Update on fall bus service changes

Photo courtesy Ned Ahrens, KCDOT

In recent months, we’ve heard from nearly 10,000 transit customers about our proposals to restructure bus service to be more productive and meet the needs of more people. That public input has helped shape the final September 2012 plan being submitted to the Metropolitan King County Council next week. This plan is aimed at being equitable, fair, and balanced regionally using the limited resources available.

Most of the final recommendations support the launch of the RapidRide C and D lines that will connect downtown Seattle to Ballard and West Seattle starting on Sept. 29. For that reason, the changes primarily affect service in Seattle and adjacent communities. Some of the revisions, such as the recommended changes to the routes 10, 11, 12, 123, and 125 will also improve the flow of buses through downtown Seattle, which will produce significant efficiencies for Metro’s overall system.

Not all of the changes originally proposed for this September will be part of the final plan. Some are being postponed for now, but could happen in the future. Several ideas needed further review and analysis. The following list highlights changes that have been made to the original proposals:

1. Postponing all routing changes to the 2 (north and south parts), 4 (north and south parts), 13, 14 (south part), 16, 24, 27, and 33;

2. Considering small changes to frequency and spans of service for routes 14 (north and south parts), 24,  27, and 124 to better align service with ridership during the evening hours;

3. Providing service to 32nd Ave NW and North Beach via a new Route 61;

4. Retaining  weekday and Saturday service on Route 125;

5. Providing service to Nickerson Street on Queen Anne by revising the Route 2 Express to provide peak service from Nickerson Street to downtown Seattle and retaining Route 17 during weekday peak periods to provide service from downtown Seattle to the Ballard business district (northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon, with trips timed to meet Sounder Commuter Rail trips to/from Tacoma);

6. Retaining service to the VA hospital on Beacon Hill with the new Route 50 and proposed Route 60;

7. Revising new Route 50 to serve Alaska Junction and the North Delridge neighborhood; and

8. Revising Route 156 to maintain service on S 216th Street and 8th Avenue S between 200th and Des Moines Memorial Drive S.

To learn more about the final plan, visit: http://www.kingcounty.gov/haveasay.

People will have an opportunity to comment on the recommended service changes at a scheduled public hearing of the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee on Monday, April 16, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Sound Transit’s Board Room at Union Station (401 S. Jackson Street, Seattle). Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting and to testify concerning the recommended service changes. There will be an open house at 6:00 pm, presentation at 6:30 pm, and opportunity to provide public testimony at 7:00 pm.

To request a language interpreter or accommodations for persons with disabilities, please contact Paul Carlson, Council staff, at (206) 296-1673 by April 9.  You may also submit comments to the King County Council email address for this topic at testimony@kingcounty.gov .

Read King County Council’s news release >>

25 thoughts on “Update on fall bus service changes

  1. I fail to see how the new changes to some routes in West Seattle adhere to the Metro claim that they are providing equal service to the parts of Seattle that are in need of public transportation. In my experience, West Seattle has always been treated like they were the red-headed step child of the transit system.

    If the proposed route changes actually make service better, then bravo to Metro! But, if as I suspect, the service coverage gets worse, then shame on you! I have lived in Seattle since 1979, and in my opinion, gone are the days where Metro was revered as one of the best public transportation systems in the country.est R

    Charles Ramsell

  2. I know I speak for more than a handful of people in Magnolia when I say that it’s a disappointment to hear you won’t be going through with the revisions to Route 24, that would have finally given a more direct route connecting Magnolia, Ballard, and Sunset Hill, without having to backtrack and change buses south of the Magnolia Bridge. Is information available on WHY some of these proposed changes were postponed or dropped?

  3. Pingback: Fall Restructure Further Watered Down - Seattle Transit Blog

  4. 196 scheduled to be replaced by a new or revised 178 route. Understand this 178 route will originate at 348th St South Federal Way P&R in the morning and end there on return from Seattle in afternoons. Has a route map and time schedule been generated. I still do not understand how metro figures there are cost savings generated by stopping 196 but adding six each extra 178 runs. Boggles my ol’ mind. With 178 scheduled to start in June, it would be nice to have times and the route for those of us who ride the 196 now…which by the way, is fuller than ever.

