Metro has published the final list of September service cuts, to take effect September 27th.

Also, on September 2nd, Metro will submit a revised proposal for the February 2014 cuts.

41 Replies to “Final September Cuts List”

  1. As a non seattle resident if seattle wants to waste money on night owls fine by me.

    1. Night owl service is not a waste of money, but these three routes are. The City ought to ask the Metro planners how they would do Seattle night owl service. I think we’d end up with something a lot more useful.

      1. Agreed. Was saying as a non seattle resident if they want to waste their money then let them. Not something I would want kent paying for. But we (no longer) have any late night service on the chopping block.

  2. interesting … (from my perspective)

    the 2 remains unchanged
    the 3/4 remains unchanged
    the 12 remains unchanged
    the 27 remains … albeit peak-only service
    the 9X remains unchanged
    the 60 remains unchanged

    also interesting …

    Changes to Route 49

    On weekdays and Sundays, Route 49 will be revised to serve a new southbound terminal on University Way NE, just south of NE 52nd Street. It will operate on 15th Avenue NE (north of NE 45th Street), NE 50th Street, Brooklyn Avenue NE, NE 52nd Street, and University Way NE.

    On Saturdays only, Route 49 will follow its current routing to 12th Avenue NE, just south of NE 47th Street.

    Why make this change?

    This change is being made to accommodate construction in the University District.

    1. Yeah, this is weird. It’s not a reduction of service, though, which I would expect because the revised plan showed no changes for route 49.

    2. This is the first of four rounds of cuts. It contains the most egregiously-empty routes, which is appropriate. The subsequent rounds get progressively less and less justified. The 2,3,4,12,60 all have a substantial number of riders, and there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the specific reorganizations. The West Seattle reorg has no advantages I can see, so it was put last.

      The Council threw Metro a curve by approving only the first round, rather than all four rounds. That also means Metro can’t front-load additional reorgs into the first round, especially with September only a month away. The new proposal will either be the same or different, so there’s not much we can say about it now.

  3. Time for Seattle to start feeling the pain!*

    *i have no sympathy for Seattle and metro since they got special treatment by the state legislature to help them keep afloat for the past 5 years, and willfully wasted those 5 years keeping a high unsustainable service level when they should have been realigning and reducing their service to be an a more favorable position if cuts were to come and if growth were to happen. All this coming from a person who has seen his counties service cut 40+% to an almost unuseable level in the same timeframe.

    1. Seattle should suffer just because we in Pierce county have as well? Shit, I guess misery really does enjoy company.

      1. Pierce, Snohomish. Yep, painful cuts. Again, I wouldn’t be so bitter but metro got the bridge funding in some hope it would all work out, and look where that got them. Everyone else has had to pay the piper, now its metro’s turn. PT did 3 rounds of layoffs, and cut 40+ % of service (46 I think, just something awful) not to mention the PTBA reductions, which thankfully the now rebounding economy helped eliminate those even more painful cuts, and through it all metro kept bussing along until they hit the edge of the cliff. While I don’t want to see any bus service reduced, or anyone getting laid off I don’t have much sympathy to show them.

    2. The entire region will feel the pain as Metro is a semi-regional service; not just Seattle. And the whole region spent years dicking around. There were cuts, restructures, and capital deferrals. To say Metro did nothing is completely ignorant of the situation.

      We, Seattle, plan on saving OUR bus service and to hell with everyone else who wants to see us suffer.

      1. I don’t know what Metro is any more. A King County wide transit organization but which seems to be so Seattle oriented its hard to remember.

        We have Sound Transit that does inter-city and regional trips.

        Why is Metro doing these as well?

        Isn’t it time to turn Metro into the Seattle Transit Authority (MTA equivalent) and Sound Transit into the Salish Rail Road (LIRR) and BRT?

      2. Sure does feel like that, doesn’t it? Let ST handle anything and everything outside the Seattle city limits (although perhaps Metro should/could control Bellevue as well)?

        There are philosophical and economic arguments for and against explicit balkanization of transit territories, but I see no reason to re-hash that debate now, as it seems to be happening naturally.

    3. That’s not what the 2-year reprieve was for. It was to give the legislature more time to come up with a long-term funding solution that isn’t as susceptable to boom-and-bust as the sales tax is. Metro assumed the legislature would act in good faith but the legislature broke its promise and threw Metro off a cliff. The problem is not a lack of money or overservice, but artificial caps and volatile tax mechanisms that don’t take into account how much transit a county of 2.5 million should have or our rising population. The legislature created the caps and tax mechanism, so it’s the legislature’s job to fix it.

