Submitted by Pierce Transit

Pierce Transit is offering a new way to pay for rides on Pierce Transit buses using a smart phone or tablet. The new option, called PiercePay, is available through the Hopthru app, which is free and easy to set up. This feature gives riders the option to purchase Pierce Transit passes and tickets anytime, anywhere, without using paper passes.

Pierce Transit
High Capacity Transit would allow more people to rider at greater speeds and reliability on the most popular routes. Photo courtesy: Pierce Transit

Pierce Transit is studying the feasibility of placing High Capacity Transit (HCT) along a 14.4-mile corridor on Pacific Avenue/SR 7 between downtown Tacoma and Spanaway. The corridor is currently served by Pierce Transit’s Route 1, which has the highest ridership in the system with nearly 6,000 boardings per weekday. The corridor is identified in Pierce Transit’s Long Range Plan as one that may be better served by HCT in order to keep up with and adequately serve the projected growth in this area. Currently 55,000 residents live within a half-mile of the corridor and 31,500 jobs are located along it.

High Capacity Transit systems are designed to carry larger numbers of riders with greater speed, reliability and frequency than a standard fixed route bus. HCT modes include rail, such as light rail and street car, and bus rapid transit, which emulates light rail using rubber-tired vehicles. HCT transit stations have additional amenities, such as real-time arrival information, raised platforms and off-board fare payment to reduce the time a vehicle must dwell at the stop and speed up service.

The HCT feasibility study is intended to:

·         Identify a preferred method of better connecting the southern end of Pierce Transit’s service area (Spanaway) to downtown Tacoma;

·         Identify cost-effective enhancements that will increase transit ridership by improving the speed, reliability and comfort of the service;

·         Support local and regional goals of stimulating urban infill projects through compact land use, transit-oriented development and targeted employment growth; and

·         Improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and other corridor users.

Pierce Transit is holding four open houses in September and four in November related to the HCT feasibility study. At the September open houses attendees will learn about:

·         The HCT study and the corridor’s existing needs;

·         HCT concepts, potential transit options and current bus service issues in the corridor; and

·         Potential growth and needs for transit service.

Those attending the September open houses will also have an opportunity to provide input on how they believe a new rapid transit service in the corridor may benefit them; which HCT service they think would be best for the corridor (light rail; streetcar; bus rapid transit); and where HCT stations should be considered.

The September open houses will take place at the following times, dates and locations:

Wednesday, September 13
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
UW-Tacoma campus
Russell T. Joy Building, Room 211
1718 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Thursday, September 14
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Pacific Lutheran University
Anderson University Center, Room 133
Park Ave. S. and 122nd St. S., Tacoma

Tuesday, September 19
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Stewart Middle School
Commons Area
5010 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Wednesday, September 20
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Spanaway Elementary School
Multipurpose/Gym
412 – 165th St. S., Spanaway

pierce transit
The meetings will inform the public and also allow for input. Photo courtesy: Pierce Transit.

At the November open houses attendees will learn about preliminary HCT alternatives, design and transit features, and criteria that will be used to select the preferred HCT mode. The public will also have an opportunity to provide input on which HCT design concepts best meet their needs or interests, and which HCT alternative they believe Pierce Transit should select.

November open houses will be held at the following times, dates and locations:

Tuesday, November 14
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
UW-Tacoma campus
Russell T. Joy Building, Room 211
1718 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Wednesday, November 15
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Pacific Lutheran University
Anderson University Center, Room 201
Park Ave. S. and 122nd St. S., Tacoma

Wednesday, November 15
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Stewart Middle School
Commons Area
5010 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

Thursday, November 16
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Spanaway Elementary School
Library
412 – 165th St. S., Spanaway

Those that cannot attend an open house may participate in a Virtual Open House (starting September 13) by visiting the Pierce Transit website. Questions and comments may be emailed to hct@piercetransit.org.

Pierce Transit expects to select a preferred alternative by summer 2018, followed by design and construction, with service slated to begin in late 2022.

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