Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Submit Comments Now On Latest Proposal To Possibly Avoid Cuting Neighborhood Bus Service And 70 Other City Routes

Metro's funding gap equals bus cuts

With the state legislature’s transportation funding effort stalled, County Executive Constantine has announced a new proposal to keep buses on the road.

A few months ago we posted about potential cuts to funding issues affecting about 70 routes in the City, among them being  Metro Bus Route 25 that serves Laurelhurst. This route is proposed for deletion because "it is one of the lower performing routes in Metro’s system, and there is alternative service available for most riders" using use revised Route 65 or Route 75, which will remain unchanged.

May of last year, the route was reduced from every 30 minutes to once per hour. If the route is completely cut, the nearest bus stop could be up to a 30 minute walk for some neighbors.

Over the past five years, Metro has already cut costs, raised fares four times and in addition, temporary funding authority from the state, as well as reserve funding will expire in June and may not be extended. The plan once short term funding end in June is available here.

Here is more information on the latest proposal :

Constantine has asked the County Council to take swift action to secure stable funding for Metro and avert service cuts. He asked the Council to form a countywide transportation benefit district—allowed under state law—and put a funding proposal on the ballot for a public vote. The vote could happen as soon as April.
Read more about what’s proposed.

As another part of the solution, the Executive proposed an across-the-board 25-cent fare increase for all regular service that would take effect in March 2015. The fare for Access Transportation riders would go up by 50 cents. We would also start a new reduced fare for people with low incomes, set at $1.50, to help keep bus service affordable for the people who depend on it most. Eligible riders could pay the low-income fare only with ORCA—not cash.
Learn more.

In case new funding does not become available, Metro continues to conduct countywide outreach (through Feb. 7) on proposed service cuts. The proposed reductions-- up to 17 percent of Metro’s service—would be necessary to close a $75 million shortfall after temporary funding runs out in mid-2014. The cuts would begin this fall. (
Visit our website to see what’s proposed and tell us what you think; Read our blog to see what we have been hearing from riders)

The Council will consider these proposals in the coming weeks and months; we’ll let you know about opportunities to express your views to elected officials on each of these critical decisions.

To voice your concern about this latest proposal email community.relations@kingcounty.gov or take Metro’s service survey.

Here are comments from a concerned Laurelhurst resident:
The 25 route (Laurelhurst-Downtown) should be retained. This route was running every 30 minutes in the recent past and has now been reduced to once per hour.

It is the only bus serving the Laurelhurst neighborhood and is important to many residents, who will be left far from the nearest bus stop if the 25 is deleted (up to 30 minutes of brisk walking - impractical for seniors or disabled).

It is true that ridership is fairly low in off-peak hours, but the principle of providing at least minimal service to a neighborhood should override this. This is something of a vicious circle: one reason for the lower ridership is the infrequent service.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to echo the other resident's comments on the necessity of a bus line that serves our neighborhood. However, the 25 bus is a terrible slow line, and often late. Instead of the long route it takes through the university to downtown, might the city consider: (a) shortening the 25 route so that it just goes to U-village, and the university transport hub, and (b) that it runs at least once every half hour during peak hours?

This route will allow residents who wish to get to work (downtown, eastside, or elsewhere), to take it to the university hub. Because it swings by U-village, it will also allow residents to use it to go shopping, kids to have access to the mall, etc.

If this sounds reasonable to other folks, please comment here. I'll see if I can reach out to the city with this suggestion.