As Martin correctly pointed out on Saturday, one week is indeed too early to be jumping to conclusions about Metro’s Fall service change, especially since everything happened as we thought it would. One week, however, was enough to convince Metro to make some tweaks to address the most serious overcrowding post-shakeup.
On top of the extra C Line trips that Martin already alluded to, Metro has also elected to remove the Eastgate Freeway Station as an afternoon eastbound stop for the 218 (Issaquah Highlands express), a change that will occur starting next Monday, the 15th. The service change was originally meant to reduce passenger loads on the route by moving its companion, the 212 (Eastgate), to the surface. Ironically, overcrowding worsened after many Eastgate riders remained rooted in the tunnel even as 218 trips were reduced:
This action by King County Metro Transit is an interim step to help ease overcrowding and provide more space for riders traveling beyond Eastgate to the Issaquah Highlands. In response to customer concerns, Metro recently reduced the number of Route 218 trips, added trips to Eastgate-bound Route 212 and moved that route out of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to 2nd Avenue, locating it with other, similar Eastgate-bound service.
Despite the September 29 service revision, many passengers heading to Eastgate have continued to ride Route 218, forcing some riders to be passed by full buses, and further frustrating those riders heading beyond Eastgate to the Issaquah Highlands.
While the move is only interim as Metro researches other options, Issaquah Highlands riders will be glad to see their buses rid of leeching Eastgate folk. Service adds, of course, are relatively easy to implement, which is why they’ve been the quickest fixes made since the shakeup. But beyond minute tweaks, there remain looming issues, of which only time will tell how lasting their impacts might be.