seattle: Everett Station has Sounder commuter rail and Sound Transit Express bus routes to Seattle, and Aurora Village Transit Center is the terminus for the RapidRide E Line, a bus rapid transit route on Aurora Avenue that runs through Shoreline to Downtown Seattle.[13][14][23]

List of stations[edit]

Station ID[16]:4–5[24] Location City Connections[14][25] Opened References
Everett Station 2837, 2838 3201 Smith Avenue Everett Amtrak, Sounder commuter rail, ST Express, Community Transit, Everett Transit November 29, 2009 [4]
Colby Avenue/Wetmore Avenue 2835, 2836 Pacific Avenue & Colby/Wetmore avenues Everett Community Transit, Everett Transit November 29, 2009 [4]
40th Street/41st Street 2819, 2820 Evergreen Way & 40th/41st streets Everett Everett Transit routes 3, 7 and 18 November 29, 2009 [4]
50th Street 2815, 2816 Evergreen Way & 50th Street Everett Everett Transit route 7 November 29, 2009 [26]
Madison Street/Pecks Drive 2807, 2810 Evergreen Way & Madison Street/Pecks Drive Everett Everett Transit routes 7 and 8 December 21, 2010 (Northbound)[27]
January 25, 2011 (Southbound)[28]
Casino Road 2795, 2796 Evergreen Way & Casino Road Everett Everett Transit routes 3, 7, 8 and 12 November 29, 2009 [5]
4th Avenue 2787, 2788 Evergreen Way & 4th Avenue Everett Everett Transit routes 7 and 8 November 29, 2009 [5]
112th Street 2783, 2784 State Route 99 & 112th Street Everett Everett Transit routes 2 and 8 January 4, 2011 (Northbound)[29]
January 25, 2011 (Southbound)[28]
Airport Road 2781, 2782 State Route 99 & Airport Road Everett Swift Green Line
Community Transit route 101, Everett Transit routes 2 and 8
November 29, 2009 [7]
Lincoln Way 2779, 2780 State Route 99 & Lincoln Way Lynnwood Community Transit routes 101 and 417 November 29, 2009 [7]
148th Street 2777, 2778 State Route 99 & 148th Street Lynnwood Community Transit routes 101, 113, 119, 415 and 880 November 29, 2009 [21]
International/Cherry Hill 2767, 2770 State Route 99 & 174th/176th streets Lynnwood Community Transit routes 101 and 112 November 29, 2009 [30]
Crossroads/Heron 2761, 2764 State Route 99 & 196th/200th streets Lynnwood Community Transit routes 101, 115, 116, 120 and 196 November 29, 2009 [11]
College[n 1] 2760 State Route 99 & 204th Street Lynnwood Community Transit routes 101, 115, 116 and 120 February 3, 2016 [31]
Gateway/216th Street 2753, 2754 State Route 99 & 216th Street Edmonds Community Transit routes 101, 119, 405 and 871 November 29, 2009 [11]
238th Street 2747, 2748 State Route 99 & 238th Street Edmonds Community Transit routes 101, 115 and 416 November 29, 2009 [12]
Aurora Village Transit Center 2742, 2877 1524 N 200th Street Shoreline RapidRide E Line, Community Transit, King County Metro November 29, 2009 [12]
     Timepoint or terminus[14]
Notes
  1. ^ College Station (204th Street) is a southbound-only station with no matching northbound station.[31]

Service[edit]

Blue Line frequency[14]
Type Frequency Span of service
Days Times
Weekdays 10 minutes Monday–Friday 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 pm
Mornings 20 minutes Monday–Friday 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 am
Evenings 20 minutes Monday–Friday 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 pm
Saturday 20 minutes Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 pm
Sunday 20 minutes Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 8:20 pm

The Blue Line runs at a headway of 10 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm on weekdays, its highest level of service with five buses per hour per direction.[32] Weekday service begins with a headway of 20 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 am, and ends with the same frequency during the evening from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm. During Saturdays, buses run every 20 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 pm. Sunday service, which was suspended from 2010 until 2015,[33][34] runs from 7:00 a.m. to 8:20 pm every 20 minutes.[9][14] Swift initially ran at a 10-minute headway, and had evening service end at midnight, until a major system-wide service reduction in February 2012 reduced its weekday headway to 12 minutes.[35][36] The 10-minute weekday frequency was restored in September 2018.[32]

The Blue Line carried a total of 1,621,838 riders in 2015, making it the most popular route operated by Community Transit, and accounting for 16.2% of the agency's total ridership.[1]:37

Fares and enforcement[edit]

Swift BRT fares
Type Fare
Adult $2.25
Youth $1.50
Reduced $1.00
As of July 1, 2015[37]

