With Northgate Link opening in Fall 2021, route 41 will no longer go downtown and the hours saved will be available for service elsewhere (image: Oran Viriyincy)

Metro has sketched the outlines of service restructures in 2021 and 2022 in budget discussions with the King County Council. The proposals include a reduction in bus service in north Seattle after Northgate Link opens, and a rebalancing of bus service throughout the County to conform with the new equity framework.

The largest change in service levels is in northeast Seattle. Nominally, the budget anticipates a total reduction of 170,000 service hours, of which 47,000 are deleted Metro hours annually as Route 41 is truncated. The balance are funded by the Seattle Transportation Benefit District. The budget assumes those hours will go away too with the expiration of the STBD taxes this year. After last week’s voter approval of new STBD taxes, the reduction in bus service will be less.

The new STBD taxes are expected to support only 170,000 hours citywide, not enough to replace most of the 121,000 STBD-funded hours in northeast Seattle, and anyway the focus of STBD efforts will shift somewhat to support more routes elsewhere. The new STBD legislation makes “any King County Metro route serving historically low-income communities in Seattle” eligible for support however many stops it serves outside of the city, and that will favor routes in the south of the city.

Metro staff indicated the level of STBD funding wouldn’t affect the map of service in northeast Seattle. Instead, the new STBD taxes would pay for increased frequency and span of service on the same network.

The second major service change is in Metro’s implementation of the equity framework. The service guidelines have not yet been updated, but Metro is already planning service changes to be enacted within the future guidelines. In this biennium, that means adding another 50,000 annual service hours in historically underserved communities. This, and other changes over the biennium, will be paid for by 93,000 hours in “fixed route reductions to address new needs”.

Some alternative services pilots will become regular service, including converting the Trailhead Direct program into a DART service with 11,000 added service hours.

There are added service hours for new RapidRide lines. The RapidRide H line will open in September 2021, with an added 30,000 service hours. Other changes include 10,000 hours of bus service and 8,700 hours of DART service for the Renton Kent Area Mobility project which was implemented in September and will be upgraded to RapidRide in 2023.

In Skyway, a new flexible services program is planned. Metro is proposing for design decisions to be made through a community-driven process, but the budget sets aside $6 million which is equivalent to 31,800 service hours.

48 Replies to “Metro restructures in 2021”

  1. With the strike-down of I-976, has there been any discussion of implementing the $20 fee available to the city in regards to boosting the STBD?

      1. @Dan – Interesting, thanks for the link. Sounds like the council won’t be talking much about it until the spring, and/or after we find out the infrastructural funding priorities of the new federal administration.

      2. The existing TBD money runs out in March. It reduced spending 50% in September so the money would last until the next service change, otherwise it would have run out at the end of the year. The new TBD tax starts in April. SDOT will renegotiate the contract with Metro, which may make various changes in allocating service or what it can be spent on. So if a car-tab tax is targeted for April, all these would be at the same time.

  2. The 41 and the 550 really should be remembered together, because they really dramatically demonstrated one thing. A hybrid bus is nothing if not versatile.

    If need be, they can do service right along with the trains on the subway section of an electric railroad. And then do other service checking out possibilities, including whether or not trolley-wire is necessary before we commit to battery.

    Those giant over-the-road pantograph numbers, let the Swedish Teamsters’ Union play around with them for a couple more years. The 550 Ellensburg will still have to be checked out for a couple of years with a hybrid anyhow.

    Mark Dublin

  3. Metro staff indicated the level of STBD funding wouldn’t affect the [proposed new] map of service in northeast Seattle. Instead, the new STBD taxes would pay for increased frequency and span of service on the same network.

    This is very frustrating. The 61 was cut from the original proposal “due to resource constraints” . Now that resources aren’t constrained, they should restore the route, which would be a major improvement in north end service.