  5. I am concerned. I live in SE seattle. it was proposed that you would be ending the 39, and 34 bus routes. sorry, your post said they would not end, but just would not run anymore. If you were to live in SE seattle you would know that this area of the city is ALWAYS the one that gets the short end, no matter what the issue. Your efforts to get me to not drive to downtown each day, and to take the bus instead worked. Now you will cause me to have to transfer (means standing in the cold and wet for some time) in order to get downtown. This change also adds more time to the trip. At this point there is no longer a good enough reason for me to take the bus, and not drive, but perhaps that is the effect you wanted in making this change. In today’s e-mail to me you have listed all kinds of changes, yet I see nothing about the 39 and 34 routes, which again shows that SE Seattle is really just a pain in the neck, and not important. perhaps I need to move.
    I have sent other e-mail comments to you, and have NEVER received a response, which again shows your lack of concern about my concerns, despite your numerous claims otherwise. If you are not going to LISTEN to us, why bother. My bus is almost always full when it reaches downtown.

  6. Very concerned about the elimination of the 134 route- they will be increasing the 131 frequency to make up for it… but what happens when they inevitably decide to lower that route’s departure frequency as well? I will have literally one bus option to get to from work, and I’m completely at Metro’s mercy. Supposedly the 134 doesn’t have a large enough ridership during the day… but Metro is failing to take into account how full it is at peak times. It’s already rediculous that there is no 131 service after 9:30pm on a weeknight (!) to Burien from downtown… let alone the lack of departures on a weekend… Metro, those of us that live in Burien or White Center need more choices, not less.

  7. You write “recommended changes to the routes 10, 11, 12, 123, and 125 will also improve the flow of buses through downtown Seattle” – what are these changes? There seems to be no mention of them in the ordinance or maps.

  8. I am searching for information on the proposed plan to eliminate service north of 45th street on the #26 bus line. Bus drivers tell us this plan is no longer under consideration. Can you update us on this situation?

  9. Hi Abigail – Thanks for taking the time to comment on our Sept. 2012 service changes. We initially proposed changes to the Route 26 during our first phase of outreach in November. Since then, we have postponed these changes and there are no plans under consideration.

  10. Hi Ed – Thank you for taking the time to comment. Metro is recommending that Routes 34 and 39 be replaced with the new Route 50. This new route would provide similar coverage in the greater Seward Park neighborhood and riders traveling toward downtown would be able to connect with Link light Rail at the Othello and Columbia City Stations. Route 50 would also provide a new direct connection between Southeast Seattle, SODO and West Seattle. Here’s a link to more information: http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/~/media/transportation/kcdot/MetroTransit/HaveASay/201209P3/Area09_SoutheastSeattle_info.ashx

  11. I am very upset about the proposed elimination of the #34 and #39 routes. I ride these routes every day to and from my job in downtown Seattle. They are generally on-time and provide a quick and convenient way for me to commute. They buses are nearly always full. So, obviously, a lot of people rely on these buses and a lot of people will be affected by this proposed change.

    I cannot even begin to describe how much time and inconvenience will be added to people’s commutes if we are forced to transfer to the light rail to get downtown from our neighborhood. Just crossing MLK can take five minutes. (That is not an exaggeration.) Then, after waiting for the bus, riders will have to again wait for the train (?). I can’t speak for all, but I can easily see this doubling my commute time.

    At night, this becomes a genuine safety concern. While the light rail runs every 15 minutes or so at night, this new route #50 is only slated to run once an hour at that time. So, what good is that? I’ll need to take the train to Columbia City station and then just stand there for 45 minutes until the bus comes along. At least now, though the #39 also only runs once an hour at night, if I need to take it from downtown at that time, I can wait at a safe, dry, warm place until the bus is scheduled. Once on, I am delivered safely to my stop one block from my house.