Fares on Swift are equivalent to Community Transit's local service fares, divided into three groups: adult at $2.25, youth at $1.50, and reduced at $1.00. Adult fare is charged for passengers between the ages of 19 and 64, youth fare is charged for passengers between the ages of 6 and 18, and the reduced fare is charged for passengers over the age of 65, or those with disabilities or Medicare card holders.[37][38] At the time of Swift's launch in 2009, adult fares were set at $1.50;[39] since then, fares have since increased to the present $2.25 for adults effective July 1, 2015.[40]

Swift uses off-board payment at its stations, made possible by the placement of two ORCA card readers and two ticket vending machines at each shelter. The ticket vending machines only accept $1 bills (without giving change) and credit cards from Visa and MasterCard, printing out a paper ticket.[41] The system uses proof-of-payment to verify fares, enforced by "Swift Ambassadors", who conduct random checks and can issue a $124 citation to riders who fail to pay.[42]

Fleet[edit]

A Swift bus deadheading to Everett Station to begin its route

Swift uses a fleet of 15 specially-branded New Flyer DE60LFA articulated hybrid buses,[43] measuring 62 feet (19 m) long and carrying 43 seated passengers and up to 80 standing passengers.[44][45] The buses, ordered in 2007 with the option of purchasing 34 additional coaches,[46] have three doors (of which two are plug doors)[36] that allow for all-door boarding at all stations; the front door has a wheelchair ramp, and is located closest to the two wheelchair bays secured by a passive restraint system, which doesn't require assistance from the driver; bicyclists are directed to the rear door of the coach, where three interior bike racks are located.[41] The coaches deadhead to and from their overnight storage space at the Merrill Creek bus base in Everett, where a mock station used for driver training was unveiled in May 2009.[47]

History[edit]

Former services[edit]

Blue Line bus rapid transit service on the State Route 99 corridor was preceded by decades of transit services traveling through southwestern Snohomish County, which ranged from an interurban railway to local buses. The Seattle–Everett Interurban Railway ran interurban service from 1910 to 1939 along the Pacific Highway, later U.S. Route 99 and State Route 99.[48] During its heyday, the interurban ran at 30-minute headways throughout the day, and only made automatic stops at its terminals in Everett and Seattle.[49][50] The railway was dismantled and later used as right of way for overhead power lines,[51] until it was converted into a rail trail in the 1990s and 2000s, named the Interurban Trail.[52]

Community Transit was founded in 1976 as the public transit agency for Snohomish County,[53] and introduced local service from Everett to Aurora Village via State Route 99 on route 750.[54] Route 750 was later renumbered to route 610,[55] which was later upgraded to 15-minute headways in the 1990s, and itself split into two routes, 100 and 101, in 2003.[56][57] Community Transit route 100 ran during peak hours along the full length of the corridor from Aurora Village to Everett, while route 101 only ran the southern portion of the route to South Everett, with all-day service that required a transfer to Everett Transit to complete trips to downtown Everett.[58]

BAT lanes and BRT studies[edit]

Planning for limited-stop bus service, which later evolved into bus rapid transit, began in the 1990s, with proposals to build bus lanes on State Route 99 between 145th Street NE in Shoreline and Casino Road (near State Route 526) in Everett.[59] Sound Transit was established in 1996 as a regional transit authority, and selected the State Route 99 corridor as a route for its express bus system,[60] but later replaced it, before service began, with an express route on Interstate 5 from Everett to Northgate, while leaving SR 99 to Community Transit.[56][61] Sound Transit funded the construction of business access and transit lanes on State Route 99 through Lynnwood from 244th Street to 148th Street in 2002, converting former parking lanes, and widening the highway in some areas, improving existing bus service, and laying the ground for a future bus rapid transit line.[62]

Community Transit's Strategic Planning Group published a recommendation in 2004, calling for bus rapid transit service on the State Route 99 corridor between Everett Station and Aurora Village Transit Center, featuring off-board fare collection, limited stops, and transit signal priority. The route alternatives proposed included express service from Aurora Village to Downtown Seattle via Aurora Avenue North or Interstate 5, as well as express service on Interstate 5 in Everett, if a partnership to share costs with Everett Transit for the Evergreen Way segment was not viable.[63] In December 2005, the CT Board of Directors approved an accelerated planning schedule for a bus rapid transit project, to cost an estimated $15–20 million, and to begin service as the first such system in the Puget Sound region in 2008.[64]

Planning, design and construction[edit]

August 2009
April 2014
The Swift terminal at Everett Station before and after completion

Community Transit unveiled detailed plans for its bus rapid transit system, including the "Swift" name and logo, on July 26, 2006. The first line, located on State Route 99 between Everett and Aurora Village, would begin operating in 2008, with 10-minute headways and limited stops. The agency envisioned real-time arrival signs at stations, and transit signal priority, among other improvements over existing bus service.[65][66]

