Hitch a ride with Tulalip Transit

Mary Hargrove discusses Tulalip Transit









Article and photos by Sarah Miller

This month’s community meeting, held at the Tulalip admin building on September 25th, was presented by the Tulalip Transit Department. During the meeting, the employees of said department discussed how the transit program works and new changes that they hope to make.

“This program is a free service,” said Associate Planner II Mark Hamilton. “We don’t get revenue from it. It is funded by grants that allow us to operate this service. It is open to the public, both tribal members and nontribal members.”

The planning process for Tulalip Transit went into effect in 2009. A survey was mailed and emailed to the community and tribal government. It was discovered that there was a need for a transit program specific to Tulalip and different than the Marysville City Transit bus that comes through the reservation. Mark was able to get grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the WSDOT Consolidated Grant Program and the Public Transportation on Indian Reservations Program. These grants ensure that this program remains free to its riders.

“We calculated the number of employees and residents that were in need of this service,” Mark went on. “We were able to implement two routes, and we hope to implement a third.”

The two routes are the John Sam Lake route and the Tulalip Bay route. The third route they are working on is the Bay to Village route.

According to Transit Supervisor Mary Hargrove, the Tulalip Bay route has had a ridership of 11,796 while the John Sam Lake route has a ridership of 2,920. This was calculated from January 2011 to July 2012.

“Last year, we evaluated the data, and started proposing different suggestions,” Mary said. Those changes include Demand Response Service. This service would provide on-reservation transit services for riders at social service locations. Riders could call a number and get a ride to places like the pharmacy, beda?chelh, family services and the homeless shelter, to name a few. Also discussed was a Rideshare service. This service is similar to a carpool for people who work on the reservation. Participants would be matched to others who live in their neighborhood and assign vehicles for them to travel to and from work. Operating expenses for this service would be covered by the employees that participate. It would be $20 to $25 a week. These services aren’t provided yet but could be in the near future.

“We are also working on getting permanent bus stops,” Mary continued. “We are working to get these installed, though it has taken longer to do. They will replace the pylons that mark Tulalip transit stops.”

If you need to get a ride from Tulalip Transit, you can call 360-716-4206 or you can email at tulaliptransit@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.