It’s here, and it’s a bloodbath: Metro has posted the initial proposal for the 600k cut scenario, which will begin to take effect next September, absent action from the state legislature to allow a local option MVET, or the King County going ahead with the “Plan B” option of forming a countywide Transportation Benefit District and levying an additional VLF and sales tax. The proposal also includes a separate block of cuts to West Seattle, arising from the failure of WSDOT to deliver the contractually-promised viaduct mitigation money, which will run out in June.

201 Replies to “Metro Cuts Proposal Posted”

  1. This would be a catastrophe and set back the cause of urbanism and transit by a decade or more. Stopping these cuts must now be our top priority. (Spoken as someone who will lose his regular bus route, the 28.)

      1. But not for the folks north of 103rd. We will be SOL and won’t have any 28 service. So my 10 min walk with 40 min bus ride would become a 20min walk and almost 1 hour bus ride on the 5.

      2. No, it wouldn’t. While it would cover much of the same route, it would do so with much less frequency and fewer runs. It’s a recipe for either overcrowded buses with lots of people left at the stops, or people going back to their cars. Either way it’s bad for Seattle, for urbanism, for our climate, and for transit.

  2. What’s really sad is that a huge chunk of Metro’s staff time over the last 5 years has been spent creating these detailed plans and releasing them every time a crisis hits. Surely there are better uses of their time.

    1. good point. What a waste.

      I’m also disappointed but not surprised that this plan cancels the route to NOAA where I work, so I will likely never take public transit anymore if they make these cuts. I know there are not a lot of people who ride the 30 (generally by the time we get to NOAA there are only a few people) but that is because it is super inconvenient already (only goes every half hour; drops you off at inconvenient times). It would be a pity if there were no service at all. Many of the people I see on the NOAA bus are student interns or people who are in Seattle temporarily before going out on fishing boats… i.e. people who are less likely to have cars or bikes so would have to take the 75 and then walk half a mile if the 30 was cut.

      1. The revised 71 goes from 65th & Roosvelt to NOAA, hourly. That’ll connect you to the revised 73 to downtown, or the 48.

      2. yes, the 75 stops at the end of the driveway. From there, it is a half mile walk to building 1 and 0.7 miles to building 4. It’s a pretty unappealing walk on the road the whole way, too– it’s not like walking half a mile on city sidewalks where there are sometimes awnings to protect you from the rain and a row of parked cars between you and the road.

        Interesting, I hadn’t heard of the 71 revision. Hourly is better than nothing.

      3. but upon further inspection of the 71, it looks pretty useless for a NOAA commuter– it doesn’t go to the heart of the U District which is where you could connect with other buses. So I’d have to take the 71, then the 73 to get 20 blocks south to 45th street, and then the 44. That’s a lot of transfers for something that I can drive in 20 minutes or bike in 35-45 minutes. So I guess I’m back to my first reaction– if they make these cuts, I will probably not ride public transit in Seattle anymore.

      4. Reverse-commute service on the 76 would help somewhat. Assuming the buses work out of Central Base, they are already deadheading the route anyway – putting them into service would be negligible additional cost.

    2. Well, somebody has to come up with the plan. If things were properly funded, their time would be spent creating a more efficient network of buses.

    3. To be fair, in that time the staff also completed more than one thorough, generally-solid plan to restructure Seattle into a more efficient, usable, all-around better network, under steady or gradually-improving funding levels.

      Their efforts were then thwarted by their own bosses’ false promises and pandering, by incompetent old- and new-media reporting, and by clueless “neighborhood advocates” whose defense of a clearly-dysfunctional and wasteful status quo should have been laughed out of the room.

      Fully aware that the Congestion Reduction Charge was no panacea, fully cognizant of the slow-motion political Hindenburg that is Olympia on transit, their Metro superiors nevertheless doubled down on a false dichotomy that pitted funding infusion + status quo against funding collapse + restructure. The pledges to avoid any major changes (no matter how productive or desirable) under steady-funding scenarios have been explicit and repeated.

      I feel awful for the resourceful, put-upon planning department. But for Metro as an organization, this is a disaster brought upon itself.

      1. d.p.–you use a lot of clever phrases, but say little. Metro lost 25% of sales tax revenue in the recession. They have emptied reserves, delayed bus buys, cut staff, and made scheduling reforms. Metro has a new strategic plan that they used to make these proposed cuts that is based on real productivity and ridership measures. Metro lost state funding when 695 passed. For a while sales tax money got us by. That is no longer the case. Metro simply doesn’t have the money to operate the size of system we have now unless we get new funding authority in King County.

      2. Reality: Please look at Fig. 1 and 2 at the end of Niles paper, then say with a straight face that funding for transit in the Puget Sound is really in the ‘shitter’.,%20Transportation,%20Oct%202013.pdf
        We have two funding problems. Prioritizing capital and operations expenditures and turf wars between competing agencies stumbling over each other to protect their fiefdoms. Both are run by the same masters, wearing different hats.
        The 550 is a good example. It was a MT route, then became a ST route, run by MT, but funded and controlled by ST, until ST can replace it with rail (also run by MT), at which point it goes back to MT as a local connector in Bellevue. If this isn’t a blurred line of the ‘mandate of the people’, then I don’t know what is. Try wrapping your head around bus integration at Husky Stdm to see how well the two teams play together.
        This crisis of funding is mostly about making the case for the latest agency crisis, getting more revenue, then being quiet when the next agency gets up to bat for next bump – like ST will do when they want more funding for ST3 in 2015, on top of ST1 and ST2 funding that will NEVER get rolled back.

      3. Reality-based,

        I never claimed 100% of Metro’s budgetary woes were brought upon itself.

        But the fact remains that Metro has made a habit of acquiescing to those who fear change, even when change would have provided better service for less money. And now that we’re totally fucked, they’re continuing to pit worthwhile restructure ideas against “if we get new funding we’ll fix nothing”.

        That is incredibly problematic, and is 100% Metro’s fault.

        Clear enough for you?

  3. as I posted on the open thread.

    First Hill / Capitol Hill lose:

    2 moves to Madison from Union/Seneca
    4 killed
    8 no longer goes past 15th (8S cut)
    9X becomes one-way peak commuter bus
    27 killed
    60 no longer goes north of Beacon Hill
    12 becomes one-way peak commuter bus (only to 15th ave)

    1. #8: This is great move – they would finally be splitting the route in two: #8 for CH to LQA, and #106 from CH to Renton. Finally a dedicated Uptown to CH route. Losing some service after 10pm would be bad though.

      “Replace the south part of the route between Rainier Beach and S
      Jackson Street /23rd Avenue S with Route 106 to provide a direct
      connection between Renton Transit Center and downtown Seattle via
      Martin Luther King Junior Way S, S Jackson Street, and E Yesler Way
      (See Route 106 for more details).”

      1. So it sounds like north MLK between Madison and Jackson will have no north-south transit. That’s the part that’s steepest from 23rd.

      2. Not a great move as currently planned…it eliminates a popular (and well used) connection between E. Capital Hill/Mad. Valley to north Broadway and SLU. If the planned 8 was extended to Madison and MLK, then maybe it would be more palatable. The reduced 11 would be the only thing left, which isn’t much with the night service cuts and 30 minute headways. I don’t mind walking to the 43, but I’m only on 25th E. It’s the reduced headways going westbound that would really suck.

  4. oh yea … 9/60 riders are redirected to the First Hill Streetcar which will be the only consistent, daily N-S transit from the ID (Little Saigon) to Capitol Hill

    killing the 4 & 60 also decreases access to Harborview (and Swedish / Virginia Mason for the 60)
    killing the 27 and 19th ave tail of the 12 decreases access to Country Doctor / Carolyn Downs Med
    moving the 2 removes bus access to Virginia Mason’s front door.

    was surprised to see the 65/68/72 on the chopping block … not so surprised to see the 25, 47 & 99

  5. It’s very diappointing to me that the only things Metro is considering is reducing service or raising taxes. What about cutting costs? For example, how much do the restricticve rostering requirements cost us? How much does it cost us to allow senior drivers to claim as much overtime as they want so as to pad their pensions, when there are part timers who would love to work more hours?

    1. For example, how much do the restricticve rostering requirements cost us? How much does it cost us to allow senior drivers to claim as much overtime as they want so as to pad their pensions, when there are part timers who would love to work more hours?

      Aren’t these collectively bargained matters?

      I have no problem with Metro trying to negotiate overtime rules to save costs, especially as it’ll produce an egalitarian redistribution of wages, but they can no more plan on the assumption of savings from concessions in a contract they haven’t yet successfully negotiated yet than they can plan on the assumption of the behavior of politicians that haven’t yet provided revenue.

      1. Isn’t the contract currently up for negotiation — my understanding is that the current contract expires this month? Isn’t it the case that if an impasse in good faith negotiations is reached, the employer can impose their last offer? In particular, a stated goal of reduced labor costs is not, in and of itself, evidence of bad faith.

