We’re two days in to freezing temperatures and challenging commutes, with more on the horizon. We asked members of Metro’s operations team some of the public’s most pressing questions and what they thinks the public should know for the commute Tuesday afternoon and beyond.
How did Tuesday morning’s commute go?
It went as expected, and our expectation was that it would be challenging due to the slick road conditions and freezing temperatures. Downtown Seattle looks pretty good; outlying areas to the north, south and east are still icy and slick in spots. We started this morning again on snow routes and fully chained. We are happy to report that buses are returning regular routes by the dozens. We’re getting through it!
What’s the protocol with stuck buses?
Depending on the circumstances, our team will work to get the bus unstuck and the best case scenario allows the operator to drive the bus away themselves. If the situation does not allow that, we’ll tow it, and our tow trucks are in high demand in conditions like these so it can take some time. We worked hard overnight to recover stuck coaches and re-chain and prepare them for this morning’s commute. Yesterday we peaked with approximately 200 stuck coaches and this morning’s commute we’ve only had 11 stuck buses.
What’s the average delay time?
It really varies by conditions and traffic, and the caution of other drivers. We saw heavy delays across the board this morning. Unfortunately, estimated arrival/departure times are less reliable due to weather and traffic. That means apps customers rely on might show scheduled trips only (and buses often are running late in snow), or they can’t predict well when the bus will arrive. The maps within the apps sometimes signal how far away a bus is during very rough delays. Luckily, the smoother the route, the better the estimated arrival times, and some riders had better luck this week than others. We’re very focused on getting people where they’re trying to go safely and anticipate that delays will lighten as conditions improve.
So, are we out of the woods?
It’s too early to say what tonight’s temperatures will bring, and riders should continue to allow extra time, bundle up and practice patience. Though some main roads may look clear, hills continue to be challenging and travel conditions will depend on your unique neighborhood.
There is the forecasted possibility of more winter weather ahead later this week, as well, which our team is already monitoring and preparing for.
What other updates do we need to know?
- Community Ride and Community Van – Metro’s newest transportation services – are launching today in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. However due to road conditions, the on-demand Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Community Ride will not operate tonight and will resume service as soon as conditions improve. Because Community Van is reserved in advance, you can still contact the Community Transportation Coordinator starting today to book future group trips.
- West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxis have resumed normal operations as of this morning.
- Keep an eye on MetroWinter.com for the latest information.