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Community Transit History

Over the past three decades, Community Transit has grown from a small, local bus service into a leader in providing transportation options for the Puget Sound region. From a thriving vanpool program to Swift, 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). Click here for a map of the PTBA (large pdf).

Community Transit Facts
  • Approximately 9.1 million passenger boardings in 2012. Our peak year was 2008, with 11.8 million passenger boardings.
  • There are 26 local bus routes within Snohomish County, including Swift bus rapid transit. There are also 20 commuter routes to Seattle (14 to downtown and six to UW).
  • Service area: 1,305 square miles.
  • There are 22 park & ride lots with 7,355 parking spaces, and an additional 15 park & pool lots with 428 leased parking spaces.
  • About 33,500 passengers use our service on an average weekday.
  • Swift bus rapid transit served more than 1.2 million riders in 2012; about 4,100 each weekday.
  • Two-thirds of Community Transit riders use local service within Snohomish County.
  • Sixty-eight percent of weekday boardings occur during peak commute hours.
  • Forty percent of Snohomish County residents who work in downtown Seattle get there by bus.