Public input wanted on jeopardized Island Transit routes

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The future of Island Transit’s bus routes off Whidbey and Camano islands will, in part, be determined by the input received at public meetings to be held over the coming weeks.

Island Transit is holding meetings to ask the public what they think about routes  411W, 411C and 412. Routes 411W and 411C, which transport residents on and off Whidbey and Camano islands, were on the chopping block in recent years after significant financial problems were uncovered at the public transit system in 2014. Route 412, known as the Everett Connector, was saved by last-minute funding from the state legislature last year.

State auditors identified serious problems with financial oversight at Island Transit in the past, but severe cutbacks and oversight by board new members appear to have put the agency back on track. The discussion will include schedules and possible fares that may affect these routes and service on the North end of Whidbey Island and Camano Island.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings to offer feedback on these proposed system changes. Comments may also be sent to info@islandtransit.org.

These community meetings will be on Whidbey and Camano islands on the following dates at the listed locations:

Oak Harbor Senior Center
51 SE Jerome St.
5-6 p.m. Feb. 17
6-7 p.m. March 8

Camano Multipurpose Room
141 N East Camano Drive
5-6 p.m. Feb. 18
5-6 p.m. March 2

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8 Comments

  1. Dawn McKiernan on

    The route 412C was not saved. We lost the bus June 2014. Rep Dave Hayes helped get the money in the budget last year But Island Transit MUST charge fares to get the money!

    • I agree. I wish I brought this up in tonight’s meeting but with 500 days to go on the grant, we need simplicity and creativity.

      There is no need for an ad agency to do the following tasks:

      1) Advertise advertising space to local businesses
      2) Sell advertising space at a fair price the market will bear
      3) Weld a simple aluminum & plastic box to the side of buses OR make a magnetic cling with the ad
      4) Drive the ads up and down Whidbey Island and onto Fidalgo Island

      There.

  2. With 20k+ new people moving into north Whidbey, the transit system is needed more than ever. Not to mention the needs of our elderly population.

    • The routes may be needed, but fares that absorb the cost of the routes are needed more.

      As a homeowner who continually gets pinged for all the ‘necessaries’ as defined by our local government, it’s getting old.

      I get that people need the public transit for a multitude of reasons and I support that. To say that they can’t pay fares for the service is absurd. Paratransit aside, the bus service should be self supporting. Period. No one runs up to the pump and swipes their card to pay for my gas.

      There is no such thing as free.

      Island Transit bus service is being paid for by the taxpayers and it’s high time the bulk of the expense is transferred to the service users vice the taxpayers. Cancel a few of the other tax levies and perhaps a ‘free’ (which isn’t free at all) bus service might be more palatable.

      The available routes should reflect the availability provided by the fares submitted FIRST, then look to the taxpayer for additional options.

      I should start taking pictures of empty buses driving around Oak Harbor. Maybe that would drive the point home…………

    • I took the photo. The photo was taken at the 4 PM route heading out of Oak Harbor to pick up commuters who fill up the bus the other way. I’m one of the reverse commuters needing my OLF Coupeville fix…

      I also agree with you – charge a fare. I’m happy to pay to help keep the connectivity between Skagit & Whidbey.

  3. I’d need the bus to get to the meetings and back. I’m disabled and they are my only way to get to my doctors office as medicaid will not cover paratransit for someone with syncope issues that is not a senior.

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