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Welcome to the Spokane Transit Newsroom

We at STA want to respond to the needs of Spokane citizens, and that's part of why we're launching a social media news room. It's a place where we'll provide open and transparent information about meetings, finances, planning and more. Some information will be textual reports, some will be photos and charts, some will be audio, some will be moving images.

For media inquiries, please contact Beth Bousley, Director of Communications and Customer Service, at 509-325-6091 (office) or 509-850-5648 (cellular).


October 30, 2014

Safeway Partners with Spokane Transit to Sell 31-Day Bus Passes

SPOKANE, WA – Grocery shoppers can now buy their STA bus passes at Safeway locations throughout Spokane County. Safeway will sell Adult, Youth and Reduced Fare 31-Day bus passes at the following locations:

2509 E 29th Ave.
1441 N Argonne Rd. (Spokane Valley)
14020 E. Sprague (Spokane Valley)
1233 N Liberty Lake Rd. (Liberty Lake)
3919 N Market St.
933 E Mission Ave.
1616 W Northwest Blvd.
10100 N Newport Highway
2507 W Wellesley Ave.
2710 First St. (Cheney)
902 W Francis Ave.

31-Day Passes are also available for purchase at Yoke’s Fresh Market and Rosauers stores, Huckleberry’s and Super One.

Safeway District Managers for the Spokane/Columbia region, Brian Kingsbury and Jackie Katanik said Safeway is very pleased to be partnering with STA.

“Offering the 31-day bus passes for sale at our 11 Safeway locations in Spokane County offers real convenience for our customers, many of whom rely exclusively on STA to solve their transportation needs,” they said. “This just makes the availability of the bus passes much easier for everyone.”

There is no additional fee for purchasing bus passes at an STA pass outlet.

All other STA bus passes, including Paratransit passes, must be purchased online, at the STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside Avenue or at STA’s offices at 1229 W. Boone Avenue.


October 09, 2014

SPOKANE TRANSIT TO HOST OPEN HOUSE

STA Moving Forward – An Implementation Plan for More and Better Transit

SPOKANE – Spokane Transit (STA) will host a community open house to showcase STA Moving Forward, a draft long-range plan to sustain existing service and implement more and better transit over the next 10 years.

The open house will be held Wednesday, October 9, 2014, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Center Place, 2426 North Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley. The public is encouraged to attend.

This is the first of several public events scheduled throughout the region over the next three months. It is an opportunity for community members to learn about the proposed transit projects, speak with STA staff and give input on the STA Moving Forward plan.

“There are about two dozen transit projects that we would like to see implemented over the next 10 years,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “Our goal is to have a community-supported plan that enables us to provide more and better transit services, both now and in the foreseeable future.”

The STA Moving Forward planning process began in 2012, fueled, in part, by projections that the region’s population would grow by 165,000 people and 68,000 new jobs by 2040. STA worked closely with community groups, businesses and local government to identify the region’s transit priorities. The resulting plan, STA Moving Forward, is designed to accommodate regional growth by increasing transit ridership by 30% - to nearly 15 million rides a year.

“Now we want to hear from our community,” Meyer said. “Citizen feedback is crucial to our transit system’s success, as is the case with all good planning efforts.”

The full STA Moving Forward plan and a complete calendar of STA Moving Forward outreach opportunities are available online at http://www.stamovingforward.com. Individuals are encouraged to provide public input by emailing stamovingforward@spokanetransit.com, by calling the STA Moving Forward Hotline at 509-343-1659 or by following STA on Facebook and Twitter.


September 25, 2014

Yoke’s Fresh Market Comes on Board to Sell STA Bus Passes

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit (STA) is pleased to announce that beginning October 1, Yoke’s Fresh Market will begin selling 31-Day Passes for Adults, Youths, and Reduced Fare. Passes will be available at five locations around the Spokane region:

• 210 E. North Foothills Drive
• 12825 W. Sunset Highway (Airway Heights)
• 3321 W. Indian Trail Road
• 14202 N Market Street (Mead)
• 9329 E. Montgomery (Spokane Valley)


“Yoke’s is excited to partner with Spokane Transit,” said John Bole, Yoke’s President/CEO. “We will be offering our guests STA passes in our Spokane area stores.”

There is no additional fee for purchasing bus passes at any STA pass outlet.

“We are happy to welcome Yoke’s as the newest member of STA’s Pass Outlet Program,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “Many of our customers will appreciate the added convenience of getting their bus passes as they do their regular shopping.”

Select 31-Day Passes have been available for purchase at Rosauer’s stores, including Huckleberry’s and Super One since November 2012.

All other STA passes, including Paratransit passes, must be purchased online, at The STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside or at 1229 W. Boone Avenue.

For information on STA fares and passes, please visit http://www.spokanetransit.com or call 328-RIDE.


September 18, 2014

Spokane Transit to Host Telephone Town Hall

Public Invited to Share Feedback on 10-year Transit Plan

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit (STA) is in the final stage of gathering public input on a plan to sustain existing services and provide more and better transit throughout the region. The draft plan, called STA Moving Forward, consists of about two dozen transit projects to be implemented over a 10-year period.

“The goal of this plan is twofold: to sustain existing service levels and prepare for the public transportation needs identified by our community when additional revenue is available,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO.

The population of the Spokane region is projected to grow by 165,000 people, and 68,000 new jobs are expected by 2040. In order to accommodate this growth, STA Moving Forward is designed to increase transit ridership by 30% – to nearly 15 million rides a year – and will provide greater access to jobs, schools and medical appointments, reduce traffic congestion, improve regional air quality, and correspond with changing transportation trends among all age groups.

