Vote Yes on Prop 1 (Really)

[April 1st fun's over, back to our regular programming. - Ed.]

Martin recently participated in a forum for employers about Proposition 1, the ballot measure to maintain Metro’s current service levels and fund road maintenance. Towards the end, one attendee asked the panel, “What are the reasons people are giving for voting against this? It seems like a no-brainer.”

That attendee was exactly right. That we should keep bus service hours at least at their current levels is such a blindingly obvious requirement for an economically robust, environmentally clean, and socially just region that it seems tedious to write down the reasons why. However, to summarize: transit is open to people of nearly all incomes and abilities; is better for public health than car use; levies few externalities on others; uses less precious road space per person; and provides a refuge from accident deaths, air and water pollution, and the perils of road users texting while driving. It is critical to the operation of our most economically important neighborhoods and a crucial discriminator for our economy in the global competition for talent.

As  Metro’s ridership grows to record numbers along with our region, and cars continue to make less sense, the demand for transit will only increase. Clearly, a cut in the taxes we pay for transit (a No vote allows the $20 tab fee to expire without replacement) is moving King County in the wrong direction. Moreover, Prop. 1 frees King County from the hostage situation where the legislature will not let us save Metro without also approving massive, sprawl-inducing, climate-altering highway expansion.

The arguments against this vote – both sincere and insincere – simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

  • Metro has already made significant efforts to reduce its budget hole – including winning concessions from its unionsraising fares three times, cutting low-performing service, and cutting back in places where it shouldn’t, like cleaning bus stops, security, and customer information. In fact, the transit-hostile state legislature was so impressed with their measures that Metro was the only agency to win temporary authority for a $20 license fee to avoid cuts two years ago.
  • Although a vehicle license fee and sales tax would not be our first choice, they are the only option for the County; moreover, a low-income license fee rebate and low-income fare will largely blunt the impact on low-income car owners and leave low-income bus riders significantly better off.
  • Predictions about the future are hard, and while cuts might not be exactly 17% if Prop 1 fails, they will still be on a large and unacceptable scale.
  • A needed restructure of the route network is easier to execute when service is growing — which allows new service patterns to coexist with the old, build their own constituency, and prove their worth — then when cuts force everyone into a defense of what they currently have.
  • All of our transportation modes are subsidized, especially when they get into trouble. For starters, the sales tax exemption for gasoline is a huge giveaway to drivers (over $650m per year statewide) paid for by the rest of us. To single out a sustainable form of transportation to pay its own way makes no sense.

Proposition 1 is indeed a no-brainer. The high-level principles are clear, and the tactical arguments against are nonsense. We urge you to vote yes before April 22nd, and to donate your money or time towards passage.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Matthew Johnson, and Frank Chiachiere.




Comments

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      Enter the spin zone… where conservatives really, actually, truly care about the poor…

    • David Lawson says

      I think you meant to say “Dori Monson utters some nonsensical ramblings trying to justify his usual, diehard anti-transit position.”

      His “logic” requires as a premise that most cars are owned by the poorest residents.

    • says

      I clicked the link.

      Ironic that Dori Monson wrote what he wrote, then is a pitchman for the Association of Washington Business and worried about the “business climate”. Yeah, some business climate if the transit system crumbles…………

    • CascadianBlue says

      Hard to take seriously when he inaccurately implies that poor people will pay the full $60 car tab.

  1. David Lawson says

    I own two cars. Prop 1 will cost me $80 per year plus whatever 0.1% on the sales tax ends up being for me. It’s a tiny price to pay in order to avoid a deep gash at the core of our transportation system. I can’t wait to get my ballot and vote Yes.

    If you want a city to grow, transit is a necessary part of the infrastructure just like water, sewer, and electricity. Without transit, you can’t have anything more urban than the Houston or Phoenix suburbs, because otherwise there is just not enough room for everyone to store, drive, and park personal cars. We don’t have the luxury of that much room in Seattle, which is hemmed in by water, mountains, and growth boundaries. We have already maxed out our road network and there is no room for road expansion in the most critical places. Shrinking Seattle’s transit system is shrinking its potential for job growth and economic success — full stop.

    I’m not on the STB Editorial Board but I emphatically agree with STB’s endorsement.

      • says

        David, guys like Dori and Hannity and Boze made this moderate Republican UNPLUG talk radio. When I can hear and occasionally have an intelligent conversation with a host, I’ll tune in to poli-talk again. Until then, it’s 710 ESPN for me.

    • William Aitken says

      I’m going to vote yes on Prop 1 when my ballot arrives, even though I think that it’s a truly horrible piece of legislation. I’ll do so largely because it’s better than the only alternative that is actually on the table. As other have argued a 17% cut to services would dramatically change the sort of city that Seattle can be.

      I don’t see much point in expanding on why I think that the sorts of changes imposed by 17% cut ar unacceptable; others can, have and will contiue to do so, and their writings are likely to be far better than anything I can produce at the moment. Instead, I’m going to explain why I think that this is a terrible piece of legislation.

      State law severely limits the available funding sources for local governement. We are constrained in both the types of taxes and the amounts of these taxes we may levy. Many of our available revenue sources come with strings attached: we have to spend the money in particular ways, even if there are greater needs elsewhere in the budget. Many of our means of taxation come with time limits and mandatory voter approval. I believe that together these constraints to fragmented decision making, lack of continuity, and inadequate strategic planning. It’s not unreasonable to ask whether government abuses the process by shifting popular, essential services to special levies, while funding lower priority services with general taxation. I also believe that the constant barrage of requests for taxing authority tires voters and provides support to a world view that government is always asking for more tax dollars; in particular, the need to periodically renew these taxes helps perpetuate the belief that taxes, once levied, never go away. Each time we approve a measure like this one, we help perpetuate the inefficient, obfuscatory tax code. We do so because alternative — letting the system collapse is too painful — but our acquiesence comes at huge cost: it makes a mockery of informed democracy.

      Others have complained a great deal about the regressive nature of the taxes. I have very little sympathy for this line of argument. First, the council has done almost everything within its power to mitigate the regressive nature of the taxes. Second, while I accept that the sales tax increase is somewhat regressive, this is significantly additionally mitigated by the broad exceptions — food, housing, gasoline — which are to a large degree progressive in effect. Additionally, its measure is so small, that I doubt more than a hadful of households will see a sales tax increase greater than the price of latte per month. Third, the registration fee can be viewed as (among other things) an attempt to internalize the externalities associated with motor vehicle ownership. When viewed in this light, calling the fee regressive seems as nonsensical as calling the price of caviar regressive. Put another way, just as I’d object to saying that the wealthy should be allowed to impose the cost of their economic activities on others, so too I’d object to a proposition that the poor should be so allowed. Finally, I strongly suspect that much of the crying here, both on the right, and to a lesser bt nevertheless real extent, on the left is really the shedding of crocodile tears.