      As for the other counties, the legislature was going to work on a long-term funding mechanism for them too, but it didn’t give them a 2-year bridging tax so they had to make cuts then, and would increase service whenever the long-term mechanism is in place. The reason the legislature gave only Metro the bridging tax was that it (the legislature) was convinced that Metro had a good reform plan and had made substantial progress on it, but the other agencies hadn’t. What the legislature liked were Metro’s new service guidelines, the audit, the reorganizations like West Seattle (which was pending then), etc.

      1. Metro’s first mistake was to trust the state legislature, it has now literally drove them off a cliff, well 3 cliffs to be exact (or is it 4?). IIRC when the state legislature voted on the bridge funding for metro, PT had already been through painful service reductions and layoffs, but apparently this was not good enough, and everyone but metro was excluded from having the option to use the bridge funding. Had the option been given and not used, I wouldn’t be so bitter about the thing, since it was not though, its time for metro to pay the piper!

      2. Well Metro were supposed to make lasting cuts to costs. Instead, costs went up at over twice the rate of inflation.. Most of the so called cuts were in payments to reserves and deferred capital expenditures. Now reserves are dry and the trolleys are beyond worn out.

      3. What’s the state of gerrymandering in Washington state? It’s my impression that the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area has over half the population of the state…. does it have over half the members of the state legislature, or were you gerrymandered? (Ohio was gerrymandered to a really evil degree, for instance, so a group getting 49% of the vote can get 75% of the seats.)

      4. Not too bad. Redistricting is mostly non-partisan, although there’s a certain amount of deference to incumbents.

        Remember also that Democrats were in control of the State House and the governorship, and more or less in control of the Senate [Rodney Tom hadn’t yet completely sold out his colleagues].

        While I’m certain that there has been some gerrymandering, an awful lot of this is a result of the misguided bipartisanly supported mandate to create majority minority districts a couple of decades ago, and deference to incumbents.

        Nationally, much of the difference between the Republican popular vote and its representation in the HoR is explained by California where there were districts in which the general election pitted two Democrats against each other.

    4. If Seattle wants to pay to keep their buses, it’s fine by me. I won’t be paying their taxes. And it helps them keep their service.

  4. Kent East Hill seems relatively unscathed…they deleted the 161 but their reasoning seems quite valid:

    one of the lowest performing peak-period-only routes

    Rider options:

    169 will provide alternate service between the Kent Transit Center and the South Renton Park-and-Ride, where riders can transfer to and from downtown Seattle. Route 150 serves Interurban Avenue S and the Tukwila Park-and-Ride

    They should also mention the better option for all these Kent Station-Seattle bound expresses — jump on the Sounder Train!!

      1. See my comment above.

        Why any of these Expresses go all the way to Seattle is beyond me.

        The 164, 168 or 169 connects both East and West to Sounder.

        And if you miss the Sounder; take LINK to SeaTac and get on the 180 and you’re back at Kent Station.

        Now, these expresses like the 158 and 159 will go East Hill, then Kent Station and then make a few more stops before getting on the Freeway.

        However, those folk could easily just take the 164 back in the other direction.

        There may be a case for providing a universal bus that will go from Kent Station…through all the neighborhoods and then dump people at Tukwila Station again for Sounder.

        But when Sounder runs, there shouldn’t be all these buses traipsing up I-5!

      2. Agreed!!! Now we need true BRT from kent to seatac station (limited stops and off board payment). Stops maybe at kent station, 68th and 212th and seatac city hall before Zooming for seatac airport station.

      3. If you can get enough people in Kent to back a “Kent restructure”, you may be able to get something sensible done…

      4. Well think of the minutes spent by all these buses on I-5…doing what Sounder does better…a beeline to Seattle.

        Now turn those minutes into local circulator minutes instead!

        In addition do the same thing on the Seattle end. Instead of having all these buses cramming through downtown, the job is — get people from work buildings into the tunnel and King Street station to the Sounder.

        That’s a few hours a day more service…

      5. Assuming sounder has enoug extra capacity to absorb more riders. I have always though circulators from the old kent P&R and auburn P&R (both of which go largely unused) would have been a good idea, much like the 400/495/596 in pierce county.

    1. I think the case to cut the 158 and 159 is stronger, because those two routes are almost totally duplicative. A peak version of the 161, terminating at Tukwila Sounder Station, would be cool.

    1. Within 1 and a half weeks of the schedule change (No later than September 20, but probably a few days sooner).

  5. I’m delighted to see the 7x and 152 finally gone. I’m not so thrilled to have no local replacement for the 152, that could serve those same stops between Federal Way and Auburn Station.

