News Release: Ben Franklin Transit introducing new, improved bus service beginning June 21

June 1, 2021 12:36 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BFT-logo-social-transp03/15/2021

Media Contact:
Lisa Larson | llarson@bft.org | 509.318.3128

Ben Franklin Transit introducing new, improved bus service beginning June 21

New routes and streamlining will improve frequency, reducing travel times, transfers, and wait times

RICHLAND, Wash. – Beginning June 21, 2021, Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) will introduce new Frequent Service Corridor bus routes for the first time in the Tri-Cities region.

These changes are part of a suite of service changes designed to increase and reduce travel time, transfers, and wait times for riders. The changes will replace four existing bus routes with five new routes and increase frequency on Saturdays for two other existing routes with high weekend ridership.

“We have been planning these significant enhancements to our bus system for quite some time to better align with rider demand and offer the kind of transit service and frequency one would find in larger markets,” explained BFT General Manager, Gloria Boyce. “Our community is rapidly growing, and we’re excited to be continuously improving our local public transportation system to keep pace with the area’s evolving needs. The introduction of our frequent service routes is one way we’re doing both.”

The following bus route additions and changes will take effect Monday, June 21.

NEW FREQUENT SERVICE ROUTES

Two new routes will offer BFT’s most frequent bus service to date, running every 15 minutes and spanning a wider geographic area than other local and intercity routes.

  • Metro Route 1: This route replaces portions of Routes 120, 126, 150, and 160, creating a Frequent Service Corridor with service every 15 minutes between 22nd Avenue Transit Center in Pasco, Three Rivers Transit Center in Kennewick, and Knight Street Transit Center in Richland.
  • Metro Route 3: This route replaces portions of Routes 150 and 160 not being incorporated into Metro Route 1, creating a Frequent Service Corridor with direct service every 15 minutes between Dayton Transfer Point in Kennewick and 22nd Avenue Transit Center in Pasco.

ADDITIONAL NEW BUS ROUTES

Three more new routes will be added along with those above, with service every 30 minutes or less.

  • Route 20: This route replaces portions of Route 120 between West Richland and Knight Street Transit Center in Richland with service every 30 minutes.
  • Route 26: This shorter route follows existing Route 126 between Knight Street Transit Center and North Richland via George Washington Way with service every 20 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during non-peak hours.
  • Route 40: This route replaces portions of Route 160 with service every 30 minutes between Three Rivers Transit Center and Dayton Transfer Point via Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick and includes new service along Olympia Street in Kennewick.

IMPROVEMENTS TO EXISTING BUS ROUTES

  • Routes 42 and 47: These routes will increase service frequency on Saturdays from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes between Three Rivers Transit Center and Dayton Transfer Point in Kennewick.
  • Route 110: This route schedule will adjust to coordinate transfers at West Richland Transit Center allowing timed transfers between Routes 110 and 20 for improved service to the Queensgate/Duportail retail area.

ROUTES BEING ELIMINATED

These routes will be discontinued as the above changes take effect, as they will be covered by other new routes.

  • Route 120: This route will be incorporated into Metro Route 1 and Route 20.
  • Route 126: This route will be incorporated into Metro Route 1 and Route 26.
  • Route 150: This route will be incorporated into Metro Route 1 and Metro Route 3.
  • Route 160: This route will be incorporated into Metro Route 1, Metro Route 3, and Route 40.

These service updates are part of the 2021 Modified Annual Service Plan approved by the BFT Board of Directors at the April 8, 2021 regular board meeting.

The plan implements the remaining service initiatives from the Comprehensive Service Plan (CSP) and the Service Restoration Plan to improve connectivity and meet rider demand within the BFT service area.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about service updates, including route-specific information and schedules, riders can go to bft.org/NewPlaces. They can also download and begin using the Transit App to see the new routes and schedules, and plan their travel beginning when the routes go online June 21. Customer Service is also available Monday – Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 509-735-5100 to assist passengers with questions and trip planning.

More information about Ben Franklin Transit and its services can be found at bft.org.

ONGOING COMMITMENT TO SAFETY

To protect our passengers and drivers, BFT is continuing daily disinfection procedures in all our vehicles and facilities and continuing suspended fare collection, facility and vehicle mask requirements, and onboard distancing until further notice. Our top priority is to continue providing excellent transportation services throughout our community while keeping our employees and customers healthy and safe. For more on all our Covid-19 safety measures and updates, visit bft.org/Safety and follow our social media pages.