Last month, when the King County Council approved a $20 congestion reduction charge to preserve Metro service, it also directed Metro to move ahead with strategies for alternative service delivery–referred to as “right-sizing“–to reflect actual ridership, consistent with Metro’s new strategic plan.
In line with this legislation, County Executive Dow Constantine announced Wednesday that Metro will replace some or all bus service on the following three lower-ridership routes with Dial-A-Ride-Transit (DART) service beginning in February 2012:
East King County
- Route 251 currently connects the University of Washington-Bothell and Cascadia Community College campuses with the Redmond Transit Center via Avondale Road and downtown Woodinville. While Metro is still determining which parts of the route are best suited to DART, potential areas for flexible routing could include locations in downtown Bothell, English Hill, and downtown Redmond.
South King County
- Route 149 travels from the Renton Transit Center to Enumclaw via State Route 169. DART areas are likely to include locations in Enumclaw and other communities along the corridor.
- Route 186 currently provides service throughout the day, six days a week, between the Auburn Sounder Station and Enumclaw via State Route 164. Peak service that connects commuters to Sounder will continue as a regular bus route. Midday service would be shifted to DART. Metro is considering possible DART areas in Auburn, Enumclaw, and the Muckleshoot Reservation.
These alternative service deliveries to more closely reflect actual ridership will save Metro more than $400,000 a year.
The Executive also took action to preserve Metro’s transit system by formally withdrawing the proposal to cut 100,000 service hours next February. Metro will still reduce or eliminate at least 100,000 annual hours of low-performing service over the next two years, but passage of the congestion reduction charge will enable Metro to reinvest those hours in the transit system to relieve overcrowding on more productive routes, improve on-time performance, and satisfy unmet transit needs in areas throughout the county.