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.
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
The red and green used on the snow map are impossible to differentiate. I emailed Metro about this last year, and was promised the colors would be changed prior to winter 2019, but this was apparently just lip service.
OBA and other displays needs to publish real time estimate of bus arrivals. My commute on any day is difficult to plan because ST uses scheduled time, not real time, bus arrivals. It’s not uncommon for OBA and the digital read outside downtown to say my bus is 18 minutes late, right as the bus arrives. I can never trust these times and have to build a 25 minute buffer of standing around due to this. Regarding the snow storm, my bus, the 125, didn’t run for days when there were no snow or ice issues. When if finally restarted, it no showed for hours without any notice, again because location data is not used to provide estimates. Modern apps like Uber and Lyft can publish vehicle location and reasonable time estimates, ST needs to follow suite.
OBA and other real time data sources are only useful once a trip is underway. If you board your bus near the beginning of your route it’s likely OBA won’t be of much use to you Because it can’t show you a bus that’s not in service sadly.
Sound Transit’s functionality with these services depends on who operates the routes you use. Community transit does not share real time data with anyone (BOO). So if you ride any of the routes to Snohomish County (or 540 starting next month) don’t expect much out of real time data. Pierce transit operates all routes originating or going to pierce county as well as routes 577/578, 560, and 566. King county metro handles all remaining king county st routes except for the 540 (as of next month).
Real time data assumes that a bus will operate its normal route. It isn’t very useful when there’s reroutes due to snow, construction or any other event which causes a disruption.
I should also mention that metro’s trip planner app can show you the next buses to depart your location. If metro has to cancel them they will flag the route cancelled so that can help you.
The 48 on 24th seemed to have few or no problems. But the 43 seemed to be non-existent. Had to walk from 23rd to 15th on I shoveled sidewalks to get to medical appointment.
1. The emergency snow network should run the 10 via Pike->Bellevue->Pine->Broadway-> either E John (if possible) or Broadway to the Aloha turnback further north on Broadway (during extreme conditions) to ensure that buses do not get stuck on the Olive Way or E John inclines (this was already done on one evening of the snow storm, please formalize this). This would also provide coverage for parts of the 49 bus that are not covered during snow emergencies. Consider running a shortened 49 if fleet is available and 10th Av E further north is not passable.
2. If trolleybuses go off route, operators should not stop a the next stop in an incline to remount poles. Head to the nearest level area if at all possible to avoid getting stuck. The battery backup generally seems to last long enough to make this possible.
3. Emphasize that Link is running (I know that’s SoundTransit scope).
4. Consider adding at least some parts of Madison Av to the ESN. I understand that there are some steep areas (1st Hill, 25th Av to MLK), but these could be circumvented.
Admittedly my use of Metro is limited, but I do live on Vashon! I thought the ESN was excellent. I learned a long time ago the OBA is useless for any kind of schedule SNAFU’s. Give the folks at ESN high fives. I felt the priorities made sense and the messaging was good. I was a tad confused at some points- but mostly because it was a new approach. I feel I’ll be solidly connected next time. THANK YOU!
Once I knew about it, I LOVED it! It was so much easier to just focus on the routes that were running (40 or D), it gave me more confidence. I was also very happy with the route-specific alerts so that I knew not to go out and wait, combined with One bus away seemed like a good set of tools. I had no issues except a bit longer walk on either end.
I can imagine that it’s so much easier for metro with limited work force during a snow event to assign operators to a smaller set of key routes instead of trying to cover everything. It may be difficult for those with disabilities but it provided much more reliable service in important corridors.- Thanks!
I don’t want this to be a complaint session for Metro – I am a transit proponent/evangelist. I used Metro routes during some of the snow days (when I couldn’t elect to work at home.)
Other people have noted the confusion that OBA and Google did not have accurate info. I found it further confusing that there is a difference between “Snow Route” and “Emergency Snow Route” (maybe they were called something different, but I expected these to be the same). I followed the “Snow Route” on my bus (312) but that route was actually cancelled under the “Emergency Snow Route”. The communications and Metro web site need clear distinction between these and maybe re-branding one or the other for clarity. If I go to the route page, it should clearly say “Cancelled” not “Check the emergency route”, which is an asterisks on the page saying it will be cancelled. The natural thing to look at was the available snow route schedule and map, which I tried to commute with, when my route was actually cancelled. This cost me ~2 hours in waiting between the AM and PM commutes in one day. I learned the lesson and chose alternate commute options on subsequent days.
There are several comments before this which I haven’t read. I apologize if this is a repeated concern. I don’t need a reply here – I appreciate the difficult situation and your efforts to make it better. Thanks!