      More substansively, but perhaps less important to me, I simply reject the council’s assertion that there is no fat to cut at Metro. Metro remains one of the highest cost providers in the country. This seems to be true no matter what metric one uses for its deliverables. Whenever they have used other providers of bus service, Sound Transit’s costs have decreased. [My impression, perhaps wrong, is that this has _not_ been a result of less deadheading]. Finally, despite all the talk about deep cuts Metro’s expenditures are significantly higher now than they were in 2008, Metro’s record year for service provision. This is clearly true in nominal terms, but it appears to be true even if you allow for the effects of inflation. Increased fuel costs are some of the story, but they can’t be all of it: diesel isn’t that much more expensive, Metro’s fleet has become more modern, and fuel costs just aren’t that big a chunk of expenses to begin with. Sooner or later Metro’s outsized cost structure needs to be addressed. It is deeply unfair to ask voters to continue to support its bloat.

      I also wonder a methodology designed to evaluate incremental changes in service makes sense when presented with a cut as large as the one required. Would other methodologies have resulted in cuts that looked more palatable to voters? I don’t know. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone else does either.

      I also question whether this tax request is sufficiently ambitious. On the one hand, it risks freezing current services in amber. While everyone that matters has, so far, been careful not to promise that the current service pattern is safe, I nevertheless expect that many voters will feel that a promise has been made to preserve their favorite bus. On the other, it does only enough to keep the current service levels at a time when there is an obvious need for more.

      In conclusion, while I fully intend to support this measure, I do so, not because I think it’s a great law, but because doing so is the lesser of the two evils that have actually been offered as choices. Oh, and it seems like a small price to save the 202.

      • mic says

        An excellent comment that captures the dilemma many pro-transit voters will likely feel as they ‘hold their nose and pull the yes lever’. The next big ‘Ask’ will come in a couple of years for ST3, then followed by Metro to max out this terrible piece of legislation to 2/10 cent sales tax and $100 tabs. I expect that to occur well before the 10 year sunset clause (cough, cough) occurs.

      • asdf says

        By the time the 10-year sunset clause kicks in, Link will be up and running all the way from Redmond to Lynnwood. Lots of service spent today to move people along the future link corridors will not be necessary anymore.

        If you think of it this way, Metro really should be able to provide acceptable service in 2023 with less money, not more money, than they are spending now. (Unless of course, demand for transit continues to grow to the point where the threshold for “acceptable” service significantly increases).

        What prop 1 is about is making sure that people aren’t screwed for the next 10 years, while Link extensions are still under construction, and not enough bus service to go around for the interim.

      • mic says

        Link will certainly be a boon for CT routes being truncated at Lynnwood, and some Metro trips from up north, but you won’t see many changes to S.King, and marginal changes on the east link line.
        Link ridership on build-out relies on buses (about 60% of all riders) to deliver it’s ‘Trunk’ line ridership.
        It would be nice to see both Link and Metro growing in ridership in a big way.

      • Bernie says

        S. King is telling because ST doesn’t have the money to create the bus routes that would boost ridership on Link because they are rail poor. And truncating existing routes ends up adding time to the commute because of Link’s take the scenic route to DT Seattle. Commuters to well paying jobs in the DT core care about time. East Link take this to a whole new level. Who’s going to pick up the slack on B’vue WY currently served by the 550? Not ST. Who’s going to deliver riders to the East Link stations in the muffler district? Not ST. Yeah, let’s spend half of our tax base for transit to move development farther from existing transit to where it favors single site developers like Wright Runstad who have put big bucks behind their candidates in City Council races.

      • Mike Orr says

        Bernie, you’re taking a small point and acting like it’s the the overriding factor. Only a small fraction of people live on south Bellevue Way or go to south Bellevue Way. Link helps the entire middle of Bellevue including downtown and Crossroads, and south Redmond, and eventually downtown Redmond. All that is centrally located, while south Bellevue Way is in an obscure corner. What about the people who are having to sit on the bus through Bellevue Way and make their trips longer because the 550 doesn’t go on 405 like it should have in the first place?

  2. says

    The one potential argument I think there is for voting against prop 1 is that the restructure built into the reduction plan is a very good restructure that makes things more efficient, which may not happen at all if prop 1 passes. The ultimate scenario would be if prop 1 passes and a similar restructure took place (for a local example, if route 187 in Federal Way still gets routed to S. 312th St, but route 901 gets routed farther north to the Redondo beach area instead of getting cut).

    • David Lawson says

      The restructure work is very good under the circumstances, but the cut is so severe that even with the restructure the vast majority of trips get worse.

      As Martin says, the way to gain acceptance of restructures is to do it in a way that makes life better for most people and minimizes the pain for the rest to the extent possible. You can’t minimize anyone’s pain with a 17% cut.

      If you associate restructures with worse service in the public’s mind, you’ll never get another restructure through the County Council again.

      • MrZ says

        I agree with parts of the route re-structuring, I think Metro needs to almost have a near-constant cycle going like what they had a few years ago with the major changes in every area that worked its way through the system. Unfortunately, with the route restructures frequency and span which is just as important, if not more so gets lost. I am also having some issues with abandonment of service to the S. Federal Way P&R and Twin Lakes P&R. I realize Federal way P&R still has plenty of space, however if a sudden spike in fuel prices came, there would be no immediately useable overflow capacity. Prehaps this is an issue that KCM and ST could work on. I have been thinking that the 574, 577, 578 could at least serve the Federal way P&R on weekdays, and perhaps even S. Federal Way P&R as well

      • asdf says

        I disagree. As long as there is ample parking space at Federal Way Transit Center, anyone that has a car to drive to one of the other, nearby P&R’s can just as easily drive to the transit center. If and when, the transit center parking garage fills up, then you can talk about routing buses to some of the other, nearby lots. But until then, why spend the money?

      • MrZ says

        @asdf According the last Metro P&R survey I have seen, Federal Way Transit Center is at 97% utilization (which is actually down from 99% I have seen in prior years). The S 320th P&R (Old FWTC) still has ample capacity, as its only at 41%. South Federal Way is at 36% and Twin Lakes is at 14%. Obviously there is going to be spillover from FWTC into S 320th, which if EVERYONE who was displaced drove there, would push that P&R up around 70%. This is another reason why I think the 574/577/578 should serve the S. 320th P&R.

