Clallam Transit Clallam Transit’s Strait Shot bus service between Port Angeles and Bainbridge Island started June 17.

Strait Shot: Feedback ‘positive’ but room for more on Bainbridge Island-Port Angeles bus

PORT ANGELES — Clallam Transit’s new bus service from Port Angeles to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal is drawing about 10 passengers per trip, leaving plenty of room on the 40-seat commuter.

The No. 123 “Strait Shot” bus had 432 boardings from its June 17 launch through Wednesday, including 25 on its maiden voyage, Operations Manager Steve Hopkins said.

Many of those passengers are new Clallam Transit riders, according to a survey.

“The feedback that we’re getting from people on board is very positive,” Hopkins said in a Thursday interview.

The cost to make the 75-mile trip is $10 for adults and $5 for youths, bus pass holders, Peninsula College students and anyone with a Regional Reduced Fare Permit.

The Strait Shot makes two round trips daily from Mondays through Saturdays and one round trip Sundays. It is the first out-of-boundary service in Clallam Transit’s 38-year history.

Hopkins said it is too soon to tell whether the Strait Shot will be a success. Transit officials will monitor ridership and make service adjustments as needed.

“Give it time to mature,” Hopkins said.

“A transit agency gives a route two years to determine if something is working out or not.

“What I can say is this bus is already carrying more people than it was carrying when it was serving the Forks route prior to the schedule change,” Hopkins added.

“That was seven or eight [passengers].”

The Strait Shot leaves from The Gateway transit center in downtown Port Angeles at 7:25 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and departs from the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal at 10:20 a.m. and 8:10 p.m. on weekdays.

On Saturdays, it leaves Port Angeles at 7:25 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. It returns at 10:20 a.m. and 7:10 p.m.

On Sundays, the bus leaves The Gateway at 3:15 p.m and returns at 6:15 p.m.

The No. 123 stops in Sequim, Blyn, Discovery Bay, Poulsbo and the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort near the Agate Pass bridge. The cash fare is the same regardless of where you catch the bus.

As of Thursday, the Strait Shot had been within five minutes of its scheduled arrival times on every run in its brief history.

“I’m going to jinx myself,” Hopkins said as he monitored the Hood Canal bridge for a closure.

So far, weekends and Thursdays have been the most popular days to ride the bus.

“Last Thursday, we had 21 people in the morning,” Hopkins said.

In a survey, riders were asked how they would have made the trip had it not been for the new bus line.

About a third of the 222 respondents said they would not have made the trip at all. About 30 percent said they would have traveled by private vehicle, 25 percent said they would have taken the Dungeness Line and the rest said “other,” Hopkins said.

Fifty-two percent of the respondents said they had never used Clallam Transit for transportation and 20 percent were monthly Transit riders.

“That’s new exposure to our service,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the new service is a cost-effective option for Seattle-to-Victoria routing via the MV Coho ferry and a “great option” for North Olympic Peninsula travelers who don’t need a car while visiting Seattle.

There will be no bus service Tuesday because of the Fourth of July holiday, Clallam Transit officials said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.