Finding information about which routes were running, if the snow route was different from the regular route, and the timing of the buses was difficult. Navigating the website on my phone and resizing maps with a non-intuitive legend/color scheme to find if my route was impacted was challenging. I managed to find a running route (the third time I checked my phone, checked the map, and went to a new stop) the first snow day, but elected to run, drive, or take Link to work for the rest of the week, as the worry about wandering around the neighborhood waiting for buses that weren’t going to come was unappealing.
It was awful! Some busses were on snow routes and terminated, then the next bus was on normal routing! There was no clear indication where the bus stops are located on a snow route. There were roads that were clear yet no bus service existed. What a mess.
Hit enter too soon…
Last thing is that I noticed Metro idd a great job salting their bus stops. However, it would just be a spot of clear sidewalk along an otherwise icy mess. I’d like to see Metro throw their weight into pushing the city to take over clearing sidewalks, especially on thoroughfares and bus routes. Having a clear bus stop is near-useless if I can’t get to it.
Having the ESN was a great benefit. Thank you so much for this forethought!
As Seattle Transit Blog mentioned, a LOT of people rely on One Bus Away, and having that be inaccurate was really painful. I tried to use the special 90 route, but never knew where it was, how long the wait was, etc. I also waited for over 20 min for a 48 at one point, all because Google/OBA were not accurate. I don’t know what it would take to push that kind of dynamic information to those platforms, but it’s worth investigating.
Second, the ESN needs to either be active, or not active. Since I can’t rely on Google/OBA, I’ve got the ESN PDF pulled up, and am using that. To then have a bus driver tell me that their route is on “normal”, but not all routes (which I later heard confirmed on the news) is really confusing. As a rider standing at a stop, how am I supposed to know if my bus is coming, or if it’s still on ESN route, or if it’s transitioning? That’s very confusing.
As you have reader boards at Rapid Ride stops – use them to alert riders that the Rapid Ride busses are not stopping and if possible the nearest stop where the bus can be caught. .
use the reader board to actually give the Metro web address for pertinent information not just the direction to look at Metro’s web page.
I’ve lived in Seattle for nearly 30 years and tI think that was Metro’s best performance in a multi-day snow event. I thought the ESN made a lot of sense and was able to get me where I needed to go (using the 44, the 62, and Link primarily). I’m a frequent rider and know to look online – it does seem like there’s a challenge around how to reach more occasional riders or folks who might not know where to look for info about Metro operations.
The Madison Park was without Bus service even though Madison was clear and useable. Even if you could walk to the 8,or 12. They were not running. Maybe you should use the snow routes as before.
First thing I want to say is thank you for keeping me and other riders safe in the storm.
I think the major issue for me was just that OneBusAway didn’t have accurate information. When a bus is on snow route or cancelled, I think it should be unambiguous in the transit apps people use that a bus won’t stop at a particular stop. I was confused during the storm because I checked OneBusAway and it listed the route times as “scheduled.” I had assumed that the app would have just listed no arrivals if it had been cancelled–in retrospect that was clearly not the case.
I worked at the Garfield Emergency shelter giving nursing care to those staying there.
** You need to keep buses on 23rd to Swedish Cherry Hill operational & FREE during these storms esp with a shelter at Garfield Community Center.
I sent folks who were not critical or unable to walk to the urgent care & ER there. Without the bus we would have had to call the paramedics or AMR a waste of scarce resources during a storm.
Free bus access during storms saves lives.
What service, we on Route 11 had NO service. The hardest part is that many people were waiting at bus stops for non-existent service. It’s like Metro didn’t give a damn about those using Routes 2, 8, 11, 12, 43 and 49. Don’t w
I am fine with buses not running and routes changing b/c of snow or other weather, but the communication of what to expect and what was happening was terrible. One Bus Away was never accurate, not just on times but whether routes/stops were even operating. Stop signs aren’t marked at the stop for whether they operate on ESN or not nor how to know (and they absolutely could and should be), and the maps aren’t clear. It wasn’t clear how many buses were running or at what times. It took days for there to be instructions posted about how to know if your stop/route was or wasn’t operating, and the instructions were unclear and changed partway through. And because there was no accurate info about how many or how often buses were coming, we basically had to stand at the stop for 1hr+ in snow and cold for one bus to finally arrive that was packed, with no idea whether we were better off staying out or giving up…two different times I tried to take the bus and eventually had to give up and go back home because the buses that came were full, when they came at all. Also, on two different non-consecutive days when you posted that ESN wasn’t in effect, drivers for the 5 were still taking the ESN route, which just further confused things.
The page here https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/002-013.aspx#route-map is in conflict with the ESN page: it says the 2 will run during an emergency while the dedicated ESN page doesn’t list route 2. I’m assuming this isn’t the only route with this problem.
The 255 does not visit the South Kirkland Park and Ride when on snow route. This is not obvious to new riders of the route and the map in the route timetable isn’t that clear either. There should clear signage at the Park and Ride about this. Lots of people wasted lots of time in the bitter cold thinking a 255 would come when it wouldn’t.
