Crowded Buses, Extended Commutes, and Potential Impacts of New Revenue
On December 16, 2013, approximately 30 community members attended the Open House at Kent Commons, where they learned more about the proposed bus cuts and shared how these changes would affect them. We have also heard from 143 community members in the Kent area through our online survey. Conversations of the night focused on several specific bus routes as well as concerns with longer commute times.
For the Kent area, both Route 914 and Route 916 serve many seniors and people with disabilities. With proposed changes to the 914 and suggested deletion of the 916, one attendee expressed a fear that many seniors and disabled riders would, “…be shut up in their houses.”
Adverse effects were also feared for Route 157, since both the Route 158 and Route 159 are proposed to be deleted. Community members questioned how Metro will, “…assign coaches to make sure there will be enough seats to accommodate riders.”
Crowded buses were not the only widespread concern of the night; longer commute times were brought up multiple times during the meeting. One attendee observed that the proposed cuts keep “key coverage at the expense of frequency.” Unfortunately, Metro has to make several decisions to cut frequency to be able to maintain some service in some areas. These cuts will likely result in longer commute times due to transferring or lengthy waits at bus stops.
While all these comments were discussed, one community member shared a concern about the long-term effects of the proposed service reductions. “I’m really concerned that once you take something away, it’s gone. There’s little chance of it coming back.” We sincerely hope that additional funding can be found that allows Metro to not have to cut services in the first place – at least not as deeply.
Question of the Day:
“What if more money becomes available? Would cut service come back?”
Answer: Proposed service reductions could still be avoided if alternative funding becomes available for Metro, though it depends on the amount of revenue generated and when such revenue becomes available. Such funding could be contained in the form of a statewide transportation package. The King County Council is also considering a local option that may be put to the voters in spring or summer of 2014. If funding is secured after cuts are scheduled to begin, some services may be restored though not necessarily exactly the same as they are now. The County Council-approved Service Guidelines would be used to guide Metro in determining where service should be allocated in light of available new revenues.
We want to keep hearing your comments, concerns, and questions about the proposed service reductions. For information on upcoming public meetings, visit our Calendar. Can’t attend a public meeting? Fill out our online survey.
I’m just concerned that this is a scare tactic that is all about getting people to vote for raising license tabs once again. I think maybe it would be better if the county looked a little more how they spend the budget that is allowed them, look at maybe the 150 routes how often they run and how many they have. And what about the hospitals on First Hill that subsidize the 193 route?
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