      2. According to King County’s website, the contract expires in Feb, so it’s possible they could achieve some labor savings there and that could stave off some potential cuts.

        But publicly counting those savings in today’s planning, before they’ve been successfully negotiated? They simply can’t do that, any more than they can budget more revenue on the expectation/hope that their lobbying efforts in Olympia will be successful. And it would be strategically foolish, insofar as such a move, might threaten Metro’s longstanding labor peace at a time when they need every political ally they can get.

      1. Consider that weekends are 29% of the days of the week. if the service hours were even every day, this cut would be equivalent to eliminating Sunday service. But actually the existing service hours are shifted toward the weekday peak and weekday midday, so then you’d also be cutting into Saturdays. Instead Metro is cutting weekday service more heavily to preserve 7-days-a-week service.

      2. I’m not asking that the full 17% be funded by cost savings, as you say, it’s reallly unlikely that there is that much fat left, just that there be some serious attempt top address the costs: it’s really difficult to believe that there’s nothing left to cut.

        Also, while I focused on labor costs, I’m not trying to trash labor here; it’s just that at 70% of overall operating costs, it’s the obvious place to look. It appears that an impasse would lead to arbitration, so I agree that Metro can’t count any labor cost cuts; but it wouldn’t hurt to tell voters what sorts of savings Metro would like to get in the current negotations.

    2. I’ve agitated about this in the past but the last contract was a big improvement. It’s not perfect, has created a lot of tensions, and there are improvements left to be made. However, in general, part-time drivers are being far better utilized and Metro claims that Full-Time drivers are still getting plenty of overtime. (The audit recommended that Metro effectively load everybody up on OT, likely to cut the overall number of drivers and save on benefits – These are the ‘savings’ that Metro keeps referring to and they are real).

      Ideally, Labor would be pushing back on inefficiencies out of our control. Spot improvements to the HOV network, cash surcharges, elimination of paper transfers in favor of ORCA, improved bus flow, queue jump lights, better Park & Rides design (How long will it take all buses to get in/out of South Bellevue station once Eastlink is done!?), a TSP setting of “11” that Metro actually can and does use are all things that would make the network vastly more efficient and get passengers where they are going faster. Sadly, many of these items are outside of Metro’s control, but not all.

      Oh, and I’d be happy to drive on weekends once Full-timers had a shot at (and declined) the assignment.

      1. There are a lot of obvious labor contract improvements that would be good for everyone, but that both sides are dead set against. The biggest complaint full timers had against part timers when I was driving (and I did an employee survey on this) was that they took all the weekday shifts and pushed full-timers to weekends and nights. How hard would it be to let part timers work those shifts – which would also be better for part-timers with jobs or school? Any change in the labor contract is looked at with hostility, even if everyone would end up better off.

      2. I agree that there are a bunch of improvements that would make Metro more efficient. These are great: they’ll help make the buses faster and more reliable: an overall better passenger experience. But you often need a lot of savings to actually save a bus, so I’m not sure that these help financially as much as we’d like them to.

  6. The proposed changes to the SLU Trolley are grimly hilarious. No ambulatory human who values her time in the slightest will have any use for it at 30 minute headways.

    1. I didn’t realize current service ended at 9pm…that seems incredibly restrictive for a robust neighborhood. Geez, ending it at 7pm + 30 min headways almost makes it useless.

      1. So much for that fancy new car Amazon bought. There are going to be a lot more streetcars parked in that garage than out on the streets with 30 minute headways.

    2. I was thinking the same thing. Between the 40, 70, and feet, if they’re going to run the streetcar every 30 minutes, they almost may as well not bother running it at all. My guess is that Phil is right – the real goal is to maintain current service levels, but with Amazon paying for a greater share of the costs.

    3. I’m hoping someone can explain this one – I thought that Seattle (and Amazon, I suppose) were paying for the SLUT hours directly. It appears I am mistaken, given the currently lame service level is proposed to be cut even more?

  7. I hope it isn’t, but this plan almost seems like a blackmail scheme…make ridiculously onerous threats in order to get your constituents (riders) mad enough to complain to the pols, who in turn cry uncle and find a way to fund. It’s downright Machiavellian.

    We all have our gripes, no doubt…here’s mine: the reduction of service from E. Capital Hill/Mad. Valley to points west seems massively whack. So, kill the 8, reduce the 43, and severely reduce the 11…so you end up (for example) only one fairly limited route (11) running from 25th and Madison westbound towards the CBD. Yes, that seems sane.

    1. East of 23rd has relatively low ridership, especially during off-peak. Metro needed to propose cuts somewhere. It doesn’t look like blackmail to me… deleting UW or Ballard service would be unreasonable.

      1. I sort of agree, but why even mess with the UW and Ballard stuff? Those routes should be totally immune from reductions. I know the changes aren’t huge, but it seems like a route such as the 43 shouldn’t be touched. The “shared” pain approach seems political rather than practical.

        I have to say I applaud some changes, though. I always cringe when I see the 7x running nearly empty.

      2. Why do you think the UW and Ballard should be safe when other areas with just as high ridership are seeing just as painful reductions?

      3. I know, stupidly anecdotal. It just seems like those places have more standing room only periods of the day, and late night riders than other neighborhoods…plus my bias (went to UW, work in Montlake, live on CH, and launch our research vessel in Shilshole). I should add the W. Seattle RapidRide, since I use it sometimes to visit my grandparents. However, that route doesn’t seem to have the continual all day/night crunch that the others do.

      4. Because Ballard was just fucking restructured, and given barely-usable integrated service frequencies in the process. It seems perfectly fair to target cuts at the shortsighted people who actually went to bat to keep the inefficient, traffic-logged, overlapping, all-around terrible transit that helped drain Metro’s coffers.

        When funding is restored, they’ll finally have a better network to show for it.

      5. They did target shortsighted people. Look at the 2N, 4S, 24, 27, and 61. The first four are areas where people raised a ruckus and got last year’s restructuring withdrawn because they didn’t want to lose the current alignments. And now those alignments go bye-bye.

        (I’m not sure about the 61, whether anyone clamored for it, or cares now whether it goes away.)

      6. And I know I’ve been flippant about West Seattle in the past, but they shouldn’t see an ounce of cuts either, for the very same reason.

        If I were the City Attorney, I’d be getting ready to file a lawsuit against WashDOT over the viaduct mitigation money.

      7. Exactly, Mike. And it’s justified. “Spreading the cuts around” would mean penalizing other riders and neighborhoods for the benefit of the intransigent and clueless.

      8. d.p., have another look at the cuts. Ballard suffers the loss of the 61, a frequency loss on the 40, and the same night cuts as the entire rest of the network. The neighborhoods where restructures were rejected come off far worse. The CD/QA restructure is implemented, but without the additional frequency that was supposed to be a sweetener for it. Magnolia loses all off-peak service except for a crazy milk-run 33. The 4 is killed and the 8 is restructured into oblivion with no increase in frequency on the 48. Wallingford sees its core service get 15 minutes slower with no increase in frequency.

      9. No doubt, the cuts are awful everywhere, including in the already-restructured places that should be spared.

        Shame that this was the only way a serious restructure was ever going to resurface. Metro’s non-leaders, from Dow on down, should all be sacked.

        (Honestly, though, poking around the Northeast Seattle changes just a minute ago, I couldn’t help but think the cuts look more like 40%-45%, not 17%. I might be inclined to agree with Shotsix that there is exaggeration for the sake of scaremongering.)

      10. I would agree with Shotsix and D.P. that this seems more like fear-mongering rather than a rational response to funding issues. This is essentially the same kind of map they throw out anytime they’re looking to engage public support for increased funding.

        It does seem to work so I can’t question their tactics but I would caution anyone from spending a lot of time looking at the proposed map as a likely outcome of any potential cuts.

      1. It appears from the maps it is gone. Certainly it would be silly to retain it in its current form when the proposed cuts are so huge everywhere else.

    2. This is a pretty standard democrat MO for budget issues, cut where its most public ( usually childcare and social services involving the poorest ) and wait for public outcry to provide cover for unpopular decisions.

      Everyone involved wants another photo op at town hall so they can do the least possible and move on to really exciting projects like widening 405.

  8. Some of the reorganizations are sensible changes similar to those advocated by some STB readers over the years. The biggest loss is the evening cutoffs, many at 9 or 10 pm. Lucky my bf no longer has night shift at a Kent warehouse, since the 150 ends “before 11pm”. I’ll probably be moving next spring to a cheaper apartment, so this proposal gives me more certainty about where I can go and what kind of transit to expect.

    It says the 73 will consolidate the downtown / U-District / 65th / Northgate service. It doesn’t say whether it’ll be express or local, or that three-stop almost-express the 66 does, or that weird combination of express daytime and local evening the 73 currently does. The 70 adds Sunday daytime service, so that may mean the 73 will be express daytime, local evenings, every day.

