Come December, it’ll be easier for youth, seniors, people with low-income or disabilities to travel between Sumner and Bonney Lake.
Pierce County’s Beyond the Borders transportation service is adding a new stop to its Sumner route, allowing folks who qualify to take a bus up the hill into Bonney Lake starting Dec. 4.
This is not a new route, said Jerri Kelly, transportation program specialist with the county, but a modification of the old Sumner route.
The old route was a round-trip from the Puyallup Safeway at 1405 E. Main St. in Puyallup, stopping at the Vadis employment center, the Sumner Senior Center, the Gordon Family YMCA, the Sumner Fred Meyer and the Sounder Station shuttle stop along the way.
The new route starts at the shuttle stop, heads to the Fred Meyer, then the Senior Center, the YMCA, and finally, up the hill to the Bonney Lake Wal-Mart before backtracking.
The routes are Monday through Friday, running from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The last bus from Bonney Lake leaves the Wal-Mart at 3:30.
The route changed, Kelly said, due to changing demographics around Sumner.
“The ridership in Sumner has started to decline,” Kelly said. “We used to service a large population going to the Vadis employment center in Sumner, and they had changed their schedule so they are no longer riding. It was a good opportunity, with ridership waning in the downtown area, to see if we can’t increase the ridership by making it more attractive to riders.”
While there is a posted schedule, this is not a service you can just hop on.
First, you have to register with the Beyond the Borders program, giving them your name and whether you’re a youth between the ages of 12 and 17, a senior 65 years old or older, or a person with low-income or with a disability.
The Beyond the Borders program can be contacted by calling 211, a toll-free number at 888-600-8043, or the county line at 253-476-4657.
Kelly said riders should call customer service at those last two numbers at least two days in advance before your ride.
There are also options where riders can request additional stops, Kelly continued
“They can call two days in advance and ask the bus to deviate up to a mile off the route,” she said. “For example, if they wanted to go to Target instead of Wal-Mart… or if their home is too far away from the bus stop, they can ask the bus stop a mile off the route to pick them up at their home to take them to one of their destinations.”
Other destinations include the Sumner library, the post office, and doctor or dentist offices.
Kelly said bad weather could prevent the bus from riding up the hill into Bonney Lake, so riders should call ahead to make sure the bus service can make it up into the city.