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Swift Bus Rapid Transit

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Swift
Community Transit Swift logo.svg
CT 29709 at Wetmore Avenue Swift station.jpg
A southbound Swift bus at Wetmore Avenue Station in downtown Everett
Overview
Locale State Route 99, Snohomish County
Transit type Bus rapid transit
Number of lines 1 (1 more planned)
Number of stations 33 (31 more planned)
Annual ridership 1,621,838 (2015)[1]:37
Website communitytransit.org/swift
Operation
Began operation November 29, 2009
Operator(s) Community Transit
Number of vehicles 15 diesel-electric hybrid buses
Headway 12–20 minutes
Technical
System length 16.7 mi (26.9 km)

Swift Bus Rapid Transit is a bus rapid transit system operated by Community Transit in Snohomish County, Washington, part of the Seattle metropolitan area. As of 2016, Swift consists of a single line (the Blue Line), which runs 16.7 miles (26.9 km) on the State Route 99 corridor between Everett and Shoreline.

Swift has the highest ridership of any Community Transit route, carrying over 1.6 million total passengers on the Blue Line 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 first 28 Swift stations were opened on November 29, 2009 at a cost of $29 million. Four infill stations in Everett were opened in 2011, and a southbound infill station serving Edmonds Community College opened in 2016. The original line, known only as "Swift", became the "Blue Line" in August 2016.

A second line, from the Boeing Everett Factory to Mill Creek and Bothell via State Route 527, is in development, and is expected to open in 2019 as the Green Line. Long-range plans adopted by Community Transit include Swift trunk lines replacing its most popular corridors by 2030, feeding into future Link Light Rail stations at Lynnwood Transit Center and Everett Station.

Lines[edit]

Swift BRT lines
Line Name Opened Stations Distance Termini
mi km Western/Southern Eastern/Northern
     Blue Line 2009 33 16.7 26.9 Aurora Village Transit Center Everett Station
     Green Line 2019 (planned) 30 12.5 20.1 Canyon Park Park and Ride Seaway Transit Center

Service[edit]

Swift Blue Line frequency[2]
Type Frequency Span of service
Days Times
Weekdays 12 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

Swift's Blue Line runs at a headway of 12 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 pm on weekdays, its highest level of service with five buses per hour per direction. 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,[3][4] runs from 7:00 a.m. to 8:20 pm every 20 minutes.[2][5] The Blue Line 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 the current 12 minutes.[6][7]

Swift carried a total of 1,621,838 riders on the Blue Line 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[8]

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.[8][9] At the time of Swift's launch in 2009, adult fares were set at $1.50;[10] since then, fares have since increased to the present $2.25 for adults effective July 1, 2015.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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,[14] measuring 62 feet (19 m) long and carrying 43 seated passengers and up to 80 standing passengers.[15][16] The buses, ordered in 2007 with the option of purchasing 34 additional coaches,[17] have three doors (of which two are plug doors)[7] 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.[12] 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.[18]

In 2016, Community Transit began considering an order to purchase 15 articulated buses for the Green Line, which will begin service in 2019.[19]

History[edit]

Community Transit's 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.[20] 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,[21] 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.[22][23] 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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27][28]

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.[29]

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.[30][31]

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.[32] 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.[33] 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;[18] in September 2009, the first station on the line was completed at 196th Street in Lynnwood.[34]

The project cost a total of $29 million (equivalent to $32.4 million in 2017[35]), 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.[3][36]

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.[37] 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.[38][39][40] 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,[41] and one of the longest lines in the country when it opened.[36]

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.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46][47] 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.[48][49]

Future plans[edit]

In its transit development plan published in 2016, Community Transit proposed the restoration of 10-minute weekday frequencies on the Blue Line by March 2018.[1]:58

Community Transit has also proposed extending the Blue Line on State Route 99 through Shoreline to Link Light Rail at NE 185th Street station when it opens as part of the Lynnwood Link Extension in 2023.[50][51]