Final phase input on STA Moving Forward will be sought from September through November. The next public event where community members can provide feedback will be next Wednesday, September 24th, at 6:30 p.m., when STA hosts a Telephone Town Hall meeting. Participants in the telephone-based event will have the opportunity to speak with an STA board member and agency officials to ask questions and provide feedback on the plan.

Nearly 55,000 residents from communities with STA service will be invited to participate via an automated phone dialing system. Citizens not receiving invitational calls are also encouraged to join the conversation by calling toll-free 877-353-4701 during the live event.

The STA Moving Forward planning process began in 2012. Since that time, STA has worked closely with community groups, businesses and local governments to identify the region’s transit priorities. Citizen Advisory Panels (CAPS) were formed to study and give input on the region’s four major transportation corridors (Valley Corridor to Liberty Lake, North Division to Downtown, Five Mile to Moran Prairie and Cheney to Downtown Spokane). Their findings, after nearly a year of monthly meetings, were presented to the STA Board in June, 2013.

The full STA Moving Forward plan and a complete calendar of STA Moving Forward outreach opportunities are available online at http://www.stamovingforward.com. Individuals are encouraged to provide public input by emailing stamovingforward@spokanetransit.com, by calling the STA Moving Forward Hotline at 509-343-1659 or by following STA on Facebook and Twitter.

Groups are encouraged to contact STA to request group presentations.


June 09, 2014

Celebrate Flag Day

SPOKANE TRANSIT AUTHORITY HOSTS FLAG DAY CELEBRATION TO HONOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY PERSONNEL
STA Plaza – 701 W. Riverside
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. June 13, 2014

(SPOKANE, WA) June 6, 2014 - Spokane Transit will host an event to honor veterans and current military personnel from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at The STA Plaza on Friday, June 13, 2014. This community event is free and open to the public. Retired Army Colonel and STA’s Director of Operations Steve Blaska will act as Master of Ceremonies.

The Lilac City Chapter of Pearl Harbor Survivors will be in attendance, along with guest speaker Carol Edgemon Hipperson, historian and author of Radioman and The Belly Gunner

Artist and author John Thamm, who has compiled his portraits of local veterans and their stories into a book that will be available at the event, will also be featured. Thamm’s portraits will be displayed in the main floor gallery through July 4.

Other speakers include Tony Lamanna, Director of Inland NW Honor Flight, Joshua Anderson of Veterans Affairs and Paul Quinnett, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The “Mane Event”, a barbershop quartet representing the Spokane Shadle-North Lions Club, and “Pepper,” an award-winning quartet with the North by Northwest chapter of Sweet Adelines International, will perform.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet the speakers and veterans, tour the Mobile Veterans Resource Van, purchase books and Honor Flight merchandise and post a message or loved one’s name on the STA Veterans Memorial.

Spokane Transit has a long tradition of honoring veterans and the military. Last year, STA employees, many of whom are veterans, joined forces to design and paint a Stars and Stripes bus that has appeared at numerous events and parades in addition to its regular fixed route service. It replaces a retired patriotic bus which was painted in memory of those lost during 9/11.   The interest in these patriotic buses has confirmed that not only Spokane Transit, but our entire region is dedicated to honoring our veterans and active military personnel.


March 27, 2014

SPOKANE TRANSIT IS ON A ROLL! Employees Recognized for Professional Achievements in Public Transport

SPOKANE – Karl Otterstrom, STA’s Director of Planning, was named Planner of the Year last week by the American Planning Association Inland Empire Section for the Washington Chapter. In addition to local scoring, the Presidents of APA Planning Sections from across Washington State reviewed the nominations and agreed that Otterstrom deserved the award.

Otterstrom has been instrumental in developing Connect Spokane, STA’s Comprehensive Plan for Public Transportation, which sets forth a vision and policy framework to guide the organization’s decisions for the next 20 years. Additionally, Otterstrom has contributed significantly to STA’s long-range planning initiative, STA Moving Forward, which focuses on the development of a High Performance Transit Network to meet future public transportation needs of the Spokane region.

“I am honored to be named Planner of the Year,” Otterstrom said. “It acknowledges the great advances our planning team has achieved under the leadership of our CEO, E. Susan Meyer, and the STA Board of Directors.”

Otterstrom’s award was announced the same week STA coach operator Gabe Fernos was named “the best driver in North America” by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).  Fernos beat 53 others from across the US and Canada at the 39th International Roadeo, a professional driving competition.

Only two months earlier, Paul Hoffman, STA Training Instructor, was named 2014 Training Professional of the Year by the National Training Institute.
“There are so many talented people at STA. We are honored that three of them have been recognized in the last two months alone as the transit industry’s top professionals—the best of the best,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO.


March 27, 2014

STA Coach Operator Gabe Fernos Named Best Driver in North America

SPOKANE, WA - STA coach operator Gabe Fernos was named “the best driver in North America” by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) this week.  Fernos beat 53 others from across the US and Canada at the 39th International Bus Roadeo held in conjunction with an APTA conference in Kansas City, MO.  This is his first International Roadeo victory.

Roadeo competition is difficult--challenging even the best of the best.  The timed driving competition takes place on a nationally-sanctioned course that includes sharp turns, backing maneuvers and restrictive throughways. It’s both a fierce competition and an opportunity for camaraderie among peers.

Fernos, a 22 year veteran at STA, won both the local and Washington State Roadeos before going to the International Roadeo, where he had earned fourth place in 2009.  

“Gabe is humble about it, but winning the competition is a tremendous accomplishment,” said CEO Susan Meyer.   “The region benefits by having safe, highly skilled operators like Gabe driving STA buses.”  Meyer says Fernos is highly regarded by customers and co-workers alike.

A three-person maintenance team from STA also competed in the Roadeo along with 31 other teams. This competition tests mechanics’ abilities to troubleshoot mechanical problems and fix them quickly. It was the STA team’s first competition.


