By LUKE PUTVIN | Last Updated October 31, 2019
On October 24, Community Transit held an Open House event at the Lynnwood Library regarding its upcoming Swift Orange Line.
Martin Munguia, Corporate Communications Manager for Community Transit, has been working for the company for 15 years. He said the event’s purpose was to invite the community to learn more about the Swift Orange Line. Though the route itself won’t open until 2024 and is only now in the early stages of planning, Munguia hoped people could become familiar with the route and where the stations are going to be.
At the open house was a survey for residents to take. It asked questions such as where they started their trip, where they went and how they got there.
“We’re still making changes to our overall bus system, and we want to make it easy for people to travel by bus, especially when Light Rail gets here,” Munguia said. “We know that not everyone is going to be able to drive to the Light Rail to get there, so by knowing where people are coming from, we might be able to design bus routes that make it easy for them to take the bus to get to Light Rail.”
When asked what the advantages of a Swift Line were over a normal bus route, Munguia started with the mention of frequency. Swift Lines come every 10 minutes where local routes are every 20-30 minutes; according to him, the means that riders don’t need to keep track of a schedule. “If you arrive a little bit late for the last bus, you’re a little bit early for the next bus,” he said.
With increased frequency, that also makes connections to other buses a lot easier, and the higher frequencies encourage more people to use transit more often. Additionally, with the stations being further apart (not a stop every two blocks like normal routes), Swift Lines move approximately 25% faster than a normal bus.
“This is a really good complement to Light Rail,” Munguia said. “It’s almost like Light Rail on rubber tires.”
Though fare enforcement is largely on the honor system since you pay at the station and not on the bus, there are service ambassadors that are on some bus rides. These ambassadors may ask for proof of payment, either your Orca Card or ticket if you paid with cash. If you don’t have proof of payment, you will be removed from the bus, and if this happens too many times, you will be fined $124.
“So it does pay to pay your fare,” Munguia said.
Speaking more to the process of the line’s construction, Munguia mentioned that most of the construction takes place at night. For businesses, this means there won’t be a large impact, but there could potentially be an impact for local residents. As Community Transit gets closer to construction, it will provide information as to when and where construction will be. It will also provide contact information for residents to call and report issues.
“We’ve built two Swift lines already, and they’ve gone pretty smoothly. We’ve had a few calls, and we’ve made some adjustments,” Munguia said.
The survey that was available at the open house is available on Community Transit’s website along with the rest of the information it provided about the Swift Orange Line. Visit www.communitytransit.org/SwiftOrange.