    The SLU streetcar goes down to 30 minutes evenings. That takes the cake. It’s an affront to the whole idea of a streetcar to have it running so infrequently. I hated it when MAX did that on Sundays; it was like, “How is this better than a bus?”

    Sorry to central Magnolia, losing almost all non-peak service.

    1. Indeed. The Queen Anne-Madrona restructure is back, though the night/weekend frequency sucks.

    2. There are significant losses here during the daytime as well. Just off the top of my head… the 71 turns into a feeder that feeds only the slow 73, not Link or any express. The 5 loses service during a period of the day (early evening) when buses are already at standing capacity. The new 16 will be absolutely crushed; I have a real concern that it doesn’t have enough capacity even at midday, and of course reliability will be horrendous. The 36/70 through-route guarantees that neither route will be remotely reliable. The revised 33 will be Magnolia’s only off-peak service and will be very slow for riders along its whole length. High Point, a major ridership driver, has only the infrequent 50 that requires a transfer to get to either the Junction or downtown. The 131 and 132 go back to hourly, which combined with the truncated 60 pretty much ensures South Park residents can’t use the bus.

      I haven’t even had time to process the full implications of these cuts and I can see they will badly hurt mobility and, worse, political support for transit.

    3. The presentation is unclear, but I feel almost certain that the new 73 would work just like the current 71/72/73 (except with Sunday express service)… that is, whatever express route is fastest during hours when the 70 is in operation and local when the 70 is not in operation.

    4. So the 73 is really a local? They’re eliminating downtown – UW expresses entirely? Are you sure about that? I have to think it’ll be express when the 70 is running, otherwise there’s no reason for the 70 (except to address overcrowding). I wish the PDF would clearly state what’s happening to the express.

      1. No, I think the 73 is an express… my first comment was unclear. I meant that, from the perspective of a transferring 71 rider, it’s slow even if it’s an “express.” It’s not a freeway express from 65th.

    5. Yeah, night service is really taking it on the chin. Just looking at service to northwest Seattle, the 40 and 5 are both ending service an hour earlier, the new 28 is going to have hourly night service ending at an unspecified time, and the D line is eliminating an unspecified number of “late night and weekend trips that carry fewer riders.” Not good for those of us who occasionally venture toward downtown to go to concerts, bars, parties, etc. on the weekends. Drunk driving and taxi usage will both go up, I suspect.

      1. I often feel like night service should be paid for out of the budget for the police department, or Harborview. It would probably save them money…

      2. @Aleks: it would be interesting to know what the breakdown on night buses is between people using them to avoid driving drunk, people using them to get to and from work, and people using them as shelter [yes, I recognize that there are probably none of the aboves, but I strongly suspect that these three categories cover most users]

      3. As someone who first commuted by night buses for two years and then drove them for about half of his three years as a full-time driver, I would say the balance is something like this:

        Weekday: Workers 85% partyers 5% shelter-seekers 10%
        Weekend: Workers 65% partyers 25% shelter-seekers 10%

        Of course, that’s a WAG, and it’s about the whole system — some routes, particularly the 10 and 49, have a much higher proportion of party people aboard.

      4. @William Aitken:

        “it would be interesting to know what the breakdown on night buses is between people using them to avoid driving drunk, people using them to get to and from work, and people using them as shelter [yes, I recognize that there are probably none of the aboves, but I strongly suspect that these three categories cover most users]”

        Isn’t that true pretty much all the time? I mean, the people avoiding drunk driving during peak hours isn’t a huge part of the population, but people getting to and from work is. No matter what time of day – that’s what the bus is for.

      5. @kpt. During the day there are people going shopping, or to doctor’s appointments. There’s families going somewhere to have fun. There’s young teens using it to get around. None of these really hits any of the night bus stereotypes.

    6. Agreed on the 150 cuts. Up until a year and a half ago, I commuted exclusively via the 150 to downtown for a shift that ends late at night. I would have been screwed by this schedule change.

  9. Welcome to Bistro Transit. Our specials this evening are Capital spending and Operations served up by one of several chefs in the kitchen. If you order more than you can pay for, then simply charge it.
    Enjoy your meal.

    1. Good to know you don’t take transit and aren’t affected by the cuts. Otherwise how can you blithely act like the cost is the only important factor. A city needs good transit in order to function well. If people can’t get to work or have to walk an hour or spend money on a car, it raises unemployment, lowers commerce, and hinders cultural activities and social contacts that maintain the city’s cohesiion and health.

      1. WSDOT struggles each budget to find the right mix of operations, preservation, safety and expansion across several business lines (roads, ferries, rail, etc).AND must balance the budget or incur debt.
        Why is transit immune from such fiscal responsibility and public scrutiny?
        ST was the brainchild of Metro, and now is sucking all the air ($$) out of the room. The combined budgets of both have far outpaced inflation and growth in the region, with little to show for 20 years worth of efforts to increase mode share for all trips taken. Seattle is showing the effects of biting off more than it could chew, and will soon be choking on poor selections off the menu.

      2. mic, your history is so revisionist it’s going to make my brain explode.

        ST was the brainchild of multiple local jurisdictions, mostly not Metro, who wanted a regional transit authority not bound by county lines. It asked voters for, and got, taxing authority separate from Metro’s. Then, three years later, Tim Eyman came along and took a meaningful chunk of Metro’s taxing authority away with I-695. That had nothing to do with Sound Transit. The history of Metro since then has been one stopgap effort after another to backfill the hole created by I-695. Now we are reaching the end of the latest stopgap, and if we don’t get another one cuts have to happen.

      3. Explode Away. ST started in a cubicle on the 4th floor of the Exchange Bldg, staffed by a few Metro Planners, funded by Metro, and shepherded through Ruth Fishers House TC Cmte for a separate agency, which she insisted include Pierce (her district) and Snohomish.

      4. I cant stand it when people attempt to scapegoat Tim Eyman / I-695 or anything that half wit signature pimp has done.

        Ultimately it was our own democrat majority legislators, the new mayor elect included, who VOTED on their OWN to uphold the unconstitutional CYA of *will of the people* to make these cuts permanent.

      5. It’s true that Eyman’s initiatives could not have succeeded without the consent of the voters and the spinelessness of the legislators. But it’s also true that he was the catalyst. David’s “Tim Eyman came along and took a meaningful chunk of Metro’s taxing authority away” may be a little overstated, but no more than other authors have used for a century. (E.g., “Paris or Berlin supports X policy.” meaning their national governments. Or “Puget Sound’s rainfall will drop by half in 2014, which certainly pleases the mayor of Seattle and its tourism bureau.” It probably pleases other people too, and the mayor may not be tickled the exact shade of pink that’s described.) If Eyman were to suddenly move to Idaho, it’s not clear that anybody else would take his place.

        I’m hoping that in the next few years, enough of these initiatives will be voted down that it’ll be a decisive trend, and then maybe the legislature can fix the 695 hole.

  10. Looks like if you want to use transit after 11 pm, it’s not a 17% cut, it’s something like a 95% cut. So much for swingshift/graveyard workers and using transit to get home from the bars. As long as those valuable 8-5 commuters don’t lose their routes, it’s all good right?

    1. I know…at least in CH and the U District, the late busses serve as a real alternative to driving/biking/walking and keep the fun seekers and slightly inebriated safe.

      1. I don’t know how long I’ve used ‘busses’ as the plural of ‘bus’ ….so I apologize for my ignorance. I thought it looked weird.

      2. Both spellings are valid. “Buses” has become more common the past couple decades though.

  11. Many of the proposed cuts are also served by other routes, though with differing convenience. I find it interesting that their suggestions for what residents of Leschi should do with the loss of the 27 is to start a vanpool. With the steep hill up from the lake and no other transit going east of the ridge at Madrona, this would indeed seem to be the only alternative.

  12. Holy shit.

    I personally hope Rodney Tom never sees any political power ever after his term is up.
    And Tim Eyman, won’t you just STOP IT?

  13. Is it wrong to like a lot of the changes? From a frequency and span of service standpoint, this would be a disaster. From a restructure standpoint, there’s a lot to like.
    – The 2 on Madison and combined with the 13 full-time
    – The 3 extended to SPU
    – The 4 deleted
    – The 8 made (slightly) more reliable (though it needs 10-minute service or better)
    – Better service on Jackson through the C.D. by interlining the 14 and 106
    – Still serving the steep part of Yesler with the 106 while cutting the unproductive tail of the 27 (and freeing up DSTT capacity)
    – Axing the 19 and making the 24 peak-only
    – 8-10 minute service on the 32 (at the cost of the 31’s deletion), creating a frequent service transfer between Fremont and Queen Anne
    – Though I would have preferred interlining the 36 and 49, interlining the 36 and 70 seems ok.
    – Yay for the 107 extension into Beacon Hill.
    – Finally ending the 201, 202, 205, and 211, leaving Mercer Island with just the 204, 216, 550, and 554.

