Over the next two years, the amount of state money dedicated to public transportation will be cut by over $10 million.

FAQs

Transit
Vanpool & Carpool
Biking
Walking
Driving
Car Sharing

TRANSIT FAQ’s

How do I get an ORCA card?

You can purchase an ORCA card at Pierce Transit’s Tacoma Dome Station Bus Shop, any other regional customer service center, or online.

If you already have a card and want to load value, you can do so

You can also visit the ORCA card website. Also check with your employer; they may provide an ORCA card to employees.

How do I know I’ll be safe walking to my bus stop downtown?

Pierce Transit maintains a transit security force who frequently patrol both the Commerce St. station and also buses. As well, if your business is within the Business Improvement Area (BIA), you can phone 383-1131 for a security escort to your bus stop.

How do I put my bike on a bus?

All Pierce Transit and Sound Transit buses have bicycle racks. If the rack is full on a local Pierce Transit bus, the driver may allow you to bring your bicycle onboard, but remember, it is at the driver’s discretion. For demonstrations on how to bring your bike on light rail, train, or bus, check out Sound Transit’s videos.

How can I know when my bus will arrive?

While printed and online schedules are almost always accurate, delays can happen. Get real time arrival info with OneBusAway. You can check it on your computer, call in your stop number, or download the app on your smartphone. For local Pierce Transit buses, you can also call customer service at (253) 581-8000.

VANPOOL & CARPOOL FAQ’s

Can I try vanpool without committing to it?

Absolutely. Pierce Transit’s Vanpool Free To Go Program offers new, qualifying trial users up to 5 free vanpool rides. To qualify for use of the FREE TO GO certificate the volunteer rider must be a new, trial vanpool rider who has not ridden Pierce Transit vanpool in the previous 12 months.

Do I have to ride every day?

No. However, Pierce Transit encourages you to ride as much as you are able, so you can maximize the return on your investment.  Pierce Transit does maintain minimum group ridership goals to ensure efficient, productive use of our vanpools.

Will my employer and/or Pierce Transit help me recruit riders?

Yes. Pierce Transit has a team of dedicated Vanpool staff standing by to assist you with forming a vanpool. Vanpool staff works in partnership with employers to form and maintain vanpools. We also search the multi-state RideshareOnline.com database for potential vanpool riders.

How do I start a vanpool?

In 3 easy steps! (1) Organize 5 to 15 people who want to vanpool together and have each one complete the Volunteer Vanpool Participant Agreement.  If you need help finding potential riders, simply complete and submit a Ridematch application.  (2)  Identify a primary volunteer driver, at least one backup volunteer driver, and a volunteer bookkeeper and have each one complete the application process.  (3) Pierce Transit vanpool staff will contact you and set up your vanpool.

What does it cost per month?

Vanpool riders pay a low monthly fare based on round trip commute miles and number of monthly riders. The primary volunteer driver’s fare is usually free in exchange for operating the van. Fares cover the costs of operating the van, including gas, maintenance and insurance. Check out our commuter vanpool Fare Chart to determine how much your fare would be.

Does my employer subsidize my vanpool fare?

Please check with your employer. Hundreds of employers offer subsidies to employees who vanpool!

How many riders do I need to start a vanpool?

You need 5 fare paying riders.

May I be a rider only and not choose to help with driving?

Yes. Assisting with driving and bookkeeping duties is purely a choice. Riders are very important to the success of the vanpool.

What is the difference between carpooling and vanpooling?

A vanpool is a group of 5 to 15 who share their commute to work. The group pays a low monthly fare and rides in a vanpool vehicle. A carpool is a group of at least 2 individuals who share their commute to work. The participants of a carpool agree on how costs and driving are shared. The group rides in the private vehicle of one of the carpoolers.

Can I get a list of the vanpools in downtown Tacoma?

Yes. Contact Pierce Transit’s Vanpool Division at 253-581-8000 or check out the list of current vanpools. The report is sorted in destination city order.

BIKING FAQs

Are there places to store my bike in downtown?

Downtown has many bicycle parking options to meet your needs:

  • Bicycle racks
    Many businesses have bicycle racks available by their front doors. If there is a location in the public right of way with a perpetually full bike rack or no rack at all, the City of Tacoma will install a free rack. To request one, email tacomamobility@cityoftacoma.org.
  • Bicycle cages/rooms:
    Some employers or property owners offer covered and secure locations for employees or residents to store bicycles. Ask your HR or property manager if this is something they offer. If your building doesn’t currently have such a space, but management seems intrigued you can refer them to DOTG for details.
  • Bike lockers:
    Many transit centers and park and rides, including the Tacoma Dome Station, have bike lockers available to rent. For a $50 deposit and $10 per month rental fee, you can be sure your bike will be safe upon your return. Call 253.581.8000 for details.

