More night buses so homeless have a place to sleep | KUOW News and Information

More night buses so homeless have a place to sleep

Oct 4, 2016

You have to get creative if you want to take a bus in Seattle late at night. Only 20 bus routes in King County run between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. 

A new King County Metro plan would expand those bus options. According to Metro, it's not just late-night workers or bar-goers who benefit. So do homeless people.

David Vanderzee is the lead planner on late-night service at Metro.

Vanderzee: "Seattle and King County is rapidly growing and experiencing unprecedented growth and becoming more of a 24-hour region, so that really has motivated us to propose these changes."

Daytime routes that serve the University District, Shoreline, Burien, West Seattle and downtown would start running overnight. Those overlap the existing Night Owl routes, so the Night Owl would go away.

Nighttime RapidRide lines would run more frequently. In addition, Metro wants to run a bus from downtown Seattle to SeaTac Airport after 1 a.m.

Alison Eisinger welcomes the changes. She directs the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and says dozens of people use buses at night as a safe place to sleep.

Downtown Seattle on a stormy night.
Credit Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy CC BY-SA 2.0

Eisinger: "While no one would set out to say that we should have busses serving as de facto shelter for people who are homeless, that is the reality. So we really appreciate that Metro has taken into account the full range of ridership."

The Metro proposal is open to public comment all month. If the County Council approves it, the bus routes would change next September.