December 7, 2009
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Snohomish County, WA, Welcomes 'Swift' BRT
Community Transit in Snohomish County, WA, welcomed the first bus rapid transit service in Washington State, known as Swift, with a public celebration Nov. 29. Regular weekday service along the 17-mile line began at 5 a.m. Nov. 30.
About 100 transit riders and members of the public won rides on the inaugural Swift buses, which traveled from the Aurora Village Transit Center in Shoreline, WA, to the Crossroads Station in Lynnwood, WA, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and other activities. Community Transit operated the service, which runs from Aurora Village to the Everett Station, free until midnight.
“What makes Swift swift is the ability to load and unload passengers as quickly and safely as possible and keep the bus moving,” said Community Transit Chief Executive Officer Joyce Eleanor. “The earlier riders learn how to ride Swift, the more efficient the service will run.”
The agency deployed easily identifiable street teams at each Swift station during the first several days of service. Specifically, riders need to know that they cannot pay their fares on board the vehicle; they must use ticket vending machines or One Regional Card for All (ORCA) smart card readers at each station.
“We recognize that there will be a learning curve for our riders with Swift,” Eleanor added. “There are several aspects of Swift that people are going to need to get used to, and we want to help out in any way we can.”
Community Transit has placed an interactive route map on its web site, allowing users to view details about each station including transit connections and nearby landmarks. Also available at the site are a “How to Ride” video and another video explaining how to use the ticket vending machines.