Community Transit Board of Directors approves 2024 budget and Journey 2050 long-range plan

Dec. 11, 2023
The agency is looking to invest in expanding transportation options and access to the Snohomish County community.

The Community Transit Board of Directors has approved the agency’s 2024 budget and its Journey 2050, the agency’s long-range plan. The changes will expand public transportation options for Snohomish County community.

“The population is growing and changing so people need new options that fit their lifestyle. Starting next year, people in Snohomish County will be able to go more places —  and get there faster — using public transportation,” said Community Transit CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. “Our plans address the near- and long-term needs of this community and as we build a transit system for the future, we are looking to make it one that is sustainable for generations to come.”  

BRT expansion — Swift Orange Line opens

Changes start on March 30, 2024, with the launch of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) line in south Snohomish County. The Swift Orange Line, Community Transit’s third BRT line, will connect to the existing Swift Blue Line and Swift Green Line to provide a network of fast, frequent bus service along major corridors. The Swift Orange Line will travel between Edmonds College and Mill Creek. Notably, it will make a stop at Lynnwood Transit Center, allowing people to easily connect to Link light rail and the other BRT lines when it opens next fall. People will also be able to easily connect to rideshare services from the Swift Orange Line, including Zip Alderwood Shuttle and Vanpool.

Frequent local service, connections to light rail

There will be more improvements to Community Transit’s service area later in 2024 when light-rail opens. The changes include new express bus connections to Link from most parts of the county and higher frequency in local service, with buses running more often throughout the day and evening. Community Transit notes all of the changes take into account major growth in the county, changing travel and commute patterns and new regional transit options, such as light rail.

New innovative services and travel options

Community Transit also has plans to make travel easier by adding new types of transit services. Community Transit says the Innovative Services program is dedicated to finding ways to bridge the “first-mile, last-mile” challenge and address transportation gaps within communities. In 2024, Zip Alderwood Shuttle begins its first full year as a regular service. Similar services will be tested in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens, Texas, in 2024. Planning for Innovative Service pilots in three additional communities will also begin.

Planning for a better future

Community Transit is making plans to reduce the agency’s impact on the environment by working to transition to zero-emission buses. In January 2024, a battery-electric bus and a hydrogen fuel-cell bus will be tested to inform future zero-emission bus and technology investments. The two test buses will be used on routes by mid-year. The Long Range Plan establishes a target of achieving a full transition to zero-emissions buses by 2044.

Safe service for everyone

The agency notes 2024 marks the first full year of funding for the Transit Security Officer (TSO) program launched in 2023. TSOs enforce the agency’s Rules of Conduct and maintain a steady presence to deter unwanted and illegal behavior. TSOs work closely with Community Transit’s Service Ambassadors and Transit Police Unit. The agency will also continue to contract with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office to employ dedicated transit police and a social worker who is trained to work with people experiencing crises.