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Metro Briefs King County Council On Proposed Service Reductions

Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY-NC-ND)

A committee of the King County Council heard some of the particulars behind Metro Transit’s proposed plan to reduce service by 16 percent after voters rejected Proposition 1 last week.

Prop 1 would have helped fund bus service and transportation improvements. The cuts to service will come in four phases starting in June.

While an initiative to raise property taxes in Seattle in order to help bus service is being proposed by transit supporters for the November ballot, County Executive Dow Constantine said at this point the first round of cuts is imminent. 

Under the proposal 72 metro routes will be eliminated and 84 will be changed.  

Department of Transportation Services Manager Victor Obeso told County Council members Tuesday that Metro looked at ridership, demographics and social equity when determining which routes would be cut or scaled back. 

“On the whole, as we take a reduction this large, there’s nothing good about this proposal in terms of its impact to our system and its riders," Obeso said. 

He told council members that Metro expects to lose about 9 percent of riders because of the cuts.

'Messes With Everyone's Schedule'

Becca Reilly doesn't have a car and takes the number 30 bus every day from Sand Point through the University District of Seattle.

By September the bus she catches midday on University Way will be eliminated, along with night and weekend service. Under metro's proposal it will be gone completely by June next year.

When that happens Reilly said she’ll try to ride her bike more often and maybe carpool. But for some of her coworkers who live outside the city, things look a little more complicated. 

“They get a transfer to the 30. That gets us to the office. That’s the bus that usually lines up with their schedule. So they’d have to leave really early or get there just before," Reilly said. "It messes with everyone’s schedule."

Reilly voted yes on Prop 1. 

She thinks the measure may have failed because proponents relied too much on the doom and gloom outcome for buses and didn’t highlight any of the benefits for the county.   

The council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee will get another briefing from Metro next week. A series of public meetings begin May 13.

The council is expected to vote on the cuts in June.