      • Bernie says

        Ah, follow the percentages in the posts. 97% when it’s free parking. Want more revue? Well why not start by asking your most expensive “customers” for a contribution?

      • MrZ says

        I for one am not opposed to charging for use of major P&R lots, and if it were up to me I would be implementing a system virtually overnight to do so.

      • Mike Orr says

        Many of us agree with charging for parking at P&Rs. ST is studying it at the lots they use. Haven’t heard about Metro.

  3. Charles B says

    No regrets here on pulling the yes lever for me. I only wish we had an additional expansion measure on offer too, but I know it will difficult enough getting folks to the polls on an off year (and out of season) election for the bus funding problem.

  4. Brian S. says

    I read somewhere that Metro and Sound Transit together take in 3x the tax revenue (per average weekday boarding) compared to TriMet, and that it is even worse when you compare the taxing to other bus and train services providers. Why do Sound Transit and Metro tax so much more heavily than the peers (plus it’s regressive, not like in NYC where I’m from)?

    • Martin H. Duke says

      For starters, Portland has largely built out their cost-effective rail network, while we’re still building ours. So we’re paying taxes for benefits that will not materialize immediately.

      • Brian S. says

        Ben — First, Portland still is building out its light rail system ( the $1.7 BLN Portland to Milwaukie extension with that new bridge is under construction now). Also, it has kept its taxing at the same much lower rate than here during the three decades it built out the light rail, streetcar, and bus systems.

        Second, we are not paying for light rail with tax revenue. There is about $9 billion left of ST2 capital project spending for between now and 2023, and all that is going to be paid for using long term bond sales and MAP-21 grants from the feds.

        The heavy taxing here by Sound Transit and Metro is slated for operations costs, from here on out.

      • Martin H. Duke says

        Portland’s ongoing construction is order of magnitude smaller than ours, and they’re already reaping the benefits of replacing several buses with a single train on trunk routes. TriMet has also gotten significant financial help from their state, while ours charges ST for the privilege of using right-of-way more efficiently.

        Not paying for new light rail with tax revenue! LOL. I guess ST2 was just to fund a few hours of express buses.

      • aw says

        In 2013, ST spent $201M on fully allocated (with admin overhead) operating costs. Most of the revenue collected was used for capital projects. $600M was spent on capital projects, most of that going toward Link.

        Of the tax revenue collected, $15.8M was from the MVET which I would call a progressive tax.

      • Glenn in Portland says

        I would also point out that here in Portland, TriMet operations are paid for with payroll taxes rather than sales taxes. This means that TriMet has already gone through its period of cuts from the recession, and is now able to expand service again due to expanding payroll. Sales taxes will take a while to recover because people need to be paid for working before they can buy stuff. We were hit with the severe cuts before KCM was, though.

        Also, TriMet serves a district rather than a county. The more rural communities have their own local transit districts.

    • JamieS says

      Any chance you could point to this “somewhere” so we can see whether there’s merit to it?

      Sound Transit is collecting taxes for huge infrastructure projects that currently provide zero boardings, so that could be an explanation for the discrepancy.

      • William Aitken says

        Well our cost recovery from fares is aboput average, but our fares are well above the norm.

      • Brian S. says

        Found it — here’s the info on taxing and cost per average weekday boarding:

        _____

        Sound Transit now confiscates about $660 million of regressive tax revenue each year, and Metro taxing (plus the distributions from the Seattle City Council of Bridging the Gap tax revenues) is another $530 million, for a total of $1.2 billion.

        In the greater Portland area there is NO targeting of individuals and families via regressive taxing. The $259 million of tax revenue TriMet confiscates comes from a progressive payroll tax, and it is the only taxing TriMet does.

        Now, let’s look at what those two areas with that tax revenue:

        – Average weekday boardings of Sound Transit buses and trains: 100,000 –

        http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/rider_news/ridership/Q4_2013_Service%20Delivery.pdf%20-%20Adobe%20Reader.pdf

        – Average weekday boardings of Metro buses: 390,000 –

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ao4RYEx3kgpodEpYVTYyTHNabWxDT0FocmJHVldvWEE&single;=true&gid;=1&output;=html

        – Average weekday boardings of TriMet buses and trains: 318,000

        http://trimet.org/pdfs/publications/factsheet.pdf

        Sound Transit and Metro combined thus have about 56% more boardings than TriMet, but they confiscate nearly 500% more tax revenue each year.

        That translates to Metro and Sound Transit imposing about three times the tax revenue per weekday boarding. Plus, it’s regressive taxing that’s done up here, which is designed to hit those with the least the hardest.

        _____

      • asdf says

        I’m going to have to call you on questionable use of language here.

        First, payroll taxes target individuals and families just as much as sales tax. Basic ECON 101 says whether the employer or employee is actually writing the check makes no difference – if the employer is writing the check, that simply means that the employee would be offered a lower salary than he/she would otherwise.

        Second, “Confiscate” is a very strong word – to used that word for our taxes, but not Portland’s, is misleading.

        Third, do not forget that Portland doesn’t really have anything resembling ST express buses. They do have MAX, but if you’re traveling along any corridor not served by MAX, you have either suck it up on local bus routes with stops everywhere or drive. (In a few cases, single-direction, peak-only express buses are available, similar to Metro routes 216, 218, etc.). MAX is also not a particularly fast service – they cut a lot of corners with the routing of the red line along the I-84/I-205 interchange, and they travel at a snail’s pace through downtown, itself.

      • Glenn in Portland says

        I will also say that the concept that TriMet only relies on payroll taxes is a bit of a fallacy. Operating funds, mostly yes. However, for construction of the Milwaukie MAX line funds came from the state of Oregon, city of Milwaukie, Clackamas County, urban redevelopment funds, and an assortment of other sources besides the Fed. There is no good way to trace the source of city general funds as they come from everywhere and wind up in one big pot. It’s everything from property taxes to utility franchise fees.

        So, while it is true that no dedicated taxes are being used for the current MAX construction, that doesn’t mean other sources aren’t being used. Those sources here just happen to be an assortment of other governments rather than a direct TriMet construction tax.

    • William Aitken says

      Why is average weekday boarding the right measure? Does it make a difference, or is someone cherry picking. The language (e.g. confiscate rather than collect) suggests an agenda, so I think it’s reasonable to ask.

      • Brian S. says

        Transit systems have to be robust enough to handle average weekday boardings levels, as that is peak demand. Moreover, there must be some additional capacity available for future growth. It’s a way of comparing transit systems in different Metro areas on an “apples to apples” basis — that’s why they all report that figure.

