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NEWS | Jan. 25, 2023

Transportation transformation: What are your options?

By Ben Hutto, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Since it was established in 1891, the shipyard has attracted people to it. The City of Bremerton was incorporated just outside the gates in 1901 and has helped provide the command with a committed workforce for the past 131 years. But more than a century of modernization and expansion, both inside and outside the industrial area, does not come without its own unique growing pains.

As the waiting list for parking on Naval Base Kitsap grows, and parking in downtown Bremerton becomes harder to find and more expensive to acquire, shipyard leadership continues to explore alternative methods for workers to commute safely and affordably.

In keeping with the Get Real, Get Better mindset, the command wants to hear your concerns, challenges and ideas. The voices of our employees are a vital component in the process of understanding and meeting our workers’ needs.

In the coming months, PSNS & IMF, in partnership with Kitsap Transit, will be exploring solutions to help employees with their commute and will be asking them to participate in a transportation survey to identify more effective transportation and parking options. In the meantime, employees are encouraged to explore the various methods to travel to and from the shipyard and determine whether any of the existing resources might fit their needs.

The Transportation Incentive Program, Worker/Driver buses and rideshare vans are all programs that allow workers to commute with greater ease and convenience.

Established during World War II, the Kitsap Transit Worker/Driver buses created a unique program that operates much like a large carpool. Today both Kitsap and Mason Transit worker/driver riders can board a bus near their home in the morning and travel to work, picking up co-workers along the way. After work, they repeat the process home. Park & Rides—programs where workers park at one central location and ride in together—are available throughout Kitsap, Mason and Pierce Counties.

Despite the advantages of not driving into work, like alleviated traffic congestion, and saving money on gas and parking, participation in these programs has steadily decreased since 2017.

One of the factors that may be contributing to this drop is the complicated and time-consuming application process for some of these programs. While many of these measures have been put in place to help curb fraud, waste and abuse, they can sometimes deter applicants.

Shipyard leadership is hoping the upcoming survey will help better inform the command of employees’ parking woes and transportation concerns. Some of the options being considered include staggering work shift times to spread out traffic congestion and employing more buses and vans to areas of need.

To share your feedback with the PSNS & IMF Transportation Council, please email your comments to psns.pao.fct@us.navy.mil.