March 27, 2014

NTI Honors STA’s Paul Hoffman with Training Professional of the Year Award

Long Beach, CA —  The National Transit Institute (NTI) presented its 2014 Training Professional of the Year Award to Paul Hoffman, Training Instructor, Spokane Transit Authority, Spokane, Washington.

Hoffman was awarded with this honor during the Transit Training Awards ceremony, as part of the NTI Transit Trainers’ Workshop held in Long Beach, CA March 30 – April 1. Also honored at the event were Capital Area Transit, Raleigh, North Carolina and a joint award that went to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

Hoffman was honored with this award for his extensive contributions to the training initiatives at Spokane Transit Authority (STA) where he identifies training needs for each department and designs and develops curriculum that focuses on continued improvement and promotion of culture of safety. He has since overseen the new-employee training of 355 Coach operators and 77 paratransit operators as well as delivered annual refresher training for over 300 operators. He serves as a Third Party tester for the state of Washington and conducts CDL testing and has been invited to give presentations at event s statewide.

His training efforts have produced a measureable effect on the transit agency; STA has seen a continual decline in the number of vehicle collisions and passenger injuries and has maintained consistently low levels of employee injuries. 

Hoffman’s dedication to implementing safety training is apparent from the number of colleagues who spoke on his behalf, submitting letters of recommendation in support of his nomination for this award. “Paul’s passion and interest in sharing his knowledge and experience is evident at any class he teaches,” said Bekki Weston, Training Program Coordinator, Whatcom Transportation Authority.

“Paul’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment is apparent in the quality of the safety training he has been developing and delivering at Spokane Transit,” said Denise Marchioro, Paratransit Manager, “He is an experienced leader who instills the desire to excel and perform into each class participant. He has truly helped all STA employees to be the best professionals they can be.”

The Training Professional of the Year award recognizes the exceptional contribution and sustained impact of a transit training professional on his or her organization and the industry as a whole. The Training Professional of the Year is chosen based on an applicant’s innovation, impact, professional development, and a number of reference letters.

The National Transit Institute was created by Congress and receives funding from the Federal Transit Administration to develop, promote, and deliver training and education programs for the public transit industry. NTI’s mission is to provide training and educational resources in support of public transportation and quality of life in the United States.


March 20, 2014

Spokane Transit Begins Installation of More Informative Bus Stop Signs

New Bus Stop SignsSPOKANE, WA – This week, Sharp-Line Industries, Inc. is beginning to install redesigned bus stop signs throughout the 248 square-mile Public Transportation Benefit Area. 

“The new design is consistent with STA’s branding, which makes the bus stop signs more recognizable,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “The signs clearly communicate all information needed for everyone to feel confident about using STA’s bus systems.”

The new signs identify all routes serving each stop, the direction of travel, and the bus stop ID number.  The bus stop ID number allows customers to use the automated system when calling 328-RIDE (7433) to quickly obtain schedule information for that stop.

STA initiated an extensive review process from the start of the project last year calling on all cities and the County served by STA to review preliminary designs and offer suggestions. The last substantial redesign of the bus stop sign occurred more than 30 years ago.

“We anticipate that the new signage will be well received by the community,” Meyer said. “Perhaps it will even inspire people to take a fresh look at transit as an alternative to solo commuting.”

Sharp-Line Industries, Inc., based in Spokane, was awarded the contract to replace the old bus stop signs. The final cost of the project, estimated at $272,000, will depend on the installation requirements at the more than 1600 sign locations along arterials and highways. Funding for the project is made possible through a federal transit enhancement grant. Safeway Signs Inc. out of California was the low bidder for sign production.


March 05, 2014

Going Green: Spokane Transit Evaluates All-Electric Bus on City Routes

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit has been invited to participate in a state-wide evaluation of an all-electric bus produced by BYD Motors. The zero-emissions bus debuts today in Spokane.

“We are looking forward to running the vehicle for about a month,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA Chief Executive Officer. “We are always interested in exploring environmentally-friendly, cost-effective fuel alternatives.” The bus will alternate between routes 22, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 throughout March.

STA integrated the first hybrid diesel-electric buses into its fleet in 2007. That number has now grown to 28. STA’s hybrid buses have 17% better fuel economy than standard diesel buses and produce 17% less emissions.

Eight new buses arriving this year will be fitted with an electric cooling systems technology that STA tested and found to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions by an additional 6% over buses using a conventional hydraulic cooling system. STA has also upgraded the transmission systems on its buses for additional fuel economy and emissions reduction.

STA’s testing of electric bus technology comes at an opportune time because the board will be making decisions about bus replacements planned for delivery in 2018-2019.

"We are delighted to work with Spokane Transit,” said Stella Li, President of BYD Motors. “They have a visionary leadership team that desires not only the most reliable service, but also the most cost effective for their communities -- we applaud their efforts to introduce a technology that will not harm the environment."

BYD describes the all-electric bus as “clean, silent and efficient,” using the industry's first environmentally-friendly, fire-safe battery chemistry. This 324 kilowatt, non-toxic, iron-phosphate battery can power the bus for up to 24 hours on a single, night-time charge. The battery will last 20 years beyond the average 12-year life of a bus, and can be reused in non-transportation applications.

To learn more, about BYD 40-foot, all-electric bus visit http://www.byd.com/na/auto/ElectricBus.html.


February 20, 2014

STA’s New Bus Pass Program Earns an A+ from Community College Students

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit’s newest Universal Transit Access Pass program (UTAP) is receiving high marks from students and administrators alike at the Community Colleges of Spokane. In January, the first month of the program, more than 3,000 students attending Spokane Community College (SCC) and Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) picked up their passes and took nearly 90,000 bus rides. That’s an increase of 45% over the same month in 2013, and the college expects that number to grow.

