Since I was talking about Clark County, I thought about C-Tran, since transit is also one of my hobby-horses (it dovetails nicely into my continuing interests in maps and design). They've been going through some struggles lately, and there's been developments that show the direction they're pointing, at least for now. Here's what I've found out.
First a quick back story. In 2000, C-Tran lost 40% of its funding. C-Tran responded to this by elminating most rural service. In November 2004, C-Tran ran Proposition One up the flagpole, a sales tax increase that would have restored a 2000 level of service; a majority did not salute. C-Tran responded by planning to implement changes that would reduce service by a further 46 percent. Cited as prospective changes were the elimnation of service outside the Vancouver city limits, reduction of evening service, and elimination of all weekend service and fixed-route service in Camas-Washougal, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, Yacolt, and La Center.
Right now the district is implementing a change to the taxing and service boundary. When approved by voters in 1980, the C-Tran service and taxing area included the whole of Clark County. The district, in March 2005, approved a drastic reduction to those boundaries, to the Vancouver Urban Growth Boundary and the city limits of Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground, Yacolt, Camas, and Washougal. The latter two cities and Vancouver are contiguous and amount to one continuous service area; the four former cities, not contiguous to the other three, are connected to them by what C-Tran calls "non-service" transportation corridors-connecting express routes between these areas where no stopping for loading or unloading happens.
Here's a map (courtesy of C-Tran) that describes the new boundaries.
Service within those outlying communities is changing to what is being called "innovative" service. This was pioneered by what was known as "The Connector" (download 150KB PDF from C-Tran here), which amounts to flexible demand dial-a-ride service serving the northwest Camas area, similar to what Tri Met has been doing in Cedar Mill for the past couple of years. As implemented in the Service Preservation Plan, each of the four outlying communities would recieve "Connector"-style service, becoming flexible-demand non-fixed route service enabling local residents to get to a transfer point in town where they could then board an express bus route taking them into Vancouver.
C-Tran is going to be asking voters for a sales tax increase in the near future of 0.02 percent. All changes-including all necessary reductions in service and coverage-are to be implemented on 25 September 2005.
Details on the C-Tran Boundary Reductions can be found at this link.
Details on the C-Tran Service Preservation Program, including a thumbnail of what C-Tran service on the ground is expected to look like, can be found at this link.