Shuttle buses that served skating fans in 2007 proved to be so popular that the Spokane Transit Authority is bringing them back for the national figure skating championships that start here this week.
Buses will run on two routes every 10 minutes and serve the Spokane Arena, the FanFest venue at River Park Square and event headquarters at the Davenport Hotel. The shuttles will stop at other downtown hotels as well.
As many as 10 buses are expected to line up at the Arena following the major events over the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
The shuttles, which will have labels above the windshield, will begin running Thursday as fans arrive from out of town to attend practices. The first events are Friday.
The figure skating competitions and practices will be held at the Arena, but free public events also are planned downtown, including off-ice award ceremonies at River Park Square.
Molly Myers, communications manager at STA, said that the shuttles proved popular with locals as well as visitors.
A shuttle pass for the 11 days of the championship activities can be purchased for $12 at the STA Plaza or at spokanetransit.com. Single-day passes are $3; individual shuttle rides are 75 cents. The passes are good on regular fixed-route service, too.
Myers suggested local skating fans consider using regular transit service to get downtown, and then transferring at the Plaza to a shuttle. Using the shuttles will save local fans money for gas and parking.
Myers said 20 drivers have volunteered to provide the shuttle service, which starts at 5:25 a.m. on most event days. It will begin at 5 a.m. Jan. 18, 6:40 a.m. Jan. 22 and 11:15 a.m. Jan. 24, the closing day of the events.
The buses will continue running until events have finished and riders leaving the Arena have been picked up.
Sales tax revenue is underwriting the cost of the service, just as it does regular STA services, Myers said.
“We want to be good partners in the community,” Myers said. “We see it as a benefit to the community and a benefit to us.”
In addition, volunteers will be driving eight STA vans to shuttle skaters, judges and officials to and from the Arena.
Transit plan to get public hearing
STA is holding a public hearing on its transit development plan for 2010 through 2015 at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in Spokane City Hall’s Council Chambers.
Go to the STA Web site – www.spokanetransit.com – to see a draft of the plan.
Browne’s routes under discussion
The bus system is considering changes to routes in the Browne’s Addition neighborhood. Two open-house meetings are scheduled for later this month at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 314 S. Spruce St.
Hosted in a drop-in-style format, the meetings will be held Jan. 23 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Jan. 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Comments sought on scenic highway plan
The Washington State Department of Transportation is updating its scenic and recreational highway plan, and is asking the public for help.
Three public hearings are scheduled outside of the Spokane area. The nearest one to Spokane will be Jan. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the DOT maintenance office in Wenatchee at 2830 Euclid Ave.
Comments can be made via wsdot.wa.gov or by e-mail to ReevesP@wsdot.wa.gov.
In addition, comments may be mailed to WSDOT, Highways and Local Programs Division, P.O. Box 47390, Olympia, WA 98504-7390.