        The word “confiscations” is not mine — don’t tag me with that one. The only “agenda” I have is finding out why the taxing here already is so heavy. If there’s one thing a sustainable, well-managed transit system should exhibit it’s moderate taxation of people. You agree with that basic premise, right? Or are you a “tax to the max”, “all taxing is good taxing” type?

      • Martin H. Duke says

        If you think taxation here is too regressive to the poor, than Prop 1 is a wonderful measure for the reasons described in the post. Feel free to elect more politicians that think an income tax is a good idea; in the meantime, we’ll maintain our transit with the resources given to us.

      • aw says

        If the confiscate word is not yours, why didn’t you provide a citation to the source?

      • John Slyfield says

        Trimet and Kcm are funded using separate mechanisms have different populations that are served and have different systems. It would be nice to have rail from Tacoma to everett so we could axe a number of money wasting bus routes but we can’t do that yet.

        So while the payroll taxes might be on the rise in Portland the sales tax collections are dropping here.

        Pierce and community transit are adding service this year but only after dropping approximately half their service (and in the former dropping a huge chunk of land from the district).

        Once service starts getting cut it’s really difficult to get it back. And believe me we’ve been trying. It would be nice to let metro ct and pt get more stable funding sources but the dinocrats in Olympia want nothing to do with it.

      • KyleK says

        Brian S. — I don’t think you have any apples and oranges comparisons there. Pardon me if I’m wrong, but your question seems like you are setting up an intentionally misleading point. Like others have pointed out, we’re in the middle of funding massive capital projects that are not realizing their ridership gains yet. That quote you used looks like its from John Niles or someone with equal intentional misunderstanding of numbers.

        Ulink alone is expected to triple link ridership, for one. Look to Vancouver for where we are going in terms of ridership when our capital projects are completed — not to Portland.

      • Glenn in Portland says

        Passenger boardings really are not a good measure. Take a look at the respective maps of the two systems!

        TriMet gets as far as Forest Grove, a little bit of Wilsonville, Estacada, and Gresham. Basically, downtown Portland out about 15 to 20 miles or so on average. Up until a few weeks ago, the “Frequent Service Routes” of pre-2007 were cut back to once every 20 minutes rather than once every 15 minutes.

        If King County Metro were to adopt a similar route structure to what TriMet had as of the most recent financial statements (this past month allowed them to increase service, so things will be different now), you basically wind up with downtown Seattle to Federal Way and Shoreline, with maybe one route to Bellevue every half hour or so, and no route operating more than once every 20 minutes during the day, and perhaps three routes operating once every 10 minutes during peak periods (when previous to the cutbacks some routes were once every 4 minutes).

        SoundTransit’s regular bus service between Seattle and Tacoma would be pared back to resemble South Metro Area Regional Transit’s route from Salem to Wilsonville, so maybe there would be an express bus from Tacoma three or so times a day to Federal Way, where people could transfer to a KCM bus to get to downtown Seattle.

        The real measure of the system is cost per passenger-mile. Seattle and its suburbs are spread out over such a vast area that an awful lot of money will be consumed just moving people over the much larger miles that need to be covered in the Puget Sound region.

        So, now lets take a look at Federal Transit Administration region 10:

        Here’s how to get there:
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/profiles.htm
        Select region 10:
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/cs?action=showRegionAgencies&region=0

        So, now lets take a look at 2012 data for TriMet, King County Metro, and SoundTransit, respectively:
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2012/agency_profiles/0008.pdf
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2012/agency_profiles/0001.pdf
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2012/agency_profiles/0040.pdf

        and, since the city of Portland funds the Portland Streetcar, we have to include this:
        http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2012/agency_profiles/0058.pdf

        Cost Per Revenue Mile, Cost Per Hour, Operating Expense per Passenger Mile:
        TriMet bus operations: $12.04, $141.93, $0.99
        TriMet light rail: $12.88, $188.42, $0.45
        City of Portland Streetcar (not TriMet): $56.71, $323.04, $3.18
        KCM bus: $12.91, $155.38, $0.94
        KCM Trolleybus: $21.02, $144.04, $1.66
        KCM Streetcar: $44.69, $238.09, $4.30
        ST Commuter Bus: $8.91, $185.98, $0.43
        ST Light Rail: $20.12, $377.34, $0.76

        So, lets look at what those numbers mean:

        TriMet’s average bus service costs slightly more per passenger mile than the average for King County Metro. So, TriMet has no advantage there really in terms of cost, except King County Metro serves a lot more passengers and covers a lot more miles. Cost per revenue mile is a bit higher for King County Metro, but with the congestion in downtown Seattle the way it is this isn’t too surprising. The cost per hour is slightly higher, but it is more expensive to operate articulated buses and TriMet decided it didn’t want to operate those any more. Possibly those numbers reflect TriMet’s lack of these somewhat more expensive vehicles.

        The King County Metro trolley bus system is an obvious drain on the money in terms of cost per passenger mile and cost per hour. However, there isn’t too much that can be done on the hills in Seattle. If you put diesel buses on those those routes would immediately become slower, and vastly more expensive to operate due to having to have far more buses operate them. However, the expense of doing this would probably be submerged so deeply into the larger bus system that it wouldn’t become obvious those routes are a drain.

        However, in regard to the trolley buses I would also point out that their operation is cheaper on a cost per hour bases than King County’s regular bus system, and fairly close to TriMet’s bus operations. So, the real problem in terms of the costs of the trolley bus network seems to be the sheer amount of time taken for them to accumulate miles in Seattle’s traffic.

        Obviously, TriMet has a huge advantage when it comes to shuffling off a number of its passengers onto light rail, as they cost less than half of moving the same passengers by bus. However, TriMet can do this pretty easily because most of the MAX lines are ground level or close to it so transfers are very easy, and there is a unified fare so that all you have to do is show a bus transfer to use MAX. I know, I know, there is ORCA and all that, but the fact is that there are barriers in the Puget Sound region for people wanting to go from bus to light rail that is somewhat less of a problem in Portland.

        Another advantage for TriMet is that the very expensive Portland Streetcar was foisted off onto the city of Portland to operate, since they were the ones that demanded it be built anyway. Somehow, King County Metro (based on these numbers) seems to have gotten stuck with the expenses of the SLUT.

        SoundTransit light rail costs more per hour to operate, but how much of that cost is the cost of operating the tunnel, which is shared infrastructure between a bunch of buses and light rail? SoundTransit “light rail” stations are fairly elaborate affairs that are really much closer to full metro style stations than traditional light rail stations. Those are more expensive to operate (TriMet doesn’t have a single escalator in the entire system) but as the system gains more ridership that method of construction may prove useful.

