Island Transit looking at services changes

Route 56 between Freeland, Greenbank may be canceled

Island Transit might put the breaks on one South Whidbey route and expand service on Saturdays.

The agency is holding community meetings to talk about the proposed changes. The next one is 6-7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Freeland Library. Another is 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the Oak Harbor Library.

Executive Director Todd Morrow said officials proposed cancelling Route 56, which runs between Greenbank and Freeland. It’s simply not been productive at all, he explained.

“There are a couple people who would be affected,” he said, “which happens with any service change.”

The agency is proposing a number of changes to Saturday service. One idea is to expand the Saturday hours for popular Route 1, which runs from Oak Harbor to the Clinton ferry. It would begin at 7:15 a.m., which is 45 minutes earlier than now, and run until 7 p.m., which is an hour later than it currently does.

That would mean four extra southbound trips and three extra northbound trips.

“We heard from customers that they want it to go early in the morning and late at night,” Morrow said.

Transit officials proposed to add a dedicated route between Langley, Bayview and the ferry on Saturdays so that Route 1 passengers won’t have to sit through the detour off the highway; it would run every 90 minutes. It will be a significant time savings for people who don’t need to go to Langley, Morrow said.

Another proposal is to add one more trip on the 411 between Oak Harbor and March Point on Saturdays as well as additional trips to Route 22, which travels across Oak Harbor.

Even with the savings from cancelling Route 56, the changes would cost the agency an extra $240,000 a year, Morrow said.

The Island Transit board is scheduled to consider the service changes at the May 28 meeting.

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