Link Transit has announced changes that will extend service earlier in the morning and later in the evening on many Wenatchee and East Wenatchee routes. Link is eliminating portions of routes between Olds Station and Columbia Station in Downtown Wenatchee and will provide extra service up to Lake Chelan as a result.
In a press release, Link Transit announced the changes were approved at the regular Board meeting held on April 17, and at a special meeting held on April 25th. Changes will go into effect on Monday, July 2.
Approved on April 17 were additional hours of service added to the Routes 1, 5, 8E, 8W, 11, 12 and Current A. These routes will operate in some cases 30 to 60 minutes earlier in the morning and 2 to 3 hours later in the evening. These extended hours will apply only to Monday – Friday service.
Approved on April 25 were changes to the schedules and routes for Routes 20 and 26, and changes to the schedule for Route 21. Route 20 will operate on the Douglas County side of the Columbia River between Chelan and Olds Station, eliminating the segments of the existing route between Chelan and Manson, and between Olds Station and Columbia Station. Route 26 will operate between Ardenvoir and Olds Station, eliminating the segment of the route between Olds Station and Columbia Station.
The resources saved by shortening Routes 20 and 26 will allow four addtional trips to be operated on the Route 21, which serves Entiat, Chelan and Manson. These trips will operate Monday – Friday, and will be fairly close in time to those Route 20 trips that were eliminated, and will fill in some gaps in service during the day that were in excess of 2 hours. Additionally, it provides one later trip to Chelan and Manson, departing Wenatchee at 6:15 PM. The latest trip currently departs Wenatchee at 5:15.
Transfers in Olds Station will be necessary to continue travel to or from Routes 20 and 21 from points south of Olds Station. Depending on the time of day, these transfers may take anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes. A change to the fare policy will be coming in May to address the concerns from some riders about the additional fare that would be necessary with this forced transfer.
The Link Board decided to make no changes to Route 22 serving the upper Wenatchee Valley.
The annual cost of this additional service is about $237,000.