Southeast Seattle: Moving beyond Route 42

Courtesy Oran Viriyincy, Flickr cc

When the King County Council adopted the service change ordinance for June 2012, they amended it so that it would address concerns voiced by some in the southeast Seattle community. These concerns focused on the elimination of Route 42–which connects the Martin Luther King Way corridor to downtown Seattle–as well as overall transit investments in communities with many low-income, senior, and disabled residents.

In response to this feedback, council members postponed the elimination of Route 42 until the winter of 2013. They directed Metro to engage the southeast Seattle community in a comprehensive outreach effort to gain a better understanding of how people are using the service that is available and what gets in the way of them doing so. The Council also adopted the following action items to discuss with the community:

  • Improve passenger facilities and transfer connections between Metro transit routes as well as between Metro services and Sound Transit Link light rail routes
  • Provide opportunities for increased access to ORCA fare media
  • Ensure maximum awareness and use of alternative transit services for people with disabilities, seniors and other southeast Seattle residents who depend on transit to get to jobs, education, health care, nutrition and other human services.

Working in partnership with Sound Transit and the City of Seattle, Metro launched a three-phase outreach effort earlier this spring. The first phase is focused on listening to the community and learning how residents use our system, identifying barriers and opportunities for improvement. We’re gathering ideas in community conversations held throughout the area and asking others to contribute to the conversation via an online survey.

Our second phase of outreach will start this summer and involves reporting back to the community what we heard and what we’ll be doing with the information we collected. We’ll also be working with our partners and stakeholders to develop a list of action items. The action items are things that can be done right away; things that will take some coordination and can be done in the short-term; and things that are unlikely to be implemented, but that all the agencies involved should keep on our “to do” lists for the long-term. The final phase of outreach, which starts in late summer, will be focused on working with the community to implement action items identified. 

As we move forward with our outreach we’ll be posting updates to this blog and our Facebook page. Please join the conversation by sharing your own thoughts and ideas in the comment sections. 

10 thoughts on “Southeast Seattle: Moving beyond Route 42

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  3. It’s great news that Metro is finally deleting this completely redundant and hopelessly underperforming route; it should have happened years ago, as Metro staff first proposed, concurrent with the opening of Link Light Rail. It’s unfortunate that the bus riding and tax paying public were subjected to years of wasted transit dollars (not to mention McDermott and Ferguson’s embarrassing histrionics at the Council) in order to get to this point.

    It’s also odd that we have to go through a special multi-month outreach process to ensure that the utterly minuscule number of people who’ve never ridden any other bus in SE Seattle besides the 42 know how to get an ORCA card, transfer between buses, or get on a Link train; other parts of the city, many of which have similarly large numbers of elderly, disabled, or non-English-speaking transit users, and who are undergoing far more radical transit restructures in September seem to be making do just fine without this.

    Nonetheless, I’m thrilled that the 42 is not long for this world, and I look forward to riding all the new and improved Metro services that deleting this useless route will free up the money to provide.

  4. Rainier Valley is a good example of how, even with ubiquitous availability (especially along the 42 route), there is a segment of the ridership still not buying or using ORCA.

    Boston gives out its CharlieCard freely. Chicago makes its ChicagoCard free with a minimum fare produce purchase. These agencies are willing to swallow the per-card cost in order to obtain the resulting savings from service efficiences.

    In order to get widespread ORCA use, Metro needs to make the card economically advantageous to the individual rider to use. That starts with eliminating the unusually high fee, but also includes providing a lower fare for card use than for change fumbling. Of course, without wiping out the fee, human service agencies will say that that lower e-fare will only be available to richer riders.

    Can we please stop charging a $5 entry fee into the practice of being courteous to one’s fellow riders by not fumbling cash and change while a dozen buses are lined up behind you?

    This is an urgent question, as September 29 — the day we transition to pay-as-you-enter downtown — looms.

    Thanks for providing this forum for public questions and answers! HaveASay rocks!

  5. Fix the curb-lane pot holes so bus rider teeth don’t rattle, and current car drivers are more drawn, but word of mouth, to know that bus riding is not so grinding an experience!

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