    Lots of bitter pills though:
    – Deleting both the 26/28 is tough on Dexter, and they’d be left with just 20-minute service on the 16? Ouch.
    – Deleting the 21 is insane, as it has 3,800 riders/day, is an essential part of the West Seattle grid, and currently runs every 15 minutes. Replacing it with the 50 on 35th Ave SW and sending the 128 to Alki will mean that Rapid Ride C and the 120 are the only frequent services left in WS.
    – Keeping 5 peak trips on the 12 (but only to 15th) is a duplicative waste. Since there’s already a stop on the #2 at 13th/Madison, just add a few peak trips on the #2 and call it good.
    – Keeping Vashon to Downtown express buses but truncating them at Sodo?! Worst of both worlds.
    – Ravenna losing all downtown service is crazy. Yay for the 71 going to Magnuson, but not going south of 65th is crazy.

    1. The 71 is taking over the 30’s tail to NOAA, not Magnuson Park. For a couple years the 30 went into Magnuson Park evenings, but that was axed a year or two ago because nobody ever rode it. The bus would literally go into the park and emerge five minutes later with nobody on it.

      1. Mike, the 30/74 only went into Magnesson Park to do the turn back at night and weekends, since NOAA was closed. It was axed, because our buses were tearing up the roadway. The routing into the park when NOAA was closed and since being axed, had nothing to do with ridership.

    2. There’s no improvement to the 32 (other than higher peak frequency on the part no one rides). There is only 30-minute frequency off-peak. This will kill Metro’s new frequent crosstown corridor except at peak hour.

      1. Given how busy the 31 and 32 are when the UW is in session, all day, every day, this is a bad cut. Also, moving the 32 down Wallingford will slow it considerably (the segment from Wallingford to Stone on 35th Street is basically on a one-lane street with parking on both sides; anything coming in the other direction can stop the bus even turning).

        And I say this as probably the person most advantaged by the cuts, since running the 26X all day will shorten my commute considerably (I live at the last stop where the 26 becomes an express).

    3. Frankly wrt the MI routes they should just cut the 204 too. With an end of service “before 6pm” it will be almost useless for the evening commute, and its daytime loading is a bad joke.

      1. The 204 serves a very significant number of school kids. If they weren’t there, I’m sure the route would be long gone.

      2. Expect an increase in clamors for a larger P&R when Link gets to Mercer Island. We were trying to convince them to take shuttle buses instead, but if the buses aren’t there they’ll have to drive.

      3. I ride the 202 from time to time [it used to be regular, but now that I generally have to drop the kids off at day care, it doesn’t quite work for me]. In my experience there are a couple regulars, and perhaps 3 other kids varying day to day who get off at SE 42nd on the last Seattle bound 202 of the morning. That’s the one that I would expect to serve the HS since the first 204 of the morning arrives after school starts, and the previous bus gets them to school 45 minutes early. Junior high and elementary riders are plenty well served in that corridor by district school buses. I don’t think I ever saw anyone get off for St. Monica’s or the Yeshiva. And I only ever saw one kid get off for CHILD (and that was at most once a week). I think that catches all the schools en route. Perhaps there’s a bunch of riders arriving for second period, and perhaps the afternoon loadings are better. But when all is said in done, I doubt that the ridership to school could possibly justify the route

      4. @Mike: when Link arrives? I’d say that downtown parking, especially P&R parking, is already a fairly large issue on the Island. Once I-90 tolling is decided, I suspect it will go back to being the biggest City issue

      5. It occurred to me that in the morning the High Schoolers might be riding the 205 about fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. Looking at its timetable, it seems that it serves the HS at 7:35 (I don’t know if it does a detour to do so). I don’t really recall seeing a bunch of kids at bus stops on ICW, but it’s reasonable to believe, especially since it does a loop through the neighborhood south of the QFC, that the students board south of 63rd.

        I still don’t think that it makes sense to run an all day bus to serve the HS, but I’m willing to believe that the loading is higher than I thought. Note that there are already a couple 900 series Metro operated school runs on the Island as well.

      6. If the 204 is going to function as a de-facto school bus it should run one trip in the morning and one trip in the afternoon, timed with when school starts and ends (of course, adjusting accordingly when the school it serves has early dismissal). There is no point in running a bus all day just to serve a school that requires everybody to be in school during those times.

      7. William: “When Link arrives” described a capital project during which a large garage might be built. and which may (or may not) be necessary for the success of the train and neighborhood street parking. I don’t see how any garage would get built before Link, no matter the demand. Unless Mercer Island itself undertakes to build it, which would mean passing a substantial island tax for that purpose.

    4. Though I would have preferred interlining the 36 and 49, interlining the 36 and 70 seems ok.

      If you mean a “TMP Corridor 3” restructure, my understanding is that we’re currently missing some of the trolley wire that we need to make that happen. But maybe I’m wrong…

      If you mean interlining the two downtown, I don’t think it makes a huge difference one way or the other. Few people are going to ride all the way through.

      Deleting both the 26/28 is tough on Dexter, and they’d be left with just 20-minute service on the 16? Ouch.

      IMHO, neither the 26 nor the 28 belongs on Dexter. First of all, the demand doesn’t line up. Second, the express routing for both routes are significantly simpler than the local routing. Third, moving the 28 to 39th improves the walkshed of the Metro network in hilly Fremont, and removes redundancy with the 40 on Leary.

      I do think that it would be better to maintain 15-minute service on the 5, and to send the 5 down Dexter rather than the 16. This would maintain 15-minute service on the whole corridor, which is the same as it has now.

      Keeping 5 peak trips on the 12 (but only to 15th) is a duplicative waste. Since there’s already a stop on the #2 at 13th/Madison, just add a few peak trips on the #2 and call it good.

      The important stop is Boren/Madison. Metro just wants to run as much service to that stop as it physically can. Every block further that it goes is a wasted block. That’s why they’re using the 12’s turnback route. If there were a way to turn back sooner, Metro would do that instead.

      Ravenna losing all downtown service is crazy. Yay for the 71 going to Magnuson, but not going south of 65th is crazy.

      I don’t think it’s that crazy. Ravenna is an E-W corridor. The 44 and 48 don’t go downtown either. And anyway, the 71 is being cut down to hourly service for only 13 hours a day. In other words, outside of peak (when there’s the 76), ridership on this segment is really low. I think a connection is much better than killing service entirely, which is probably the leading alternative.

      Having said that, I do think that reducing the 71 to hourly service is ridiculous. We should be screaming about that, not about the (sensible) decision to truncate the redundant segment of the route.

      1. I wonder if there will be as much opposition in Wallingford and Tangletown to sending the 16 down Dexter as there was in Greenwood to sending the 5 down Dexter. It would seem to me that between the 28, 358, and 355, riders from Greenwood would have easier bypasses for the 5 than Wallingford riders would for the 16.

        Of course, there’s no answer that cuts hours and satisfies everyone.

      2. In the current network, Greenwood riders can take the 5 to go downtown, or the 28 to go to Fremont. Wallingford riders can take the 16 to go downtown, or the 26/31/32 to go to Fremont.

        With Metro’s proposal but with a 5-Dexter route, Greenwood riders could take the 28 to go downtown, or the 5 to go to Fremont/Dexter. Wallingford riders could take the 16 to go downtown, or the 32 to go to Fremont.

        With Metro’s proposal as is, Greenwood riders could take the 5 or 28 to go downtown, and to get to Fremont, … And Wallingford riders would have no fast bus to get downtown, either (not that the 16 is particularly fast as it is).

        There’s going to be a huge amount of opposition to anything that Metro proposes. Regardless, I think it’s clear that sending the 5 along Dexter is the least invasive change that Metro could make.

      3. The trolley wire is there, except that 12th & Jackson would need to be reconfigured. It’s still set up for what I think was the old 9 trolley.

      4. There’s that word Tangletown again and I’ve already forgotten which neighborhood it refers to.

      5. Tangletown is centered around the intersection of N 56 St and Kirkwood Pl north of Wallingford and south of East Green Lake.

    5. question … how is the 2 going to be combined with the 13 since the new map for the 2 shows it retaining the current 1st ave loop of the 12 …

      1. I think that’s just a mistake. The downtown parts of the maps clearly did not get a lot of attention. The necessary wire exists in both directions to have the 2 and 13 connect at 3rd and Marion/Madison.

    1. I’m actually surprised there were not more changes made in that West Federal Way/NE Tacoma area. Although with the sudden uptick in funding that PT is now getting, enough to cancel their remaining proposed service cuts it might be a good time to explore some options in that area, that would serve NE Tacoma and Federal Way better. (Turn 62/182 into a DART route perhaps?) Extend peak and maybe some mid-day 181 trips to Downtown Tacoma!?!?! (Since Downtown Tacoma is itself seeing an economic upswing, having P+R Access to Downtown Tacoma from Federal way/NE Tacoma might not be a bad idea). I see opportunities here.

      1. The south end generally got short shrift with respect to restructures — what is proposed is more of a straight cut than either Seattle or the Eastside. That’s partly because the south end had very little fat already and partly, I expect, because Metro staff only had so much time.

