Link light rail will be reduced to 20-minute frequencies

Last updated: April 7, 2020.

Beginning on Monday, Sound Transit and Pierce Transit will be among the agencies to cut back their service further in response to low ridership, staffing shortages, and cost-saving measures. King County Metro is bucking the trend by restoring some of its service that was cut in the initial reductions last week, primarily trips for essential trips.

This rundown of affected services will be updated throughout the week as other announcements come in. All agencies in the ORCA system have stopped collecting fares except for Washington State Ferries, and most are requiring riders to use the rear door(s) if they are able to.

Sound Transit

Link light rail service will be reduced to frequencies of every 20 minutes at all hours, and comes with a posted schedule. Tacoma Link will continue to have normal service and headways.

The following ST Express routes have been entirely cancelled:

  • Route 541 (UW – Overlake)
  • Route 544 (SLU – Overlake)
  • Route 555 (Issaquah – Northgate)
  • Route 556 (Issaquah – Northgate)
  • Route 567 (Kent – Overlake)
  • Route 580 (Lakewood – Puyallup)
  • Route 586 (UW Seattle – Tacoma)
  • Route 592 (Seattle – DuPont)
  • Route 595 (Seattle – Gig Harbor)
  • Route 596 (Sumner – Bonney Lake)

All other routes operated by Pierce Transit will run at reduced schedules that are similar to normal Sunday frequencies with enhancements to preserve span of service. All routes operated by King County Metro will have reduced service except for Route 554, which will only have two cut trips. Routes operated by Community Transit will not change from the current reduced schedules.

Overall ridership on Sound Transit services has dropped by 85 percent. The existing cuts to Sounder service will remain, with only two daily round trips on the North Line and eight daily round trips on the South Line.

Pierce Transit

Pierce Transit will switch to a modified Sunday schedule for the entire week, as ridership is down 64 percent from March 2019. The normal Sunday schedules will be used on weekends, while a few changes will be made for weekdays:

  • Routes 1, 3, and 500 will have extended morning and evening trips, and additional frequency during peak hours
  • Route 400: Limited trips (as it does not run on Sundays)

The following routes are suspended until further notice:

  • Route 13 (N 30th Street)
  • Route 63 (NE Tacoma Express)
  • Route 102 (Gig Harbor Express)
  • Route 425 (Puyallup Connector)
  • Route 497 (Lakeland Hills)
  • JBLM Connector

An updated version of the systemwide schedule book is available on Pierce Transit’s website.

King County Metro

Metro will be restoring service on core routes to places with food, medicine, and key public facilities. The remaining network will be slimmed down to focus on 115 core routes in the county, with 37% fewer buses and 19% fewer service trips than a typical weekday. Metro estimates that ridership has fallen by 70 percent, and 25 percent of its operations employees are unable to work.

The following routes will have 2 or fewer trips cut:

  • RapidRide A Line, 22, 60, 63, 64, 71, 73, 105, 106, 118, 119, 128, 131, 148, 164, 166, 168, 193, 221, 269, 303, 309, 331, 345, 348, 554, 628 (Snoqualmie Community Shuttle), 631 (Burien Community Shuttle), 901, 903, 906, 908, 914, 916

The following routes will have reduced frequency and span of service:

  • RapidRide B, C, D, E and F lines, and routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 36, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 62, 65, 67, 70, 75, 101, 107, 120, 124, 132, 150, 153, 156, 169, 180, 181, 182, 183, 187, 204, 225, 226, 230, 231, 239, 240, 241, 245, 249, 250, 255, 271, 346, 347, 372, 373, ST Express routes 522, 542, 545, 550, route 635 (Des Moines Community Shuttle), 915, 917, Water Taxi West Seattle and Vashon routes, First Hill Streetcar, Link light rail

The following routes are suspended until further notice:

  • 5X, 9, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21X, 29, 37, 47, 55, 56, 57, 74, 76, 77, 78, 102, 111, 113, 114, 116, 121, 122, 123, 125, 143, 154, 157, 158, 159, 167, 177, 178, 179, 186, 190, 192, 200, 208, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 224, 232, 237, 246, 252, 257, 268, 301, 304, 308, 311, 312, 316, 330, 342, 355, 541, 555, 556, 630 (Mercer Island Community Shuttle), 773, 775, 823, 824, 886, 887, 888, 889, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895, 907, 910, 913, 930, 931, 952, 980, 981, 982, 984, 986, 987, 988, 989, 994, 995
  • Black Diamond/Enumclaw Community Ride, Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Community Ride, Normandy Park Community Ride, Sammamish Community Ride, Juanita Area Community Ride, Bothell/Woodinville Community Ride, Via to Transit, South Lake Union Streetcar

The King County Water Taxi will have service only on the West Seattle route with six round-trip sailings. There will be no service on shuttle routes 773 and 775.