    Low income people would benefit a lot from the 61. There are plenty of struggling people in Lake City. The often work odd hours, and in places like Aurora or Greenwood (in service jobs). There are also jobs and public facilities (clinics, treatment centers, etc.) geared towards the down and out in Lake City. The 61 would go a long way to connect Lake City (and the rest of the north end), reducing transit travel times dramatically, and thus reducing the need for low income people to buy car.

    1. I agree.

      Also concerning is the precedent that when bus routes get truncated, the service hours gets shifted elsewhere in the region, rather than boosting the frequency of remaining routes in the area. While such a “shift” may be good for “equability” goals, it also creates incentives for people to oppose future route truncations tooth and nail, since it effectively amounts to a shift in service hours elsewhere.

      People like “equity” in the abstract, when it’s somebody else’s bus service getting reduced to pay for it. But, they don’t like it when it’s their own service.

      1. I wonder if an equity-based transit system will have the effect of keeping the low-income locked in low-income areas. If someone living in public housing in a low-income neighborhood with great transit has the opportunity to move to public housing in a middle or upper class neighborhood with good schools, but poor transit, will transit disparities prevent them from moving? Are equity transit boundaries a sort of reverse redline?

      2. I don’t think it’s going to be that bad. But, it is a slippery slope. Living in a low-income neighborhood should not be a requirement to get decent transit. And, even those that do live in low-income neighborhoods often need to travel to the rest of the city, and deserve good transit on both ends of the trip.

      3. Living in a low-income neighborhood should not be a requirement to get decent transit. And, even those that do live in low-income neighborhoods often need to travel to the rest of the city, and deserve good transit on both ends of the trip.

        I agree. Low income residents are scattered throughout the city, especially those that qualify for Section 8 housing. That’s really the whole idea. Concentrating poverty in one area (e. g. projects) leads to a lot more problems than if poverty is more diffuse. Of course there will be neighborhoods with more or fewer low income people, but concentrating transit service to only the neighborhoods that qualify as “low income” is a bad idea.

  4. I see that whatever UW does with employment and classes will affect demand and transit frequency in NE Seattle for Metro. Maybe Metro needs to have “on-site classes” versus “virtual classes” options that can be appropriately scaled to the daily onsite class and job count.

    Regardless, I think for riders’ sake, it’s best to have one familiar bus route structure just to prevent frustration of constantly shifting destinations and numbering if Metro did more pronounced changes every few months. I expect things to remain in flux demand-wise until 2022 or 2023.

    1. Many of the routes serving UW Seattle have a number of routes that run only when UW Seattle is “in session”. Perhaps they could extend this mechanism to apply to virtual class sessions, too, not just between-quarter breaks and holidays.

  5. RossB, you’re right about the 61. Wouldn’t worry about it, though. It’s both too important and too easy to do to leave it out.

    Mike, no chance that when the pandemic’s over Seattle will finally have both subway stations and transit? Maybe those escalator-repair programs at our community colleges will finally make it possible for people to finally make their way from Link to all those buses.

    And Sam, about the poor being crushed under the burden of too much equity, here’s a suggestion. For a couple of years, start hiring them at wages that’ll let them buy a house, and convert all their school loans to stipends and just sit back and watch.

    State law mandating that any employer demanding a degree needs to prove it’s necessary for the work at hand, can’t hurt either. All the above, zero public capital necessary.

    In fact, just by doing the work and riding the transit, these passengers will create it. Name me thing one transit’s got to lose but its chairs?

    Sorry, Joe Hill. OK, Utah. Go ahead and execute me by firing squad too.

    Mark Dublin

  6. I hope Dan, and the other STB Board of Regents allow this comment to stay up, but I will understand if you OT it.

    If Metro and Sound Transit were a stock, it would be up double digits today.

    1. Sounds perfectly dead-on-topic to me, Sam. And something we really have to deal with:

      Considering, worldwide, what the stock market is doing to, I mean for, the average person world-wide this minute, if Metro and Sound Transit do become a stock….

