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Snohomish Community Transit faces more service cuts


If you ride Community Transit buses, brace yourself for longer waits and fewer trips. For the second year in a row, bus service in Snohomish County is facing a 20 percent cut.

Slumping sales tax revenue means Community Transit will again have to scale back service, starting early next year. Specific cuts haven’t been decided yet, but the agency’s CEO Joyce Eleanor says says  80,000 hours of service per year are going to have to be cut.

That’ll put service levels back to what they were eight years ago.

A series of public meetings are planned to discuss options for shaping the service reductions, but Eleanor says folks shouldn't get their hopes up.

It's important for the public to come and talk to us, but I can't tell them that this isn't going to happen, because in one way or another, we have to cut the service.

Community Transit relies on sales tax for about two-thirds of its operating budget. Last year, revenue was barely 80 percent of what it was just three years earlier. The agency has maxed out its taxing authority, so asking voters for a hike isn’t in the cards.

The services cuts are coming at a particularly bad time, as the price of gasoline is climbing. When gas prices spiked several years ago, transit agencies around the region saw big jumps in ridership from commuters trying to save money.

Liam Moriarty started with KPLU in 1996 as our freelance correspondent in the San Juan Islands. He’s been our full-time Environment Reporter since November, 2006. In between, Liam was News Director at Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland, Oregon for three years and reported for a variety of radio, print and web news sources in the Northwest. He's covered a wide range of environment issues, from timber, salmon and orcas to oil spills, land use and global warming. Liam is an avid sea kayaker, cyclist and martial artist.