Pierce Transit starts new trolley service, despite cuts elsewhere

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by MITCH PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 1:06 PM

GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- Pierce Transit has recently voted to cut 28% of its service after already eliminating 84 jobs, both because of budgetary restraints. However, that’s not stopping them from starting a new trolley service in Gig Harbor.

The trial run of the trolley will go until September 28 and cost $250,000; Pierce Transit is footing $210,000 of that. The remainder is being paid for by a combination of funds from local business groups and the City of Gig Harbor.

“It’s a new service, part of a broader strategic direction for the entire agency,” said Derek Young, a member of both the Pierce Transit board and Gig Harbor council. “One of the things that we’re really hoping to do is get more visitors, tourists, to our community.”

At the same time Gig Harbor is getting a new trolley, the City of Milton is bracing for 78% cuts by Pierce Transit to service through the city.

“When you have to take away basic services, for people who worked all their life and put into the system, and put it into whatever your favorite little place is because it’s shiny and bright or whatever, there’s a problem with that. I don’t think your priorities are in order,” said Milton Mayor Debra Perry.

She says starting in September, they’ll lose evening and weekend bus service and some stops will have two-hour waits the rest of the time.

“I’ll spend a weekend in Gig Harbor and I will ride the trolley myself,” said Perry. “But that $210,000, so for that nice little trolley in Gig Harbor, you’re going to tell my elderly people that they no longer have the quality of life they’re used to?”

Young defends the trolley, saying Pierce Transit needs to look toward the future.

“The difficulty here is that we can’t just be about cutting service, we have to rethink our organization a bit,” said Young. “This is one of those efforts.”

The trolley costs $0.25 per ride.
 

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