Thursday, July 7, 2011

Metro Bus Service Cuts Could Eliminate Service In Laurelhurst, Public Hearing Tuesday

Metro Bus Route 25 that serves Laurelhurst could be eliminated as soon as February 2012 if Metro Transit does not receive additional revenue for the 2012-2013 budget, which would affect about 80% of bus riders.

Without more funds, a total of 600,000 hours of transit service would need to be eliminated over the next two years, about  17% of Metro’s entire system.

An annual $20 fee on every vehicle licensed in King County for each of two years has been authorized to King County by the 2011 Washington Legislature as a "temporary congestion reduction charge to help fund Metro Transit services." 

King County Executive Constantine has called on the the County Council to approve this two-year funding for Metro or face the 17% service reduction. The proceeds  from the vehicle fees would be used to preserve transit service while King County works with regional leaders, legislators and the Governor on a long-term funding solution for transportation needs.

"The Legislature (has already) approved this temporary charge recognizing that Metro service is critically important to support economic recovery, give people an alternative to paying high gas prices, and relieve traffic congestion — especially during major construction of road and bridge projects in the region. The Legislature also recognized the sweeping reforms Metro has taken in recent years to reduce costs and make the most of every taxpayer dollar" the Metro website says.

If the congestion charge is not approved by County Council, here is the table listing Metro's preliminary example of all affected bus routes in Seattle, and a map here.

The changes would be phased between February 2012 and October 2013. The reductions and revisions are based on new guidelines in Metro’s Strategic Plan for Public Transportation.

Also facing possible elimination are routes 72 and73, and possible reduced or revised route are 70, 71 and 75, serving nearby neighborhoods.

The propoed route reductions equates to about four out of five people who would have to walk further, wait longer, make an additional transfer, stand in the aisle, orr stand at their bus stop while fully loaded buses pass them by.  It will also mean tens of thousands of people would be back in their cars, worsening traffic congestion.

Metro says that sustaining servce is critically important because:
  • ridership has been steadily increasing
  • riders use the service to get to their jobs
  • it eases traffic congetion
  • it reduces green-house gas emissions
  • serves people with low income or limited mobility
The public is invited to attend a public hearing and give input on this importand neighborhood and city-wide issue
on Tuesday, the 12th, at 6pm at King County Council Chambers (516 Third Avenue, 10th Floor.)

The meeting is an opportunity for the public to learn about the proposals and weigh in on the future of Metro Transit.

Metro Transit.
You can also submit input here which will be directed to the King County Council's Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and go on public record, on the proposed "Congestion Reduction Charge" and on the proposed service reductions.

For more information go here.

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