Facebook33Tweet0Pin0 Sing with me! “The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round…”Thurston County’s public transportation provider, Intercity Transit, offers tremendous opportunities for safe, green transportation throughout our region. They provide more than simply bus service. Intercity Transit has commuter vanpools, they help facilitate carpools, encourage bicycling and walking, provide door-to-door Dial-A-Lift service for qualified riders, and specialty van programs.Recent grants to Intercity Transit from the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Regional Mobility program have opened up two new express routes that operate between Thurston, Pierce, and King Counties within typical work-day hours. The new express routes nearly doubled the number of weekday trips for Puget Sound commuters.Here are the details on the new Express routes:Route 592, operated by Sound Transit, leaves the Olympia Transit Center for downtown Seattle with stops at the Capitol Campus, the new-and previously unserved-Hawks Prairie Park and Ride in Lacey, DuPont Station, Lakewood Station, and the SR 512 Park & Ride. Buses depart every 30 minutes between 4:12 and 6:42 a.m. and return from Seattle every 30 minutes between 3:20 and 5:50 p.m. The one-way fare from Olympia to Seattle is only $3.50 and takes about two hours each way.Route 609, operated by Intercity Transit, departs from Tumwater’s Department of Labor and Industries rand serves the Department of Health, Tumwater Park & Ride lot (on Israel Rd and Bonniewood), Capitol Campus, Hawks Prairie Park and Ride, Lakewood Station, and the SR512 Park & Ride. The 609 makes ten northbound trips and eleven southbound, running from 5 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. The one-way fare for this trip is only $3.Olympia resident Clark Gilman regularly uses Intercity Transit buses to commute to work.These new express routes have been funded with over $4 million in state and local grants and are scheduled to run through 2015. If ridership numbers remain strong, additional funding will be sought to maintain the service.Olympia resident and long-time Intercity Transit user Clark Gilman is a huge fan of the new Route 592. Having first used their services in 1981 as an Evergreen student, he now occasionally commutes to Seattle for work.“My job requires that I spend two days each week in Seattle. I walk or ride my bike to downtown Olympia on the other three days. Why bus? It’s less expensive, it’s lighter on the environment, and I’m a social person and I enjoy meeting new people each day,” comments Gilman.“I have never had a fixed enough schedule to commit to a carpool. For me, driving to downtown Seattle and parking is like working another shift. The bus drops me a block from our Seattle office fresh and relaxed. I’ve noticed a real difference in my energy level since I began commuting by bus,” explains Gilman.Gilman’s switch to Route 592 has enabled him to use the money he’s saved on parking and gas to buy a tablet computer. He reads, listens to music, and shares family photos with fellow riders. While he says some coaches are definitely more comfortable than others for the long trip, having this route has been a real blessing.Washington State Department of Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson calls this “another example of the great partnerships between our Legislature and state, regional and local transportation agencies working together to keep Puget Sound moving.” The grants also provided for the purchase of three new 40-foot hybrid-electric buses to help with the new routes.