Intercity Transit to expand Olympia Transit Center

Passengers prepare to board their bus at Intercity Transit's downtown Olympia Transit Center.  (The Olympian file).
Passengers prepare to board their bus at Intercity Transit's downtown Olympia Transit Center. (The Olympian file). The Olympian

OLYMPIA - Intercity Transit is preparing for a $3.4 million expansion of the Olympia Transit Center and will hold an open house today to get the public's opinions on the project.

Transit officials say the bus depot built in 1993 at 222 State Ave. is over capacity. Ridership has grown 70 percent since 2003, and the station now handles 4,300 passenger boardings and 460 bus departures each weekday.

The center now has 10 bus bays, and five buses have to stop on the street, said Ann Freeman-Manzanares, procurement manager for Intercity Transit.

When the expansion is complete, the transit center will have 21 bays, including street parking, Freeman-Manzanares said. The new center will include an outlet for pass and ticket sales, passenger waiting areas, restrooms and expanded bicycle facilities. It will be built on the northeast corner of the same block as the existing transit center.

It may also include meeting rooms and even offices for Intercity Transit, depending on project cost.

Funding for the $3.4 million project is in place – $2,575,500 in federal earmarks and $901,125 from Intercity Transit’s reserves.

But the concept for the project isn’t set in stone, and officials are looking to the public to help shape the building. Construction is scheduled for 2012, Freeman-Manzanares said.

“At this point, we’re still in a very preliminary design phase,” said Meg Kester, spokeswoman for Intercity Transit.

The building is designed to include Greyhound, which has expressed interest in moving from its historic bus station on Seventh Avenue. Greyhound would rent space from the center. The station’s original plans included Greyhound, but the carrier was dropped over uncertainty about the operating future of the company, according to Intercity Transit.

The center is the hub for IT’s system. Nineteen of Intercity Transit’s 22 routes stop there, Kester said.

Pierce Transit, Grays Harbor Transit and Mason Transit also stop throughout the day.

Mike Harbour, general manager of Intercity Transit, said the expansion is designed to meet customer’s needs for the next 20 years.

“We should be in pretty good shape in terms of how this facility will last,” he said.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869