Route 225Posted: September 10, 2012 Filed under: Transit 1 Comment
The odd child of Ben Franklin Transit.
To explain its origins, we have to go way back to the 1980’s. (Ok, so it’s not that far back…)
At this time, the Interstate Highway System hadn’t quite made its way to the Tri-Cities (as I-82 had completely bypassed the area by looping around and continuing south). In order to travel between Pasco and Richland, one would have to take Highway 14 across the Blue Bridge into Kennewick and then from there drive west towards Richland. However, once I-182 was opened, it presented a brand new option for residents of the region to drastically reduce their driving time, particularly Hanford workers.
When Ben Franklin Transit was first established, it utilized a rather simple numbering system. Numbers between 20 and 29 were reserved for routes serving Richland, 40-49 were for Kennewick, 60-69 were for Pasco, and 100-199 was for Intercity service. (There was also Route 10 which ran in West Richland, and Route 39 running as local service in an area split between Kennewick and Richland.) So, when BFT started running express buses to major employment destinations in the area, it was decided to reserve 200-299 to identify those routes. Examples include Routes 240 and 246 running to the Hanford Site. There were also buses to the Boise wood mill in Wallula (though short-lived) and other areas.
In 1986, BFT launched an “experimental” Pasco-Richland express bus, which was sub-contracted out to Bassett Transit (a private operator from Richland). Though its history is relatively hard to track, it was noted as one of the routes that was moving to the brand-new Pasco Transit Center (now 22nd Avenue Transit Center) when it was opened in 1989, so one would conclude that BFT found it worthwhile enough to keep it around. In the late 1990’s (sometime after 1995), the Department of Energy decided that the cost of subsidizing the buses to Hanford was too much, and so commuter bus service came to a screeching halt. Ironically, BFT had just recently finished the process of buying 4 new over-the-road coaches for this service in 1995 when this happened.
Though an exact date is a bit hard to find (as relatively recent as it was), somewhere along the line the 225 evolved and become a part of the regular BFT system. In 1998, when BFT first created a website, Route 225 is listed along other routes in the “Routes and Maps” page. At that time, the route followed a route much like its modern version. From 22nd Ave TC in Pasco, the route headed north on 22nd, took a short hop east on Henry and then continued northbound on 20th towards Columbia Basin College. By request only, the bus headed all the way up 20th and did a loop at Tri-Cities Airport. (Route 120 served the airport every 30 minutes at this time.) All trips would continue west on Argent, and followed this road all the way to Road 100, where it turned north. At the Road 100 interchange on I-182, the bus would head westbound and cross the Columbia River into Richland, taking the first exit at George Washington Way. Headed northbound from there, the bus turned west at Knight and went directly towards the EOL at Knight Street TC. The eastbound trip followed the same path, with the exception of the first part of the route, where it would head east on Knight, south on Jadwin through the Jadwin Arterial, and then turn right to continue south on George Washington Way.
In 2000, the bus routes were revised, and the 225 started serving the airport on select trips, providing service in each direction once an hour. (The 120 was now ending at 22nd Ave TC.) It was also at this time when the 225 only had hourly service during mid-day, though in November 2002 mid-day service was increased to every 30 minutes, making the schedule the same for the entire length of the service day. In November 2004, airport service was reverted back to “By Request” only. (The 120 remained unchanged.) Between November 2009 and May 2010, any mention of airport service on the 225 was removed from literature.
Nowadays, the 225 still remains relatively unchanged. Last year, BFT experimented with having the 225 serve the CBC campus with a stop on Saraceno Way for a month, which later led to having the 67 extended down Argent as well. There was also the schedule/route modification that went into effect back on January 1st, and with the exception of making the on-campus stop permanent for the 225, there haven’t been any other major changes. In the near future, it doesn’t seem like BFT has any plans for changes to the 225. Personally, I still think that fixed-route service needs to be restored to Tri-Cities Airport (because Taxi Feeder is barely acceptable), but I’m not going to cross my fingers on that ever happening.
The DOE buses were separate and not related to BFT. Dick Ciccone can tell you all about the DOE stuff.
What I really miss was seeing their Flxible Metro Suburbans. Those things were a beautiful sight.
BFT ran their commuter coaches as a takeover for Bassett Transit having operated a subscription service to Pasco and Kennewick since the 1960’s. Initiative 695 (co-spearheaded by Monte Benham, a commuter bus rider!) killed off the Commuters.
Route 225 started as a way to get federal workers to and from Pasco, then migrated to serve West Pasco, and CBC. For the longest time, it had an independent schedule not tied into the rest of the system pulses.