      Remember what the LAST sewage spill off Magnolia did for the world of people cursed with noses! Positive side, though. Wouldn’t be a maskless breather in the service area by sunset.

      Mark Dublin

  7. You know, Sam and everybody else, the amount I care about the stock market is the same as my sentiments about how the polls could be so wrong and the fact that seventy million people voted for the candidate I didn’t.

    Since they can’t vote again, what that means is that now they’ve not only wasted all that effort, but with unparalleled determination, are not going to get anything back at all from anybody.

    Cruel fate being both a bully and a cry-baby at the same time, but also, as usual, the reason our country is already well into recovery is that 330 million less 70 million are really all we need for them to eventually get over it too.

    However, if Metro and Sound Transit did become a stock, it would serve the valuable purpose of demonstrating that the reason we need a healthy public sector is to dig ourselves out from under the results.

    Hate to admit this, but in the hands of the oncoming governing generation, ZOOM! might actually have the potential to make bearable MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS. That usually make people not buy string beans at their own Worker Owned Cooperative.

    Mark Dublin

  8. re Skyway: why does Metro think flexible service (Via?) is more cost-effective than improvements to routes 107 and 106? For 30K annual hours, one could about double the weekday service on Route 107. Why does Route 107 deviate to Georgetown?

    1. Well, the 107 deviation is because of the former 106 going through Georgetown, so it was there to maintain SE Seattle-Skyway-Renton connection , when the 106 was rerouted to MLK.

      There are some areas in Skyway that are hard to serve with traditional transit (buses) and the area has many hills around.

    2. Perhaps when the opening of Graham St. Station allows for an east/west bus that connects Georgetown to Seward Park in a straight line that serves Link along the way, the Georgetown Deviation will no longer be necessary.

      Those using the 60 to access Link from Georgetown have better options involving a connection at SODO.

      1. On one condition, asdf2: in order to compensate for the time-loss that the new station will inflict on airport service, we do like Tri-Met and “undercut” every intersection and station entrance so people can access them without having to wait for “Walk” signals.

        Deal?

        Mark Dublin

  9. Can’t speak to Georgetown, eddiew, but also can’t forget how fond I was of a particular part of my Route 107 when it was a Tunnel route.

    The trip east and southbound out of Rainier Beach along the lake, diverging through north residential Renton along 85th and 84th Avenues as it headed for the Renton Transit Center. From where it climbed the other side of Renton and made another whole residential neighborhood shudder with the weight that gold-cart motor was pushing.

    Anybody know how what Sicilian is for “Bus Out of Hell,” or does that turn you into a hedgehog too? But my thought would be to start the run at Rainier Beach Link Station, and run the lake and the neighborhood into Renton like I used to.

    Separate thing from my plan to continue the Route 7 trolleywire along the lakeshore, and past the airport into Renton. Purpose would be to make Columbia City, whose “look” I really like right now, and Downtown Renton, into a single lively linear neighborhood. My odometer says four miles of wire, my car clock says ten minute ride.

    Anyhow, run it with a sixty foot hybrid for a year or so and see what your stats tell you. Also bet there’s still interurban track still in the ground from the LAST time when Jackson Street, Columbia City, Rainier Beach, and Renton were “wired” together.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mark, you are discussing routes 106 and 107 before 2009 and the initial Link segment. Route 307 was another beauty: IDS to Woodinville before 2003. Or, Route 253, IDS to Redmond via SR-520 and BTC before 1997. The DSTT was not used very intensively by bus alone. It might have been.

    2. I liked the view from the 107 along the south shore of Lake Washington. As for Renton West Hill, doesn’t the current 107 have the same routing? I remember it turning on Taylor Ave N and going through a “smaller” street and neighborhood than the 106 does, and I thought it was still the same streets as it was then.

  10. “Golf Cart” Though the bus wouldn’t have been any heavier if it had been cast out of solid molten lead.