The new program gives students unlimited access to STA’s entire bus system during the quarters they are enrolled in either of the two community colleges.

“The new UTAP program is a great deal for students,” said Timi Putney, a student at Spokane Community College. “The bus is so convenient and it’s a great time to try it since we don’t have to buy a bus pass.” 

This UTAP program is funded by a two-year federal grant awarded to STA.

“Some students will use the bus for most of their trips and some will use it the days they don’t need a car,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA Chief Executive Officer. “Either way there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for this new program.”

In addition to reducing the cost of transportation for students, administrators anticipate the program will help ease traffic congestion and free up space in college parking lots by decreasing the number of cars on the road.

“Numerous studies show that reliable transportation is one of many key components to community college students’ academic success,” said Lisa Hjaltalin, acting Chief Financial Officer for Community Colleges of Spokane. “The STA bus pass program at Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College is making an important difference in more than 3,000 students’ lives by giving them daily access to a convenient, dependable mode of transportation to school. We – and our students – couldn’t be more appreciative.”

Of the 11 million trips taken on STA buses in 2013, more than 1 million were UTAP rides.

The Community Colleges of Spokane UTAP program follows a similar model as the EWU Eagle Pass, the first STA pass program, and the WSU Spokane Cougar Card. There are similar pass programs for employees at the City of Spokane and Spokane County.


October 02, 2013

Regional Transportation Projects Open House

SPOKANE, WA – The public is invited to attend a multi-agency open house on the future of regional transportation, Thursday, October 10, 2013, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at WSU Riverpoint Campus in the Phase 1 Classroom Building at 668 N. Riverpoint Boulevard. The event, hosted by Spokane Transit Authority (STA), the City of Spokane and the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC), offers participants an opportunity to review, and give input on, long term planning efforts and potential transportation projects currently under study.

STA will present an updated version of the agency’s comprehensive plan, Connect Spokane, which defines High Performance Transit (HPT) and outlines the vision for the HPT Network. A presentation will focus on updating the public about the current work taking place to plan the Central City Line, one of the lines in the HPT Network.

The Central City Line will improve the connections to many of the major employment, academic and recreational opportunities Spokane has to offer between Browne’s Addition and Gonzaga University. This improved connectivity has the potential to accelerate economic development in the corridor. An extension to Spokane Community College is also under consideration.

SRTC will present Horizon 2040, which examines the condition of our existing transportation system; forecasts the demand expected to be put on the system in the future; and identifies transportation goals and objectives for the future, as well as strategies to reach them. With Spokane County expected to grow by nearly 165,000 persons by 2040, Horizon 2040 is crucial in planning ways to get those people to jobs and other destinations around the area, without adding congestion. The real challenge is doing this on an extremely limited budget.

“Growth in the Spokane region will impact how we plan for transportation whether in Liberty Lake, the City of Spokane or any other jurisdiction in the area,” said Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson. “We must address the issues this growth could bring now, before it’s too late to adapt our current transportation system to more residents commuting and more cars on the roadways.”

The City of Spokane will also be on hand to present information about their comprehensive plan as well, focusing on its transportation element update.
 

STA provides public transportation services through fixed route (bus) operations, paratransit operations and vanpool. The agency employs more than 500 people and is overseen by a regional board of 10 members, comprised of nine elected officials from Spokane County and cities in the Public Transportation Benefit Area, and a non-voting labor member. For more information about STA, please visit www.spokanetransit.com.

The Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. MPOs do transportation planning, make decisions on how federal transportation funds are spent, and our required to develop a long term transportation plan for the region every four years. That plan is called Horizon 2040.

The City of Spokane, home to more than 210,000 people, is located in the heart of the Inland Northwest. Our 2,000 employees strive to deliver efficient and effective services that facilitate economic opportunity and enhance the quality of life for all our citizens. For more information, visit www.spokanecity.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.


September 12, 2013

New Website Offers Commuters Easy Way to Find Alternatives to Driving Alone

SPOKANE – Spokane Transit and Spokane County’s Commute Trip Reduction Office have joined forces to create a new website for commuters looking for economical and environmentally-friendly commute alternatives.

Introducing CommuteFinderNW.com, a free online, ride matching service where commuters can enter the starting point of their commute and where their work site is and the tool will show options for vanpooling, carpooling, biking, walking or using public transit.

“We are very excited to be partnering with Spokane Transit to bring CommuteFinderNW.com to the community and surrounding areas in the Inland Northwest,” said Aurora Crooks, Director of Spokane County’s Commute Trip Reduction program.

Vanpool: STA supplies a 7, 12 or 15-passenger van to a group of people who live and work in approximately the same area for a monthly fee. Groups that commute together, save money together. Many employers provide a transit subsidy for their employees.

Public Transit: a convenient trip planner on CommuteFinderNW displays bus routes for users entering their home and work locations and it provides bus arrival and departure times.

Carpool: find a fellow commuter with whom to share the trip to and from work. Enjoy companionship and less stress, while lowering your carbon footprint and saving money.

Bike/Walk: bicycling and walking are fun, healthy and environmentally-friendly ways of getting around. As Americans become increasingly health conscious and the cost of gas rises, people realize that bicycling and walking are attractive commute options that not only save money, but also improve health.

“Commuters who use alternatives to driving alone see many benefits,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “CommuteFinderNW.com helps make commuting fun, easy and more affordable.”


September 10, 2013

STA Makes Bus Service Even Easier to Use

Spokane Transit will introduce changes to its bus service beginning Sunday, September 15, 2013.  Most of the changes are modest and aimed at improving connections between routes. 

