I’m up a bit early. It is Christmas Day 2009 and at 6am I have to be up to catch the bus with my significant other to his dad’s house. This will be a long process. We’ll take the Pierce Transit bus to Tacoma, then bus to Seattle, and then another bus to Everett. When he told me we were taking the bus, I was skeptical. I use public transportation all the time but I grew up in the sticks, so I still see Sundays and holidays as times when the transit just doesn’t run.
After being assured that Pierce Transit does indeed provide public transportation on Christmas day, I asked if he had change. My significant other doesn’t ride the bus regularly and often takes exact change for granted. He didn’t so we set our alarms a little earlier to have time to make change.
Still skeptical about the bus actually running on Christmas, I checked the Pierce Transit website itself. Sure enough, anxiety allayed, Pierce Transit provides service on Christmas, and also Thanksgiving and New Year’s. On the front page was a link to the rider alert declaring that Pierce Transit is providing free local bus and shuttle services on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Now that is spreading holiday cheer.
Free bus service on holidays makes a lot of sense. Although we are dealing with significant budget cuts to our Pierce Transit system, spreading the news through free holiday service may help some people to realize how easy public transportation is. Free holiday bus service also helps with the traffic congestion that seems inevitable over the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
When the slain Lakewood Police Officers had their memorial at the Tacoma Dome, Pierce transit served the community by providing free bus transportation from parking lots reserved for civilians to the Tacoma Dome and other remote viewing sites. The Tacoma Dome parking was reserved for law enforcement mourners. My heart is warmed by Pierce Transit reflecting how they can serve the community in a time of crisis and then stepping up to provide as they can.
Pierce Transit serves the community in many ways. Not only does it step up to provide free service at key times, Pierce Transit also has an easy access website with route information and a trip planner gadget that includes connecting transit systems in other counties.
Recently many transportation businesses in various Western Washington counties banded together to provide easy service. The ORCA card allows users to load an epurse with money to be used on any participating bus system and even ferries. Bus riders also save money on monthly bus passes by purchasing the desired amount of coverage in all participating transit systems. For example, in Pierce County, Pierce Transit charges $1.75 for regular adult fare. So I usually purchase a monthly bus pas for $63 that is good for $1.75 worth of bus fare on any bus in the entire ORCA system. Since I sometimes travel long distances by bus transportation, this saves me a lot of money and hassle.
Thank you Pierce Transit for your excellent bus service, your trip planner and other web services, your free holiday transportation, your commitment to connect with other bus services, and for allowing citizens a more sustainable transportation option. I look forward to spreading some holiday cheer with you later this morning. I hope to see this free service on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s again next year.