      2. Very Little Fat, comparatively low ridership (with Seattle, Bellevue) I suspect, and a different demographic that probably prefers peak directional and express P+R service over all day local routes. East Pierce County is kind of the same, with low density P+R peak directional preferring riders.

      3. People with good 9-5 jobs in Seattle like peak directional service. People in service industries or unemployed like frequent local service.

  14. I don’t understand the logic of keeping 5 peak-only trips on the 12 but only to 15th/Madison. It’d only serve one pair of unique stops! The revised 2, with added trips, would be more than sufficient.

    1. It’s not about the unique stops. Boren/Madison is one of the single highest-ridership stops on Metro’s entire network. I routinely see about 30 people get on or off there, all at once, in the middle of the day. Like Harborview, Metro pretty much needs to run as much service to there as the street can physically handle. 15th/Madison just happens to be the only place where the bus is able to turn back, short of going all the way up to 19th. If there were a closer turnback, I’m sure Metro would use it.

      1. Then headsign those trips 2-Pike/Pine or 2-First Hill. Having a separate route number for a 2-block turnback served 5 times in the morning and 3 times in the afternoon doesn’t make sense.

      2. I’ve frequently ridden the 12 turnback to the end. Every single trip, when the bus turns left on 13th, someone gets up and asks the driver, “Does this bus go to John St?”, or “Why are you turning?”.

        Metro has been steadily moving away from having routes with the same number but different destinations. IMHO, that’s absolutely the right plan. People understand that different numbers go to different places; when a route with one number has two destinations, it drives them crazy.

      3. Metro has been steadily moving away from having routes with the same number but different destinations. IMHO, that’s absolutely the right plan.

        Amen to that. I used to ride the 5 northbound back when every 3rd or so bus went to Northgate. There was regular confusion and frustration amongst riders. I never understood why they didn’t label them 5A and 5B or something.

      4. I suppose you’re right, and I find my local bus (the 3) maddening for similar reasons. On paper, it goes from Madrona to North Queen Anne, but in reality it only does so before 8am and after 3pm. It turns into a 4 downtown more often than it remains a 3.

      5. “Metro has been steadily moving away from having routes with the same number but different destinations. IMHO, that’s absolutely the right plan. People understand that different numbers go to different places; when a route with one number has two destinations, it drives them crazy.”

        Oh my God, yes. Coworker tried to get from Fremont to Shoreline on the #5 one night. First-time bus rider. Didn’t know about the old #5 with two destinations (Shoreline and Northgate). Guess which one she wound up on? She hasn’t taken Metro since.

    2. cause it’s a 35 storey elevation change from the ferry terminal and the hospitals are giant employment centers.

      since the 2 is gone (and the 4) E-W capacity will shrink … this allows for extra service when needed (although I’d argue that the 2/12 are usually pretty busy all the time)

    1. I’ve already noticed a jump in Car2Go demand. In the past I could just walk to one, or find one on the app and walk to it without reserving it. In the past few weeks, every time I try that it gets reserved out from under me.
      These cuts will just make it that much worse.

      1. Just walking down the street, I can definately say I’ve seen a lot more Car2Go vehicles in motion than I used to. I can also say that the existance of Car2Go and Lyft make the late evening cuts a lot less painful than they would otherwise be. If I end up spending $10-$20 a month more on Car2Go after the change than before the change, in exchange for having service not gutted during the day, I would say it’s worth it.

  15. I was initially excited by swapping out the 8S for the 106, to be no longer victimized by Denny, but upon further reflection it’s bad beyond Saturday headways going to 30 minutes.

    Currently the 8S is pretty reliable northbound, coming up the relatively uncongested MLK, and almost worthless southbound thanks to Denny-induced bunching. With the new 106, it’ll still be terrible southbound coming from downtown and no doubt interlined with something from who-knows-where; but it’s such a long haul from Renton northbound that it will probably be really unreliable that way too.

    1. The new 106 is so long that I doubt it will be interlined. I would expect Metro to interline the 120 before it interlined the new 106. I suppose anything could happen, though.

  16. Sooo, Metro is bringing the 42 back. Sort of. As most of you have noticed the 106 will now serve MLK Way to downtown Seattle. I wonder if certain MLK residents will be elated to see this happen (if it does).

    1. Not the 42, because it goes on much higher-ridership Jackson rather than Dearborn. But I was surprised too at reinstating an all south MLK route to downtown. I think it was more an accidental result of rerouting the 106, which needed a strong destination rather than just petering out somewhere, rather than an intention to add a MLK route to downtown. But maybe Metro just got tired of the complaints and figured, “Here’s what you wanted, take it.”

      1. The difference is that now, the 106 is the only route on MLK with local stops. Before, the 42 was in addition to Link. Given that most of the 106 does provide unique coverage, I wouldn’t call it wasted duplication.

        The fact that the 106 ultimate does connect MLK to downtown, though is immaterial because it’s a slow enough connection that getting off at almost any Link station and transferring is going to be faster if your real destination is downtown. Instead, I think of the 106 as a thru-route between the south part of the current 106, the south part of the current 8 and Jackson Street.

        As an additional aside, the new 106, as shown, does not look like it could possibly serve the tunnel (the tunnel entrance is too far south). Will another bus be going into the tunnel to take its place, or will there just be one less bus route in the tunnel to slow down Link?

      2. The 106 has been a milk run ever since 2009. This just makes it more of a milk run. The psychological benefit of having “a” route from MLK to downtown is probably more significant than the actual number of people who use it for that. It’s available, so people have a choice; they’re no longer “forced” to use Link. And it’s not useless because the entire route will be used for intra-valley trips, valley-Renton trips, valley-Chinatown trips, etc, which Link doesn’t do.

  17. As everyone has said, this is really bad. In some sense, it’s the worst of both worlds. Many of the proposed restructures would be good if they were frequent, but the idea of building a network around routes with 20-minute frequency (or worse) is ludicrous.

    I do think there are some changes in here that are unambiguously good. The 73 is clearly a huge improvement over the status quo for getting between the U-District and downtown/Northgate. We get all-day 15-minute service on the 3 and the 13. The 106 should be more reliable than the 8S is today. The 26X and the 28X are simpler routes than their local counterparts, and the 28X will extend the walkshed of service in Fremont, which is particularly nice given the hilly terrain.

    As I’ve said many times, I think that Dexter service should go to the 5, not the 16. The 16 is slow enough already, and Fremont is “on the way” for the 5 in a way that it isn’t for the 16. There’s also an opportunity to make the 5 faster, by moving it from Phinney to Fremont between 43rd and 50th; no corresponding opportunity exists for the 16. (The Northgate change doesn’t count, since no one sensible rides the 16 between Northgate and downtown.)

    When we’re facing cuts this drastic, I think there’s no excuse for maintaining any service redundancy. I would like to see the 43 killed, and the service hours reinvested in the 8 and the 48. I would like to see the 101 and the 150 truncated at Rainier Beach Station, and the service hours reinvested in extending routes from Renton TC to Rainier Beach (e.g. the 101/169 merger). I would possibly like to see the 48 truncated at Roosevelt and merged with the 71, and the service hours reinvested in better frequency to Ravenna, though I think there are legitimate reasons not to do this (namely, the fact that ridership on the 48 is *way* higher than ridership in Ravenna).

    Finally, I think that Metro should do whatever it can to maintain all-day 15-minute service on the 40.

    1. That’s an interesting point, whether Metro might be more open to a 101/150/169 restructure now. The main difficulty is if this proposal is perceived as a promise “not to do anything worse than this”, which truncating the 101 and 150 would be perceived as.

      The 43 would be a harder sell because it gets good ridership in a location with heavy walking/transit use, and people think 23rd & John is an unsafe transfer point. (Oh, they think that about Rainier Beach too…)

      1. @Mike: but presumably, if that saved money, it could be put to use elsewhere. If there’s no scope for that sort of give and take, I don’t see much point in putting these out for comment. For a given shortfall, this is very much a zero sum game.

      2. 23rd & John isn’t so unsafe, it’s just a crappy place to transfer. The stops aren’t particularly close together aside from EB John to NB 23rd, and getting across 23rd as a pedestrian is a real pain. Transferring to/from the 11 there is even worse.

        I happen to live near that intersection, so I ride the 43, 48, 8, and 11 frequently there. In my experience there are quite a lot of people coming from UW on the 43 who are headed up to the top of Capitol Hill. Particularly at peak there will still be people standing on the 43 as it turns west onto John, and the bulk of them get off at 16th or 15th. Asking these people to get off at 23rd seems a bit silly; it will probably be faster to just walk up the hill than wait for westbound bus to come up from Madison Valley.

        In the other direction, you’re turning a trip from downtown to 23rd/24th into a 3 bus or 2 bus + walk trip. Admittedly there’s not a huge amount of ridership for that trip (at least not in my experience), and once U Link opens that situation will change a lot.