  6. The removal of off-peak service on the 30 is a bit weird, given that the peak direction service entirely duplicates the 74, which is not changed. While the reverse peak direction could serve as a useful shuttle to NOAA, if that’s the only unique purpose wouldn’t it be better to simply operate a shuttle from NOAA to the nearest Line 75 stop (with timed connections), and save a bus that way?

    Also, the service cuts for North Bend/Snoqualmie are rather brutal…only a single route on 120 (!) minute headways, even during peak? If there are any transit-dependent people in that area, this cut will completely screw them over, and good luck attracting any type of discretionary rider with that type of service, unless their schedule somehow happens to match the bus schedule.

    1. The assumption regarding getting rid of the 30 is that riders headed to the U-district would either have the 65, 68, 75, or 372 available, or be close enough to just walk to the U-district and not need any bus at all. For the most part, this is true, although trips to the north half of the U-district will be a bit more time-consuming. There is also the problem that until future phases of cuts happen, the 372 will continue to run weekdays only, while the 68 runs Monday-Saturday, daytime only. Riders near the corner of 55th and 25th who are unable to walk up the hill (only half a mile, but quite steep), will be effectively left completely without service on Saturday evenings and all-day Sundays.

      This is actually my neighborhood, but being in good physical shape, I have found it nearly always faster to just walk up the hill than wait for the #30 bus. So, unless I suffer a broken leg or something, I can’t say I would miss the #30 that much. I have had out-of-town visitors who walk slower than me use the #30 to visit me. With the bus gone, I will probably end up directing them to Uber. For a 1-mile trip, 2 adult bus fares costs practically as much as Uber anyway, so I can hardly call it much of a loss.

      The 208, I am more concerned about, simply because given the remoteness of the area and vastly larger distances, alternative options are a lot more difficult. I’ve used it many times to go hiking around Mt. Si. and similar areas, and it’s about to get a lot more difficult.

      While some form of service in the Snoqualmie Valley area is warrented, I don’t think a giant 40-foot bus is the right way to do it. They’re expensive to operate, are noisy, have far more passenger capacity than is actually needed, and are not even designed to climb the hills of I-90 at freeway speeds (The bus routinely crawls up the hill at 40 mph, even when all the cars around it are doing 70. I can only assume that the driver is pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor and 40 mph is simply the limit of what the bus can handle. Downhill, the bus keeps up with the traffic, no problem). Instead of cutting back service to every 2 hours, perhaps Metro should be reconsidering the vehicle used to provide the service. A simple vanpool van operating the route of the 208, once an hour, should be more than sufficient.

      1. +1 it’s almost as if transportation organizations don’t realize buses aren’t the only vehicle form that exists. The silliest are those short buses that manage to have all the downsides of buses, loud diesel, unwieldy width, and road breaking weight, with all the downsides of vans, low capacity and inefficient use of driver time.

        Do van drivers get less pay than bus drivers? Van driving doesn’t take specialized knowledge or skill like city bus driving does.

      2. @ asdf I used to drive a Metro 1200 series van on the 209 during the middle of the day sometimes. Even with hourly service, I used to be full and have pass up passengers sometime. A van won’t work for this route as it is busy at times. Having a bus every two hours will only add more passengers to each bus.

        @ Josh F Yes, the cuts to Snoq Valley are going to be very painful. I’m already under the impression that with the exception of the 215 commuters, almost all of riders on the 208/209 are transit dependent. Because if they had a car, they probably wouldn’t be messing around with such infrequent bus service. So, it that case, I’d compare it to the passengers on Vashon Island. During the middle of the day and on Saturdays, there is only be one bus operating on the island and might have over two hour headways on certain parts of the island. These passenger know the schedule well and plan their day and their trips around the 118/119 schedule. It works for them. I believe this will be the case for the 208 riders. Like I said before, except for the 215 passengers, anyone in Snoq Valley with a car, probably isn’t riding the 208/209. They either driving wherever they’re going, or driving to Issq TC or Highland P&R if going to Seattle. So those transit dependent riders will adapt and have to plan their days and trips around the bus schedule. And hopefully some service will be reinstated in the near future

  7. All but one of the cuts are because the routes were among the lowest-performing (or lowest-performing during the peak period) in the system.

    The 202 has a different reason: “Metro plans to combine two or more routes to preserve service for the most riders.”

    I’d be curious to hear from someone on Mercer Island how this route reorganization will impact Mercer Islanders, as well as your thoughts on the possibility of moving the 554 into the DSTT, if space comes open.