    Mark

  11. I’m really glad to see that Metro remains committed to the Trailhead Direct program, and is even looking at making it more flexible by converting it into DART. Hopefully that change means that Metro can fund the service directly if the city government and Chamber of Commerce funding dries up as seems likely with a downturn in business.

    One of the frustrations I mentioned to Metro in the surveys was that the trailheads served seemed a bit arbitrary, and the Cougar Mountain route in particular seemed to function more as a local route for Renton than a Trailhead Direct route (and why shouldn’t it, given that it ran more frequently than a lot of weekend routes in Renton?). It only served one trailhead (Sky Country) even though it drove right by another one with a decent-sized parking lot (Red Town). Hopefully as a DART route hikers can request drivers to make stops at any trailhead that it’s safe to disembark at, even if pickups only happen at “official” stops.

    In any case, it gives me something to look forward to for next summer, when I think I’ll be sick of all of the hikes accessible by regular transit routes.

    1. Me too. When COVID hit, by knee jerk assumption was that Trailhead Direct was dead and never coming back. Glad to see that that’s not the case. ( I have personally rented cars a lot this year, due to the combined losses of carpooling and Trailhead Direct; I’m sure I’m not the only one)

      Curious what routes and trailheads are planned for next year, COVID permitting. My initial thought about the Cougar Mountain route is that it should serve Red Town instead of Sky Country Trailhead, so as to provide a more direct route for Renton->Issaquah traffic, while also possibly serving more local bus stops in Renton. I could easily imagine a future where half the riders of that route aren’t even using it for hiking, perhaps to the point where running the route also on weekdays starts to make sense.

    2. I’m wondering what DART service means there. The Snoqualmie Valley Shuttle has flexible routing at both ends (North Bend and Duvall), and a few suburbs have DART in very-low-density neighborhoods. But for somebody going to the trails, are there trailheads currently missed that could be served on demand? Or would this be for houses in those areas? The latter may be more efficient than a dedicated suburban shuttle because Metro would run the trailhead service anyway, but at that point it shouldn’t be named a trailhead route but is just a route that has trailheads on it.

      Another issue is whether these routes will go all the way to Seattle. That seems like something we can’t afford in a time of austerity, and they should go to the Issaquah Transit Center or at most the South Bellevue P&R. Of course it will be much better when they can go to an Eastside Link station, but there’s a three-year gap until then. But I don’t want to see Metro’s reduced frequency and suspensions on e.g., north Bellevue Way remain when the trailhead routes have a one-seat ride to Capitol Hill or Mt Baker.

      1. I think the most obvious example of a passed trailhead is the Red Town one that asdf2 and I mentioned, where the bus goes directly by it, and the route only serves a single trailhead. There’s definitely trailheads that the Issaquah Alps loop bypasses, but it at least has four trailheads that it serves so Tiger Mountain at least has good coverage versus Cougar Mountain.

        As for whether the routes extend into Seattle or serve more local transit centers, IIRC originally the routes all started from the Issaquah transit center and then were extended into Seattle to make transfers from Link easier (I think SDOT also contributed some money, so it’s not like there was no contribution from Seattle). I think it would be easier to justify only running the routes from Issaquah or Eastgate if they were at least timed with the ST554 so the transfer penalty could be minimized.

      2. I don’t like the idea of truncating the trailhead buses at Issaquah because the forced transfer to a bus that runs every 30-60 minutes makes the service much harder to use. In theory, they could time the connections. In practice, they failed to do so during trailhead direct’s first year, and ridership suffered as a result. If push comes to shove, I would save money by reducing the number of routes and trailheads – or even shortening the season – before truncating buses to Issaquah.

        I would support truncating to South Bellevue P&R in 2023, but until then, I think they need to continue serving Seattle directly because Seattle is where the vast majority of the riders are coming from.

        For 2021, I think Trailhead Direct should hold off starting until COVID is under control. If the Pfizer vaccine works as hoped for, we might be able to have a partial season next year if everything goes very smoothly.