      3. It’s perceived as unsafe because it’s close to the CD. Even if it’s not literally true, it affects people’s willingness to transfer there, and their willingness to give up the 43.

      4. I agree that 23rd and John is perceived as a bad place to transfer. I also agree that Kent and Renton will suffer from losing their express buses to downtown, and that Ravenna will suffer from losing N-S service outside of peak, etc.

        What I’m asserting is that, if this nightmare scenario actually comes true, we need to prioritize. And I think that maintaining frequency and span and coverage are all more important than maintaining speed. If the choice is between adding a transfer and losing all service after 7 PM, Metro should add the transfer. If the choice is between adding a transfer and going from 15-minute headways to 30-minute headways, Metro should add the transfer. If the choice is between adding a transfer and losing service to a given area entirely, Metro should add the transfer.

        Yes, many people will be worse off if the 43 is deleted. But they will be worse off only because they need to take an extra bus, and that’s a whole lot less worse off than people would be if they lose service entirely, or even only for part of the day. When we’re talking about eviscerating the network as Metro is being forced to do, there are no good options; we just have to pick the best of the bad.

      5. David,

        Yes, it’s a bit silly to transfer to the 8 for eight blocks. But they’re eight hilly blocks, and some people will do it. Either way, the trip remains possible, which is much more than can be said about many of the other routes that Metro is proposing to delete.

        FWIW, I used to make that trip (UW 15th) frequently, and what I would often do was take either the 43 or the 49, whichever came first. So half the time, I’d end up making the walk anyway.

        Regarding the trip between downtown and 23rd, why would it be 3 buses? You can take the 11, or the 2, or the 3, or the 14, all of which will connect with the 48 from wherever you happen to be downtown.

      6. The issue is not that deleting the 43 messes up UW-downtown trips, it’s that it messes up UW-Capitol Hill trips, especially to the 15th or Summit areas. Until now we’ve always assumed that the 48+8 would replace it, which is still a hard sell unless they’re running at 5-10 minute frequencies. But in this case the 8th terminates at 15th so it wouldn’t be available for a transfer at 23rd. The 10 turns at 15th too so it’s not available. That leaves only the 11, which may become the new popular route in this case, but it’s at 30-60 minute frequency. People coming from UW would doubtless switch to the 49, but people from Montlake and 520 would have no other choice.

      7. I think I forgot to say this in my comment, but I would like to see the 8 continue east a few blocks to 23rd. I have to imagine that the savings from cutting the 43 entirely would pay for those extra few blocks of service (and then some).

        It’s true that the 43 currently provides a one-bus trip between the U-District and 15th. When you consider all of the other places that are losing one-bus service to important destinations, I think this is an acceptable loss. Anyway, virtually everyone agrees that the 43 will die when North Link starts, at which point this would become a two-seat ride anyway.

        As far as Summit goes, the 43 adds about 15 minutes to that trip, compared to taking the 49 and walking a few blocks. Certainly, there are some people who physically can’t handle the walk, but the 8 will still be available for them.

        Aside from 520, I’ve always assumed that the Montlake neighborhood itself isn’t much of a trip generator. In my anecdotal experience, the 43 and 48 don’t seem to have many on-offs between 520 and Aloha (approximately). Yes, the deletion of the 43 won’t be great for people who currently transfer at 520. But they will still have other options. They can ride an extra stop and transfer to the 8 at Stewart/Denny, or they can switch to the 540/542 and transfer to the 49 at Campus Parkway. Both of these are still much better than the situation for riders in the many neighborhoods which lose transit service completely.

      8. “virtually everyone agrees that the 43 will die when North Link starts”

        People speculate about that but Metro has never said it would consider it. Just like people speculate about truncating the 101 and 106.

      9. I’m on David’s side on this one. “It’s close to the CD” – true, but that perception of lack of safety is a lot less true than it was even ten years ago. The real issue is that the stops are not close together and 23rd sucks. 23rd, at least, will get fixed (assuming we don’t lose the now $46 million project to fix it) and that will help a great deal.

        But I would imagine the 43 is on the block as soon as the Link stations open anyway.

      10. People speculate about that but Metro has never said it would consider it.

        The last time that we almost had a funding crisis, someone did actually obtain a series of spreadsheets outlining possible Metro cuts, and the 43 was on the list. I agree that’s different from an official proposal, though.

        Just like people speculate about truncating the 101 and 106.

        I think a better analogy is the 42. It was so obvious that Link would replace the 42 that Metro didn’t even need to say it. In the same way, the U-Link route is about as close to the 43 as you can get without actually being street-running. The 101 and 150 each serve unique destinations that are not served by Link or any other service; the same cannot be said about the 43, which literally has no unique stops.

        Of course, we might have a “Save the 43” campaign when the time comes. But it’s completely unfathomable to me that Metro won’t at least *try* to cut it.

    1. Scream bloody murder to the Republicans you support. Litzow is my Senator and I’ve put him on notice I find the situation unacceptable, for all the good it does.

      Republicans have got to stop being the party of more roads / climate denial / Government small enough to fit in your bedroom. They really need to hear from you.

      1. We live in a city run by Democrat, within a county run by a Democrat, within legislative district run by a Democrat, within a state run by a Democrat, and within a state with two Democratic US Senators, within a nation run by a Democrat.

        Democrats are running the show, not Republicans.

      2. @Sam I agree with VeloBusDriver. This is not the fault of Democrats… well maybe just two. The two who went over to the Republican party in the senate and decided that we should replay the game they are playing in DC here in Washington state.

        If you think this transportation bill disaster is because the “Democrats are running the show” then you haven’t been paying attention.

      3. I’m happy Republicans are running the show.

        I just wish those guys down in Owempia was whacking other groups that would give more red meat to us than whacking critical infrastructure. Since this is a transit blog, I’m stopping right there thank you.

      4. Not replaying the DC game. Thank God they’re not cutting early voting or passing voter ID laws here, or banning abortion, or shutting down the state government.

      5. No, rather than copying the DC game, actually they’re taking their playbook from the god-damned New York State Senate, where we are now on the second ROUND of Democrats betraying their party in order to support corrupt Republicans. (We kicked out 3 of the 4 in the first round, the fourth cleaned up his act… and now we have a second round? What the hell?)

  18. I live in West Seattle. The proposed cuts includes reducing RR RT C targeting the less crowed bus times but at the same time eliminated RT 21 which will cause the less crowed bus time to increase. This makes no sense. West Seattle already had a overcrowded issue when this RR was introduced when the 22 was reduced to shuttle status and the 54 local and 54 express were eliminated not to mention the 55 and 57 being reduced to peak time only on week days only. I personally have grown so weary of constantly standing and hanging on so tight as not to fall that I was hoping for some relief but it will get only worse. I have to take the bus because I have no car but I would understand if bus riders who have a car go back to driving. Riding the bus is not relaxing as in once was before RR. What I don’t understand is how this budget short fall happen in the first place.

    1. Yeah I agree that West Seattle is getting hit hard by this, but everyone is getting hit really hard and there is no good reason for this.

      Why is this happening? Its because two democrats left the party in the Senate to join with the Republicans and they appear to want to use the same strategy in this state that the party at large was using in DC. They want a transportation bill where Seattle gets nothing and everything goes to new freeways to serve other parts of the state. They don’t even want to give us the right to increase Seattle’s taxing authority to tax itself to solve this problem. Their arguments here are totally bizarre too “we need to protect the tax payers” … yeah tax payers that aren’t even your own constituents and WANT to pay these taxes to save their bus service.

      We have some options (mostly what few new taxes the city and county can impose upon itself) but if you want somewhere to direct your anger, I would suggest putting it on those two Senators and the Republican party in general.

      I am just totally disgusted with the situation myself.

    2. As David L said above, it goes back to initiative 695 in 1999. That cut one of Metro’s funding sources, and left only the sales tax which is highly sensitive to the boom-and-bust economy. The legislature caps the amount the county can levy for transit sales tax. The revenue was strained in early 2008 by high gas prices, and then gutted in late 2008 with the crash, and it has only partly recovered. The legislature gave the county authority for a 2-year supplemental tax as a stopgap, which expires next year and is the reason for these cuts. In the two years Metro was supposed to get more efficient and the legislature was supposed to find a long-term stable funding source for it. Metro got more efficient (how much is subject to debate), but the legislature didn’t hold up its end of the deal. Mainly because these two Democratic senators chose to caucus with the Republicans, reversing the Senate’s de facto majority, and putting it in a “no taxes, cuts only” mood. A large roads-and-transit package was in the works this summer, which had too many highways for transit fans but would have preserved Metro and given it a slight expansion, but the Senate refused to consider the bill. So even though Republicans like freeways more than transit, their dislike of taxes overrode both of those.

  19. Metro could make strategic cuts (use a scalpel instead of a chainsaw), but that wouldn’t engender sufficient outrage that would achieve their goal of getting the money they want. This is a time-honored political game. Dumb people take the bait. (This is an outrage! We must get them their money!)