    In short, this plan, while it might look reasonable on paper, in reality is anything but. It will do more than inconvenience people. It will negatively impact people’s quality of life by adding so much time and headache to their daily commute. And, it will potentially affect people’s health and safety. Right now, I have about a one minute walk from the bus stop to my house. With this proposal, I will either have a 30 minute walk from the light rail station, or who-knows-how-many minutes wait at the bus stop after having gotten off the train. Neither of these are particularly appealing at night in the dark and, large parts of the year, in the cold and the rain. (Hence, my “health” comment.)

    Our neighborhood already has very limited Metro service. Please don’t take away the little bit we already have. Please don’t take away the direct routes between our wonderful neighborhood and downtown.

    Thank you for your attention to and consideration of my comments.

  12. PS: Please don’t tell me this will be “similar service” to what we have now as you told “Ed” above. Because, believe me, it wouldn’t be. And, please don’t send me a “link” with more information. Because, clearly, I have already seen this information and that is why I am writing,

  13. Suddenly public welfare is not of concern… I refer to the fact that in recent months the Seattle Police have been notifying residents of the South Seattle area of how transit riders are being targeted by muggers around the Light Rail stations; we now are told that we have to transfer off the light rail to the new route 50 at the Columbia City station lieu of a safer single trip on the 39 or 34. I live in the Lakewood area along 50th Avenue so my transit options have been kneecaped to only trips I have to transfer and wait for (in the case of Sundays) up to an hour for a bus to get me home from the station. Discussions with others in my area show that people are a combination of angry and afraid. I am lucky, I can drive in, others I know can’t. Congratulations Metro… You are putting more cars back on the road, which I call a fail towards your mission!

  14. Metro said they had to pass the $20.00 “congestion reduction charge” so they wouldn’t have to make Draconian cuts. They haven’t even started collecting the charge yet. It starts June 1st and yet they are making the cuts anyway. If they are making all these cuts what did they need the $20.00 for? The Metro that once was is no longer. It has become a joke at our expense.

  15. Thank you for postponing changes to Route 24. This route serves a very large number of households and the densest neighborhood in Magnolia (Magnolia Manor). Without Route 24 I would definitely not be able to bike/bus to work. I would be another SOV on 15th Avenue West, and I suspect there are many, many others who would be in the same position.

  16. I, too, am extremely upset about the discontinuation of the #39 and #34. I very much want to use public transportation, but it keeps getting worse and worse! I refuse to risk my health and safety to ride this new #50 and transfer for TBD minutes in a not so good area of town, known for muggings (and worse for the ladies). This, paired with the reduced parking anywhere in the city, it’s basically making me a hermit! First, no park and rides at the light rail stations. The #39 is at least a direct route to downtown, but still takes about 40 minutes (where driving takes 15). That was at least do-able when necessary, and the #34 express (if I’m able to meet the 3 times it runs) is actually a very good route. But now, this is just ridiculous. I am beyond furious that my hard-earned money (which I will now have to spend also paying for obscenely priced parking lots downtown because I can’t take public transit due to everything everyone’s noted above) goes to this. There are plenty of people worth considering in the South Seattle neighborhoods. It’s sad and tiring to deal with this so often. You, along with the city planning folks, truly are making Seattle a transportation nightmare – “encouraging” public transportation without actually making it usable, thus putting more cars on the road, but then taking away parking and driving lanes. Stop planning for the ideal – be realistic, as nothing is ever ideal when there’s a human factor involved.

  17. Having moved to somewhere in W Seattle last year that was on 2 bus routes with the option of another just under a mile away I am now faced with one local all day route completely gone, the remaining one to downtown Seattle cut down and only operating on morning and evening commuting hours and the route almost a mile away has also been changed. Nothing left appears to hook up easily to the new Rapud Ride lines and for a wheelchair user like myself ( there are 3 of us within 1/4 mile on the same street) the quality of the sidewalks and existing curb cuts is a huge deal. I don ‘t HAVE to use the bus but i would prefer to and I used Metro and Sound Transit easily and often when I lived on the Eastside. Sad to see that some of these changes leave large areas of people with no available public transport within a mile. That just puts more cars on the road and deprives us of an efficient and viable public transport alternative. We can’t use it if you deprive us of the option.

