Metro sent an email alert today: “After two Metro operators identified a manufacturing issue in the steering system in some vehicles, Metro proactively removed 126 buses from service out of its 1,500-vehicle fleet. The identified problem did not lead to any accidents or injuries. Metro inspected all its buses to ensure all vehicles in service continue to perform safely and within specifications. The defect does not extend to all New Flyer buses and many remain in service.”
Metro recommends checking whether your trip is affected:
- Text your bus stop number to 62550.
- Sign up for text or email Transit Alerts.
- Follow Twitter @kcmetroalerts.
- Use Metro’s Trip Planner, One Bus Away, Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc.
- Call Metro Customer Service at 206-553-3000 weekdays between 6am and 6pm.
We’ve been on a roller coaster of transit expansions and contractions almost every year for a decade:
In 2012 the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle ended due to cost pressure from the 2008 recession.
In 2014 Metro had major cuts and laid off most of its non-operations staff as a 2-year recession tax surcharge expired.
Sometime around then Rapid Ride C, D and E opened, and Link went from 8-minute to 6-minute peak frequency.
In 2015 the economic recovery allowed the next three rounds of cuts to be canceled.
In 2016 University Link opened, ST3 passed, and the Seattle Transit Benefit District started funding additional Metro service in Seattle, starting with splitting the C and D and extending the C to South Lake Union.
In 2019 buses were kicked out of the downtown tunnel.
In 2020, COVID and lockdowns led to another major round of cuts, capping bus capacity at 25%, limiting transit to “Essential Trips Only”, half-hourly frequency on Link, and a reduced renewal of Seattle’s Transit Benefit District.
In 2021 most of the all-day service recovered but is still lower than 2019 levels, and Northgate Link opened. Metro and ST Express planned increases and has the money for them but new problem arose: a driver shortage prevents them from expanding or running all their intended service. Link and RapidRide expansions were delayed by the concrete strike, and Link by track plinths in the Eastside and other factors.
It feels like we’ve been a transit recession since 2020 with no end in sight. And now defective buses have caused even more cancellations. I just wish we could get closer to 2019 levels and at least remain stable there.
To top it off, Metro bus reliability is lower than in 2021. (Urbanist) The first 24,750 additional service hours Metro gets will have to go to “the 40 routes where 20% or more of trips are running late” before it can add additional frequency or coverage. This also feels like déjà vu since it happened before in the past fifteen years: Metro had to add buses just to maintain reliability amidst worsening traffic congestion before it could add frequency.
On-topic comments for this article are trip cancellations, transit reliability, and the roller coaster of expansions and contractions. Please keep current cancellations in separate threads from longer-term issues so that people can find urgent information quickly.