The following year, CT purchased its fleet of 15 hybrid diesel-electric buses from New Flyer, at a cost of $879,028 per vehicle, to be paid for with state and federal subsidies.[67]

Community Transit signed an agreement on December 5, 2007 with Everett Transit, which allowed for Swift to operate within Everett city limits with sales tax revenue from Everett funding stations, and transit signal priority within Everett. In exchange, Everett Transit would be allowed to expand its services into neighboring unincorporated areas that do not have CT service.[68][69]

A groundbreaking ceremony for the first Swift station, located at Airport Road in south Everett, was held on December 3, 2008, and was attended by Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, and the mayors of Everett and Marysville.[70] Stations were constructed in two phases: the first consisting of utility relocation and pouring of the concrete shelter pad; the second being the installation of the shelters, beacons, and other amenities beginning in June 2009.[71] The first station to be completed, a training facility at the Merrill Creek bus base, was opened during a media event on May 5, 2009;[47] in September 2009, the first station on the line was completed at 196th Street in Lynnwood.[72]

The project cost a total of $29 million (equivalent to $33.9 million in 2019[73]), of which $15 million was paid for by grants from the Federal Transit Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation, as well as the partnership with Everett Transit. The grants also paid for the majority of the cost to operate Swift for its first three years of service, estimated at $5 million annually, allowing it to maintain 10-minute headways, while the rest of Community Transit service was reduced in 2010.[33][74]

Launch and additional stations[edit]

Swift launched on November 29, 2009 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Crossroads Station, and a day of free rides from 4:00 p.m. to midnight.[75] The following day marked the beginning of regular service, with the first runs departing their termini at 5:00 am, and the new service attracted more than 1,500 riders, with end-to-end trips taking 20 minutes less compared to local buses on the same corridor.[76][77][78] Swift debuted as the first bus rapid transit line in the state of Washington, ahead of King County's RapidRide, opening a year later in 2010,[79] and one of the longest lines in the country when it opened.[74]

Existing local service on the State Route 99 was reduced on November 29 to accommodate the introduction of Swift. Community Transit eliminated route 100, a peak only service on the corridor, and reduced weekday headways on route 101 from 15 minutes to 20 minutes.[80] Everett Transit reduced weekday headways on route 9, running from Airport Road Station to the Everett Community College, from 20 minutes to 30 minutes.[81]

The successful launch of Swift, which saw ridership grow to 3,000 daily boardings in its first five months of service, earned Community Transit a Vision 2040 Award from the Puget Sound Regional Council in May 2010.[82] The agency also received two bronze Summit Creative Awards for the launch of Swift, as well as instructional videos on riding Swift that were published on YouTube.[83]

Four infill stations located in Everett were added to Swift in December 2010 and January 2011: a split pair at Madison Street and Pecks Drive, filling a nearly 2-mile-long (3.2 km) gap between Casino Road and 50th Street,[27] and a pair at 112th Street.[28][29] The stations were paid for by $1.6 million in regional mobility grants from the Washington State Department of Transportation to Everett Transit, awarded in May 2009.[47][84]

The final Swift station, College Station at 204th Street SW in Lynnwood, was opened on February 3, 2016. The southbound-only station is without a matching northbound one, serves the Edmonds Community College. It was originally proposed with the rest of the Lynnwood stations, but was delayed while waiting for the City of Lynnwood to extend 204th Street and build a traffic signal at its intersection with State Route 99.[31]

Later developments[edit]

Swift stations were given a number of small improvements after the line opened. Curb bumpers were installed in June 2010 to help guide buses closer to the raised platform, and reduce the gap at the door.[17] In 2012, a queue jump signal was installed northbound at the north end of the BAT lanes at 148th Street, allow Swift buses to merge into traffic.[10] Real-time arrival signs debuted at Swift stations in 2013, featuring a countdown to the arrival of the next bus that is estimated using GPS units on coaches.[85][86] In June 2015, the Washington State Department of Transportation removed part of the refuge island at the intersection of State Route 99 and Airport Road to create a through lane exclusively for Swift buses.[87][88]

Bus service on Aurora Avenue North, the continuation of State Route 99 in Shoreline and Seattle, was upgraded to bus rapid transit with the introduction of the RapidRide E Line in February 2014.[89] The line terminates at Aurora Village Transit Center, allowing for transfers to Swift.[13][90]

On August 12, 2016, Community Transit announced that Swift would be rebranded as the "Swift Blue Line", while the planned Swift II line would become the Green Line.[91] The Green Line opened on March 24, 2019, and connects with the Blue Line at Airport Road Station.[92]

Future plans[edit]

Community Transit has proposed extending the current Blue Line through Shoreline to Link light rail at NE 185th Street station when it opens as part of the Lynnwood Link Extension in 2024.[93][94]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata