PIERCE COUNTY, Wash — Pierce Transit is planning to remove 10% of all stops on their bus lines by next spring.
The agency argues reducing the number of stops will address one of the most common complaints from riders: buses take too long to get to their destination.
One of its bus lines has 21 stops on a single mile of road.
With that many stops so close together, Rebecca Japhet, Communications Manager for Pierce Transit, says it can take way too long to get passengers where they need to go.
“The end goal here is to speed up the system,” Japhet said. “As you add more stops, the bus has to pull out of traffic, you have to let people off, people come on, they pay their fare, they get seated, then the bus has to get back into traffic. Every time that happens, it slows the system down.”
The agency says it wants to make sure the closures are spread out as evenly as possible, so the loss isn’t felt too hard in any one place.
“We want to make sure we’re not disproportionately impacting minority or low-income populations, in a disproportionate way,” Japhet said.
The reaction to the news has been mixed, and some argue all the stops are necessary.
“The time it takes to board and hop off, at each stop is minimal,” said Valeria Sanchez, who rides Pierce Transit. “I think that if it means more to people that have a disability to not have to wheel themselves 500 feet, or five blocks less, it’s more than enough to have that extra stop.”
Japhet said Pierce Transit is more than willing to put stops back if they need to.
“If we did hear feedback about a particular stop or two, you’d bet, we’d be more than open,” Japhet said. “Like I said, we want to serve our customers the best way we can.”