Clallam Transit buses line up at the The Gateway Transit Center in downtown Port Angeles on Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Clallam Transit buses line up at the The Gateway Transit Center in downtown Port Angeles on Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Clallam Transit approves increase in service

Evening trips planned in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — The Clallam Transit board has approved a six-year plan that includes a 10-percent increase in bus service.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt an amended 2021-2026 Transit Development Plan that targets $600,000 per year for new services beginning in 2022. No public testimony was delivered in a public hearing Wednesday.

“All of us worked together on this transit development plan, and I’m very satisfied with the outcome of it,” General Manager Kevin Gallacci said in a Wednesday meeting.

The 27-page plan, which is available at www.clallamtransit.com, allocates excess federal COVID-19 relief funding and sales tax revenue to expanded service though 2026.

“Even though we haven’t identified exactly what those services are, for the purposes of our plan, and to give the board an idea of how that impacts our financial forecast, we said that we were going to go ahead and put those (revenues) in there so you could see that in the forecast,” Finance Manager Dunyele Mason said.

Transit Board Member Mark Ozias, who is also a Clallam County commissioner, said the plan was the result of a new planning process.

“The fact that it has come forward and so smoothly I think is a testament to the work that the staff and the board have collectively done over the last few years to sort of try and normalize that process,” Ozias said. “I think that this is really an impressive plan for our future.”

Chairman Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin agreed, saying the new process performed like a “well-oiled machine.”

Meanwhile, Clallam Transit recently added a third, mid-day run for the No. 123 Strait Shot bus from Port Angeles to the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal.

There were 13 passengers on the first mid-day outbound trip and five on the return trip from Bainbridge Island on Aug. 15, Operations Manager Jim Fetzer said.

“I was very pleased with that,” Fetzer told the eight-member Clallam Transit board. “Passengers really were thankful for the service, very appreciative.”

Clallam Transit has purchased three new heavy-duty commuter coaches for the Strait Shot. Those grant-funded buses, which cost $2.19 million combined, are expected to arrive in late March.

Later in the meeting, Fetzer reported that fixed-route ridership was up 2.8 percent last month compared to July 2020. Clallam Transit provided 33,666 passenger trips on all fixed routes in July, up from 32,745 in July 2020, according to monthly operations report.

Beginning Sept. 13, Clallam Transit will add two additional evening trips for the No. 20 bus from downtown Port Angeles to Peninsula College and Olympic Medical Center. See the Clallam Transit website for schedules, fares and route information.

In a finance report, Mason reported that sales tax revenue “continues to come in higher than ever, historically.”

Sales tax is Clallam Transit’s largest source of revenue.

“When sales tax goes up or down, that really affects us a lot,” Mason said. “So I’m happy to report that we’re still continuing on, and we expect it to continue on as is.”

In other Transit news, Gallacci said he had met with Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum about possible bus service to Hurricane Ridge.

“I’m very excited about that, and I’ll have more to report on that at some point in the future,” Gallacci said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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