The First Hill Streetcar will have a frequency of 15 minutes on Mondays and Saturdays, with no change to Sunday and holiday schedules.

Community Transit

Community Transit has not announced further cuts, but the agency is preparing contingency plans for later use. The plans range from using Saturday service levels for weekdays to a full shutdown if it becomes necessary.

Bus ridership on Community Transit is down 71 percent overall, with commuter routes down 92 percent.

At the request of drivers, Community Transit is now providing them with gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer where possible.

Everett Transit

Everett Transit has updated its emergency service schedule to suspend all Sunday trips and require back-door boarding. Paratransit customers will be able to request a face mask when they board.

Kitsap Transit

Kitsap Transit began its service reductions on Wednesday, April 1, cutting 30 percent of its normal service.

The following routes are suspended:

  • Route 22 (Gateway Express)
  • Route 81 (Annapolis Commuter)
  • Route 91 (Kingston –Bainbridge)
    Route 92 (Kingston – Suquamish)
  • Route 229 (Trenton Commuter)
  • Route 234 (Kitsap Mall – Bangor)
  • Route 333 (Silverdale – Bainbridge)
  • Route 338 (Gateway – Bainbridge Express)

The existing cuts to ferry service will remain in place, along with the 46-passenger limit. Worker-driver buses will be capped at 22 passengers, with buses on standby to pick up overflow passengers.

Intercity Transit

April 7: Intercity Transit will transition to advanced reservations only beginning on Monday, April 13. Riders will need to call or email the reservations office and make them 2 to 5 days in advance with no same-day reservations. Regular buses will be replaced with smaller vehicles, and transit facilities will be closed.

April 4: Intercity Transit has begun reducing its evening service on weekdays, with most routes making their last trip before 8:00 p.m.

Affected routes: 12, 13, 41, 48, 62A, 62B, 65, 66, 68, 94

Skagit Transit

Skagit Transit will reduce its weekday service to Saturday schedules beginning on Monday, April 6. The following changes will be made:

  • Route 90X will have three daily round trips
  • Routes 205 and 206 will have hourly departures
  • Route 300 will operate every 2 hours
  • Routes 409, 513, and 750 are suspended until further notice

On Sundays, Skagit Transit is using a modified version of the normal schedule, with the addition of the above changes.

Whatcom Transportation Authority

WTA has limited its buses to 12 passengers per vehicle (or 15 if there are family members riding together). Leftover riders can board “trailer” buses that will follow trips on high-ridership routes.

25 Replies to “New round of service cuts announced for Sound Transit and Pierce Transit”

  1. Metro says their weekday schedule is “unchanged.” Does that mean it is regular service on weekdays? If so, what about routes that are cancelled on weekdays, such as the 47?

  2. Looks like most of the suspended route are weekday peak expresses (which makes sense) but the 63 and 309 are notable exceptions. I don’t know why anyone would still be commuting to Amazon or other SLU tech companies these days.

    My theory is that the 63 and 309 were left because they’re the only direct routes between South Lake Union and First Hill, so there could be hospital workers still riding them. Still though, running an empty bus all that distance, just to ferry hospital workers one mile seems very wasteful. If one Metro had a real SLU->First Hill bus route, they could be running that and suspending the 63 and 309, instead.

    1. I think it is also Northgate/Roosevelt to First Hill, and SR 522 to First Hill. You could ask those people to ride other buses (and transfer) but those other buses aren’t running that frequently, nor do we want to encourage transfers (or crowding on them). As long as you get a few riders on each bus (41 and 63, 522/312 and 309) it is a reasonable approach.

      It is a very different world right now in terms of transit. Most of the old rules (or guidelines) are thrown out the window.

      1. That’s true. I’m still conditioned to think that nobody in their right mind would choose a bus that goes through SLU on the way to somewhere else, but with the pandemic, it’s probably a breeze.

        I’m sure Metro is monitoring ridership and they wouldn’t be choosing the 63 to preserve if it were empty.

