A message from Rob Gannon, General Manager of King County Metro

For the first time ever, King County Metro enacted its Emergency Snow Network for four days – from Saturday, Feb. 9, through Tuesday, Feb. 12 – when one of the worst snowstorms in decades hit the region. Metro Transit GM Rob Gannon portrait photo

It was a challenging period for all of us, and I want to thank our riders for their patience, kind words and helpful feedback. We know it was cold, inconvenient and stressful, but we were inspired by the way you supported our bus drivers and each other.

I also want to thank Metro’s dedicated staff for working long hours in some extremely difficult conditions to keep buses moving. Thank you for taking care of our riders and each other.

People depend on transit as a lifeline in events like this. We created the Emergency Snow Network after a winter storm back in December 2008 left buses stranded on unplowed roads and too many riders without reliable service.

Knowing we needed to do better, we put together a network of routes with the goal of serving as many of our riders as possible on key arterials – focusing on pathways that avoided steep hills and would be plowed and de-iced by the City of Seattle and other local jurisdictions. This network allows us to provide service and also have the ability to repair and maintain buses as severe winter weather persists.

Even when the snowstorm was at its peak, Metro buses were on the streets providing service for people who needed it the most. While buses faced delays and challenging road conditions, customers were able to board and travel safely.

Now that we are getting back to full-strength operations, we know that our snow response is on everyone’s mind. We are reviewing how we can improve our service during snow – and we want to hear from you about your own experience with Metro during this period. Your suggestions and feedback during the storm helped guide our response and communications, but we know we have more to learn from you.

The 60 routes and shuttles that were in service left some areas of King County without transit service (South Park, Renton Highlands, Newcastle and Vashon to name a few). Some of this is unavoidable because of the topography, but, when we can, we will add whatever mobility options resources allow to connect riders to the Emergency Snow Network. We are committed to serving ALL of King County, so we will continue to look for ways to provide alternative transit options for residents in areas where we can’t provide our normal, fixed-route bus service.

We heard from many of you who asked for better communication regarding your own bus route – and where to find that information. We know there was some confusion because Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps, like One Bus Away, did not reflect the Emergency Snow Network service. We are committed to making improvements to get the information you need – when you need it – as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we encourage all of our riders to sign up for Transit Alerts and follow @kcmetrobus on Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

Ensuring the safety of our riders and our employees is the number one priority for Metro, no matter what type of weather we are experiencing. As we dig out of this record snowfall, we will be doing a comprehensive review of how our network can better serve all of King County’s communities equitably – and your feedback is invaluable. You can leave a comment on this blog post, share your feedback on our customer service site or leave a voice message at 206-263-9768. We are listening.

A safe system is a resilient one, and what we learn in recovery improves and makes us stronger.

Moving forward together,

Rob Gannon, General Manager
King County Metro