About Link Transit
A special transit conference was held on March 14, 1989 and elected officials passed a resolution declaring the need for a two-county transit system. On November 21, 1989, after a series of public meetings, officials created a Public Transportation Benefit Area (PTBA), as authorized by Chapter 36.57A RCW. The original PTBA boundaries included all of Chelan County and the Eastmont and Waterville School district boundaries in Douglas County. In 1996 the voters in Douglas County Orondo School District area voted to annex into the PTBA increasing Link’s service area to 3,500 square miles.
The legal name of the System is “the Chelan-Douglas PTBA d.b.a. Link Transit”. Link’s name is symbolic of its mission to provide connectivity between our rural and urban communities; to provide mobility options which is well described through Link’s motto: “Connecting Our Communities”.
The mission of Link Transit is to provide safe, reliable, and cost effective public transportation services that promote citizen access to work, recreation, commerce, and public services.
The Chelan-Douglas PTBA (Link Transit) Board of Directors consists of twelve voting members who are local elected officials and one non-voting labor representative. The governing board includes a representative from each city within Link’s district: Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Chelan, Entiat, Waterville, Rock Island, Leavenworth, and Cashmere; two representatives from both Douglas County and Chelan County; and consistent with State Law, Link Transit has a non-voting board member who is a representative of the Agency’s bus operator’s union.
Since the System’s inception the Board has been and continues to be committed to building and maintaining a first-class system that makes riding transit a safe and enjoyable experience that is accessible to all. Special attention is given to keep Link Transit compliant with the rules and regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Managing the day to day operations of the System, Link’s executive management team is headed by General Manager Richard DeRock who was hired in 2002. Mr. DeRock came to Wenatchee and Link Transit after managing transit services in the Los Angeles area for nineteen years. Working with the General Manager the executive management team is completed with four department managers: Chief of Staff / Finance, Operations, Administrative Services, and Vehicle & Facilities Maintenance / IT.
Link Transit began operating public transportation services on December 16, 1991 after voters approved a 0.4% sales and use tax funding level in September 1990. Twenty-eight years later, on August 6, 2019, the voters approved a proposition to increase Link’s sales tax appropriation by 0.2%. This is a “phased” increase that began January 1, 2020 with a 0.1% increase; later on January 1, 2022 the second 0.1% increase will become effective. By January 2022 Link Transit expects to be funded by a total 0.6% sales and use tax collected within the System’s two-county service district.
The Board adopted 2020 Operating Budget is $19,275,452. The Capital Budget totaling $7,674,191 is comprised of $4,345,683 from Link’s reserves, and $3,328,508 from state and federal grant funding. The primary focus and goal is continued sustainability and implementation of Link Transit’s Vision 2020 Expansion Plan, which was approved by local voters in August 2019. Plan summary:
- Redesign the urban transit network to optimize service delivery and make travel times competitive with private automobiles.
- Develop the infrastructure necessary to implement Vision 2020 and make transit service more relevant to our communities.
- Continue to preserve and maintain existing public transportation facilities and equipment in excellent condition.
Link Transit coordinates with the Chelan-Douglas Transportation Council and other local jurisdictions in Link’s service area to integrate public transportation into the regional transportation system as a full mobility partner.
Current Operations in 2020
Days of Service: In July 2018 hours of service for Monday – Friday were expanded to operate between 4:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for commuter runs, and between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. for local urban routes. In 2020 an even more significant service change was effected - Sunday service was implemented! Today Sunday service for most of the urban routes is provided from 9:30 – 4:30 p.m. On Saturday the urban routes operate from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Regional route services are also provided on Saturday and Sunday with five (5) trips traveling to Chelan between the hours of 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Weekend travel to Leavenworth is also provided with seven (7) trips operating between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Routes Operated: Three (3) shuttle routes, A, B, and C that serve the urban-core business districts of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee; six (6) local fixed routes in the urbanized area of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee; eight (8) regional routes providing service to and from our rural communities; two (2) dial-a-ride (DART) routes, one in Leavenworth and one in Chelan; and a short shuttle route “D” that serves the main business district of Leavenworth.
Link Transit also provides LinkPlus paratransit services within ¾ miles of the fixed routes to persons with disabilities who cannot use the fixed route service.
Link’s services provide access to ten (10) park & ride lots located throughout its service area in the communities of Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Peshastin, Cashmere, Entiat, and Chelan. Link’s routes either travel by or are within ¼ mile of all of the public schools in its service area; Link Transit also provides service to Wenatchee Valley College.
Fares: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all fares have been suspended and Link is currently operating as “fare free”. This was done to reduce rider – driver interactions at the fare box. Before COVID-19 Link’s base fare was $1.00 per boarding for local urban fixed routes; $2.50 per boarding for regional routes (travel between Wenatchee and Leavenworth, Chelan-Manson, or Waterville). And the cost per boarding for local LinkPlus paratransit service was $1.50. Whether or not this same fare structure will be re-implemented after the Pandemic is controlled will be a Board decision.
Link’s Operations & Maintenance base is located at 2700 Euclid Avenue in Wenatchee, WA. The current complex was constructed and opened in January 2000. The complex provides 8,700 square feet for operations and part of the administrative staff; 28,000 square feet for maintenance; and 39,000 square feet of covered bus parking located on 11 acres in the Olds Station business park area of Wenatchee.
Link also operates Columbia Station located in downtown Wenatchee at 300 S. Columbia Street. Opened in 1997, Columbia Station is a regional intermodal facility that includes an off-street transfer center for Link Transit buses; it also serves as a center to provide connections to intercity buses: Northwest Trailways, Grant Transit, and the Apple-Line services; Amtrak train service, taxi cabs, and bicycle options.
Link Transit’s “Guest Services” is located at Columbia Station which provides optimal opportunities for customers needing information and assistance.
Link Transit – Your Way to Go!
On December 16, 2021 Link Transit will celebrate the milestone of providing 30 years of transit services for our communities. Link Transit not only serves the 120,000 residents living with the PTBA, but also offers transportation to the many visitors who choose North Central Washington as a vacation or convention destination. We consider everyone that comes aboard our buses to be our “guest” and strive to assure everyone a dependable, safe, efficient, and courteous ride. Welcome Aboard!