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Maintaining Bonney Lake route helps everybody | ST596: One bus route, two takes on transit
A great thing just happened in East Pierce County, thanks to Sound Transit. The transit agency’s Board of Directors voted April 26 to approve our proposal to create a new bus route for people commuting from Bonney Lake, Buckley and Enumclaw to reach the Sumner Sounder Station.
ST Express Route 596 will continue to connect the Bonney Lake Park & Ride to the Sumner Sounder Station when Pierce Transit Route 496 is discontinued in June. Timed to meet the Sounder trains, this feeder route offers fast, limited-stop service for passengers making connections on regional trips.
This service provides an easy way for riders to use Sounder commuter rail and the 578 bus to get to Seattle, Tacoma and many other destinations. Plus, they get to park in Bonney Lake and avoid trying to park in Sumner, where the available spaces are nearly gone after the second train.
This shows that transit is working. You should be able to use a network of buses and trains to move around this entire region conveniently. Last quarter, Sounder ridership on the Tacoma-Seattle line grew by 22 percent – clear evidence that as the economy recovers and more people go back to work, more of you want to use public transit instead of driving and paying high gas prices.
The benefit of this bus service goes beyond the direct impact on riders. This eliminates hundreds of cars from the masses that are trying to get up Elhi Hill from Sumner to Bonney Lake each evening.
Rider options will expand when Sounder begins serving Lakewood and South Tacoma later this year. As the region’s population grows, Sound Transit will add more Sounder trains in the coming years.
When the trains aren’t running, you still have a great option to get to Tacoma and Seattle with the Express 578 bus, perhaps one of the best-kept secrets in our area. Every half hour, that bus pulls into Sumner to take you to Tacoma or Seattle.
Many people depend on transit service for their livelihood. All of us depend on transit service to keep traffic and emissions from literally clogging our beautiful region.
If you aren’t a commuter and you haven’t tried it yet, hop on a Sound Transit bus or train, whether you’re visiting friends in Tacoma or catching a game in Seattle.
And with the new ST 596 serving Bonney Lake, this great network of transit just got a lot easier for people on the Plateau.
Pat McCarthy is the Pierce County Executive and Chair of the Sound Transit Board. Dave Enslow is mayor of Sumner and a member of the Sound Transit Board.