Clallam Transit healthy, won't increase fares

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Clallam Transit is planning some service changes in Sequim to serve more customers, and there are no fare increases in the near future.

That's part of the message Wendy Clark-Getzin, general manager of Clallam Transit, told about 30 members of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday at the Red Lion Hotel.

Low ridership on the Sequim and Forks community shuttle routes indicate that there needs to be changes on those routes, Clark-Getzin said.

Changes to the Sequim route are still under consideration, but may include a “dial-a-ride” option to serve a wider area than just the locations on the current fixed route, she said.

Chamber member and past president Mike Millar noted that Clallam Transit's $3 fare to Forks is about the same as local fares in the Seattle area, and asked if there is a fare increase in the works.

The transit agency is currently in good financial shape with a nearly new fleet of buses and transit vans, grants and increasing tax revenues, Clark-Getzin said.

In the past year the transit's tax revenues have increased by 5.8 percent, which she said represented a slow but steady improvement in the area's economy.

As long as those funding sources continue, there is no need to increase fares, she said.

In September, Clallam Transit tested a mobile Internet access point on several Forks and Sequim buses.

“It was most successful in Forks,” Clark-Getzin said.

Currently, the agency is studying options for mobile wireless systems that would be combined with an advanced vehicle locator systemthat would help dispatchers predict arrival times for the long route and for safety reasons, she said.

Russ Veenema, chamber executive director, asked if Sunday bus service or a route to Hurricane Ridge, to serve walk-on MV Coho passengers arriving in Port Angeles, is a possibility.

Clark-Getzin replied that Hurricane Ridge, in Olympic National Park, is not an option because it is served by charter bus systems and would become competition for those businesses.

Sunday routes are currently not within the agency's budget.

Many transit districts cut Sunday services in 2007 and 2008 when the recession began, and funding has not yet returned to pre-recession levels, she said.

There are currently 14 fixed routes serving Port Angeles, Sequim, Joyce, Forks, LaPush, Neah Bay and Clallam Bay.

Transfers to Jefferson Transit are available in Sequim, and in Forks to West Jefferson County and Grays Harbor.

Clallam Transit also operates vans for van pools, which serve five or more commuters per route.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 28. 2013 6:43PM
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