Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jefferson Transit looking to prioritize commuter trips with new service plan

Jefferson Transit is considering a significant service plan switch that would prioritize commuter trips. Buses would begin earlier in the day in order to help riders get to work in the morning, and extend into the evening to help them get home after work. In addition to new early and late trips that would allow, for example, connections with early and late ferries to and from Seattle, the Port Townsend Shuttle, Castle Hill, Fort Worden and North Beach routes would be consolidated into two new connector routes that would connect neighborhoods and Castle Hill through passes uptown and downtown.

For more information, visit the "Public Information" section of the Jefferson Transit website.

With respect to the creation of a vibrant commute trip reduction program for our community, this service plan switch is a key component. The next step is to encourage employers to take advantage of tax breaks and other opportunities to put monthly bus passes into the hand of the employees.

For more information about commuter incentive programs, start here at Commuter Choice, a program funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency.


Matthew Tyler said...

Great Blog Josh I like it. We should get a picture of the Larry Scott Trail and a link to the Larry Scott Trail Website. For anyone trying to find the Larry Scott Trail Website-just search on Larry Scott Trail, the official website is usually first.

David A said...

As the General Manager of Jefferson Transit please allow me to add my comments. After seeing our ridership grow steadily and consistently over the past several years and constantly trying to made system adjustments to changing demands we determined that the time was ripe to re-examine the basic assumptions that underpinned our service design. While those assumptions were valid in the past, they may not be today.

When examining ridership any transit system’s passenger base can be broken down into two categories: captive riders and choice riders. Captive riders are those who have no other option but to use the transit system for transportation. They typically do not have the resources to own a car or only own one car when two are needed for transportation. A choice rider is one who has other transportation options available at his/her disposal, but chooses to use transit for a particular reason. Those reasons vary from place to place, but the most common reasons are related to economic choice and ease of use. Two of these factors that make transit attractive in an urban setting include: expensive (and sometimes limited) parking and traffic congestion. It’s just easier and cheaper to take transit, especially for a commute.

In a rural community, such as Jefferson County, the ease of traffic movement and the availability of free parking make it difficult to attract riders who would choose to use the system for regular commutes. With this being the case, our existing service model was put together addressing the needs of in-town captive riders and visitors as a first consideration.

The recent advent of pricy gas and the continual growth of the community’s interest in being green started to open the market to new choice riders. These riders wanted better and more options; including options for commutes and recreational trips. Particular demand was expressed for services between Port Townsend and the Tri-Area, and within the City of Port Townsend. Within Port Townsend there was an expressed need for more direct service between neighborhoods and destinations.

Those considerations then became the basis for our new service model. The service development package was then prioritized to address needs in the following order:

Intra-county commuters
Inter-county commuters
Discretionary riders, including visitors

Peter said...

I would encourage Jefferson Transit to consider a pilot route around the Cape George loop three or four times daily. Maybe only every other day to begin with as ridership is assessed. Using a small bus initially and advertising early and ofter would, I think, encourage choice riders and captive riders alike. I know that my wife and I would use such a service especially when it wasn't comfortable, due to inclement weather or when having heavier loads, to ride on the Larry Scott trail, which we often do. We are currently trying to use our hybrid vehicle for trips to town as little as possible.