In recent years, with the Seattle area financially flush and demand for public transit rising by the week, there hasn’t been much mystery to Metro service changes. Each one has added just a few more service hours, devoted to some combination of improving the network and backfilling for construction-related headaches. And the next one, which starts this Saturday, September 21, is no exception.
Happily, after Seattle Squeeze impacts ate most of last March’s added hours, Metro had a bit more latitude this time to make improvements that riders can see. There are no major route changes, but a generous helping of “peanut butter”-style frequency and span improvements continue the trend toward a better frequent network. The Sunday improvements in Seattle are particularly welcome, and we hope they continue. It would be really nice to stop saying “It’s Sunday. Let’s not take the bus.”
Martin asked me to cover Sound Transit service changes as well, but there is almost nothing changing about Sound Transit service. The very few changes are mixed in below.
The City Council voted yesterday afternoon to kill a controversial private bus pilot program proposed by Mayor Jenny Durkan. The pilot was opposed by unions and transit advocates, who mounted a last-minute advocacy push to defeat the program over the past two weeks.
The bill will also, as Martin reported, reappropriate unused Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) funds for bus service improvements, and provide ORCA cards to Seattle primary and secondary students. Durkan is expected to sign the ordinance.
One coarse performance measure in the appendices (pages 45-60) is weekday ridership on each route, comparing fall 2016 ridership to fall 2015 ridership. STB covered the March 2016 and September 2016 service changes that occurred during this period, as well as the March 2017 and September 2017 service changes that are not reflected in this evaluation.