      2. I’m classified as an essential worker, so I’m still taking the 64 most days. On my bus, ridership is way down because all the tech employees who filled it are staying home. The ones who are left seem to be health care workers.

        SLU is a much different place than it was 6 weeks ago. There’s no traffic jams, even at rush hour.

  3. An agency-wide email from the CEO went out yesterday at CT (I work for them). We are going to announce another round of service cuts this week and I suspect they will be implemented the following week. The planning team has long valued coverage of service over efficiency. It try to maintain that value during they’re reduced schedule but could not keep up with a massive driver call-out’s. And frankly, some of the schedules didn’t make sense….like keeping the Boeing routes or just one or two trips of a commuter route while leaving massive gaps in service on higher usage routes.

    1. Good for community transit! Driver safety is top priority. Bus driver across
      The country are dying while driving nearly empty buses. All it takes is one sick passenger. It’s not worth it. Keep as many buses off the streets and in the yards as possible!

      1. CT should definitely go to a Saturday schedule with additional trips on higher usage routes, much like PT is doing. COVID is exposing our core of customers who truly rely on public transit to get groceries, doctor’s appointments and reach their jobs. A total shutdown would be very unfortunate, especially if it’s because drivers wanna call out sick. Our commuter routes are simply not needed (maybe a modified route to the UW though) and they oughta be cut. But our local routes? They’re definitely still being used by riders who need them. On another note: frontline workers will receive hazard pay.

  4. Has ATU Local 587 got a position, official or otherwise on blanket shut-down or continuation of bus service? Or could we at least hear some statements, anonymously if necessary, from workers whose lives are indeed at risk?

    How many have quit, or wish they could, and their families not go hungry? And is there any organized campaign to demand effective surgical masks and gloves for drivers? How much medical “self-defense” training are drivers getting? Any? Ditto for general support from their management.

    Yesterday’s radio coverage from Riker’s Island and the rest of the New York City correctional system declared conditions for both staff and inmates to be blanket death penalty for guards and prisoners alike. From evils whose roots stretch back far beyond present Federal administration. Among jobs, industries, and agencies, not NYC alone.

    Doesn’t whole truth also contain the fact that loss of transit can also endanger the lives of working people and their families? The “one” sick passenger who could kill a driver could also “get” a mother who must now walk or car pool to work. And her kids.

    Word “Essential” gets my hackles up too. To whom and for to get what result? Shame an actual “weasel” is such a forthright little creature. Because I’d give a lot to see my enemies’ politics take the break enjoined on mine for the duration. COVID-19 shouldn’t exist to take the load off Medicaid, Unemployment Compensation, and Food Assistance.

    Deadly serious: Would like to see a vote nationwide where transit operating personnel decide when it’s time to cut service. And hear, in these pages, a large amount of heartfelt discussion from all of them. Most especially from the ones I’ve known and respected all these years, though please, definitely anonymously.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Considering that unions’ number 1 goal is extracting as much money from management as possible, I would guess ATU’s ideal situation would be something like this:
      1) Nearly all routes suspended, with a small amount of skeleton service remaining
      2) All drivers receive full pay and benefits for the duration of the crisis to sit at home and watch TV.
      3) Drivers who drive the skeleton service get essentially double pay to compensate for the hazard, with the most senior (and expensive) drivers getting first dibs.

      I don’t think Metro would agree to all of the above, as it would not only screw over many who depend on transit right now, but also take money away from service later, when the crisis is over, but sales tax collections are still in the toilet. But it’s a starting point, and I’m sure the two sides can get together and work out some sort of compromise.

      1. Heavens forbid people still want to be paid. It’s not like bills are still coming in or anything, oh and landlords are just falling over themselves to not charge rent! Food’s free too.

      2. Considering that unions’ number 1 goal is extracting as much money from management as possible

        OK, I’m an avowed right wing nut by most peoples definition on this blog but that statement I have to take exception with. #1, the right wingnut perspective; the jokers in power at the unions are looking out for their own pocket more that the dues paying members. Rationally, it is the nature of the beast an adversarial relationship between management and unions. But, given international competition, “right to work” States and other pressure Unions and company management have become more partners than in the past.

        Bottom line, this is the time for Unions to step up for the safety of their members but also need to consider what it means to live and be thrown into economic ruin. It’s not a question with easy answers.