      3. I was at Alpental weekend before last. I decided to take Denny Creek Rd back down. It was around noon and from the Franklin Falls trail head well past Denny Creek campground all the lots were full and cars park on the side of the road (leaving only one lane and doubtful a fire engine could get through). A shuttle from Issaquah P&R would be popular. Cars were still coming up at a steady rate with no more parking available. Unfortunately nothing larger than on of the conversion vans would be able to fit through and even that could be dicey with parking along the road. I wonder what the cycle time would be for a van looping between Issaquah P&R, Rattle Snake Lake and Franklin Falls? Next year mtn bike trails are supposed to open at Snoqualmie Pass. I could see that being a popular destination. Ride the trails and then blast down the Iron Horse to Rattle Snake Lake. Would it be legal to Subsidize the Summit to operate a Pass Shuttle with their existing shuttle vans?

      4. There’s actually a lot of trailheads around the I-90/exit 47 area that could easily be served by one bus traveling in a straight-ish line. Going east, you can make a first stop right off the highway, a short walk from both Granite Mountain trailhead and Annette Lake trailhead (which could be made even shorter by building a short trail to the trail alongside the road). Heading up Denny Creek Road, Denny Creek Trailhead could be the next stop, followed by Franklin Falls. Continuing up the road further, you can stop next to I-90/exit 52 for the Pacific Crest Trailhead. The bus can then turn left for a final stop at Alpental parking lot for the Snow Lake Trailhead.

        On the other end, I wouldn’t have any bus east of Issaquah serve Issaquah Transit itself. Instead, I’d adopt the service pattern where you have a big bus running express between Seattle and North Bend, stopping only at Eastgate Freeway Station. Then, at North Bend, service would branch out into smaller shuttles, going out to places such as Mt. Si., Rattlesnake Ledge, Mailbox Peak, or the Denny Creek Road route I described above. The hub and spoke model would probably require a fairly large bus for the Seattle->North Bend segment, in order to have sufficient capacity to handle the combined load from all of the different branches – perhaps even a regular-sized Metro bus normally used for non-trailhead direct service.

        In 2023, I would truncate Seattle service to South Bellevue P&R, but not sooner. Forcing a connection to the half-hourly 554 adds a lot of time that really kills the usefulness of the service. A forced connection to Link, I think, is fine, since Link will run reliably every 10 minutes, and much of the ridership would end up transferring to Link in downtown Seattle anyway. Plus, once East Link opens, South Bellevue P&R connects to Bellevue and Redmond much better than Eastgate does, which may attract some new riders.

      5. In 2023, I would truncate Seattle service to South Bellevue P&R, but not sooner.

        I think downtown Bellevue would make a lot more sense. Downtown Bellevue is a major transit center; there are a lot of buses that go there. I would probably stop at Eastgate as well. It has a park and ride lot, some additional bus service, and is very cheap to serve.

        In general the problem is the very high cost. Even if the buses are full, these perform very poorly. A normal bus may be slow, but every minute or two it picks up someone (it just doesn’t get full because someone else gets off). But these buses spend somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes without picking up anyone. Then you have the problem with scheduling. On a nice day, they could be stuffed. On a rainy, they might get no one. It is a tricky problem.

        In my opinion, it should be part of the state recreational budget, not Metro’s. A lot of the places these go to are state parks. Using some of the budget from the park permit would be a good way to pay for it. Ideally you would have an additional surcharge to park, although that gets complicated (people would complain about buying a Discovery Pass, Forest Service Pass *and* a special parking permit for a handful of parking lots). I think the Mount Baker area did that once, but people complained and they reverted back. I could also see a federal grant for this sort of thing as well (especially for trips to federal lands). Of course the other thing to do is just charge more.

      6. “I think downtown Bellevue would make a lot more sense.”

