Contributed by Snoqualmie Valley Transportation
Getting around Snoqualmie Valley without a car is easy with Snoqualmie Valley Transportation, a project of Mt. Si Senior Center – give them a call at 425-888-7001, and they’ll help you figure out which routes and services you need. Or you can find all the information you need on the organization’s updated website, www.svtbus.org, which launched in the last week of January.
A new and improved website has been a long-awaited milestone for SVT’s David Beegle, who worked with SVT Director Amy Biggs to plan the update and choose a designer. They examined other small bus companies’ websites and reviewed user complaints to determine what they needed.
The existing site, Beegle said, was “outdated and hard to navigate, and not very appealing to the eye.” It was also a little confusing to users because of the number and variety of services provided by SVT.
“There’s a lot of people who hear about SVT, and they actually go to the website… before they ever call us and try to find out information,” Beegle said. After reviewing the list of loop routes, fixed-route and variable-route shuttles, and appointment-based door-to-door service, “they’re still not clear on what the services are. As a matter of fact, a lot of people still think that the buses are for certain types of riders only and don’t understand that the buses are for everyone.”
The new site provides all the same information but with more details and is broken down by how riders would use each type of service, he said.
It’s also, says website designer Lisa Tuininga of The Medium in North Bend, “much more user friendly… Previously, much of the content required opening PDFs in your browser. Now the site is better organized with more information directly integrated, as well as some visual hierarchy to guide the user to important elements.”
Beegle says the visual hierarchy will be helpful for visitors because “I know people are going to be looking at it on their phones.”
The new site will also be translatable into many different languages.
Rider alerts may be the most helpful addition to the website. Riders can sign up for email alerts about changes to the service, such as during flooding. The alerts will also save staff time, said Biggs, since they will be able to send one message to all affected users and post the information to the website simultaneously.
Another long-awaited feature, a trip planner, has been postponed but should be implemented later in the year. The feature will be based on GIS mapping data for all SVT routes and will allow users to get a full route calculated from origin to destination, all in one application.
“A trip planner, like the one for King County Metro services, was really at the top of the list for the new website,” said SVT Director Amy Biggs. While she’s excited about the future trip planner and how easy it will make riding the bus in the Valley, her favorite new element is the restructured content.
“It’s going to have a much more robust Jobs page,” she said. “All the job descriptions will be there, and the pay scales for drivers, call-takers and dispatchers, too.”
Currently, SVT is sorely understaffed, with openings for five drivers, a call-taker and a dispatcher.
“This is such a great place to work, so we need to make it easier for people to understand what the jobs are and where advancement opportunities can lead our folks,” Biggs stated. Applications and job information can all be found at https://svtbus.org/jobs.
Since the site is built in WordPress, SVT or The Medium can easily do site maintenance, said Tuininga. Generally, she said, she recommends quarterly updates to the software, “but a nicely designed, functional website can last for years.”
People will find the new site at the URL they’ve always used, www.svtbus.org. And while it will help people to find the information without calling SVT, the site will not take the place of the call-takers assisting riders in planning their trips.
Biggs said, “Despite having a great new site, a lot of people just would prefer to talk to someone and have some things explained to them. And that’s great too!”
About Snoqualmie Valley Transportation: Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT) is a public bus service in Snoqualmie Valley. Funded by King County Metro Transit, Snoqualmie Tribe, WSDOT, and donations, SVT provides a variety of local-only bus services in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Preston, Carnation, Duvall and Monroe. For more information, visit http://svtbus.org or call 425-888-7001.
About The Medium: Josh and Lisa Tuininga founded the graphic design studio in 2003. They have clients all over the country and in a variety of industries, including many businesses local to the Snoqualmie Valley. Learn more at www.the-medium.net.