Detailed information about the changes, including new route schedules and system map, are available at The STA Plaza, online at http://www.spokanetransit.com or by calling 509-328-RIDE (7433). Staff will be at The Plaza and other major connection points during the first week to answer questions. Customers are encouraged to plan ahead by going to http://www.spokanetransit.com or using Google Maps to view tailored commute options.

“These changes are the direct result of customer and community feedback and will make the region’s bus service even more convenient for the thousands who use it every day,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO.

Commuters in Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake and Millwood will see significant improvements, primarily with better connections to express service on I-90.  Spokane Community College (SCC) commuters will now have designated loading areas and improved signage to eliminate confusion about where to catch their buses. This is the result of a month-long project to update the existing transit center there.

Finally, in the City of Spokane, the loading areas near The STA Plaza will be consolidated along Sprague Avenue to reduce pedestrian congestion on Post Street. Other revisions include adjustments to departure times, including from The Plaza, to improve the reliability of service.


September 10, 2013

EWU Eagle Pass Anniversary

Ridership Soars as Spokane Transit and Eastern Washington University Mark 10-Year Anniversary of the Eagle Pass Program

SPOKANE, WA – Nearly one million bus rides were taken last year by students, faculty and staff of Eastern Washington University (EWU),  thanks to the university’s decade-long  partnership with Spokane Transit Authority (STA).

Known as the Eagle Pass, the program was launched in 2003 and allows cardholders unlimited use of STA’s bus system. It is funded by the university and the student body and is a real bargain for participants, particularly students on a fixed income like Katie Myers, an EWU graduate student who says, “the Eagle Pass definitely helps me to keep my waitressing job in Spokane while I’m going to school.  The fact that it’s so economical fits my ‘poor-student’ budget perfectly.”

“We are so pleased to have great partners at EWU,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “As the Eagle Pass continues to grow in popularity, our 60-foot articulated buses are regularly packed with commuters traveling to and from the university, 16.5 miles southwest of Spokane,” she said.  “EWU also has a Spokane campus and those studying and working there use the Eagle Pass, too.”

Despite an increase in students at EWU from 2002 to 2013, on-street parking occupancy during the peak of the day has fallen from 98% to 81%.

On the other hand, all of the 420 parking spots in STA’s centrally-located Jefferson Park and Ride are regularly filled.  It’s no surprise considering Eagle Pass ridership has nearly doubled since 2006.
The Eagle Pass was modeled after the University of Washington’s U-Pass. It is designed to help reduce overcrowding in university parking areas, lower students’ cost of living and meet state-mandated commute trip reduction goals.  It also saves cardholders money on fuel, wear and tear on vehicles, and insurance.

Additionally, more than 21 million single occupancy vehicle miles were avoided in 2012, a substantial environmental savings for the Spokane area.

In 2012 EWU extended the Eagle Pass to include the summer quarter so cardholders can ride the bus whenever classes are in session.

Washington State University at the Spokane Campus recently followed suit, launching the WSU Cougar Card at the start of fall quarter 2013. Spokane County and the City of Spokane also have universal transit access pass programs for their employees.


August 08, 2013

STA and WSU-Spokane Launch New Cougar Card

SPOKANE, WA –Spokane Transit and Washington State University have partnered to create a new pass program for WSU students, faculty and staff at the Spokane campus. The new “Cougar Card” gives card holders unlimited rides on STA’s bus system beginning Monday, August 12, 2013. 

The cost for the program is paid through WSU-Spokane Parking Services and the Associated Students of WSU- Spokane.

“We are excited about our new partnership with WSU,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “We fully expect that WSU’s Cougar Card will be just as successful as EWU’s Eagle Pass.”

The Cougar Card was modeled after the Eagle Pass, which is now in its tenth year and is designed to help reduce overcrowding in university parking areas, lower students’ cost of living and meet state-mandated commute trip reduction goals.  It also saves cardholders money on fuel, wear and tear on vehicles, and insurance.

“This is a great opportunity for WSU employees and students to save on transportation costs while lessening the carbon footprint,” said Jon Schad, Director of Facilities Operations at WSU-Spokane. “We are pleased to be able to offer this great service to our students and staff.”


August 02, 2013

STA TO IMPROVE TRANSIT CENTER AT SCC

SPOKANE, WA - Spokane Transit Authority (STA) will begin construction on a transit center renovation project at Spokane Community College (SCC) on August 5, 2013. The improvements to the 30-year old transit center are anticipated to be completed by mid-September. Burton Construction, Inc., of Spokane is the contractor for the $115,000 project, funded primarily with a federal transit grant awarded to STA. Improvements will include an upgraded transit passenger platform featuring assigned zones for each of the routes serving the college.  Establishing fixed boarding zones for each route will eliminate confusion, make more sense to the customer, and result in better connectivity when new service improvements go into effect in September.

“Having the STA transit center on the Spokane Community College campus is a great asset for our students and employees,” said Scott Morgan, SCC President. “We welcome the new and improved center, which will provide added service and convenience.”

STA provides approximately 800 trips a day at SCC.

The transit platform will allow up to six buses to load simultaneously (three on each side), which will reduce bus congestion.  Left hand turns, which can delay bus departures during heavy traffic periods, will be eliminated by the reconfiguration, as well.

At a modest cost, SCC officials agreed to allow STA to use 26 parking spots and convert them into the bus loading area.

“We are so pleased to work with such great partners at SCC”, said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO.  “Transit riders at SCC will have a much better travel experience as a result of the improvements we are making."

In addition to the upgraded transit platform, STA plans to replace the transit center’s old shelters with new ones, as well as enhance overhead lighting and improve ADA accessibility.

Buses will be detoured during the demolition and construction phases.