        Also, I notice that SoundTransit has security staff at a number of its stations. TriMet has a very skeleton crew that handles this, and it has earned them much criticism every time some crime or another happens at or near a MAX station.

        The SoundTransit “commuter bus” operations seem to be extremely cost effective when it comes to their passenger mile counts, but they don’t stop much, and have dedicated HOV lanes in many locations. Those express buses are ever so slightly cheaper than Portland’s MAX to operate, but they don’t serve as many areas as MAX does due to the frequent station spacing on MAX.

        This last paragraph, I think, shows just how much money is being spent by King County Metro and SoundTransit on slow services that are hampered by traffic congestion. LINK would be less expensive per passenger mile to operate if it didn’t spend so much time on slow track in the tunnel, and the buses are congested there too. Surface routes are congested too.

        As indicated by others, anything that moves more passengers to light rail or other dedicated right of way is going to reduce the costs.

      • JamieS says

        @aw: He didn’t post a source because there is no source. It’s blog comment copypasta. A Google search for a unique phrase (“tax revenue TriMet confiscates”) gives two hits: a comment on a Crosscut post and a comment on a Sightline post.

      • djw says

        Glenn in Portland–

        Thanks for actually doing the research there. I was reasonably confident Brian S was full of it, but it’s good to see concrete data.

      • Nathanael says

        “So, the real problem in terms of the costs of the trolley bus network seems to be the sheer amount of time taken for them to accumulate miles in Seattle’s traffic.”

        Bus Lanes For Trolleybuses, anyone?

      • djw says

        By that measure, the Puget Sound region may not be doing as good as some areas, but it is doing far better than TriMet, despite TriMet having invested quite a lot of money into light rail lines.

        Given the evident shortcomings of public transit in the Seattle area, I’m always amazed we rank as high as we do on transit ridership. It’s particularly striking that we’re ahead of Baltimore, a city with light rail AND a subway and MARC and 3X the carless household rate as Seattle.

      • Mike Orr says

        Larger cities have more transit ridership. Liberal cities have more transit ridership. Environmentally-conscious cities have more transit ridership. Space-restricted cities with natural barriers have more transit ridership. Pugetopolis has all four; that’s why we have large ridership. Only the size and space restriction differentiate us from Portland, however.

        (Plus Vancouver is in a different state, which gives it more political freedom to develop like a small exurban town as if Portland didn’t exist, unlike Redmond or Bellevue. If Vancouver were in Oregon under its growth management act, it would be more walkable and have higher transit ridership.)

        If we had the pre-WWII transit infrastructure like northeastern cities or San Francisco, we’d have more ridership.

  5. William Aitken says

    Also, you do understand that employers base hiring decisions on the marginal cost of their workers, so the tax is either a drag on jobs, or a drag on salaries, depending on the exact shape of the supply curve. Either way hit hits families. And.as best as I can tell it’s a flat tax, which means its regressive too.

    • Mike Orr says

      The also look at the other side of the equation, the benefits of bus service. It’s not like this money is going into a black hole. Some employers recognize that transit brings both employees and customers, and that some employees choose jobs based on how easy it is to get there on transit.

      It is a flat tax, but with a partial rebate for the poor. We can’t do MVETs based on vehicle value because the legislature outlawed that. Nobody likes this bill’s regressiveness but it’s the only choce we have. A fairer tax structure can’t be in place by June; it would take years to enact.

    • William Aitken says

      My apologies, I somehow [Almost certainly operator error --- I feel like the software for this sort of branching discussione gets less and less usable by the year (no doubt, the problem is between my ears)] responded out of thread, and my comments make even less sense where they landed than they did in thread.

      What I was trying to point out was that TriMet’s tax structure is every bit as regressive as ours: it’s a flat payroll tax. In fact, I’d argue that as a result of the built in mitigations, associated new low income fares, and existing broad sales tax exemptions that are progressive in effect, the Prop 1 taxes are less regressive in practice than is TriMet’s payroll tax.

  6. Jeff Dubrule says

    So, I’m probably going to hold my nose & vote for it, but…

    Pros:
    - Does preserve existing service
    - Low-income fare seems like a good thing, especially with the Ride-Free area now gone.
    - New revenue source for bicycle & pedestrian improvements.
    - Removes the “vote for (somebody else’s) highways, or the bus gets it” leverage that the State Senate has over the Seattle area. If they want our rep’s votes on that crap, they’ll need to find some other way to get ‘em.

    Cons:
    - Does not change the fundamental volatility of Metro funding. Sales tax & tab fees are crappy ways to do this. Property and income taxes are much more progressive & stable.
    - Too much road funding (40% of $)
    - Only preserves service; we need an increase.
    - Yet Another Fare Increase, during a time when people outside the low-income bracket can least afford it.

    This is a bit of a weak-sauce deal, and comes after 2 other weak-sauce deals, which, anecdotally, have resulted in less-connected/informed people saying, “Hey, Metro keeps saying they’re going to cut service, so we voted for some new taxes/fees to save them, and then 2 years later, they’re back again asking for more money.”

    We need a permanent fix instead of just kicking the can down the road. Is this the right time to create a transportation-crisis in Seattle to make the state see that & step up? I don’t know…

    • lakecityrider says

      “We need a permanent fix instead of just kicking the can down the road. Is this the right time to create a transportation-crisis in Seattle to make the state see that & step up? I don’t know…”

      No, it isn’t. Holding services hostage is virtually never a successful “negotiation” tactic, especially when one participant in the argument–the anti-transit crowd–can get what it wants, which is reduced or no transit, by simply standing around and yelling until the system drops below a usable level. Real people take real trips on Metro and using them as pawns in a political game to try to make a better transit system is both unacceptable and an affront to democracy.

      If we want to have an actual discussion about the level of transit funding and its sources in this region, we can do so after the immediate threat has been taken care of for a decade. Voting “yes” on Prop 1 removes Metro from having to be in perpetual “campaign mode” by asking the voters for regressive taxes every couple of years and takes away a lever from the anti-transit crowd in Olympia. Our local leaders can then negotiate from a position of “we made it work anyway, now work with us to make it work better.”

    • Mike Orr says

      Yes we need a permanent fix, but the only way to do that is to get state lawmakers to change their minds, and they’re mostly outside King County. A transportation crisis didn’t help Snohomish County. The legislators who are against it don’t think transit is important anyway, so reducing it is just downsizing government. We can’t help what ill-informed people think about Metro, we just need to do what we can to keep it running at at least the current service level until a permanent fix is available.

