About a year since Pierce Transit reopened routes on the Key Peninsula, the ridership has been steadily growing and meeting projected statistics, the agency says. Buses that saw an average of seven commuters per day last year now carry an average of 40 or more — and occasionally up to 70, according to Senior Planner Eric Phillips.
“It’s on course for exactly what we were shooting for…and on budget,” he said. Some changes were implemented in February based on riders’ feedback, including the addition of scheduled stops in Home.
The hybrid service concept is not new around the country, but it is new for Pierce Transit, and in July, the agency started a similar service in mid-county. Phillips said it’s proving a good fit for a community such as the Key Peninsula because residents have the flexibility of scheduled stops and additional ones based on reservations. “We have been able to meet all requested reservations so far,” Phillips said.
The ridership dropped in wintertime — most likely due to weather — but picked up again in spring, and the service seems to be popular with students who need to get around after school.
“We’ve been very proactive in trying to meet the community needs and making some small changes on the fly,” Phillips said.
Bus Plus replaced a service called Dial- A-Ride that was eliminated in 1999 due to funding cuts. “We knew there was a market out there we were not meeting. We had a lot of requests and the community stayed active (in telling us the needs),” Phillips said.
The Key Pen route stretches from Home, through Vaughn, and on to the Purdy Park and Ride, where commuters can connect to buses traveling to Gig Harbor or Tacoma.
As demand for the service grows, Pierce Transit will consider adding more scheduled stops and making other adjustments.
Bus Plus in a nutshell
Bus Plus offers two kinds of stops: scheduled (look for yellow signs) and reservation-based (marked by white signs). To be picked up at a reservation-onlystop, you must call 253-581-8002. Service is offered Monday through Friday and starts as early as 4:43 a.m., with the last bus arriving in Home after 7 p.m.
Special fare such as a Youth Pass is available. For a detailed schedule and other information, seewww.piercetransit.org.