Need to travel to Seattle for a doctor's appointment but don't want to fight the stressful stop and go driving the city is famous for?
Want to visit family out of the area but no longer drive?
Whatever the situation, Travel Washington's new Dungeness Line - operated by Olympic Bus Lines and partnered with Clallam Transit System and Jefferson Transit - can help. The Dungeness Line is an intercity bus service linking Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend with the outside world through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, cross-country buses and Amtrak. Using the Dungeness Line, people easily can travel to Seattle, Canada, Mexico and beyond.
What the service does, explained Michele Villnave, Washington State Department of Transportation communications representative, is make traveling in and out of state easier than ever. A person can schedule a trip to San Diego, for example, with just one call to Olympic Bus Lines. Connecting routes and flights are all booked for the individual to deliver them where they want to go, when they want to be there.
Marked with bold red lettering and a signature crab, the Dungeness Line picks up and drops off riders in Sequim twice a day in front of Tarciscio's Italian Grill in the Sequim Village Center parking lot. The service is available seven days a week, 365 days a year. The bus seats 28 people.
Additional pick up and drop off locations and times are available in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Discovery Bay, Kingston, Edmonds and Seattle. Riders are asked to be at departure locations at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.
Bus fare ranges in price from $14-$79 depending on age and destination. Reservations are recommended. Passengers without reservations may board, space permitting.
Departing Sequim at 6:25 a.m., with a few stops in between, riders arrive at the SeaTac Airport in about three hours and 25 minutes, Villnave said. A second bus leaves Sequim at 1:30 p.m.
The Dungeness Line is part of an Intercity Network Plan sponsored by WSDOT and aimed at reintroducing intercity bus service in areas that couldn't afford it under normal circumstances, said Jack Heckman of Olympic Bus Lines. Funding is made available through a Federal Transit Administration pilot program that matches the investments made by the private sector with grant money. WSDOT awarded the grant to Olympic Bus Lines to provide the service under a two-year contract.
"There's no way we'd be able to operate these new buses if it weren't for the DOT," Heckman credited.
When the two-year contract is up, funding options will be re-evaluated. If enough money is available, the service will continue, Villnave said.
Intercity bus service is defined by WSDOT as public transportation to a city with the intent of making timely connections to additional cities. All Travel Washington routes connect with other intercity carriers, providing reliable transportation wherever a person wants to go. The Dungeness Line, in effect, is about more than getting from point A to point B, Villnave insisted. "It's about finding timely connections from rural areas to bigger cities and farther," she stressed.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony in downtown Port Angeles formally introduced the Dungeness Line to the peninsula on Sept. 17. The service celebrated its soft opening in July.
The Dungeness Line is one of three Travel Washington bus routes. The Grape Line, also part of the plan, was introduced in December 2007 and travels between Walla Walla and Pasco. The Apple Line, expected to debut in October, will provide service to rural communities of north-central Washington, including Wenatchee.
"It's all about keeping Washington (state) moving and connecting rural areas to urban areas," Villnave said. "There are a lot of people who can't or don't drive or simply don't like to drive by themselves. Now, people who didn't have choices before, do."
For more information about fares, luggage restrictions and connections or to book reservations, call 417-0700.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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