In just over two weeks, a day will come which many readers and authors of this blog have long awaited: the last, lonely trip of Metro Route 42. Once a major route serving Martin Luther King Way, with the third-highest ridership in Southeast Seattle, it was rendered superflous by the opening of Central Link and extension of Route 8 to Rainier Beach. Metro thus proposed killing this route in its entirety, but in a now-all-too-familiar example of excellent political organizing used to spike a smart idea, one local community organization — the Asian Counseling and Referral Service — scared the King County Council into keeping a gutted version of the route, which happened to be just long enough to connect the ACRS’s two properties.
The 42 limped on as a shadow of its former self, with practically nonexistent ridership. Metro attempted again, last year, to delete the 42 as part of a round of cuts to “worst of the worst” routes, and ACRS used the same tactics to delay the deletion of the route, and force Metro to undertake a program of “intense outreach” to Southeast Seattle. This consumed lots of staff time and produced lots of interesting reports which highlighted some problems with bus facilities, public safety, and customer communication, but failed to uncover anything remotely resembling a good reason to keep the 42 (although it did give me an excuse to write about splitting Route 8 and improving Route 106).
But enough of this history. The bell tolls; the shakeup is at hand. The last trip of the 42 must not be lonely. In death, we shall give Bus 42 what it had not in life: riders; many riders.
The next Seattle Transit Blog meetup begins at 4:43 PM on Friday, the 15th of February, at 3rd Ave S & Main St. We will board the last outbound 42 to Columbia City, disembark at Rainier & Alaska, and repair to the Columbia City Ale House for drinks. (Be a few minutes early, or check OneBusAway, in case the bus is ahead of schedule). The Ale House is 21+ (sorry!), but I’ll also be at Caffe Vita, just a block away, from about 4 PM, for those of you who can get away early and want to chat for a while. If you don’t work downtown or can’t get off work in time, you can join us at your convenience by using one of the many other vastly superior transit services (Link, 7, 8, 9X, 50) which can get you within walking distance of Columbia City.
This is an informal meetup; we don’t plan to have a speaker, but experience suggests that we can all have a great time both with or without one. More meetups with awesome speakers are tentatively in the works for spring. Please RSVP in the comments so we can get a rough headcount, and watch for a reminder post with confirmation of the venue closer to the time.