King County Metro is preparing to roll out its South King County route restructure on September 19, as party of its semi-annual regular service change (not to be confused with the ad hoc changes that have been rolled out on short notice all spring and summer). Martin reported on the semi-final proposal back in March.
Meanwhile, Metro recently listed the 10 most ridership-resilient (the ratio of 2020 ridership to 2019 ridership) routes. Route 180 is king at an amazing 74% of ridership retained.
The next three are routes that may be picking up the slack from the Link Light Rail infrequency that also goes away on September 19. Route 7 has retained 66% of its ridership, followed by the A line with 62% and route 106 with 58%. Route 36 comes in seventh at 47%.
On September 18, route 180 will ride into the sunset as the reigning resilience champion, to be replaced by new routes 161, 160, and 184.
As route restructures go, this one is pretty radical. Thirteen routes (158, 159, 164, 166, 169, 180, 186, 192, 908, 910, 913, 916, and 952) will be removed. Five new routes will be rolled out.
Seven of these routes (158, 159, 186, 192, 910, 913, and 952) had already been mothballed for the pandemic, along with fourteen other South King County routes (121, 122, 123, 143, 154, 157, 167, 177, 178, 179, 190, 197, Black Diamond / Enumclaw Community Ride, and Normandy Park Community Ride).
- New route 160 (the future Rapid Ride I Line) will tie together route 169, the portion of route 180 from Kent Station to Auburn Station, and a portion of route 910. This will be the only planned RapidRide line that does not connect directly with the Link Light Rail network.
- New route 161 will replace the rest of the northern portion of route 180 (from Kent Station to Burien Transit Center).
- New route 162 will fold together Kent-to-Seattle commuter routes 158 and 159.
- New route 165 will tie together routes 164, 166, and 913, creating a new 1-seat ride from Green River College to the future Kent / Des Moines light rail station.
- New route 184 will replace the southeast Auburn portion of route 180.
- Route 148 will be adjusted to serve 116th Ave SE and SE 168th St in southeast Renton.
- Route 150 will become a little bit longer by serving a stretch of 64th Ave S north of Kent Station.
- Route 168 will become straighter via SE Kent-Kangley Rd.
- DART route 906 (link missing on Metro’s web page) will now have select trips serve Tukwila Sounder Station. All trips will also now serve Nativity Lutheran Church Park & Ride.
- DART routes 914 and 917 will also have neighborhood path changes.
Major frequency boosts will include:
- 15-minute weekday headway on pre-Rapid-Ride route 160. This should help take the sting out of many Auburn riders losing their 1-seat ride to SeaTac Airport Station.
- 15-minute peak headway on route 161. In effect, the route will connect to roughly half of the Link trips during the pandemic schedule, and do so more reliably.
- 15-minute peak headway on route 105
- And, oh yeah, did we mention 15-minute day-time headway is returning on Link Light Rail, including on weekends? … along with 8-minute peak headway? Yes, we did.