Pierce Transit cutting service, but spends $250k on a trolley
Pierce Transit sought permission for local options and sales tax authority to fund transit when they lobbied Olympia to pass the now-failed transportation tax package, claiming tax revenue shortfalls. While the public has twice rejected sales tax increases for transit, Pierce Transit wanted to create a sub-district with its own tax authority that would approve of sales tax increases. Pierce Transit threatens to cut 28% of bus service in September, but has made a new addition in Gig Harbor, a $250,000 temporary trolley route, which are actually diesel buses. Pierce Transit is leasing two of the trolley buses, and repainting two buses to look like trolleys as backups.
At 25 cents a boarding, there is a minimal chance this trolley service will recover much of the cost from the fare box. In order to become revenue neutral, the trolley line would have to carry about 13,000 people per day, almost twice Gig Harbor’s population.
Pierce Transit is planning cuts because of a shortfall in tax revenue, they claim. Pierce Transit should focus on becoming efficient, tightening their belt, and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars before asking the public (for a third time) to foot the bill. Gimmicks like a trolley distract local officials from focusing on real solutions to their problems and adversely affects public opinion toward their transit agency.