        I was going to suggest that but a large percent of hikers have cars to park, are being dropped off, or are carrying a lot of equipment. That may not be appropriate for Bellevue Transit Center. At least not until we have comprehensive transit like Switzerland so that everybody can get to the shuttle more easily and there’s more of a culture of 100% car-free trips.

        I suppose all the car stuff can happen at Eastgate P&R, and walk-ons at Bellevue TC. And South Bellevue P&R is out of commission until it reopens. I assume the P&R will open before Link starts, but maybe not.

    3. Probably not a super popular opinion, but when there are such deep cuts to regular transit service, I don’t think we need “extras” like these trailhead buses. It’s great if Metro has extra money to play with, but that is not the case now. Instead they are adding service hours? By Summer 2021 there better not be any essential transit riders being passed up by buses that are full (by COVID standards). Not to mention the cancelled routes that aren’t coming back until Metro can “afford” to bring them back (you know, after more important things like buses with batteries and buses to trails on the weekend).

      Seems at least a compromise position should be to have the trailhead buses, but without going to Seattle. We already have buses that go to Seattle. Sure, they run only every half hour, but the trailhead buses ran only every half hour. In the past they didn’t coordinate transfer times, but they could. And learning to live with a timed transfer (which would of course require agencies to *have* timed transfers to begin with, which is regrettably rare outside of Sounder connections) is perhaps not the worst thing with Metro not anticipating service growth through 2040.

      1. At least in the previous iteration, I don’t think any Metro money actually supported Trailhead Direct; it was all local Chambers of Commerce, REI, King County Parks, and SDOT. As someone without a car, I’d place Trailhead Direct as less than essential transit, but it’s certainly not purely discretionary either. By the time next summer comes around, we might be in a much different place when it comes to budget and also capacity limits.

      2. It says (page 9), “Increasing funding by $5 million ($900,000 of which is revenue-backed by Seattle) for new Alternative Services pilot projects and to transition existing Alternative Services pilots into regular service, including shifting the Snoqualmie Valley and Judkins Park services into the Community Access Transit (CAT) program, and the Trailhead Direct Program into a DART service.” But it’s part of a larger category that’s decreasing, payments to third-party providers. Metro is reducing Access and Vanpool by $17.3 million, and putting $4.1 million of it into these alternative services. (I assume Seattle’s $0.9 million can’t be spent on anything else.)

        I didn’t know Snoqualmie Valley Transportation was getting an ongoing subsidy from Metro. (It runs the Valley Shuttle between North Bend and Duvall, and three loop routes in Snoqualmie and North Bend.)

        I’ve never heard of the Judkins Park service.

      3. Trailhead service is less important than local coverage routes. But at the same time, getting out in nature is important for people’s health, there are limited opportunities to do it in cities, and during covid it’s doubly important to keep people healthy and outside and socially distanced, and Trailhead Direct contributes to that.

      4. “At least in the previous iteration, I don’t think any Metro money actually supported Trailhead Direct; it was all local Chambers of Commerce, REI, King County Parks, and SDOT”

        Given the cost of bus service hours, the vast majority of the money is probably from SDOT. My guess is that the other sponsors are just paying for the cheap stuff, like outreach and bus stop benches.

        As I said before, speed getting to and from Seattle is critical if you want the service to get ridership. A connection to Link at South Bellevue is ok, since it’s “on the way” and Link runs every 10 minutes; a connection to a half-hourly bus in Issaquah is a no-go. Similarly, using downtown Bellevue as the starting point is also not good. It adds about 10 minutes of backtracking for people coming from Seattle, where the bulk of the market is. For those from Bellevue, it doesn’t save any distance, but merely removes one connection, in the form of an every-10-minutes train. Such a move would also subject the bus to traffic delays on the surface streets of downtown Bellevue.

        If we need to save money, it is better to do so by reducing routes and days of operation. For example, maybe the Mt. Si route could run only Saturdays and the Issaquah Alps route only Sundays, rather than both routes both days. Anything but a forced, untimed connection to a half-hourly bus in Issaquah.

