In the email inbox on Friday was a Rider Alert from Jefferson Transit about the Wooden Boat Festival Shuttle service schedule. September 7-9, Friday through Sunday. Wait - what? Sunday shuttle for the festival?! Thanks to the persistence of transit supporters (in particular Darrell Conder, the late Alice Lane and Burt Langsea, but many others as well), JTA will institute a Sunday shuttle from the Haines Place Transit Center (HPTC, aka Park and Ride) to and from the Northwest Maritime Center so we have shuttle service on ALL THREE days of the festival. Here’s a link to the schedule and map (https://jeffersontransit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/WBF-Shuttle-Maps-and-Driver-Maps.pdf).
When the last recession hit, JTA cut all Sunday service for budgetary reasons and it’s been a point of contention among riders, the Authority Board and staff to re-establish it as the budget has improved dramatically. A first step could re-institute shuttle service on Sundays when there’s some big, rider-rich event in town that would allow HPTC to serve one of its most important functions, as an actual Park and Ride for festival attendees.
We watched each year as visitors who used the shuttle for Wooden Boat on Friday and Saturday stood bewildered and untransported at HPTC on Sunday. After beating our heads against a financially conservative staff wall for a few years, the usual citizen suspects (who constitute the audience at transit meetings) created a voluntary shuttle service on the Sunday of 2015 Wooden Boat. A few bus drivers, both active and retired, volunteered to drive and the YMCA allowed the use of the Y’s cutaway van all day on Sunday. Those drivers transported 339 grateful visitors on 46 one-way trips, with no advance advertising and only a ‘donation’ bucket if they felt inclined to pay for the ride.
Now, three Wooden Boat Festivals later, locals and visitors can park at HPTC and ride to the Northwest Maritime Center all three days. A heartfelt thank you to JTA staff and the board for getting this idea back to reality. Encourage everyone to ride the shuttle to Wooden Boat, especially on Sunday, so we can show JTA how important the service is. We can hope this is a small step forward to more Sunday service county-wide as well, but for now, it’s a very welcome development all on its own.