  18. I second (third?) the comments about the deletion of the 34 and 39 routes. In theory, the transfer to the light rail to go downtown sounds good for folks east of Rainier Avenue (after all, the trains run every 7 minutes during the height of the day), but on the return trip, you will face up to a one-half-hour wait for a bus after you get off the train (or up to an hour if you work late). And there is no bus shelter available at the Othello station (not sure if that’s true at the Columbia City Station) to wait for the bus, nor would anyone in his or her right mind really want to, especially in the dark. And with parking on the streets around the stations limited to two or four hours, the City has eliminated any real option for dropping your car near a station for the workday. So, unless you live within reasonable walking distance of Rainier Avenue (for the infamous No. 7 route), you are back to driving. This is a truly unfortunate change for the SE Seattle community.

  19. When are updated maps going to be available for the April 12 changes?

  20. I too am a rider of the #39 every morning into downtown Seattle. As it is, it comes only twice and hour, so you really need to plan your ride. Otherwise, I have to take a 60, which are FAR and few between, to access the Beacon Hill light rail station. I can wait an hour, and the 60 never shows up (before or after work). The #39 cuts my commute because it is direct, and I don’t have to mess around with a bus and then a transfer each morning. The 39 is standing room only at every stop, so I find it hard to believe that no one is using it.

  21. Thanks Team – I hadn’t seen the revised (current) maps. Thanks for the heads-up!

  22. I’m not sure where to put this, so I’ll put it here: The new 18 route seems like an excellent idea the way it’s routed, although I am worried that the Rapidride route replacing the 15 may need to run more often than curently planned, given the increased traffic it’ll be taking downtown. But the 18 could be even better. I read in the paper today there is a possibility it will be rerouted through greenwood’s “downtown” district. I have long wished to have a direct route from greenwood to ballard, and this minor change would be a huge help. The changes to the 18 are already solving one of the biggest flaws in routing North of the ship canal, the lack of regular busses connecting Fremont and Ballard. As greenwood grows, the same need exists there. With one minor routing change, the increased utility of the 18 would be substantial. (And the Holman area doesn’t need the 18; they’ll have the new rapidride as well as the 28). I hope you’re still considering sending the 18 on 85th until Greenwood. Thanks for you consideration.

  23. This comment was moved from the Comment Policy page. Comments made on the comment policy page that are not in regard to the comment policy will no longer be approved. Please post comments to a blog post. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at haveasay@kingcounty.gov.

    George Pollow on April 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm said:
    I ride the 218 from and to the Issaquah Highlands P & R. Every peak hour bus is standing room only. There are many people moving into this area and riding the bus. Please add one or two peak hour buses each way. I do not like to stand for 30 minutes. The income from the 30+ passengers that are standing should pay for the extra bus.

  24. This comment was moved from the Comment Policy page. Comments made on the comment policy page that are not in regard to the comment policy will no longer be approved. Please post comments to a blog post. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at haveasay@kingcounty.gov

    Betsy Feldman on April 3, 2012 at 7:20 am said:
    I am greatly saddened by the severe cutback in Route 22 service. Hourly service during peak times will make it impossible for me, and others in this area, to commute by bus (because it will also require an extra bus change). I strongly believe that, in general, better service would increase ridership in the nearby neighborhoods, and worse service will result in a reduction in ridership. This would probably mean further reductions in service as time goes on. In other words, this current reduction is likely to lead to a downward spiral in ridership and service to my neighborhood and others nearby that are served by the 22 line. While it’s true that there are other lines geographically close to here, the topography makes them extremely difficult for some individuals (especially older ones) to change lines–between the 39th Ave SW and SW Thistle stop, there is a very steep hill to 35th (for the 21) and 386 steps to the Fauntleroy RapidRide C line.

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