Spokane Transit 40 Year Anniversary
Spokane Transit is marking 40 years of service with a throwback bus livery which is inspired by the design painted on STA vehicles in the early 1980’s.
STA Body Shop Lead Ron Scouton remembers painting the vintage livery when he started working at STA 36 years ago. He is set to retire this year – but not before painting the vintage livery one final time. “It’s come full circle for me,” Scouton said. “I remember painting this design in the early eighties. It was a surprise and a gift to be able to do it again so many years later, just before I retire.”
The 40-year anniversary comes as STA pushes forward on a path of modernization to make transit easier and more convenient than ever. Investing in a combination of service, technology and passenger amenities, STA plans to ensure public transit remains a key tool in the region’s growth strategy.
This year STA will introduce zero-emission battery-electric buses, a first for the region.
Next year, service begins on City Line, the region’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route that combines schedule frequency and permanent stations to provide a streetcar-like experience between Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College via downtown Spokane and the University District, including Gonzaga University.
The agency is also pushing forward with plans for online account-based fares, contactless and mobile ticketing, improved real-time information, and digital monitors at high-ridership stops and stations throughout the transit network.
The milestone anniversary also provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made since 1981 when voters overwhelmingly approved investing in public transit and funding the creation of the Spokane County Public Transit Benefit Area (PTBA). The PTBA expanded transit service to residents outside the City of Spokane, provided more buses with longer hours of operation, and was the start of the transit model known throughout the region today.
In 2016, voters approved additional funding for STA Moving Forward, the agency’s 10-year plan to maintain, improve and expand transit service in the region as the population grows and demand for transit increases among youth, senior citizens, veterans and people with disabilities.
“At 40, STA is performing at top-notch and has more momentum than ever,” said Al French, Spokane County Commissioner and STA’s longest-serving board member. “Represented by a board of elected officials from throughout the region, and with a dedicated and knowledgeable workforce, the agency has remained focused on providing a safe and effective service while preparing for the future with all of its jurisdictional partners. Our transit future is bright.”