ECB on Slog has a great account of Metro’s General Manager, Kevin Desmond, explaining the bus system’s performance during the recent Snowpocolypse to the Seattle City Council. It is good to see Metro be blunt about its faults, and we’re happy to see that some of the radio technological challenges that contributed to the chaos will be fixed in 2010. ECB’s account is a must read.

We posted a post-mortem of the Snowpocolypse yesterday and along with my post earlier this morning about Metro’s reduced service last week, our bus system is taking a lot of heat recently. Well deserved, perhaps.

But it’s a good time as any to say that a lot of us use Metro every day and — in normal weather — ride a pretty good bus system. With GPS tracking, improved radio tech, and automatic stop announcements coming over the next few years, it’s clear that Metro is invested in improving our transit network over time. I’m a happy #8 commuter myself.

3 Replies to “Seattle City Council Puts Metro GM in Hot Seat”

  1. A few thoughts …

    Desmond also said that during the height of the snowstorms, SDOT did not return Metro’s calls. This is why Metro needs the authority and ability to plow and salt sections of their bus routes. They can’t just rely on SDOT, and other agencies.

    Another thing he said: “We have some 9000 bus stops in the system and trying to get information to each and every one of those bus stops is obviously a challenge.” Why not think outside of the box? How about recruit neighborhood volunteers beforehand? People who would be willing to print out and post snow route info. People who would volunteer to go out and clear bus platforms for disabled people. Things like that.

    How about volunteers who will, on their own, create sort of an unofficial Metro adverse weather website. I bet, in many cases, they would do a better, more accurate, and more timely job of updating information than Metro does themselves. Information would come from eyewitness accounts, Metro, phoned in tips, people with scanners, people monitoring the upcoming GPS tracking system, etc.

    1. That’s a great idea, Sam. You guys may have noticed the garbage cans on the side of some stops. Those are sponsored by people who own the property on which the stop resides. My husband and I maintain “our bus stop” (mostly taking out the garbage, but we shoveled our sidewalks and pad frequently during the storms). If someone from Metro e-mailed me in emergency circumstances, I would be glad to post a notice. I’ll suggest it to the KC Metro rep for the program and we’ll see where it goes. That only covers some stops, but some are better than none.

      And if anyone else reading this happens to live at a bus stop, join the program at

  2. I was listening to NPR this morning and they broadcast some of yesterday’s meeting. I was particularly interested in the discussion of the bus tunnel. Apparently, no buses were running in the tunnel at one point, yet the tunnel was open, no notices were posted and people waited for hours and hours.
    Whomever was speaking for Metro said that there was no logistical way for someone to post notices in multiple locations for thousands of people. Really? In the bus tunnel alone? No way to do it?
    I was in NY and there was a major service change in the subway connection to the airport. Notices were printed out on bright pink paper and posted at every stop along the line notifying passengers of the change. Every stop. This lasted only ONE DAY. The tunnel was longer than our tunnel. Certainly someone armed with print outs and tape could be dispatched.

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