News

Clallam Transit cuts final

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Proposed route and service cuts worth nearly $188,000 were approved Monday, Feb. 28, by Clallam Transit System’s board of directors.

 

A countywide reduction of 55 hours and 27 minutes per week — including 26 hours and 45 minutes in

Sequim — begins April 3.

 

Cuts account for 5.8 percent of overall services and 61,838 fewer miles in travel by Clallam Transit.

Terry Weed, Clallam Transit general manager, said changes are permanent.

 

“It’s part of the process that’s been going on for a few years where we’re running on reserves and those are about to run dry,” Weed said.

 

“If the budget picture changes over time we could restore things, but no one seems to think this will change immediately. We have to consider this permanent.”

 

Weed said cutbacks are due to declining local sales tax revenue, which has led to a shortfall of about $400,000 and that if Clallam Transit continued as is, it would be out of reserves by 2014.

 

The Clallam Transit board voted to fill the gap with reserves this year while staff made other internal cuts and some vacant positions won’t be filled. The expected sales-tax income is expected to be slightly higher due to a conservative estimate, as well.

Sequim route cuts

Clint Wetzel, operations manager, said each cut route has an average of four riders or fewer and they are the least utilized and lowest-performing routes.

 

The following Sequim route changes go into effect April 3:  
• No. 40 Sequim shuttle route reduced from 17 to nine trips a day with a modified trip
• Elimination of Saturday service on route No. 40 and No. 52 Diamond Point
• Reduction of Dial-A-Ride service by one hour, making it 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

• Dial-A-Ride service area on Saturday would include those areas affected by proposed cutbacks.

 

Sequim changes affect these routes:
• Route modification to the Route No. 20 College/Plaza
• Adjustment of the 6:10 a.m. Route No. 30 U.S. Highway 101 Commuter and the 11:10 a.m. Route No. 14 Forks to five minutes earlier
• Adjust Route No. 50 Jamestown campus from 2:20 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
• Adjust Route No. 52 Diamond Point from 5 p.m. to 5:25 p.m.

 

Other proposed county cuts:

Forks
• Eliminate 5:05 a.m. Route No. 16 Clallam Bay; 6:40 a.m. Forks Shuttle No. 17 and 11:15 a.m. No.15 La Push

 

Port Angeles

• Eliminate 6:25 a.m. No. 20 College/Plaza; 6:25 a.m. No. 24 Cherry Hill;
• Start the No. 10 Joyce first trip at Lyre River and end at the Transit garage
• 9 p.m. No. 10 Joyce becomes 8:05 p.m.
• Eliminate all first a.m. trips in Port Angeles runs Nos. 20, 22, 24 and 26 on Saturdays

Paratransit

With all of the eliminated routes, Clallam Paratransit, a service providing specialized transportation to people with difficulty using regular transit due to physical impairment or age, loses its obligation to provide complementary service.
Weed said  there is little to no demand for Paratransit on the eliminated routes.  

Users speak up

Clallam Transit received several suggestions and complaints about the proposed cuts at informational meetings, by phone, e-mail and mail.

 

From Clallam Transit’s comments, one anonymous rider said he/she has ridden transit for 22 years and is getting the short end of the cuts on the No. 40 Sequim route because the 10:45 a.m. and

2:50 p.m. trips are missing, which is when he/she needs to go to appointments.

 

Margaret Witt testified in public comments that she wanted the shuttle to come closer to Jennie’s Meadows off Priest Road because she has to walk five blocks to get to the bus. Sometimes she calls Paratransit for a ride, which she said is more expensive for her and Paratransit.

 

Elizabeth vanSickle, a Dial-A-Ride rider, said that Sequim is taking too big a hit, that the reductions should be even across the board and that the Dial-A-Ride hours should remain the same.

 

Minerva Hodis, a Route No. 40 rider, wrote in a letter that she liked the extension of the route to Walmart and Elk Creek Apartments but thought reductions to the Diamond Point route are counterintuitive for promoting ridership.

 

“While it is true we have fewer riders in Sequim and on the Diamond Point routes, the people who use those routes really need the service,” Hodis said.

 

“And if you calculate the impact on greenhouse gases, a bus rider in Diamond Point will conserve more because they travel further.”

 

She also emphasized that Sequim is bearing a disproportionate burden in the cuts.

 

“Diamond Point riders have arguably the worst connections in the system, but some of us are desperate enough or conscientious enough to use the bus anyway,” Hodis said.

 

For more information on Clallam Transit System, 830 W. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, call 452-1315 or visit www.clallamtransit.com.


Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

 

 

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