LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Are you ready to give up your car? Pierce Transit hopes so, at least for a little while.
Beginning Sunday, the transit service is its offering free rides across its network.
Driver Tina Cannon said putting her kids on the bus could save her a ton of time in the morning.
“We would be riding the bus more often if it was more available,” she said.
And that is music to Pierce Transit’s ears. After making deep cuts to service the agency says it’s now expanding.
“We’ve restructured our routes to be more efficient to get people quicker to where they’re going and we’re restoring about 35,000 hours of service on the street,” said spokesperson Rebecca Japhet.
Beginning Sunday morning, fares will be waived for one week. In part it’s an effort to get more people out of their cars and onto mass transit.
“A big way is to make it more convenient and that translates into frequency,” said Japhet.
After the great recession around 2010 bus service was cut by a third. Now Pierce Transit is adding more options, even offering 30-minute pickups on most urban routes.
“A lot of people like their cars,” said driver Justin Agostino.
Agostino said he commutes from Fife to Clover Park, and he’ll never get on another bus again even if it’s free.
“Last time I was on the bus somebody peed themselves,” he said. “I don’t need to get on a bus anytime soon.”
Pierce Transit says it hasn’t expanded service like this since the 1990’s, and the agency expects ridership to grow along with a population boom reaching across Western Washington.
“We really need to meet that demand,” said Japhet. “This was a perfect time to restructure those routes.”
Pierce Transit has more information on its website.