November 27, 2012

NEW MOBILITY CENTER OPENS AT STA PLAZA

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit has opened a new Mobility Center on the second floor of The Plaza located at 701 W. Riverside in downtown Spokane.

The Mobility Center provides a central location for assessing customer eligibility for STA’s Paratransit service, including facilities for in-person interviews and assessments and for the Mobility Training program.

Paratransit is a door-to-door public transportation service provided by STA for people who are disabled, and, who because of the effects of their disabilities, are not able to ride the regular bus some or all of the time and live within the Paratransit service area. Paratransit eligibility is determined through an application and assessment process. Physical and cognitive assessments  will now take place at the new Mobility Center.

Through one-on-one or group training, Spokane Transit’s Mobility Trainers help seniors and persons with disabilities gain more independence by assisting them to learn how to ride the regular, fixed route bus. Spokane Transit contracts with Paratransit Inc. to provide the service. For further information regarding the program, please call 509-232-6303.

STA provides public transportation services through fixed route (bus) operations, paratransit operations and vanpool. The agency employs more than 500 people and is overseen by a regional board of 10 members, comprised of nine elected officials from Spokane County and cities in the Public Transportation Benefit Area, and a non-voting labor member.


September 04, 2012

New Nationwide Freight Policy Council Announced

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood were in Spokane on August 23, to announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation is creating a nationwide Freight Policy Council. The Freight Policy Council will maximize investment and national focus on key freight projects like the North Spokane Corridor. The announcement took place at the conclusion of a driving tour of the North Spokane Corridor. The North Spokane Corridor is a key freight route in Eastern Washington. Each year, $13.5 billion (7.2 million tons) of freight moves along the corridor.

Pictured (from left): E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO, Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Maria Cantwell, U.S. Senator for Washington, Paula Hammond, WSDOT Secretary, Keith Metcalf, Regional Administrator, WSDOT, Eastern Region.


May 31, 2012

CEO Appointed to National Board

  SPOKANE, WA – May 18, 2012 – E. Susan Meyer, chief executive officer for Spokane Transit, has been elected to the board of the Transit Development Corporation (TDC).

 Established by the American Public Transportation Association, TDC is a national nonprofit educational and research organization that identifies, prioritizes and provides guidance on research projects involving public transportation.

 Al French, chairman of the Spokane Transit Authority board of directors, said,

“STA is committed to providing a high quality public transit service to the community, which requires staying abreast of the latest transportation strategies and technologies. Ms. Meyer’s service on the TDC board means she will be at the forefront of helping to identify and evaluate new opportunities for public transit improvement, both nationally and in Spokane.”

“This appointment is further evidence that Ms. Meyer is recognized nationally as a leader in public transportation,” French added.

Meyer’s duties will include service on the Oversight and Project Selection Committee of the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), a related organization. TCRP works to develop innovative advancements for the public transportation industry. In this role, Meyer will be charged with helping to select research projects for the next fiscal year.

“I am honored to join with my peers in championing important, innovative and useful research that will improve public transportation in the United States, including in my favorite city, Spokane,” said Meyer. “I look forward to sharing our successes in Spokane and to learning about new strategies that can benefit STA and Spokane.”

Meyer was nominated by Sherry Little, a deputy and acting administrator of the Federal Transit Administration during the George W. Bush administration. Little is currently a principal of Spartan Solutions, an infrastructure development and management firm.


May 10, 2012

STA Open House

  SPOKANE, WA –Spokane Transit will introduce “STA Moving Forward,” a series of planning conversations on the future of regional public transportation, at an open house on Wednesday, May 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event, which also features planning displays from The City of Spokane and Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC), is being held at The STA Plaza, 701 W. Riverside, in the 2nd floor rotunda.

STA staff will be on hand to show information on the vision for a High Performance Transit (HPT) Network. HPT refers to premium transit that provides all day, two-way, high frequency service in major corridors and to regional destinations.

Community input has already played a key role in helping to create a list of potential HPT projects to be developed over the next five-to-15 years. STA is now asking the public to help prioritize these projects and finalize plans for eventual HPT development.

“Our objective is simple: to work together with the community to plan the High Performance Transit Network of the future,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “That way we’ll be ready to meet the demand for additional transit services when the time is right.”

For more information about STA Moving Forward, and to find opportunities to be involved in the conversations, visit www.stamovingforward.com.

“Great transportation doesn’t just happen,” Meyer said. “It takes a community working together.”


April 30, 2012

Local Organizations Benefit from STA Van Programs

  SPOKANE, WA –Spokane Transit recently awarded 10 retired STA vans to local human service organizations, as part of its Surplus Van Grant program.

 “This vehicle will greatly enhance our ability to serve our clients at The Artisans,” said Michael Bushebi, a job developer for The Artisans who was recently presented with keys to a van by E. Susan Meyer, STA’s Chief Executive Officer.

The Artisans is a non-profit agency that provides full service employment assistance for persons with disabilities. Prior to being awarded the van, all but two of the agency’s employed clients commuted to job sites using STA’s Paratransit services.

“We are extremely pleased that these vehicles will continue to be of service to those in our community with special transportation needs,” said Meyer.

The Surplus Van Grant program awards used vans to qualified human service organizations (HSO) serving Spokane County residents who are elderly or disabled, and/or low income. The HSO assumes ownership of the vehicle and is responsible for all related expenses.

World Relief Spokane has been serving the community for refugee reception and placement activities since 1992. Mark Kadel, the program’s director, was also on site at STA to accept a van for his organization.

“Our group expects to utilize this van to provide 2,448 passenger trips over the next year alone,” said Kadel. “A great many people in our region will be very appreciative of STA’s grant.”

