PORT TOWNSEND – Commuters, and anyone looking to take a ride to Seattle, are invited to comment on Jefferson Transit’s latest proposal.
This is the twice-daily express route to the Kingston Ferry Terminal, a 72-minute ride from Port Townsend in the morning and evening.
Jefferson Transit conducted a survey last winter to see if local residents were interested in the trip, and 95% of 657 respondents said yes.
The service would take people to the wharf 34 miles away in Kingston, where they can board the Kitsap Transit fast ferry. The walking boat transports passengers to downtown Seattle in 40 minutes.
A short video detailing the Port Townsend-Kingston bus service is available at:
Jeffersontransit.com; a link is provided below the video for those who wish to comment on the plan.
The Jefferson Transit customer service office can also be reached at 360-385-4777 or by email at [email protected]
Comments on Kingston’s potential service will be accepted until July 31. Jefferson Transit’s board of directors is expected to approve the new route at its August 17 meeting, said Miranda Nash, head of mobility operations.
The scheduled launch date for the Kingston bus line is October 25.
“We’re going to be getting feedback on all of the proposed stops,” Nash said Wednesday afternoon after viewing the video at a special Jefferson Transit reunion.
The route would start at the Haines Place Park and Ride in Port Townsend and include stops at the Four Corners Park and Ride, the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center at 93 Beaver Valley Road in Port Ludlow, and finally at the Kingston ferry terminal.
The bus would make an 18-minute stopover there before returning to Jefferson County.
In Wednesday’s online meeting, Viviann Kuehl of Quilcene suggested adding the Port Hadlock QFC parking lot to the list of stops. The store is a major hub for residents of South County and Tri-Area, she said.
Nash replied that the stops were not yet firmly decided and thanked Kuehl for his contribution.
Jefferson Transit has already purchased a bus for the route: a 2013 Ford F-550 that was once a Dungeness Line bus that ran between Port Angeles and Seattle; it can accommodate 17 to 23 passengers in its bucket seats and bench seats.
The bus has a ramp for disabled cyclists, UV air filtration and luggage racks, and Nash added that it will be equipped with a two- or three-position bike rack.
Passengers will be able to pay their fares in cash or purchase tickets through tokentransit.com, a mobile application.
The amounts offered by Jefferson Transit are $ 6 for a reduced fare to $ 8 for the full fare.
That’s less than half the cost of driving his personal vehicle, according to the agency’s research.
Choosing the public transport bus also saves considerable amounts of carbon, according to a detailed report from the local sustainability organization 20/20.
The Kingston service could replace 13,590 car trips each year and save up to 141 metric tons of greenhouse gases, Local 20/20’s Transportation Lab said.
Jefferson Transit still has a long way to go before persuading many commuters to leave their cars at home. Seventy percent of workers in Port Townsend go to work alone; 68% of Port Ludlow workers do so and 82% of Port Hadlock workers go solo, according to Jefferson Transit’s presentation.
Only 1 to 2 percent choose public transit.
At the same time, the transit agency’s fixed-route service through Port Townsend and Jefferson County has been free since the start of the pandemic.
“At this time, we are not looking to reinstate our rates,” Tammi Rubert, general manager of Jefferson Transit, told The Peninsula Daily News. The agency’s board wants regular routes – aside from the premium Kingston route – to be free for all passengers.
Attendance has dropped since the spring of 2020, when COVID-19 hit the North Olympic Peninsula. But the director of fixed-route operations, Nicole Gauthier, is seeing a slow increase in the number of people on board the buses.
“We are optimistic about the return of some of our long-time drivers. Maybe they got the vaccine, ”she said, adding that air filtration equipment, daily cleaning, social distancing and the face mask requirement for drivers and drivers. passengers are underway.
As for the Kingston service, it cannot be started until Jefferson Transit has the right number of operators ready to drive, Rubert said.
“We are actively recruiting,” she said, adding that the agency covered training and other costs related to commercial driver’s licenses for new employees.
Information on applying for a public transport operator position can be found at the top of Jeffersontransit.com.
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]