Reduced bus routes result in commuter concerns

On March 1, Pierce County Transit’s main natural gas fueling station in Lakewood exploded, which created problems for the some 300 buses making routes in Pierce County, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

Buses were forced to run on the Saturday schedule during the weekdays. This meant that buses stopped at each station every hour as opposed to the regular half hour schedule, creating many concerns for commuters.

According to a March 28 press release from Pierce Country transit, regular service has been reduced by approximately 20% as a result. “Repairs to the fueling station will take several months and the agency will be unable to return to regular service levels prior to implementing permanent reductions,” the press release stated. A 20% reduction will occur in June 12 2011 and a 15% reduction in October 2011.

Rebecca Kuglitsch, the Science Liaison Librarian, was affected by the reduced schedule. “It was tricky to manage because there was the risk that I would not get to work on time.”

However, almost one month after the fuel tank explosion, the buses have added more routes in addition to the Saturday schedule. Kuglitsch is now able to get to work on time with the additional morning routes.

Kuglitsch also blogs for the University as a “bus bLogger” and tales of her bus experiences can be found on the school’s website. She gets an ORCA card as payment for her blogging and comments that it is a fun and pleasant way to commute. “If I had to choose between sitting on a bus looking out the window at the mountains versus driving and staring ahead at cars I might crash into, I would clearly choose taking the bus.”

And she does at least twice a week and encourages students to ride the bus more often as well.

Student John Bacon is a rider who was a weekly commuter last semester when he went to his internship downtown. “I would go to my internship every morning and catch the bus at 8:30, so I got pretty familiar with the routes.”

“It is hard to justify driving when I don’t have to,” says Kuglitsch, “and it is not good for the environment.”