Your chance to weigh in on public transit

The OlympianNovember 5, 2013 

Intercity Transit wants the public to weigh in on the agency's 2014 budget, and its six-year plan to serve the community.

STEVE BLOOM

Intercity Transit wants the public to weigh in on the agency’s 2014 budget, and its six-year plan to serve the community.

A public hearing on the budget and strategic plan is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Intercity Transit’s administrative office, 526 Pattison St., Olympia.

The proposed budget for next year is $59.8 million, which includes an operating budget of $37.2 million and capital improvement projects, including work on the expanded Olympia downtown transit center, of $22.6 million.

Customers who ride the buses, and use the vanpools and Dial-A-Lift services will be pleased to know there are no fare increases planned for next year.

The strategic plan calls for a review of rates every three years. Bus fares increased 25 percent in 2013 and vanpool rates went up 10 percent this year.

There are no major changes in bus routes planned next year, but there will be a slight increase in Dial-A-Lift hours of operation, a new, grant-funded express run between Tumwater and Lakewood and growth in the popular vanpool program.

The bus fleet will get a little more energy efficient next year with the addition of 10 hybrid coaches — three new to the system and seven to replace aging, biodiesel-only coaches.

As the South Sound population ages, and local governments make urban in-filling more of a priority, look for IT to play an ever-increasing role in the regional transportation system. The strategic plan assumes heavier reliance on public transit in the years ahead, which is a wise assumption.

For more on the budget and public input, visit intercitytransit.com.

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