Gig Harbor Trolley Could Be New Model for Pierce Transit

​Pierce Transit kicked off its new Gig Harbor trolley service this Tuesday. The trolley may be a nod to the past, but the service delivery model could be a look at the future.

The passenger service will run between Gig Harbor’s downtown waterfront and uptown shopping district throughout the summer, ending service just before the major cuts forced by the failure of last year’s Prop 1.

As The News Tribune writes this week, this could be a sign of things to come for Pierce Transit, as the cash-strapped agency faces cuts to service this fall. 

The TNT reports that the Gig Harbor model is one possibility for Pierce Transit service to small communities in the future. 

So-called “tailored community solutions” will be a focus for Pierce Transit as the agency develops a strategic plan guiding its decision-making from 2014 to 2016.

Partnerships with large employers and smaller buses are also on the table as the agency looks at less expensive ways to continue service. 

Although the majority of the funding for the Gig Harbor trolley ( about $216,000) comes from Pierce Transit, the City of Gig Harbor, the GH Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Waterfront Alliance will collectively contribute more than $41,000 to the seasonal service. 

If it works there, we could see other versions rolled out elsewhere in the county. Where else in Pierce County might this kind of partnership succeed?

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Catherine Oleson

The primary focus for Pierce Transit should always be service for those going to or returning from work, and those who need transportation to or from medical and other appointments and necessary shopping, such as grocery stores, or even probation appointments. 
Cutie-pie trolleys in affluent neighborhoods such as Gig Harbor bring in fares at 25 cents a head, and cannot reasonably be expected to contribute substantially to overall costs of operating the bus system.  I’m sure it’s a lot of fun to ride the trolley cars into and away from downtown Gig Harbor;  but the people who need public transportation because they have few or no other transportation options must come first. 
What does it take for Pierce Transit to recognize this?

July 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I raised an eyebrow at the project initially, as a devout transit supporter and a believer in high efficiency service.  However, there are some pluses to setting a precedent for collaboration and co-funded service with municipalities and other partners for specialized service.  It is a pilot project and we will see how it operates over the three months that it exists.

I am a little concerned at how this makes the agency look.  I think there are more serious steps that could be taken to offer cities real options for collaborating on transit projects and service in the form of regular fixed route or more rapid services.

July 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Wm. McLaughlin

Nice try. What a joke for anybody who needs a bus for anything. If I can’t find it on this side of the bridge,I guess I don’t want it! Pay 25 cents to ride the cute little “trolley” then $5.25 to get home ?

July 16, 2013 at 11:39 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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