For more than 40 years, Community Transit has grown from a small, local bus service into a leader in providing transportation options for the Puget Sound region. The agency celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2016.
From a thriving vanpool program to Swift Bus Rapid Transit, the state’s first bus rapid transit line, Community Transit has been at the forefront of helping Snohomish County residents to think transit first.
Community Transit began service Oct. 4, 1976, after voters in Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Woodway, Marysville and Snohomish agreed to form their own local transit agency. With 18 leased GMC buses, Community Transit began serving seven routes in those communities.
That first year, Community Transit buses provided 951,200 rides. As one long-time driver recalled, the agency didn’t have specific stops on routes back then. Drivers had to keep a sharp eye out for riders, who would flag down a passing bus.
After beginning with non-existent bus stops, the agency now serves more than 2,100 stops, including 20 park and ride lots with more than 6,100 parking stalls, including the four-story Mountlake Terrace Transit Center which opened in 2009.
Growth has been a big part of Community Transit’s history. Since starting in the seven original communities, citizens in every city in the county except Everett have voted to join the agency: Monroe and Lake Stevens in 1977; Stanwood, Granite Falls, Mukilteo and Sultan in 1979; Arlington in 1980; Gold Bar, Index and Startup in 1981; Oso and Darrington in 1982; Mill Creek in 1983; Bothell in 1992; and Silver Firs and Tulalip in 1997.
Community Transit’s Public Transportation Benefit Area has a population of about half a million people (498,815 in 2009).