        If the SDOT budget is what I think it is, suspending service for 2021 seems reasonable. There are still other ways to get out. You can hike the Issaquah Alps using the 554, or rent a car to go further. But, I’d still like to see it come back in 2022.

  12. Now that we’re getting traffic jams at trail-heads and road space is limited….there ARE disused railroad spurs in the forest.

    Between Tacoma Dome Station and Mt. Rainier, there’s a very long one, with some lakeside scenery on the way. What we’ve got, no reason not to use.

    Mark Dublin

    1. You can’t run passenger trains on trackage that hasn’t been used in a quarter century. It has to be completely rebuilt. Better to use buses.

  13. Other things in the Budget Discussions document.

    p. 6: Farebox recovery. Target is 25%. Actual in 2019 is 23.9%, 2020 7%, 2021 15%, 2022 18%. Metro is canceling a planned fare increase in 2021-2022 due to the uncertainties of covid and when ridership will recover.

    p. 7: Budget includes funding to restore pre-covid service by September 2021 if ridership demand returns by then.

    p 12: Next Generation ORCA to launch in 2021. It includes planning for potential enhancements in a later phase: daily fare cap (so trips beyond it would be free), bundling a transit pass with sports tickets, integration with Uber and Lyft.

    p. 19: Phase out cash fares. Metro to discuss with stakeholders in late 2020/early 2021, for rollout with ORCA 2. This will avoid replacing the fareboxes which are at end of life.

    p. 20: The budget uses reserve funds to maintain service in spite of the revenue decrease. This will run out in 2025, and require 13% cuts then if additional funding is not forthcoming. Metro punts to the Council to decide whether to go ahead with this.

    p 22: Current ridership is 60-65% below 2019 level.

    p 23: Criteria for restoring service: ridership, crowding, equity, employers, productivity, in-person school and office openings. “suspended transit service will be restored both at scheduled spring and fall transit service and by adding supplemental service between service changes.” Metro is preparing a recovery dashboard to communicate status.

    pp. 23-24: Northgate Link restructure and systemwide reallocation of hours. No route-specific info, just total hours.

    pp 26-27: Deferring base expansions. If short-term surge capacity is needed, the South Interim Base will have space for 125 buses in 2021, and the South Annex Base for 250 buses in 2027. The former would require reallocating funding from electrification.

    pp. 28-29: Electrification costs.

    pp. 29, 31, 32: Something about a Kenmore water taxi and Ballard water taxi.

    p. 33: About how the 255 was truncated at UW Station and then ST reduced Link’s frequency.

    1. The 181 is in Metro’s 2025 plan to be upgraded to RapidRide. The original intention was to have it start with Federal Way Link, and RapidRide means 15 minutes minimum until 10pm every day, and usually 15-30 minutes between 10 and 12 and maybe some night owl. However, the long-range plan is not fully funded yet, and sales-tax and fare revenue have plummeted with the pandemic. The county planned to have a ballot measure someday to fully fund the long-range plan (“METRO Connects”), but it hasn’t done so yet, and it was going to have a ballot measure this year but withdrew it because of covid distractions and to ensure the Harborview measure would pass. So everything is on hold.

      But Metro still intends to expand the 181 someday, and it may get those late-evening runs before it gets RapidRide. Metro is revising its policies to prioritize equity more, and that implies shifting resources to Auburn/Federal Way. Because they and the rest of South King County have below-average income, above-average number of minorities, and above-average number of essential workers that have kept ridership up. That implies that as Metro gets more resources or can shift resources from other areas, it will incrementally expand routes like the 181.

      Page 15 of the Budget Discussions document has the status of RapidRide plans. The I (Renton-Kent-Auburn) is planned to open in 2023. An as-yet undecided line in South King or East King is planned to open in 2027. That might be the Kent-Des Moines-132nd line or the 181. I assume the KDM line would come first, but that’s just my guess.

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