      3. Unions are necessary to get drivers more than minimum wage, otherwise they’d be scraping by like Uber drivers.

      4. It’s unfortunate that the most powerful unions periodically get ridiculously greedy and give the institution a bad name. Double pay full time for weeks on end sounds excessive. I’ve heard similar things at Boeing. But that’s a small amount compared to the money workers don’t have: millions of people living paycheck to paycheck, thousands of others homeless, while CEOs skirt taxes and organize stock buybacks. If we had a universal basic income the problem of poverty would go away and union extras would be less of an issue.

      5. I agree, Unions are necessary. Pre-union Henry Ford decided it was in the best interest of the company to pay workers more than the competition to get the best people and improve the companies bottom line. Great in principle that the “invisible hand” will guide a capitalist economy. In the modern world we don’t have a pure capitalist economy and that’s good.

        Unions serve the function of a corporation of workers vs the corporation producing product (and jobs). Best case there is a labor vs management negotiation where both parties realize it’s in their best interest for the business to thrive. Easy to say but hard to implement.

      6. If we had a universal basic income the problem of poverty would go away and union extras would be less of an issue.

        Unions would be replaced by government (think Russia where the grey market is bigger than the official economy). Unions are adapting. For one thing members are demanding more accountability. My personal experience is members are not putting up with union management spending a larger percentage of their dues on political causes they don’t personally support.

      7. Lest I be misinterpreted to sound like a right-wing zealot, of course bus drivers deserve to be paid something. But I don’t think 100% is fiscally sustainable. 100% means that all these service reductions aren’t actually helping Metro’s budget beyond the cost of diesel fuel. Meanwhile, it’s revenues are plunging, and eventually drivers are going to have to be laid off. Given the lag time of tax collections, plus however long it takes to drain the reserve, this is likely to happen right around the time that the coronavirus crisis finally ends and we start needing bus service again as people return to work.

        So, if 0% is cruel and 100% is fiscally irresponsible, the two sides are going to have to negotiate and find somewhere reasonable to meet in the middle. I don’t know enough about Metro’s finances to reasonably speculate about where that reasonable midpoint should be.

      8. Unions don’t just fight for better wages. They also fight for better working conditions, the rights of workers, a more skilled workforce, and better run organization. In this case, that could be (in order) things like:

        1) No fares, protective barriers for drivers.
        2) Protect workers that feel that driving is unsafe, and would be fired for speaking out (similar to the doctor in Bellingham*) .
        3) Special training to deal with passengers who need help.
        4) Push for routes that aren’t crowded.

        This is all for just this crisis. On a regular basis, they push for that sort of thing all the time (as do all unions).


    1. Not sure what the exact details as I was focused more on service than union deets (I don’t care much for the typical modern-day union). However it likely had a lot to do with talks between management and the ATU and providing an incentive for drivers to show up for work.

  5. Can’t use names in this reply, because it’d have to be ad a whole slough of hominems (rabbits who like grits, right?) who don’t deserve to have anybody, especially bus drivers, risking a mild cold to help them or their families get to work. Any chance some people of all professions are using sit-home time far from their own choosing to either look for work or try to keep a business of their own running online?

    Any assessment of Metro Management’s own proclivities toward public revenue and other people’s skilled labor? And Doubled Down Gritting Teeth about mentioning transit-related incomes including a routine bonus. Should be gladly foregone in the face of THIS emergency, shouldn’t it?

    Got a problem with seniority? Glad somebody’s standing up for bribery, favors to relatives and creditors, and routine lipstick on a decision-maker’s a seat-cushion. Don’t care much for the typical modern-day union? Any chance you’re old enough to miss one from the days when organized labor had some power, starting with the “oomf” to create the Middle Class? You’re not alone, but like Democracy itself, state of your union’s a lot up to you.

    But finally, something very little known, since career transit drivers have in common with coal miners the habit of never letting slip how much they love their work. And more than occasionally, are willing to risk their lives and health to see to it their passengers get to work, and their kids get to school and appointments on time. Normal family life and sleep schedule? Apply someplace else.

    Some outlooks do their holders a lot worse damage than they do the objects of the tirades. So mercifully, Jay Inslee’s got a formula that guarantees relief: “Just Stay Home.” Your transit taxes? Read the news. Ease off on the strong-arm robbery and there’s no way you’ll go to jail.

    Mark Dublin

  6. Is ST going to use 3 car trains for 20 min service? I hope so.

    It seems like every transit agency operating light rail should run the longest consist possible during reduced frequency to create the maximum amount of space for passengers on the trains.

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