      • MrZ says

        This is an area where I think all the agencies in the Puget sound region could get together and help each other and try to find a real solution instead of incrementing sales tax and car tabs and the like. I also think that it may take a failure of the system to bring this topic front and center. Pleasing the politicians will not be easy though, and I think the agencies will have to try to find every possible avenue to “nickel and dime” each rider (fare increases, charging to park at P&R lots, removing amenities (shelters) etc.) in order to be able to help persuade the state legislature that this problem needs to be addressed. While I hope that King County is able to get this passed, I have my doubts since its such a hefty fee (although no where like Europe). And I think that a real solution needs to be found, not just a Band-Aid approach time after time.

    • FBD says

      It seems to me that our basic problem is three irresponsible King County state senators. If they are sustaining any coherent and realistic medium- or long-term economic interest at all, it is that of rural eastern Washington. If they were instead sustaining the interests of King County, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
      So, suppose (as is likely) that failure of Prop. 1 creates a recognized transportation crisis in Seattle and its fringes (other than the gold-plated ones). But the suffering citizens are, with very few exceptions, not the ones that vote for these three miscreants. Yes, failure of Prop. 1 will be an economic drag on their parts of King County in the medium- and long-term, but it won’t be obvious by their next election, and can be explained away thereafter as arising from something else (as their voters will have forgotten Prop. 1 by then). And, if anything, failure of Prop. 1 will energize the Seattle-hating part of their base. I don’t see how a bus-mageddon would have any effect on these guys.
      In short, I can’t see how creating a transportation crisis will do anything to help solve our problem.
      On the other hand, passage of Prop. 1 could shift the question to: Why is the state doing nothing for transit in its largest county? If it did, your taxes would be LOWER.

  7. John Bailo says

    Today we’ve been hearing about the success of Obamacare in signing up new members.

    To make Obamacare possible, the NIIT — National Investment Income Tax — was raised to 3.8% and made mandatory at all income levels.

    It is an asset tax, the most fair of all taxes.

    Prop One raises the sales tax, which is already egregiously high and falls on the heads of the poor who must pay it with their smaller paychecks at each and every cash register. It also raises car tabs. This is essentially a flat tax on everyone since most people still need and drive a car in King County, and again, it weighs most heavily against the smaller incomes of the poor. Even worse it opens the door to continual and unrestricted increases in the future.

    The correct path, one shown by Obamacare, is to implement a state tax on passive income. A version of the NIIT — a “SIIT”. This would be a one percent tax on all investment, or passive, income. These incomes are by far the great majority of dollars made in the state, and would easily cover the costs of needed improvements all over. What is more, since a NIIT is already being paid, the accounting and paperwork should be minimal — as easy as checking a box on your online tax preparation software.

    Why keep using twigs and twine, when steel girders are available to help build Washington’s Infrastructure with a broad, fair and comprehensive tax on investment income?

    • William C. says

      Sounds a lot better than an income tax. Care to lead the coalition to convince Olympia, and in the meantime, vote for Prop 1 as a necessary stopgap?

    • Mike Orr says

      “Prop One raises the sales tax, which is already egregiously high and falls on the heads of the poor … Even worse it opens the door to continual and unrestricted increases in the future.”

      Nowhere do you mention the alternative to prop 1, which is less bus service. Do you think less bus service is better than prop 1? If so, say so.

      Less bus service means among other things, the 150 cutting off at 11pm, the 164 at 9pm, and the 180 at midnight. So no taking the 150 back from evening activities, and night shift workers at Kent warehouses will have to get cars.

      • Bernie says

        the alternative to prop 1, which is less bus service

        Wolf, wolf! This time for sure Rocky. There is some bus service which we not only need less of; we don’t need it at all.

      • Mike Orr says

        So we should slash service on already-overcrowded routes in order to get rid of the last remnants of the 61 and 25 (or whatever routes you think we don’t need)? That sounds like backward priorities.

      • Bernie says

        So we should slash service on already-overcrowded routes

        That’s what Metro proposes. It’s the kill the football program tactic if you don’t pass the school levy. Tell the public that the popular routes will be slashed while ignoring the cuts that could be made which only a vocal minority of the few that plague public meetings care about. It’s been proven over the last 1/2 dozen years that the only way efficiency happpens at Metro is when their backs are to the wall. Happily, when that is enforced Metro has actually responded pretty well. Of course it really wasn’t that hard to figure out. Fare recovery has gone from what, less than 15% to around 20%… back to where it was 20 some years ago. Of course it should be much easier now than back then since King County has a much higher density.

      • David Lawson says

        Tell the public that the popular routes will be slashed while ignoring the cuts that could be made which only a vocal minority of the few that plague public meetings care about.

        This is just pure BS, Bernie. The proposed cuts delete entirely every route in Seattle with extremely low ridership.

      • William C. says

        Please, tell me which cuts only a “vocal minority” of people would care about. Or are you advocating cutting Metro on the backs of the people who can’t afford or are otherwise unable to come to public meetings?

    • aw says

      The NIIT is an income tax surcharge, not an asset tax. In our state, income taxes are prohibited by the state constitution.

      • Bernie says

        I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV but I doubt William Gates Sr. (an emanate legal mind) would have thrown his effort into the last campaign to establish a State income tax. Because it was thrown out in the distant past doesn’t mean it wouldn’t survive a court challenge today. And of course we’ve seen the legislature change laws or behavior based on popular vote. So, if a court challenge prevailed there is every reason to believe the legislature would amend the constitution. Thing is; people rejected an income tax because they are smart enough to know that it will be in addition to the sales tax.

  8. phil says

    Getting out the YES vote will be the problem. The NO voters are always more motivated to vote.

      • Doug says

        This vote is just a band-aid to the problem, its not a fix for sure. You watch, they will be asking us for more money if not in months, maybe years. People want to compare us to Portland and TriMet. True Tri Met is not perfect and they have their problems as well. The one thing thought that gets overlooked in all that is that Portland has built their Light Rail system and we are really only just really only begun.

