PORT ANGELES — Dungeness Line, the North Olympic Peninsula’s only scheduled bus route to Seattle and Sea-Tac, will be operated by Greyhound Lines instead of Olympic Bus Lines in a change that adds Port Townsend as a stop and that takes effect Sunday.
Dallas, Texas-based Greyhound won the state Department of Transportation’s four-year competitive-bid contract from Port Angeles-based Olympic Bus Lines in an agreement signed Monday, Greg Wright, public transportation community liaison for the state Department of Transportation, said this week.
Greyhound spokesman Cashlie Goertz said Thursday that fares will not be increased and discounts will be added for seniors and military veterans.
Call Olympic Bus Lines at 360-417-0700 for the new schedule that begins Sunday and continues offering two trips a day from The Gateway transit center to Seattle and stops in between, including Sequim.
Olympic Bus lines has been transporting Port Townsend riders to Discovery Bay on one bus and transferring them at Discovery Bay on U.S. Highway 101 to its Port Angeles-Seattle bus.
As of Sunday, Greyhound will pick up Port Townsend riders at Haines Place Park and Ride, 440 12th St., at 7:35 a.m. and 2:05 p.m. on the two trips, and return the riders to Haines Place at 3:50 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.
The one-way fare from Port Townsend will remain at $49 for economy-class passengers.
Passengers will arrive at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on the first run of the day at 11 a.m., 70 minutes later than the current schedule.
They will return to Port Angeles on the last run from the airport at 11:25 p.m., 55 minutes later than the current schedule.
Greyhound will operate its own 24-passenger buses, Goertz said.
Olympic Bus Lines operates 27-passenger vehicles owned by the state of Washington that Wright said will be auctioned off.
Goertz said the schedule for the first trip from Port Angeles may be changed to an earlier departure in coming weeks so the bus arrives earlier than 11 a.m. at the airport.
“We are looking at adjusting that morning schedule,” she said.
“We would be open to hearing feedback.”
The second daily departure from Port Angeles leaves at 12:35 p.m., 25 minutes earlier that the present schedule of 1 p.m.
Olympic Bus Lines had 16 employees who worked the Dungeness Line route, company owner Jack Heckman said.
He said they will continue to book seats for Greyhound, were hired by the company as drivers or have found other jobs or retired.
His company has operated the route since 1998, famously offering bottled water and a cookie to passengers on both legs of the trip.
Heckman said he and his wife, Vicki, still plan to move their Avis and Budget car rental businesses from Front Street just west of The Gateway transit center to property they purchased at Eighth and Lincoln streets by July 7.
The Heckmans purchased Olympic Bus lines in 1988.
Heckman said the company will remain but not operate buses.
“The dealings I am having with Greyhound have been excellent,” he said.
“They want to continue working with us because of our years of experience, and we will still be working with them to make this successful.
“I think it’s going to work well.”
Wright said the contract award was based on the cost-per-mile data proposals offered by Greyhound and Olympic Bus Lines when they responded to the state’s request for proposals (RFP) for the Dungeness Line contract.
Greyhound and Olympic Bus Lines were the only companies that responded to the RFP.
Wright said the separate stops that Greyhound offered in Port Townsend, the company’s use of its own buses and its cost-per-mile calculations were key factors in Transportation’s decision to award the contract to Greyhound.
Wright would not discuss the specifics of the two proposals.
He said a public records request was required that would allow Olympic Bus Lines and Greyhound to object to the disclosure of any information.
Wright said the award of the contract was not based on the low bid for cost-per-mile proposed by each company.
“They want to market it a little differently, make incentives for folks using the bus on that Port Townsend leg,” he said.
“In the event that’s not working out, they may readjust the schedule and look at doing something different there.”
Greyhound using its own buses also was a factor.
“We need to be getting out of the bus business ourselves,” he said.
Transportation contracts administrator Rick Naten said a contract scoring process resulted in the award going to Greyhound on March 13.
“We were working out how to run this and locking down the details,” Goertz said.
The July 1, 2018-July 1, 2022 contract offers Greyhound the possibility of signing a four-year extension, Wright said.
Goertz said Dungeness Line has an average daily ridership of 10-15 passengers.
“We’re not looking at increasing the trips,” she said.
“There hasn’t been any indication that that’s been needed, at least from any conversation I’ve had.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].