    1. I hope you’re right, but I don’t know enough to begin evaluating your claim. Could you post an example of how such smart cuts could add up to 17% of service hours?

    2. As William states, numbers please Sam. How would you cut service 17% without leaving people out in the cold?

      1. Me suggesting ways Metro could make more palatable cuts solves nothing because they would never do that. That’s not how the game is played. That’s my point. It’s in their best interest to make crude, hurtful cuts.

        When you want the public to give you more money, you threaten to cut a police officer, not the associate director of interpretive dance.

      2. Metro already cut all its “associate directors of interpretive dance.”

        The challenge remains. Metro has proposed details of a 17% cut which produces widespread pain but restructures service (remarkably well, actually) to concentrate it in high-ridership areas. You claim without a shred of evidence or any details that 17% could be cut “more palatably.” You have no credibility until you show why your claim is true at least in general terms.

    3. Sam, you are constantly challenging people to put up or shut up. Time for that challenge to be applied to you. Show us a 17% cut applied with a scalpel, and someone might actually believe you.

      Hint: I actually am familiar with this stuff at a deep level. I know that 17% and “chainsaw” are synonymous.

      1. Yes. But this strikes me as just about the best one possible. If you want to prove to me that some other way could have been substantially better, you need to describe it.

      2. Sure. One way would be to cut all UW-Downtown service, then all Ballard-Downtown service, then all the 358, and proceed down the line until you reach 17%. Another way would be to start with all service touching Bellevue, then all service touching Highway 522, and… I’m losing interest in picking locations at random. The point is that all the high-volume locations I’m listing are, well, high-volume in terms of passengers as well as in terms of service hours. Frankly, until you present a list of low-ridership “Directors of Interpretive Dance” that add up to the dollar figure needed, I don’t think it’s worth considering your proposal.

        I agree that there’re probably ways to make Metro’s idea marginally less bad. I also agree that it’s in Metro’s self-interest (at least short-term) to present a marginally worse idea rather than a marginally less bad idea. What I don’t see is how this can be made liveable: the volume of cuts is just too big. Even you would agree there’s some dollar figure which Metro can’t cut without horrendous pain, no matter what strategies they use, right?

      3. Yep, I agree 100% here. I’m tired of seeing people post here that “Metro is full of [something], this is just posturing.” Meanwhile, we see armchair designers roll out gold-plated transit redesigns without any consideration of cost, and we also get David’s very carefully-done real-world redesign plans. Nobody ever pipes up and offers a plan–it doesn’t even have to be completely workable, Noodly God knows that even Metro’s just-published plan isn’t–for comparison. Even just “hey, I’d start with chopping the 61 and truncating the 41 at the Lake City library and maybe dump the night owl service that nobody seems to use” would at least a beginning point for a debate. Instead, the opposition just says “POSTURING” and doesn’t provide results.

        Well, provide something. Anything. Just don’t say “screw ’em, back to the cars the way it’s supposed to be” because I and many others will reject that completely out-of-hand. We’d need I-5, I-6, I-7, I-2, I-92, and I-88 just to make up for the crush of traffic. Either that, or Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Google, and many other companies had better start looking for office space in Everett and Gold Bar. Or, maybe not, because that sort of gridlock will crush any sort of competitive benefit this region has. I hear South Carolina loves getting employees.

      4. If Metro wanted to, they could increase headway (from 15 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40, etc.) on enough non-capcity routes that they wouldn’t have to delete routes, or end routes earlier, or at least delete/end early nearly as many. My contention is, if Metro did that … adjusted headway to reduce service, it wouldn’t produce sufficient outrage, which is absolutely what they want! They have to make the cuts in such a way that people will scream bloody murder, or else they won’t get their funding.

      5. If you were to review the 2012 Service Guidelines Report, you would notice that most well-used routes in Seattle, which make up all but a tiny fraction of the service hours in Seattle, have many trips above 1.00 load factor. If you reduce headways on those routes, you will be leaving many riders out in the rain. Somehow I don’t think that would be very painless.

        But, hey, this is progress. You made an unrealistic proposal, but it’s a proposal. So credit for that.

      6. But Metro is adjusting headway. Look at the 40, 71, 234, and 249, off the top of my head. (Note that even this short list points out that the Bellevue-Kirkland frequent corridor is being removed.) What adjustments would you add to their list? Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they forgot a few (maybe the 226 could be cut?), but how many service hours would your additions save?

        If we aren’t sticking to real figures, I might as well go ahead and present my pie-in-the-sky plan to limit all the cuts to Vashon Island and Covington. They don’t have 17% of service hours between them? Well then, we’re back to precise math.

      7. Sam: across-the-board Headway cuts would be even more painful. Did you notice what happened in Tacoma when the 1 and 2 dropped from 4 buses an hour to 3? I’ve never seen an angrier ridership.

        Metro has zero political reason to intentionally inflict pain upon it’s riders, because it’s riders are already on board. The non-riders are the ones cutting the funding, and Metro will not convince a non-rider of anything by inflicting pain on a rider.

  20. Noting the I-5 service restructure, I think this is LONG overdue. Of course I remember times with the 187 and a few other routes also went downtown during the peak (in the tunnel no less). I wonder how many people actually and or will transfer from say the 181 182 187 etc to the 177.

    Also I wonder what metro is going to do with this HUGE glut of P&R capacity they have built in Federal Way, that’s no longer cost-effective to serve with fixed route buses? Many of these park and rides are at less than 50% utilization, while others are 100+% utilization. perhaps it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to ask ST to reroute the 574/577/578 to serve the S. 320th St P&R (old Federal Way Transit Center), and maybe even the South Federal Way P&R? This would give more options for those riders other than the Federal Way TC which is beyond capacity, and since they are nearby wouldn’t affect the schedule much (and maybe help fill some off-peak seats as well).

    Also, slightly off topic from Sound Transits perspective, it might not be a bad idea to implement shuttles from the Auburn P&R to Auburn Station, and the huge Kent P&R to Kent station to provide some satellite parking lots for those sounder stations like what is done in Pierce County. Especially if the surface lots are free and the parking structures are turned into paid facilities.

  21. Here’s a very small example of a revision that I think has more to do with Metro trying to manufacturing outrage than being a sincere and reasonable attempt at a cut. Metro is proposing that both the routes 245 and 271 no longer go into the Bellevue College to “make the route more efficient.” But I notice that on both routes, headway isn’t changed at all. Not even the 15 minute midday headway. If their goal was to make cuts palatable and relatively painless, they would increase midday headway before eliminating service to a college.

    1. The elimination of the deviation will improve life for most riders. The walk is not all that long, and all riders not going to the college on these busy core routes will like the change, as it will shave several minutes from their trip.

      Now if you said “Why are we maintaining service on the 245 but cutting it on the 40,” we’d be talking. That is a strange decision indeed.

      1. To the 245’s credit, it’s an irreplaceable part of the Eastside frequent network. I think that’s what Metro was thinking. But sadly, it isn’t getting ridership – I live along it, and I’d give it up for the 40 in a heartbeat if it came down to the two of them.

    2. The current 271 route takes it over many speed bumps, past crosswalks that fill when classes are changing, and directly through the parking lots of the college. At best the speed bumps are uncomfortable and slow the bus. At worse the bus can get caught in the traffic jam of cars draining from the parking lots. Avoiding all that is a welcome change.

  22. While 17% cuts are never a good thing, it does at least somewhat move us in a direction of consolidating resources in fewer, more direct routes, and emphasizing routes that carry more riders.

    While the reduce network will certainly be worse, overall, than our current network, I do take some solace in fact that if the 17% cuts do go into effect and a few years later, we are able to get those service hours back, the network that will result will end up being better than what we have today – but in a way that, without the cuts happening in the meantime, would be politically impossible,

    Some things I particularly like include:
    – Consolidating the 5X and 355
    – U-district to downtown restructure that will consolidate service on one route, with express service on Sundays (hopefully).
    – Eliminating the 271’s deviation into Bellevue College and finally preventing the route’s unproductive tail from dragging down the productivity (and level of service) of the entire route.
    – Establishing weekend service on the 372, filling a giant hole in the northeast Seattle network. Truncating it at Bothell, rather than continuing onto Kenmore was a no-brainer.

    Some things I don’t like, but am willing to tolerate:
    – Most all-day routes end an hour or two earlier than they do today. The only reason I put this in the “willing to tolerate” category is that the availability of Lyft, Sidecar, and Car2Go have vastly reduced the impact. That being said, the scalability of Car2Go downtown will always be an issue. I think we’re going to see more late-night trips in the form of “take whatever bus downtown happens to be coming first that is headed in the rough general direction of home, get off at whatever stop is near an available car, then drive the car to where you really want to go”.
    – Deletion of the 30. It’s technically my neighborhood route, but between feet and bikes, I don’t really need it. For most riders along the line, the 65, 75, or 372 a viable alternative.
    – Downtown to U-district service after 7 PM is just as awful as it currently is, and looks like it will get slightly worse. Fortunately, Sound Transit’s recent restructuring of the 510/511/512 helps mitigate it.
    – Service from Roosevelt to downtown between now and 2021 is going to get a lot slower. If you think the 66 is bad, the 73 will add a 15-minute long deviation down the Ave through the U-district.
    – Service from Fremont to the U-district is going to be slower and less reliable.