        Portland started back in the 1980′s when land and expenses were a lot cheaper. Sure for those who are looking into all the current cost’s of operation right now per mile see’s similar numbers in front of them. Though there’s really no comparison when it comes to the cost over years of use or future use. How much is electricity compared to diesel? Maintenance cost’s, How long does a bus last compared to a train? How many buses does it take to carry as many passengers as one train does? How much does a bus cost? To one operator on a train versus how many drivers for buses and the cost of their salary and benefits? What’s the damage to the environment and the roads? When Portland reaches their goal of building tracks and adding trains, well we have just only started to build, and now the cost of doing so is some of the most expensive in the country.Portland bought up a lot of land in the 80′s and 90′s and also made deals with BNSF and their land along existing rail lines. We have existing lines that are no longer used and we want to turn them into bicycle and walking paths. Great planning! They are so busy trying to listen and cater to everyone that things get tied up in the whole process for years or decades. Not everyone is going to be happy, but things need to move in a forward fashion for progress. In the future the local governments know that we are going to need light rail service to Kent, Renton, West Seattle, Ballard, Queen Anne, Burien, etc. and what are they doing about that? What are they waiting for? Its only going to get more expensive, not cheaper. We are all watching or hopeful that our property values climb, you got to wonder? If you have lived in Portland and used the light rail then you might notice a bit of a difference in their planning as well. For example where’s a parking garage for me to park in and take the light rail into downtown? Honestly for myself, I have to (no joke) walk 1/2 a mile to catch the bus, then transfer to another bus to get to the light rail.

        Its never going to get cheaper, its only going to get more expensive, and give me a break, how many mass transit systems are actually totally successful? Sure the buses are over crowded on some routes, but only a peak times of operation. There’s still waste and we all see it, Access buses that run all over with only a few or 1 rider on a small bus, why not just a more economical van? Other than peak hours, do we really need a bus every 10 minutes? I also tend to remember several years back that Federal Way passed a proposition for light rail and a increase in their taxes, only for Metro to come along and tell them that they couldn’t afford to build the light rail and they allocated the taxes to something else instead.

        Perhaps Metro needs to rethink their strategy on trying to serve the whole county, instead break it up to different communities. Each community votes on services provided. Why do we have all the bus routes moving towards downtown, along with light rail? Why don’t they have some routes take passengers to the light rail and only the light rail comes into downtown? For those who have no other means, other than to drive to work, or like me own a small business and own multiple vehicles that all need tabs it’s getting harder and harder to afford the cost of living here, its not like we have seen a huge surge in our wages or pay. There’s always those who can afford to drive to work and those who have to drive to work. They are running on a old system that has to change! They can’t continue to just raise fares, raise taxes, or raise fees and not provide any alternatives. I hate to throw out tolls, but again for those who have the choice, verses have to drive, if you have proof of the need to drive over affording to drive then let those people pay more and those who have to drive pay less and you get a different bar code for your good to go pass.Maybe King County should look into taxes for some of those tax exempt corporations such as Boeing, or Microsoft, that also look to mass transit to haul their employees around. Why does Microsoft have their own buses, but Ubber can’t fairly compete with the cab companies? First though they need those park and drives and parking garages, light rails, trains etc to give those a choice or alternative. For right now all they are doing is making it easy for those who can afford more taxes and fee’s, and for those who can’t afford it they are just making things worse. You hate to admit it though its a system that rewards the 1% or the wealthy, and for those who can’t afford it or are just trying to make ends meet or run a small business it’s just another way of loosing out! It’s time that everyone including the large corporations do their fare share in helping out the communities where they exist and do business. This system that we are operating under is flawed and broken and it needs to be fixed. Not just here, but everywhere. All they are doing now is taxing the poor and the middle class to fund mass transit.

      • Mike Orr says

        “This vote is just a band-aid to the problem”

        Of course it is. The 2-year fee was supposed to give the state time to find a long-term funding source for Metro to replace what was kicked away by I-695. The legislature failed to do so, so now we need another band-aid until it does. Things will get better in 2016, 2021, and 2023 when Link gets built out to Lynnwood, Redmond, and Des Moines, but in the meantime we have only buses. Coincidentally, this tax expires in 2024, so we can reevaluate it then.

        “Portland started back in the 1980′s when land and expenses were a lot cheaper.”

        We should have done that too. We should have passed Sound Move in 1972. Actually we did but it didn’t reach the 2/3 majority required. And I think Portland got a lot of federal funds for MAX since it was in lieu of the Mount Hood Freeway. That level of federal funding doesn’t exist anymore.

        “We have existing lines that are no longer used and we want to turn them into bicycle and walking paths.”

        Other cities have abandoned rail lines along where the bulk of their population lives. We don’t. The Burke-Gilman trail goes from UW to Kenmore, bypassing Wallingford, Northgate, and Lake City. Sounder North goes along the coast, bypassing Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace. The eastside corridor runs outside downtown Bellevue and Kirkland. There’s no existing rail line to Federal Way. The original problem goes further back, to why we developed centers away from the existing railroad lines. But we did, and now we have to connect them.

        “the local governments know that we are going to need light rail service to Kent, Renton, West Seattle, Ballard, Queen Anne, Burien, etc. and what are they doing about that”

        Sound Transit is waiting for voters to approve lines to those places. It can’t divert money from voter-approved corridors to speculative corridors. The cities should be doing that but they’re behind the ball. For instance, Tukwila is designing a new residential district east of Southcenter near the Sounder station. So why doesn’t it pencil in right of way for a future Burien-Renton Link line? The answer is that it’s too automobile-centric to go that far.

        “Access buses that run all over with only a few or 1 rider on a small bus, why not just a more economical van?”

        Ask Metro, I don’t know. But Access has to go door-to-door to low-density houses, so it probably can’t find two people going the same way simultaneously. Plus it needs room for people’s wheelchairs.

        “Other than peak hours, do we really need a bus every 10 minutes?”

        Yes! The goal isn’t just to have full buses but to be a viable alternative to driving. Drivers wouldn’t tolerate stoplights that only let them onto arterials once or twice an hour, so why do people expect bus riders to wait that long? Especially when they’re transferring. The two top reasons people don’t take transit are long travel time and long wait time. Frequent buses is what solves that long wait time and leads to maximum ridership.

        “Why do we have all the bus routes moving towards downtown, along with light rail? Why don’t they have some routes take passengers to the light rail and only the light rail comes into downtown?”

        Most of STB agrees with you on that. The answer is legacy expectations, and how much of a longer travel time is reasonable. David L has proposed two feeder networks for Seattle, one cost-neutral and one with more revenue, and also a potential Link route for West Seattle. Aleks has proposed a feeder network for south King County. Unofficially Metro staff like these ideas but for various political reasons they can’t implement something similar immediately. These ideas are also similar to Seattle’s, Bellevue’s, and other cities’ recent transit master plans. So it’s just a matter of time, and giving Metro enough breathing-room revenue to restructure without screwing people.

        “They can’t continue to just raise fares, raise taxes, or raise fees and not provide any alternatives. ”

        They is the state, and the state is not allowing us other tax alternatives. That needs to change too, but Metro, King County, or Sound Transit can’t do that unilaterally.

        “Maybe King County should look into taxes for some of those tax exempt corporations such as Boeing, or Microsoft, that also look to mass transit to haul their employees around.”

