News Roundup 3/3/14

(This is the first post in the new News Roundup series, which will feature several blurbs about news/updates from transit agencies in Eastern Washington. New posts will be scheduled on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month, though there will not be a post on the 3rd Monday if there is no news/updates to report on.)

Ben Franklin Transit

Customer Service Now Open on Saturdays
Responding to rider demand, Customer Service will now be open on Saturdays once again (last being so before BFT started cutting services due to the recession). The Rider Information line will be open for phone calls from 8AM-5PM, which is also the same hours that the customer service building at Three Rivers Transit Center will be open. Along with the opportunity to get information in person, riders will also have access to the restrooms and waiting area during those hours.

Link Transit

No Marijuana Ads on Buses
After being contacted by their advertising contractor about whether marijuana/marijuana-related advertisements were going to be permitted on transit vehicles, Link Transit has approved an amended advertising policy that prohibits them, citing the fact that the annual FTA certification process of a drug and alcohol free work place is consistent with this amended policy. With this change, the existing policy remains mostly unchanged except for Line H, where the advertising policy prohibits advertising that “promotes the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products, and marijuana or marijuana-related products.”

Surplus Trolleys Going to Pierce Transit
While the Ebus program continues to experience issues with the batteries, Link Transit has continued to hold on to their old diesel trolleys as backup vehicles. However, with the recent delivery of 5 new CNG-fueled Arboc Spirit of Mobility cutaways, they’re finally able to surplus the old diesel trolleys. Among the 5 being surplused, 3 of them (501, 503, and 506) will be sold to Pierce Transit, who will be using them on their seasonal “Get Around Gig Harbor” trolley service, which began as a demonstration service last summer. Each trolley will be sold to Pierce Transit for $13,724 each ($41,172 total). The other 2 surplus trolleys (504 and 507) will be sold to a brokerage service that deals in used trolley buses. All the funds from this bus sale will be used by Link Transit for future bus purchases, as the vehicles were originally purchased by their first owner, Milwaukee County Transit System, using FTA funds.

Used STA Buses Coming to Wenatchee
Needing to replace the 3 1991 Orion I’s being used on the SkiLink service and a 2004 Optima Opus which is obsolete (meaning parts are not available), Link Transit will be buying 5 used 29-ft Gillig Low Floors from Spokane Transit Authority for $11,000 each. Historically, Link Transit has purchased buses with one door only. However, as ridership has risen on the urban routes, the need for buses with multiple doors has become an issue. With the purchase of the 5 buses from STA, the Orion I’s and Optima Opus will be retired, and the older 29-ft Gillig Low Floors with one door currently in Link Transit’s fleet will be moved from regular fixed-route service to the SkiLink service.

Yakima Transit

Route 10 Extended To Connect with Yakima-Ellensburg Commuter
After the plan to route the Yakima-Ellensburg Commuter through Selah fell through due to large opposition from current riders, Yakima Transit officials have found a compromise. Beginning March 24, Route 10 will be extended north to the park-and-ride at Exit 26, next to the Yakima Firing Center. With the funds already being spent to improve a parking lot at Selah Christian Church for use as a park-and-ride on the original proposal, riders will instead be able to catch Route 10 there or anywhere else along the current route, and ride up to the firing center park-and-ride where they can transfer to the Yakima-Ellensburg Commuter. Regular fixed-route fares will remain the same, and the fare policy for the Yakima-Ellensburg Commuter will still apply to all riders regardless if they transfer from Route 10 or not.

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