In 2005, Community Transit approved a long range plan, which extended Swift into a full network, and which comprised the core of Community Transit service on "Transit Emphasis Corridors". The corridors identified served the cities of Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Bothell, Marysville, and Arlington, using existing arterial streets that already have bus service.[52]

Community Transit announced plans for a second Swift line in November 2013.[53] The 12.5-mile-long (20.1 km) line, tentatively named "Swift II", was created out of two Transit Emphasis Corridors, and would travel from the Boeing Everett Factory to Mill Creek via Airport Road and State Route 527.[1]:59 A study, prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff, and partially funded by the state legislature in 2012, estimated that the project would cost $42–48 million to construct, and attract 3,300 riders when it opened.[54][55] The Federal Transit Administration approved project development in December 2014, a prerequisite to federal grants for capital construction and vehicle acquisition.[56] During the 2015 session of the Washington State Legislature, Community Transit was granted the authority to increase sales taxes to fund operation of Swift II, pending voter approval via a ballot measure;[57] the Washington State Department of Transportation also gave $6.8 million in funding to build the line's northern terminus at Seaway Transit Center.[56] The ballot measure was approved by voters in November 2015, allowing for construction to begin sooner.[56][58]

The second line was renamed the Green Line in August 2016 and given a 2019 completion date.[59]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e 2016–2021 Transit Development Plan (PDF) (Report). Community Transit. May 5, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Swift bus rapid transit" (PDF) (Map). Community Transit Bus Plus: Schedules & Route Maps (PDF). Community Transit. March 2016. p. 47. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Agency Prepares for Sunday Service Suspension, Other Cuts, Effective June 13" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. May 27, 2010. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ "June 2015 Service Expansion & Fare Increase". Community Transit. June 7, 2015. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Swift". Community Transit. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Major Service Changes Start Feb. 20". Community Transit. February 2012. Archived from the original on February 17, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Community Transit to launch hybrid BRT service". Metro Magazine. November 10, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Fares & Passes". Community Transit. July 1, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Reduced Fare Permit: Senior 65+, Disabled, Medicare". Community Transit. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fare Increase June 1; Memorial Day on Sunday Schedule" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 11, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Adult Bus Fares, DART Fares Go Up 25 Cents" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. June 30, 2015. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "How to Ride Swift". Community Transit. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Agency Emphasizes Fare Enforcement" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. September 28, 2011. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2016. 
  14. ^ Snohomish County Public Transportation Benefit Area Corporation (April 29, 2011). "ITB #03-11: Supply and Delivery of Bus Parts" (PDF). Community Transit. p. 14. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Swift bus rapid transit". Community Transit. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ Kinnamon, Kristin (April 15, 2010). "Does Size Matter?". Community Transit Blog. Community Transit. Retrieved July 8, 2015. 
  17. ^ "New Flyer Announces Recent Bus Orders for 1,180 Buses Valued at Over US$624 Million" (Press release). Winnipeg, Manitoba: New Flyer Industries Inc. October 22, 2007. Archived from the original on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "First Look at Swift Bus Rapid Transit" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. May 5, 2009. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Community Transit Orders 57 Buses for Expansion" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. August 5, 2016. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  20. ^ Bergsman, Jerry (July 27, 1990). "Bus Lanes Considered For Highway 99". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Sound Move: Launching a Rapid Transit System for the Puget Sound Region" (PDF). Sound Transit. May 31, 1996. pp. 16–17. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  22. ^ Manuel Padron and Associates (October 1998). "XI. Regional Express Bus Route Summary". Sound Transit Regional Express Bus System Implementation Plan (PDF) (Report). Sound Transit. p. 20. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  23. ^ Schaefer, David (November 9, 1998). "Sound Transit Picking Up Speed – Three-County Web Of Express-Bus Routes Nears Approval". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Lynnwood State Route 99 Transit Lanes Project". Sound Transit. October 31, 2003. Archived from the original on December 13, 2003. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  25. ^ Community Transit Strategic Planning Group (April 1, 2004). "Section 8: We've Only Just Begun". Transit First: Transit Development Plan, 2004–2009 (Report). Community Transit. pp. 82–90. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 21, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Agency to Launch Region's First Bus Rapid Transit System" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  27. ^ "New Bus Rapid Transit Route Called "Swift"" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. July 26, 2006. