Metro is converting the low-performing 149, 186, and 251 to DART (Dial-A-Ride-Transit) service in the February 2012 service change, as the first of 100,000 service hours to be eliminated and replaced with higher-performing trips.
These three routes alone will save $400,000 annually solely by switching to the vans. In general, a smaller bus is not much cheaper than a larger one because the main cost is the driver. However, DART service is contracted out, and spokeswoman Linda Thielke says that the savings arise because Metro doesn’t have to pay for deadhead time and because it doesn’t (directly) absorb vehicle acquisition and maintenance costs.
As DART routes, they will have somewhat flexible routing depending on phone calls and requests by passengers. Details of the changes below the jump.
- Route 251 currently connects the University of Washington-Bothell and Cascadia Community College campuses with the Redmond Transit Center via Avondale Road and downtown Woodinville. While Metro is still developing which parts of the route are best suited to DART service, potential areas for flexible routing could include locations in downtown Bothell, English Hill, and downtown Redmond…
- Route 149 travels from the Renton Transit Center to Enumclaw via State Route 169. DART areas are likely to include locations in the city of Enumclaw and other communities along the way.
- Route 186 currently provides service throughout the day, six days a week, between the Auburn Sounder Station and Enumclaw via State Route 164. Peak service that connects commuters to the Sounder will continue as a regular bus route. Midday service would be shifted to DART operations. Possible DART areas in Auburn, Enumclaw, and the Muckleshoot Reservation are being considered.