Other 2012 Surplus Van Grant awardees include Habitat for Humanity, Hillyard Baptist Church, Mountainview Assembly of God, Crestline Church of the Nazarene, Spokane Christian Center, Meals on Wheels (City of Liberty Lake), West Central Community Center and Life, Inc.


March 30, 2012

STA Security Officer Honored

  

SPOKANE TRANSIT SECURITY OFFICER HONORED BY THE ARC OF SPOKANE

SPOKANE, WA – Spokane Transit Security Officer, Mike DeConto, was recently honored as the 2012 recipient of The Arc of Spokane’s Good Neighbor Award. Each year The Arc of Spokane honors a person in the community who makes exceptional efforts to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families.  

“We are all very proud of Mike and the important contributions he makes to our community through his efforts with The Arc,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “He is an outstanding citizen and STA security officer.”

DeConto was presented with the award during The Arc of Spokane’s annual meeting of members on March 27th.

“Mike’s exceptional work helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community utilize public transportation safely and effectively deserved to be recognized,” said Greg Falk, Executive Director for The Arc of Spokane.

DeConto was nominated by the teachers and students of the Community Images program for his work to keep the STA Plaza and city buses safe for all riders, but especially for people with disabilities. The veteran security officer also meets with students of the program to talk about safety when using public transportation and organizes the annual Safety Rally, which has become a valued event in the community.

“He is a great person and cares about us,” said one student about DeConto.

“I feel safe when he’s around,” added another.

 


March 21, 2012

STA Receives National Recognition for Safety

SPOKANE – Spokane Transit has received a national award for excellence in transit safety from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Gold Standard Award was presented by Virginia Wise, Director – Grants Programs, Mass Transit and Passenger Rail Security, at Spokane Transit’s March 21 board meeting.

The Gold Standard Award is given to mass transit and passenger rail systems with strong security programs as evidenced by the high scores received on Base Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) reviews. BASE is a comprehensive review of a system’s security program, focusing on 17 categories identified by the transit community as fundamental for a sound transit security program.

“On behalf of TSA Administrator John Pistole, I am thrilled to be presenting this honor to Spokane Transit,” Wise said. “STA attained high scores across all 17 categories, with an overall average score of 95%. TSA considers this caliber of performance as deserving of special attention.”

 “Safety has always been our top priority,” said Susan Meyer, STA CEO.  “We are greatly honored that our work to assure the safe transportation of our customers is being recognized on a national level.”

Fewer than 15% of the transit systems reviewed in 2011 will receive a Gold Standard Award.

The TSA is a federal arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security charged with the mission of protecting American transportation systems and ensuring freedom of movement for people and commerce.


October 17, 2011

Spokane Transit Partners with Rosauers to Sell-31-day Bus Passes

SPOKANE TRANSIT PARTNERS WITH ROSAUERS TO SELL 31-DAY BUS PASSES

SPOKANE, WA – Getting your bus pass will soon be easier than ever, thanks to Spokane Transit’s new pass outlet program. Beginning November 1, select 31-Day passes will be available for purchase at Rosauers–owned stores throughout the Public Transportation Benefit Area.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer our customers the added convenience of purchasing bus passes at their neighborhood Rosauers stores, as well as Super One and Huckleberry’s,” said Susan Meyer, STA CEO.
Those wishing to purchase Adult, Youth or Reduced Fare 31-Day Passes at an STA Pass Outlet can do so at any of these Rosauers locations, all of which are on STA bus routes:

 
Super One Foods, located at 830 E 29th Avenue and Huckleberry’s at 926 S Monroe will also offer the passes.
There is no additional charge for passes purchased at these outlets.
All other STA bus passes, including Paratransit Passes, must be purchased online, at The STA Plaza or the Bus Shop, Too at 1229 W. Boone Avenue.

September 14, 2011

Service Changes Effective September 18, 2011

STA SERVICE CHANGES EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 18, 2011

SPOKANE, WA – September 14, 2011: Spokane Transit’s fixed-route bus service will undergo extensive changes beginning Sunday, September 18, 2011. A three-percent reduction in service occurred in September of 2010. The new changes reduce seven percent of STA’s current bus service as part of a cost-cutting effort to compensate for the loss of sales tax revenue since 2008 resulting from the depressed economy.  Another reduction, originally scheduled for 2012, has been postponed by the STA Board of Directors in hopes that the economy will improve and the service reduction may be deferred, or even reduced.  

Although the changes were initiated to reduce operating costs by seven percent, many routes were reconfigured for overall system improvement. The final result is a more efficient and sustainable transportation system for the region.

“We understand the serious impact to those who lose service.  All our planning was focused on minimizing that impact and still achieving the necessary cost reductions,” said Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “We are working hard to do our best with less.”

STA has been able to preserve most service until now because of careful planning and prudent financial policies. The organization is debt-free.

STA conducted extensive public outreach over the past year and invited people to share their ideas and concerns about the proposed changes. The final plan reflects many of the recommendations from the public, the board and STA employees.

Detailed information about the changes, including new route schedules and the system map, are available online at www.spokanetransit.comor by calling 509.328-RIDE (7433). Spokane Transit staff will be available to assist customers from 6:00 - 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, September 14, at The STA Plaza and at area Park & Ride lots as part of STA’s Rider Appreciation Day. Staff will also be available at The Plaza, the Valley Transit Center and at Spokane Community College locations on Monday, September 19, as the changes take effect for the weekly commute. Extra staff will also be available at The Plaza on Tuesday, September 20, and Wednesday, September 21.


