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Sound Transit to save East Pierce bus route

Post by Sara Schilling / The News Tribune on April 26, 2012 at 11:06 pm with No Comments »
April 26, 2012 11:06 pm

The Sound Transit board on Thursday approved a proposal to preserve a commuter bus route between Bonney Lake and Sumner.

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy and Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow, both members of the board, announced the proposal earlier this week.

The new route, ST Express Route 596, will replace a Pierce Transit route between the Bonney Lake Park and Ride and the Sumner Sounder station that’s set to go away in June.

Here’s Sound Transit’s news release:

The Sound Transit Board of Directors today unanimously approved creation of a new Sound Transit bus route between the Bonney Lake Park-and-Ride lot and the Sumner Sounder Station. The new service, ST Express Route 596, begins operation on June 11.

It replaces Pierce Transit Route 496, which Pierce Transit will discontinue June 8.

“I am pleased that the Board has approved funding for this critical feeder service,” said Sound Transit Board Member and Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow. “This is a great solution for everyone. Commuters get
a convenient connection to excellent regional bus and train service while Sumner avoids getting more cars trying to park in lots that are already over capacity. And, we all benefit from a few hundred cars remaining off our freeways every day.”

Proposed by Enslow, the new ST Express Route 596 will function as a fast, limited-stop service for passengers making long-distance regional trips, with direct connections to commuter rail and other transit modes. The route serves 290 boardings each day and will be timed to meet morning and afternoon Sounder trains.

“We are thrilled by the Board’s action to save this much-needed connector service for Sounder riders from Bonney Lake, Buckley
and Enumclaw,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Thanks to Mayor Enslow’s leadership and initiative, we have created a win/win solution that will benefit Pierce County residents who use Sounder every day to commute throughout the region.”

ST Express Route 596 resurrects a previously-operated connector bus route that voters approved in the 1996 Sound Move ballot measure. Known as ST Express Route 582, that service operated between Bonney Lake and Tacoma. It was gradually phased out when Pierce Transit began operating Route 496 service in 2007.

Sound Transit will enter into an agreement with Pierce Transit to operate Route 596 under contract using Sound Transit buses. Sound Transit, the City of Bonney Lake and Pierce Transit are discussing ownership and maintenance of the Bonney Lake Park-and-Ride lot.

The Board’s action today amends the Adopted 2012 ST Express Transit Operations budget from $102,308,773 to $102,561,773. The $253,000 amendment will fund the operation of ST Express Route 596 through December 2012. Service and bus maintenance costs in future years would be built into the Service Implementation Plan and annual budgeting process. Service and bus maintenance costs will be funded from unused Pierce County subarea capacity.

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