Without new funding, we are moving ahead with service reductions. County Executive asked the County Council Thursday to approve the reduction of 550,000 hours of bus service—about 16 percent of the Metro system.
If the recommended cuts are adopted by the Council, Metro will eliminate 72 routes and reduce or revise service on 84 routes. Reductions will happen in four phases: this September and in February, June and September 2015. Find detailed information on Metro’s website.
For more than five years, Metro has taken extraordinary actions to preserve bus service as we experienced a $1.2 billion shortfall in sales tax revenue caused by the recession. We cut more than 100 staff positions, improved operating efficiency, raised fares four times, dug into reserve funds, and took many other steps to save or raise about $800 million from 2009 through 2013, but we have run out of tools to close the large, ongoing budget gap.
We’re able to cut less than the 600,000 hours we proposed to the public last November because the County’s March sales tax forecast predicts we’ll receive more revenue than expected earlier.
The Council will consider the proposal in May and make a decision by early June. Information about the process—including evening meetings in east King County, south King County and Seattle—will be posted on the Council’s website.
We worked very hard to avert cuts and don’t want to make them. We know from our extensive public outreach over the past six months that many people will be impacted. People who rely on Metro will lose service, be inconvenienced, or ride on more-crowded buses because of the reductions. We value every one of our customers and will continue to do the best we can to get you where you want to go.