June 17, 2011

Hoopfest Shuttles 2011

SPOKANE TRANSIT TO PROVIDE POPULAR HOOPFEST SHUTTLES

SPOKANE, WA – June 17, 2011: Spokane Transit is continuing its popular Hoopfest Shuttle Service for the 2011 tournament with two shuttles serving downtown Spokane. The Riverpoint Shuttle serves the parking lots on N. Riverpoint Blvd. adjacent to the WSU and EWU campus as well as the lots on Spokane Falls Blvd. across the street from the campus. The shuttle cost includes a Day Pass and costs $1.50 each day of Hoopfest on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26. Day Passes are good for unlimited use throughout the entire STA system and are available on any bus during both days of Hoopfest. Riders should plan to have the exact fare available.
 
 
Hoopfest courts will surround the STA Plaza requiring all regular routes to be detoured to alternate boarding and alighting zones just a few blocks away on Howard Street, 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue and 4th Avenue. All regular service schedule times still apply.
 
For more information about Hoopfest Shuttle service, alternate boarding zones, park and ride lots or routes, please visit www.spokanetransit.com.
STA provides public transportation services through fixed route (bus) operations, paratransit operations and vanpool. The agency employs approximately 550 people and is overseen by a ten-member board comprised of nine elected officials from Spokane County and cities in the Public Transportation Benefit Area and one non-voting labor representative.
 
For more information about STA, please visit our web site at www.spokanetransit.com.
 

April 21, 2011

STA Board Approves Recommendation for 2011 Service Reductions

SPOKANE, WA–The Spokane Transit Board of Directors has approved a recommendation to reduce seven percent of STA’s current bus service beginning September 18, 2011. The decision was announced at last night’s board meeting.   

“We are in our third straight year of significant reductions in sales tax revenue, which provides more than two thirds of our revenue,” said Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “We’re taking a major hit, like so many others. But we believe in the service we provide and are working hard to do our best with less.”

STA has been able to maintain service at the same level until now because of careful planning and prudent financial policies. The organization is debt-free. Unfortunately, the recession continues. Even if the economy starts to recover next year, STA will not return to 2007 sales tax revenue levels until early 2016 – an eight year period of reduced revenue that will never be re-captured.

STA conducted an extensive public process over the past year that provided ample opportunity for people to share their thoughts and ideas about the proposed service reductions.

Detailed information about the service reductions, including maps illustrating the new routing, are available online and will be displayed in the STA Education Center, located at The Plaza on the second floor rotunda, beginning April 25.


March 30, 2011

Internationally Acclaimed Transit Expert to Speak on the Future of Public Transportation

SPOKANE, WA–JohnInglish, CEO of Utah Transit Authority and internationally-recognized authority on public transportation, will present, “The Future of Public Transportation: Perspectives from Around the World,” on Wednesday, March 30th, at Spokane City Council Chambers (lower level). The presentation, which is open to the public, begins at 3:00 p.m.

Ingish is well-versed in transit modes and technologies from around the world and will share his perspective on those being considered in The Central City Transit Alternatives Analysis (CCTAA), a joint research project between STA and the City of Spokane. The CCTAA project, which focuses on a high performance transit service to connect major activity centers within the central city area, involves extensive research on several options to be covered by Inglish, including streetcar, enhanced bus and electric trolley – all of which fall under his expertise.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Inglish for sharing his profound insight on public transportation with our community,” said Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “His vision of the future of public transportation will help guide us in making responsible choices for developing transit in our own area.”

Inglish was pivotal to Salt Lake’s rise to transit prominence with a robust rail, bus and commuter rail system, as well as a new streetcar line now under development in the Sugarhouse District. Under his tenure as UTA general manager, Inglish secured funding and construction of more than $4 billion in rail infrastructure, of which, 70 miles of Light Rail and Commuter Rail are in place and operating. Another 70 miles are under construction and scheduled for completion by 2013. He also oversaw the negotiation for and purchase of the largest railroad corridor land acquisition by a transit agency in the United States.

Internationally recognized for his transit expertise and ability to make transit projects reality, Inglish serves as the U.S. representative on the Policy Board of the UITP, the international public transit association, and is the chair of the International Sustainability Commission of that association. UTA is one of only a handful of U.S. signatories to the International Charter on Transportation Sustainability along with more than 150 international transit organizations. UTA is also the only U.S. transit agency to be certified for Quality Performance Management (ISO 9001) and Environmental (ISO 14001).


March 16, 2011

Central City Mobility Open House

SPOKANE, WA– Spokane Transit, the City of Spokane and the University District will host the second Central City Mobility Open House on Tuesday, March 29, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Chase Gallery (808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. – lower level of City Hall).

STA will present an overview of the Central City Transit Alternatives Analysis (CCTAA), a joint research project between STA and the City of Spokane that focuseson a high performance transit service to connect major activity centers within the central city area. This project will deliberate on several options such as streetcar, enhanced bus and electric trolley.

One of the goals for the CCTAA is to help create a vibrant central city, by encouraging development while supporting local and regional business. The project will compare the environmental impacts of the transit options and look at ways to increase regional resources and transit mobility. The finished product will be a single preferred alternative that can be submitted for local, state and federal funding and proceed into project development. Essentially, this plan will create a blueprint for transit that will help guide future development in Spokane.

The open house is a convenient opportunity for citizens to learn about this and other mobility development projects under study for the downtown area, including the City’s University District Pedestrian / Bicycle Bridge and the East Sprague Redevelopment Study.  Additionally, representatives from SRTC Transportation Vision, Smart Routes and Pedestrian Plan, Spokane RoadFix, city-led Surviving Construction, Complete Streets Coalition, Spokane UCommute, and other mobility projects will be available to provide information and answer questions. 

“We are very excited to share the latest developments in our research on the Central City Transit Alternatives Analysis,” said E. Susan Meyer, STA CEO. “The open house provides a perfect opportunity to educate people on this important topic and gather their input.”

A short program from 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. will feature Mayor Mary Verner and facilitators from the various projects.

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