(If you’re new to the blog, I recommend reading my post on the last Epic Transit Journey I took.)
Earlier this week, I shared the news about a brand new bus route linking the cities of Yakima and Ellensburg (click the link to see the schedule and map at the end of the post). Since its way more fun to actually ride the bus and see it in person instead of just writing about it, I decided I would go ride it. But to make it more interesting, I decided that I would ride the bus to the bus. (Get it?) The following is a recap of everything that happened, along some photos I took along the way.
To effectively service it’s region, transit agencies often have to make revisions and changes to it’s routes. That’s what Ben Franklin Transit will be doing in September.
The following changes are scheduled to occur:
So this blog will make more sense, I figured it would be best to give some info as to what I’m going to be talking about.
The main focus of this blog is going to be a public transit agency called Ben Franklin Transit, which serves the municipalities of the Tri-Cities, Washington. Most service is structured around the 3 main cities of the region; Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, but also serves West Richland, Benton City, Prosser, and Finley. In total, there are 24 different bus routes, 19 running as “Local” and 5 running as “Intercity” service. To run these routes, Ben Franklin Transit employs a fleet of 80 buses, mainly consisting of Gillig Phantoms and Advantage/Low Floors, but also some Optima Opus and MCI 102-B3/D3-SS coaches.
Operating since May 1982, Ben Franklin Transit now has about 253 employees, from coach operators to mechanics to administration personnel, all essential to continue smooth operation of the agency. There are also 2 local companies (A+ Transportation and TC Transportation Service/A-1 Tri-City Taxi) employed by BFT via contract to further increase available service to the residents of the Tri-Cities area. In recent years, Ben Franklin Transit was hit by the decline of sales tax revenue and ended up having to make some tough choices by cutting personnel levels, deferring improvements, and eliminating routes. As the nation starts to reemerge from the “Great Recession” revenue has improved a little but it’s still going to take time to get back to pre-recession levels.
Beyond talking about Ben Franklin Transit, I also plan to focus on happenings at other transit agencies in the region, including Valley Transit (of Walla Walla, WA), Yakima Transit, Spokane Transit Authority, and others. Another subject that’ll come up on occasion is the “Epic Transit Journey” movement. In short, an Epic Transit Journey is seeing how far one can travel via public transportation, often away from the beaten path.
So, that’s that. Welcome one and all to the blog, hope you enjoy!