    1. The 202 is one of the lowest performing routes.

      The 204 is pretty awful too, but it’s the best of the three off peak routes. But it only runs from about 8 o’clock and 3 o’clock. In the peak, the 201, 202 and 205 provide service to the South end of the Island. The 204 is getting peak hour runs to replace the missing 204, hence the description.

      It’s unfortunate that the 203/213 are being eliminated since they are used to a certain extent by mobility impaired seniors. The current Island midday service is hourly 203, hourly 213 (both of which are loops from downtown to city hall and back, but that serve different stops on the way back) and semi-hourly 204. This is operated using two buses: 204’s arriving downtown become either 213s or 203s. A similar pattern ought to be possible in the new one bus schedule [the new schedule is hourly 204’a Monday to Friday only.

      The cut of weekend service is a huge win. It saves a bunch of money with almost no customer impact.

      The loss of the 201 will make transit a lot less useful for people living at the south end of West Mercer Way: a precinct that voted yes on prop 1. At best it will put further pressure on the already overloaded P&R. More likely, these people will just drive to work.

      I’m concerned about capacity along the ICW corridor to the high school. The school runs are currently served by the 205 leaving the South End QFC around 7:20, and the first 202 of the day. Metro will either have to run 40 footers all day, do expensive repositions, run a second bus for some or all of the peaks, or not serve the students.

      On the 204, the devil is going to be in the details: when precisely are the first and last buses. If the last bus headed south leaves meaningfully before 6pm, Metro might as well not bother: the bus will be useless to commuters not in the 550’s walkshed.

      Personally, I’ll miss the 202. It was a fabulously civilized way to get from my house to my office: 2 block walks at either end of the route. Guaranteed seating both ways. Most of the time, the run on the I-90 mainline was pretty smooth, and avoiding the jog to/from 5th often gave it timings comparable to the 554. 204/550 would be less pleasant because the 550 is so crowded, but not enough so that I wouldn’t use it, as long as the span of service is comparable to what we have now: currently, the last 202 leaves 2nd and Seneca just after 6:10 pm, and is the last reliable way to get home by transit. (I suspect you could catch a 550 in the tunnel a few minutes later and catch up with it, but it would be tight) [the walk from Downtown MI to the South End is mostly fairly pleasant, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day]. All that said, killing the 202 is the right call.

      In practice, for the last year or so my usual commute to downtown included dropping off the kids at day care, and our schedules meant that it was 7:45, I was in the car, and I was at the I-90/E Mercer Way exit. From there, my choices were drive into town, or drive to Eastgate and take whichever 21x showed up first, I chose the latter, but it was a slog [mostly because of the traffic getting back onto the Island from Eastgate in the evening.], and I suspect that many Islanders would have just driven.

      I don’t see much point in moving the tunnel buses around: once U-LInk opens there’s going to be increasing pressure to end joint operations, and while this should be delayed as long as possible, I doubt that joint operations have more than another 3 years left.

      Last night’s council meeting was interesting. (1) there seems to be genuine interest in buying back some service. (2) there seems to be willingness to discuss MI paying for a downtown parking structure primarily for Island Residents (3) the engagement over options for the Link station seems mostly constructive (lots of additional options for study, including possibly opening up Sunset — the city has no recollection of telling ST that wasn’t an option, but ST apparently thinks they did). (4) one councilman (a known opponent of the TBD) is suggesting a $25 levy since that would require a vote, which would delay implementation, and which I think he believes would be less likely to pass. One of the councilwomen (I’m fairly certain it was Councilwoman Bertlin) suggested that spending ~40,000 to ask the voters about a $320,000 revenue stream probably wasn’t terribly prudent.

      1. Grrr. Obviously, the 204 is getting hours to replace the missing 202, not the missing 204.

      2. The 201 is NOT being deleted. It stays, with the beefed up 204.

        To answer you question about the capacity on Island Crest Way with the high school students, the 205 trip the loops through the neighborhood south of South Shopping Center then heads north up ICW will still exist and will be renumbered as route 894 both AM and after school. In addition the 891 will still continue service on ICW between SE 68th and SE 40th. The new 894 will also cover some of the missed service of the 203/213 to get the kids to school.

      3. My recollection is that the 201 is slated to go away in a future round of cuts, but you’re right it’s safe for now. That said, while it’s fine (albeit a little slow) for getting to the South End QFC, it doesn’t serve the area around the high school or library.

  8. Thanks for the info about the 894. Other than the exact timing of the last southbound 204, and my (minor) irritation that the new 204 looks like it will be run with a revenue hrs/platform hrs below 50%, that was by far my biggest concern.

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