On September 2nd Metro will suspend or reduce some bus routes to make the remaining service more reliable. The problem is a shortage of bus drivers and mechanics, and supply-chain challenges. Currently 5% of scheduled bus runs are being cancelled due to lack of drivers or buses. The change aims to shrink the schedule to match what can actually be delivered in the current environment, to minimize cancellations. Here’s a list of affected routes:
- 15, 16, 18, 29, 55, 64, 114, 121, 167, 190, 214, 216, 217, 232, 237, 268, 301, 304, 320, 342: Suspended (no service).
- 79, 225, 230, 231: Hourly across the board.
- 7: 10-minute frequency in AM peak, 7.5 minute in PM peak.
- 10: 15-minute peak, 30-minute evening and weekend.
- 20: Half-hourly most times (including peak), hourly night.
- 28: Hourly off-peak.
- 36: 10-minute most times (including AM peak), 7-8 minutes PM peak.
- 73: Half-hourly across the board.
- 255: Half-hourly evenings.
- 345: Hourly night.
[Correction: Route 28 and 345.]
Metro’s blog has a list of alternatives for the suspended routes, and other information about the change.
More below the fold.
The routes were selected based on ridership, equity, and the availability of other alternative routes in the area. Most of the reductions are in peak-hour service, where ridership has fallen the most.
Metro currently has 1,913 full-time and 571 part-time bus drivers. It needs an additional 113 full-time and 99 part-time drivers to maintain the current service level. For maintenance, Metro has 231 full-time bus mechanics. It needs 21 more mechanics for the current service level, or 12 more for the proposed September service level. If you know anybody who wants to drive or repair a bus, Metro is hiring.
Mike Lindblom in the Seattle Times ($) writes that the problem is not money: “Metro rode out the pandemic with at least $937 million in federal relief funds. The agency plans to spend $2.47 billion on transit operations in 2023-24, an increase from $1.98 billion the past biennium, plus additional capital grants and spending. King County carries $1.2 billion in transit reserve funds and remains on course to spend $220 million for rechargeable electric buses by 2034.”
A couple other transit tidbits: Lindblom’s article says the new RapidRide H line on Delridge Way has reached 6,635 daily riders, compared to 4,300 a year ago on route 120. And Metro General Manager Michelle Allison mentioned in a press briefing on these bus changes that more workers in Seattle are getting to work by transit than driving alone, according to a recent Commute Seattle survey.
On-topic comments for this article are on Metro service. Other topics belong in the Open Thread one article back.