        King County can’t do that, due to the state limitations I mentioned.
        The state tells local governments what kinds of taxes it can raise, and how much on each.

        The car-tab fee is a burden on poor drivers, but it’s only two tanks of gas worth, and the bus service it provides is much more valuable to poor people than that. It doesn’t help if there’s no bus where you live, true, but that’s the world we live in, and people could take some small steps to live and work where transit could serve them better. Not everyone can move of course, but at the very least they could think about transit access when they do move, rather than just moving anywhere and then complaining that there’s no transit.

      • Mike Orr says

        “Federal Way passed a proposition for light rail and a increase in their taxes, only for Metro to come along and tell them that they couldn’t afford to build the light rail and they allocated the taxes to something else instead.”

        That was ST2. South King County voted for Link to 272nd, but the recession and unemployment slashed their sales-tax revenue to the point that it covered only to 240th. The money was not reallocated to something else; the taxes were never paid. That’s what a sales-tax shortfall means. And Metro had nothing to do with it. Metro runs the regular buses and RapidRide. Sound Transit — with a completely separate budget, tax source, and mandate — runs Link, ST Express, and Sounder.

        The question for ST3 is whether South King County — the poorest subarea — can afford taxes under a new formula for its ST3 projects, or whether it fundamentally can’t afford much more at all. That I don’t know, but ST’s financial survey will shed some light on that.

        As to what South King may want in ST3, we don’t know, but most likely it would be Link to 320th, Burien-Renton Link, more frequent Sounder, and/or something BRT-ish for Kent.

        Ultimately, half-hourly Sounder South would solve a lot of problems in central-east South King even if it’s not 10-minute Link, but ST3 could probably only take a partial step in that direction. It also depends on how quickly the state and BNSF build a new passenger track in the area to add capacity, and that will probably take 2-3 decades.

      • Bernie says

        Mike has it essentially right. S. KIng is too poor to fund what was “promised”. To put a finer point on it they are rail poor because of S. Sounder and what they’ve had to pay for Link. Once light rail started it was just assumed that buses would feed the rail line but the ST budget won’t allow more Express service and Metro sure doesn’t have the funds to bail out Sound Transits operational weakness. All dressed up with places to go… but no way to get there.

      • William C. says

        Actually, the plans were to reroute Metro’s already-existing freeway service to meet Link. Metro could still do that tomorrow if they wanted, with no extra cost except funding a few bus pullouts around Ranier Beach Station.

      • Bernie says

        plans were to reroute Metro’s already-existing freeway service to meet Link.

        That’s an often sited idea but would have been terrible “plan”. Nobody would ride the bus if they had to incur that much more of a time penalty. The only way that idea would ever have worked is if ST had actually “planned” for a coordinated flyer stop transfer or to have pushed it well south of the airport (Maybe when the new P&R extension is complete). But instead the “plan” was to re-invent the RV with light rail and screw all the real transit riders. What the hell, they can just move into the new TOD that Link has created.

      • William C. says

        Actually, look at Aleks’ plan for reinventing South King service without any time penalty for most trips.

        But, okay, her plan involves some increase in service hours – though that seems to be what you’re arguing for, too, when you were lamenting the lack of buses feeding the rail line. Or are you now changing your case to argue for an express line without the Ranier Valley?

      • Bernie says

        I don’t see ” Aleks’ plan” in this thread so I don’t know what it is. RV is said and done. No Boeing Access road station likewise. Once the new P&R (ugh, free structured parking is really the best we can do with transit funding) I can’t see any way a bus transfer to Link won’t involve a time penalty even if you timed the transfers perfectly every damn time. Fact is if you actually need to be at work at a specific time you have to always plan on the worst case transfer scenario. Of course the worst case, which doubles with every added transfer, is that it doesn’t happen at all. Time penalty + degraded reliability; that’s why we spent billions on light rail?

      • William C. says

        Here it is, posted two weeks ago. The biggest change is every-ten-minute trunk service from Kent, Southcenter, and Renton to Ranier Beach. Yes, time in transit is higher – but shorter headway and timed transfers make up for that on the trunk, and more than make up for it elsewhere.

        What would your plan be? What were you referring to upthread when you were lamenting the lack of ST Express feeder buses?

      • Bernie says

        OK, I read it. Money statement, “they like having a quick one-seat ride to downtown.” Then it goes on to talk about “spontaneous trips” and it really doesn’t matter what time you get there. Sorry, that’s not the bread and butter of a transit system. The reason there is a “peak” is because people need to get to work. And most people need to get to work on time. You can’t take half the frequency and call it good; you have to take the worst case transfer and every additional transfer adds significantly to that time. Looks like a great plan for tourists from Kent that want to ride the Great Wheel. But beyond that, it doesn’t begin to address the core issue of I-5 commuters coming from Federal Way and points south.

      • William C. says

        I notice that you’re dropping the question of what you were advocating above. If you’re talking about peak expresses, I’ll agree Link doesn’t replace those. Nor was it meant to; it’s supposed to be all-day service that goes where there is all-day ridership (the Ranier Valley). This, not peak service, is what allows people to live car-free; this, not peak traffic requiring huge vehicle fleets and driver split-shifts, is what can better be the bread and butter of transit service.

        And, even for peak travel, Link transfers will be timed, so you don’t need to take the worst-case scenario. That’s Aleks’s whole scheme.

  9. Morgan Jackson says

    It’s funny that while Metro considers a 17% reduction, our world-class neighbor to the south has approved a 12% increase in transit service. This is ontop of the multi billion dollar central subway to North Beach that is under construction, connecting caltrain station with Chinatown/NorthBeach. Further ontop of the world class transbay terminal, which when built will be one of the largest underground transit terminals in North America.

    The service proposal increases rail and bus service to near record levels. Some bus lines will run as frequently as every 3 minutes. With many lines running every 6 to 8 minutes, all day and into the evening hours. The increase also means more weekend and night owl services for all San Francisco Residents.

    The proposed Metro Service cuts only solidify the fact that Seattle is not a world class city, and will most likely never aspire to the greatness of San Francisco.

  10. Mathew "RennDawg" Renner says

    I am voting no. I am a bus rider and a minimum wage worker right now. I am voting no because It is not going to do any good. The county will waste most of it and we will still have the same problems. Also, even if the money is not wasted Seattle will get almost all the benefits and the South end will just get crumbs. King County only cares about Seattle. Finally I want to see the cuts happen. Metro thinks the passengers are garbage and most of the drivers treat us as such. Maybe if the fear of losing your job is real maybe they will start to do the job right.

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