Pierce Transit Plans $24 Million I-695 Cutbacks

“Pierce Transit has scheduled a series of public meetings to seek comments on proposed service reductions and fare increases slated for next year.The public transportation agency is planning cutbacks in response to a $24 million annual shortfall in revenue resulting in the passage of Initiative 695. The initiative eliminated much of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, which currently provides 38 percent of the agency’s funding.Proposals include the possible elimination of all Sunday service for buses and SHUTTLE special transportation for people with disabilities; elimination of some routes; and running buses less often during the day and raising fares for both buses and SHUTTLE rides.“Our goal is to preserve as much service as possible within a reduced budget,” said Don S. Monroe, executive director of Pierce Transit. Monroe said the agency will cancel some capital projects and cut administrative costs to minimize the need for service reductions.“Despite these measures, we still need to reduce service,” Monroe said. “We’re looking at a number of options, and we need the public to review and comment on them.”The Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on November 29 to take comments on the proposals.Public meetings will be held:Tuesday, November 16, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Pierce County Library, Peninsula Branch, 4424 Pt. Fosdick Drive Northwest, Gig Harbor; and at 6 to 8 p.m. at the Peninsula High School Library, 14105 Purdy Drive Northwest, Gig Harbor.Wednesday, November 17, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at South Park Community Center, 4851 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma.Thursday, November 18, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Pierce County Library, South Hill Branch, 15420 Meridian East, Puyallup.Tuesday, November 23, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., Tacoma Public Library, Olympic Room, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma.Monday, November 29, 5 p.m., a public hearing with the Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners, Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma.Comment cards will be available by November 12 on all Pierce Transit buses and customer service locations. Cards are also available by calling 253-581-8000.”