Strait Shot sees decrease in ridership in October, but many say they plan to ride again

PORT ANGELES — Clallam Transit’s new bus route to Bainbridge Island saw a drop in ridership in October, averaging 7.2 boardings per departure for the month, agency officials said.

The No. 123 Strait Shot bus carried 820 passengers between Port Angeles and the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal in October, a 12.9 percent decrease from September.

The Strait Shot makes two round trips Mondays through Saturdays and one round trip Sundays from The Gateway transit center in downtown Port Angeles to the state ferry terminal.

The cost to make the 75-mile trip is $10.

One trip in October had more than 20 passengers on the bus— the same as in September — and 32 of the 114 one-way trips had fewer than five people on board, Operations Manager Steve Hopkins said in a memo to the Clallam Transit board.

The Strait Shot had 22 trips with fewer than five passengers in September.

Clallam Transit launched the out-of-boundary service June 17.

The No. 123 bus had 487 boardings in June, 1,044 boardings in July, 1,261 boardings in August and 941 boardings in September.

An average of 18.4 passengers rode the Strait Shot bus on Sundays in October, up from 16.7 in September.

Weekday and Sunday morning trips were the most popular trips in October, averaging 11.3 per morning.

None of the trips in October was impacted by a closure of the Hood Canal Bridge.

Hopkins was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

The Strait Shot makes stops in Sequim, Blyn, Discovery Bay, Poulsbo and the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort near the Agate Pass bridge on its way to Bainbridge Island. The scheduled drive time is just under two hours.

Half of the 230 who responded to an onboard survey in October said they were making their first trip on a Clallam Transit bus, according to information provided by Hopkins.

Seventy percent said they were Clallam County residents.

When asked how they would have traveled were it not for the Strait Shot, 24 percent said they would have driven their own vehicle, 24 percent said they would have caught a ride from a friend, 18 percent said they would have taken the Dungeness Line, 17 percent said they would have made the Clallam Transit-Jefferson Transit-Kitsap Transit transfer and 16 percent said they would have not traveled at all.

Nearly 96 percent of the survey respondents said they planned to ride the Strait Shot again.

“I wouldn’t be able to get to Seattle without this bus,” one survey taker said.

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

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