    Decisions that look very questionable:
    – Off-peak SLUT headways of 30 minutes?? For a route this short, this is just crazy. Better to run it at 15 minute headways for a reduced span and just kill it the rest of the time. Hopefully, this is just a ploy to get Jeff Bezos to increase his contribution.
    – The 71 shuttle route. This has all the makings of another #61, although with hourly headways, rather than half-hourly headways, it won’t be quite so wasteful. Not sure what to do to make it better. Perhaps
    – Sunday service increasing on the 221? If the eastside is going to pull its weight, rather than leave all the Sacrifice in Seattle, the 221 should not be running better than hourly.

    In addition to the above, how much service hours would it save to simply declare Christmas (and perhaps New Year’s Day, too) as transit furlough days, and operate nothing is except Link, RapidRide, and a tiny handful of the most important routes at half-hourly headways (perhaps 2, 5, 7, 10, 44, 73, 150, and 550).

    Not sure if it’s enough to save one more daily trip on some route the rest of the year, but it’s worth thinking about.

    1. Actually, Metro should just operate the Emergency Service network on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (basically just essential routes, and only at every 30 minutes or worse – that means no every 15-20 minute service on those two holidays). These two holidays have the lowest ridership, since most stores are closed these two days (stores are open on New Years Day).

    2. I too have often wondered about operating buses on major holidays. Of course, we need the service. People do ride the bus on Thanksgiving and less so on Christmas. However, I agree it wouldn’t hurt Metro to customize service in relation to holidays.

  23. To me, we’d better get working on preventing this. Different ways to cut are just pushing peas around the plate. They’re all really tough, from the span cuts to the frequency cuts to the truncations, some of which really hurt connectivity and coverage.

    1. As painful as these cuts are, lobbying our legislatures to get down on their knees and beg the Republicans for anything to increase Metro’s funding authority is not a solution.

      We may indeed get another temporary stopgap measure, but I fear the price will be so high it won’t be worth it. Look at what the Republicans recently demanded on the Federal level in exchange for re-opening the government and raising the debt ceiling. It will be similar here – they will not vote to give Metro any funding authority without big concessions, possibly involving random items on the conservative wish list that have nothing to do with transportation, and they more desperate they perceive us, the bigger the concessions they will demand. Even Democrats seems insistent on tying any Metro funding authority to a package full of highway pork for the rest of the state, even with no state money actually being allocated to Metro.

      The only other option I see is just grin and bear it for a couple of years until sales tax revenues rise again and Link expansions free up buses along the corridors served by Link to be re-distributed elsewhere in the city. As painful as it is, we should end up with a better network, once the lost service hours come back, than what we have today.

      On the other hand, the short term effects of the 17% cuts could undermine political support for transit long afterward. It would be awful if people impacted the cuts lose faith in transit completely, causing future ballot measures like ST3 to fail.

      1. The real political solution to this comes our way on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014.

        Regardless of the outcome, we have 12 months to work our butts off to restore transit-friendly (usually democratic) leadership to Olympia. Instead of crying to a Republican base interested only in humiliation in return for marginal concessions, its time to get out and work. Voting is the obvious answer, but this should be a wake-up call to the readers of this blog that political action isn’t isolated to election day.

        I’ve never done any political volunteering before, but next year, I just might.

      2. Unfortunately, the cuts go into effect next September. But, as to electing a better legislature, better late than never.

  24. These cuts are sensible and will help to eliminate much of the waste at metro. I think some of these cuts should go further, with the elimination of most Sunday service, and limit most bus service to peak hours. Metro could save millions of dollars and donate its bus fleet to a better deserving city.

    1. Are you being sarcastic or does someone really think this city would be better off with no Sunday buses and peak only bus service?

      Not everyone works 9-5. There are also plenty of reasons to be going downtown at non-peak hours.

    2. It must be a joke because it doesn’t make any sense. And what’s a “more deserving city” in that context? If it has more transit already, it doesn’t need it. If it’s more willing to fully fund transit, why can’t we be that city? If it has less transit, it doesn’t want more because transit is socialist.

  25. Late night “polyester uniform express” runs on 120 and 150 axed, service industry workers with night/closing shifts told to find an affordable apartment in Seattle (ha ha ha) or drive.

  26. No way King County voters will support this. Raise fares, reduce costs. The days of crying wolf are over, we saw the Big Lie in Pierce County:

    “Oh my, what’s this, we found the money after all?

    1. Anyone who thinks PT “found the money after all” instantly loses all credibility.

      You obviously haven’t ridden PT since the cuts. They found no money. Core routes are overcrowded with long waits, outer routes are skeletal at best.

  27. Why voters won’t be fooled again:

    “Between 2010 and 2012, Community Transit cut 37 percent of its bus service as it saw sales tax revenues plummet from the recession. Still, average weekday ridership dropped only 6 percent after the cuts.

    “Community Transit maintained most of its ridership by strategically cutting unproductive service – early and late-night buses, mid-day trips and low-ridership routes. As a result, productivity on the service that remains has skyrocketed.

    “• Local bus service within Snohomish County has seen a 31 percent increase in boardings per hour.
    •Swiftbus rapid transit service along Highway 99 between Everett and Shoreline has seen a 59 percent increase in boardings per hour.
    • Commuter service to Seattle and UW has seen a 70 percent increase in boardings per hour.

    “Following its recent service cuts, Community Transit is operating the same number of service hours as it did in the year 2000 when ridership was 7.2 million boardings. In 2012, the agency provided 9.1 million rides, meaning that last year Community Transit carried 26 percent more riders than it did in 2000 with the same level of service.”

    1. On Metro, particularly in Seattle, almost all of the service identified there as “unproductive” is quite heavily used. Metro already cut night and weekend service to levels where it is almost all “productive” in earlier rounds of cuts. If you doubt me, try my occasional commute — taking the 41 home late at night.

      1. Fortunately, Metro publishes numbers which show that my anecdote is representative. Have a look at the productivity metrics for Seattle routes in the 2012 Service Guidelines Report. You’ll see that almost every Seattle route that runs nights and weekends is productive at those times. (The few very worst Seattle routes, which make up 2% or so of the hours, are daytime-only.)

  28. Another thought I had. Most people here know that the Seattle TMP has outlined 15 “priority bus” corridors. I looked through the list of all 15 corridors. Most of them are doing pretty well, with only minor reductions to the span of service. The 36 is being cut from 10-minute to 15-minute all-day headways, but given that 15 minutes is the standard elsewhere, this is understandable.

    However, the 40 (corridor 11) and the 5 (corridor 15) are both being reduced from 15-minute to 20-minute all-day headways. I think this is a real tragedy. 15 minutes is right at the threshold of spontaneity; most people will still use a schedule, but a bus that comes every 15 minutes isn’t a bus that you need to plan your life around. 20 minutes, on the other hand, is right out.

    While I hope that none of these cuts come to fruition, in the event that they do, I think we should be asking Metro to prioritize maintaining frequent service on these corridors. As an example, I would happily trade some service hours from the 18X to the 40, or from the 355X to the 5.

    1. There are two problems with trading peak coverage for all-day coverage:

      1) It doesn’t buy you much. Elimination of one 18X trip each way would get you about a third of one all-day bus for the 40.
      2) Especially at the reduced levels seen in this proposal, those peak buses are going to be jammed. If you cut them to maintain all-day service, you’re going to be leaving riders in the rain.

      1. That’s fair. I’m not necessarily saying it needs to be exactly like that. I just think that maintaining 15-minute all-day frequency on these routes is extremely important, and I would prefer to see something else cut or reduced instead.

      2. David, look at it from the opposite side of the coin: If you cut a peak trip, you’ll be leaving riders in the rain a few more minutes (or convincing them to stand). If you cut an off-peak trip, you’ll be leaving riders in the rain another half hour, hour, or stranding them.

        The key question for me in deciding which runs to cut is whether the buses have merely been filling up their seats, or if they have already reached standing room capacity (in which case, hundreds of riders could be in a queue, standing in the rain several more minutes). The goals for maximum time passengers should be standing might need to be loosened.

      3. If you cut peak trips, the most likely outcome is that enough riders will give up and drive so the remaining riders, by and large, won’t be left in the rain. It would be no different than what happens after a Mariner’s game when, 20,000 people pour out of the stadium at once, with only half-hourly or hourly buses to get them home.

  29. Cutting service (except for major trunk lines but with less frequent service) on major stay-home holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas makes much sense. I could never understand why an empty 71 would be rattling through a quiet Wedgwood neighborhood every half hour on a Christmas morning.

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