By Sean Ferrell-Wyman
Recently the Lakewood bus shop closed its doors, with the barn on Pacific Avenue to follow suit on December 15. Both shops are being consolidated into the Tacoma Dome Station bus shop. This reduction is only the latest in a recent trend of more and more cuts to Pierce Transit. Night time service is already limited, with most routes having their final run around 8 pm, stranding students who need to stay late on campus and commute by bus.
The Ledger asked freshman Riker Phillips what the transit system means to him, “I use the buses all the time, I don’t have a car or anything, so I have to use the buses.” Many students at UW Tacoma like Riker rely on the bus system. This is only accentuated by the campus‘ heavily urban location. Downtown Tacoma leaves few affordable opportunities for housing on or near campus, increasing demand on parking spaces. The urban environment, of course, leaves little room for parking. This causes even students who own cars to drive to Park & Rides, like the Tacoma Dome Station, and use public transportation to travel the rest of the way to campus.
Furthermore, many students who live on campus depend entirely on public transportation for all errands and entertainment. Ethan Young, a sophomore at UWT, says of Pierce Transit, “I use it to go to the Lynnwood theatre, so I use it all the time.” Pierce Transit has stated that these reductions will prevent further cuts until early 2015.
Further cuts to the system will would discourage commerce, crowded buses, and create numerous other problems for commuters and the transit system alike. Those problems are only a year away, and at this point, no solution is being provided.