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  28. ^ Alexander, Bryan (August 2, 2006). "Community Transit plans rapid bus service along 99". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Agency Chooses Hybrid Buses for Swift" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Community Transit, Everett Transit Become Partners" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 5, 2007. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  31. ^ Brooks, Diane (December 12, 2007). "Community Transit, Everett form 17-mile partnership". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Construction Begins on Swift Bus Rapid Transit" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 3, 2008. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  33. ^ "First Swift Shelter Being Constructed at 196th St. Southbound" (PDF). Swift Messenger (14). Community Transit. June 24, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 10, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  34. ^ "First Swift Station Completed" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. September 22, 2009. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  36. ^ a b Gutierrez, Scott (November 25, 2009). "Community Transit debuts 'Swift' line". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Swift Bus Rapid Transit to Fly on Nov. 29" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. November 16, 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  38. ^ Lindblom, Mike (November 30, 2009). "Bus rapid transit launches today from Everett to Shoreline". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Riders See Time Savings on Swift" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  40. ^ Sheets, Bill (December 12, 2009). "Early raves roll in from first Swift bus riders". The Everett Herald. The Washington Post Company. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  41. ^ "Metro's new RapidRide "A" Line to connect Tukwila and Federal Way launches Oct. 2" (Press release). King County Metro. October 1, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Congratulations 2010 VISION 2040 Award Winners". Puget Sound Regional Council. 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Swift Earns Vision 2040 Award" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. May 24, 2010. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  44. ^ "Swift Stations Will Get Curb Bumpers" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. June 21, 2010. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  45. ^ "Queue Jump Light Gives Swift a Head Start on Hwy 99" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. November 5, 2012. Archived from the original on July 6, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  46. ^ Munguia, Martin (September 5, 2013). "Next Bus Signs Live on Swift!". Community Transit Blog. Community Transit. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  47. ^ "Transit Technologies Project Launched" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. October 23, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  48. ^ "SR 99 – Airport Rd. Intersection Transit Queue Bypass Safety Improvements". Washington State Department of Transportation. July 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  49. ^ Slager, Melissa (April 9, 2015). "New bus lane to ease flow on Highway 99 at Airport Road". The Everett Herald. Sound Publishing. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  50. ^ "Existing Conditions and Population Forecasts". 185th Street Station Subarea Plan (PDF) (Report). City of Shoreline. March 2015. p. 3-21. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  51. ^ "Chapter 5.2.2: Long Term Impacts on Local and Sub-Regional Bus Transit". Lynnwood Link Final Environmental Impact Statement: Transportation Technical Report (PDF) (Report). Sound Transit. April 2015. p. 5-29. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  52. ^ "Chapter 2: Transit Emphasis Corridors". Community Transit Long Range Transit Plan: Thinking Transit First (PDF) (Report). Community Transit. February 4, 2011. pp. 9–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 27, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  53. ^ Munguia, Martin (November 8, 2013). "Special session: Don't forget Community Transit". Community Transit Blog. Community Transit. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  54. ^ Parsons Brinckerhoff (August 2014). "Executive Summary". Community Transit BRT Corridor Planning and Route Definition Study: Boeing to Canyon Park (PDF) (Report). Community Transit. p. 1-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 3, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  55. ^ "Swift Bus Rapid Transit Turns 5!" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 1, 2014. Archived from the original on July 14, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  56. ^ a b c "FTA Approves Project Development for Swift II" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. December 23, 2014. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  57. ^ "Community Transit Board Sends Sales Tax Measure to November Ballot" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. July 16, 2015. Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  58. ^ "CEO Outlines "New Transit Legacy" for Snohomish County" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. November 10, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  59. ^ "New Names: Swift Blue Line & Swift Green Line!" (Press release). Everett, Washington: Community Transit. August 12, 2016. Archived from the original on August 12, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

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