Pierce Transit offers mid-county bus service

Beginning Monday Pierce Transit began operating Bus PLUS in the mid-county region, an area previously not served by Pierce Transit. Bus Plus is designed to provide direct access to shopping and regular transit service using 24-foot long vans with distinctive graphics. The smaller vehicles allow for more efficient operation and flexibility in a rural environment. The Bus Plus fare is $1.25, same as regular bus service. The new mid-county service covers an area of approximately 110 square miles. The boundaries are; SR7/Pacific Avenue on the west, East 112th Street on the north, Meridian Avenue/SR 161 on the east, and South 224th Street/ Mountain Highway on the south.

Bus Plus is a weekday public service that is designed to meet the transportation needs of the community, including individuals who may have difficulty getting to established bus stops. The vans are equipped with bike racks and can accommodate riders using wheel chairs. Unlike a traditional bus service that operates only along a designated route on a set schedule, Bus Plus makes passenger pick-ups only at specific locations by prior reservation. Bus Plus service is designed to arrive and depart the area’s Transit Centers and Park & Ride lots to coincide with Pierce Transit fixed route buses.

Bus Plus operates Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM through 9:00 PM. There is no weekend service. If a rider wants to be picked up or dropped off at a designated Bus Plus stop location, they need to make a reservation for pick-up one to five days in advance of the day they need service. A reservation can be made between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily by calling 581-8002.

Bus Plus is being funded by a state special needs transportation grant. Grant funds will be used for operating the service and to purchase new vehicles, which are scheduled to arrive by year’s end.

Initially the mid-county service will require a reservation for all trips. In general, service will operate with one vehicle dedicated primarily to serve ride requests east of Canyon Road and a second dedicated to serve ride requests west of Canyon Road. This design will allow Pierce Transit to make adjustments that best meet the area. The mid-county trips are planned to follow a north-to-south then a south-to-north schedule pattern and operate approximately every other hour. Initially service will provide a pick-up from an approved and designated stop location in the service area to one of several identified destination stops.

These destination stops include:
Mid-County West Half:
Parkland Transit Center
Roy “Y” Park & Ride
Spanaway Wal-Mart
160th and Canyon Rd.
Mid County East Half:
South Hill Transit Center
S. 224th and Meridian (Graham Safeway)
Meridian and 176th St. E (Fred Meyer)
160th and Canyon Rd.

Bus stop signs have already been placed throughout the area. Pierce transit expects to continue to add designated bus stop locations to the system as they are requested by the public. A public outreach and promotional effort will begin the week following the start of service with an informative mailing delivered to all households in the mid-county area.

Other quick facts
Bus PLUS will be the same fare as local fixed route service –$1.25
Operators will issue transfers for customers
Reservations are required for all trips
Reservations are 1 to 5 days in advance (no same day reservations)
Reservations will be taken for regularly occurring rides such as work or school
Bus PLUS will provide transfers to both SHUTTLE and fixed route service as needed
Vans features include bike racks and fare boxes
Vans are wheel chair/handicap accessible
The Bus PLUS main phone number is 581-8002

In September 2003 Pierce Transit launched Bus Plus on the Key Peninsula. That service replaced a “lifeline” dial-a-ride type service that was implemented following the February 2000 service cuts. Following last September’s roll-out of Bus PLUS on the Key Peninsula we have seen ridership slowly and steadily grow from an average of 7 passengers per day to nearly 50 passengers a day most recently.