How can I find out about the best bike routes?

Download the free Pierce County Bike Map or pick one up in any bike shop in Tacoma.

The most reliable sources for local route information are fellow cyclists who know traffic and terrain conditions. Try asking friends or co-workers about their preferred routes or ask for advice at local bike shops or clubs. There are also a number of online resources that can help you plan your route.

Google Maps now has an “bike directions” option. Map My Ride and Bikely both allow users to see the favorite routes other riders have uploaded or enter their own. The Tacoma Wheelmen post some of their favorite routes on their website.

Can I find a “bike buddy” to ride with?

Check out DOTG’s Bike Buddy program. All you have to do is email  Email Downtown On the Go and we’ll find find you your very own Bike Buddy to help you get started.

RideshareOnline.com now let’s you search for a bicycle buddy. Click on Ridematch, enter details about your trip and check “bike” as a mode you would consider. Couldn’t find a match? Consider asking your co-workers or neighbors to ride or ask around at local bike shops and bike clubs.

Where can I find bike classes and educational events?

For details on Bike Month events each May, visit PierceTrips.com. To stay up to date on the City of Tacoma’s efforts to make Tacoma more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, become a fan of Tacoma Mobility on Facebook. Check with local bike shops or the Tacoma Wheelmen for information on group rides and classes.

Who can I contact about broken glass in the bike lane, a pothole, a broken signal or other issues?

Tacomaservices.org is your one stop shop for reporting issues to the City of Tacoma.

Prefer to call? Here are some important numbers to know:

  • Pothole or street maintenance issue (253) 591-5495
  • Hazardous sidewalks (253) 591-5270
  • Problems with traffic signals or streetlights (253) 591-5287
  • Overgrown vegetation (253) 591-5001
  • Street sweeping requests and storm grate issues (253) 591-5585
  • Vehicles parked in bike lanes or on the sidewalk (253)798-4721 Tacoma non-emergency police number

How can I report reckless behavior that endangers cyclists?

The Tacoma Police Department has a website where you can submit issues and concerns, like a car passing you too closely. If you can do so safely, write down the time, date, location and license plate number of the vehicle.

WALKING FAQs

Are there any incentives to get me to live closer to work?

DOTG’s Live Downtown program offers incentives for living closer to work.

Who can I call about a broken pedestrian signal or unsafe sidewalk?

Tacomaservices.org is your one stop for reporting issues to the City of Tacoma.

Prefer to call? Here are some important numbers to know:

  • Pothole or street maintenance issue (253) 591-5495
  • Hazardous sidewalks (253) 591-5270
  • Problems with traffic signals or streetlights (253) 591-5287
  • Overgrown vegetation (253) 591-5001
  • Street sweeping requests and storm grate issues (253) 591-5585
  • Vehicles parked in bike lanes or on the sidewalk: (253)798-4721 Tacoma non-emergency police number

How can I report reckless behavior that endangers pedestrians?

The Tacoma Police Department has a website where you can submit issues and concerns, like cars failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. If you can do so safely, write down the time, date, location and license plate number of the vehicle.

DRIVING FAQs

Does driving my car really kill salmon and polar bears?

Driving has some significant effects on our environment, including the pollution of our local waterways (via dirty runoff that affects salmon habitat) and the emission of carbon that causes global warming (thereby melting glaciers and giving less access to ice for polar bears).

Where can I park if I only drive occasionally (i.e. not enough to warrant purchasing a monthly parking pass)?

If you’re coming downtown for less than two hours, you can park on-street. Staying longer? The City’s downtown off-street parking chart and map include daily rates.

How can I find a carpool partner?

RideshareOnline.com is the regional resource for finding carpool and vanpool partners for everyday trips and one-time events. Click on Ridematch, enter details about your trip and you will be given a list of potential matches. If you always want to drive or want a non-smoking vehicle, you can narrow your search. Couldn’t find a match? If you are carpooling to work, HR or your employee transportation coordinator may be able to help you find co-workers with similar schedules who live near you.

CAR SHARING FAQs

Have a question that you ask frequently but wasn’t asked here? Contact us and we’ll answer it.

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