I don’t care about the snow response. You need to invest in better service in South King County, including neighborhood service, and supplementing the extremely sparse ST routes to and from jobs in downtown Tacoma. Nice to see all the investments in Seattle while South King, as usual, gets neglected. Also, please stop re-designing the websites (Metro, PT, & ST) constantly. The newer interfaces are extremely difficult to use and understand. Just pick something and stick to it.
I’m subscribed to text alerts for my routes & I follow the Twitter account, but neither of those gave any information at all on the high number of pre-ESN canceled runs. It took three days before I, a power user, learned about the next departure page. Absurdly bad communication.
Thanks for actively soliciting feedback. I thank Metro for doing what they could, and I think there are many opportunities for improvement. Here’s a few specific examples that were either very confusing, or left me at a loss for what the rationale could be.
1. If you send a text message saying a route is going to run, it should actually run. At the bus stop, people had been waiting for a while with no bus, but the latest update says several should have come.
2. On one morning, I had received a list of times that wouldn’t run. I picked a different time, but while I was waiting I received a new list that included trips that had been scheduled well after the text was sent.
3. If you operate a commuter route in the morning, it should also operate in the evening. Otherwise, you are leaving people stranded. Although the slush day was a difficult forecast, the rest of the days were largely as expected.
4. Don’t switch from using specific methods of communication to another. At first you were saying to use the Trip Planner, but then a couple days later that showed busses as operating as usual, but were not included in the ESN. A couple days later, the ESN was over and the Metro website was wrong but One Bus Away was accurate. There was never a single source of truth that was accurate for the entire event.
5. If you’re going to have a page on your website which lists all the routes that are on snow routes, don’t run busses not on the list on snow routes. Even for the stop I was at, other busses were not running the snow route, but the one I needed was apparently running on the snow route.
6. When the routes are bare and dry, run the busses. I’ll even go so far as to say when the roads are bare and wet, the busses should run as well. To be clear, you were running on the ESN and cancelling busses where their route was bare and dry.
I was frustrated by the ‘fleet recovery’ decisions that were made after the snow was clear but many buses needed repair. Most 316’s did not run, leaving them and 76’s packed and skipping stops while empty 62’s weren’t canceled. Please review the fleet recovery cancellations and try harder to avoid canceling so many buses on routes with high ridership.
I live in West Seattle. The last snow event was hard for everyone all around. I appreciate Metro, esp coming from the three weeks of reroute due to the viaduct closure. No one expects the buses to be on time because even bus drivers and staff have to navigate the treacherous conditions to go to work to serve the public. Thank you, Metro, because I was able to go to and from work safely!
I live in Shoreline and ride the Rapid E Line. In the snow, the E is routed away from the Park & Ride on 192nd & Aurora. Instead, it goes down a residential street (Meridian, I think), then crosses back over Aurora at 185th and continues south on Aurora. I am here to tell you that with chains, that small hill from 192nd to 185th is *not* that bad. The corner at 205th & Aurora may need clean up and sanding, which should be worked out in advance of snow storms with DOT. I have to walk a mile in either direction to either get up to the Transit Center or up to 185th to catch the bus or to get to Meridian. Ironically, the bus northbound stops across the street from the 192nd P&R. Has no problem going down the hill and maintaining traction. And amazingly, the 301 stops at the 192nd P&R southbound in the snow..so does the 373 – they’re not rerouted during snow. So why the Rapid E? I think you should re-examine that snow route for the Rapid E and have it stop at the 192nd P&R.
Thanks for your time.
Thank you to all the drivers, maintenance staff, planners and everyone else who helped keep bus service going during Snowmageddon!
Personally, I appreciate that the bus system was running at all! The weather was BAD! So many obstacles other than the actual snow to deal with. Not to mention that Transit employees have lives and kids, too. Can only imagine that quite a few people could not make it in to work themselves. So considering all that, I thought things went pretty well.
I took the 62 and the E lines on numerous days during the snow events. I just ASSumed buses *would not* be running on anything like their regular schedule. So much less frustrating if you just realize that things are not normal and adjust accordingly…
All the drivers on the routes I took were extremely careful and patient. On the ESN days, the drivers did a great job letting riders know that the bus would be diverging from its regular route and what route it *would* be taking.
Granted I am not a daily bus rider, but I thought things went reasonably well as far as bus service during the storms. Thanks again to everyone involved in making this happen!
“While buses faced delays and challenging road conditions, customers were able to board and travel safely.” The #5 bus ran along Greenwood N but the bus stops were not shoveled out and customers were NOT able to board safely- the plowed snow between bus and curb was a barrier for everyone, especially elderly, disabled, children. When the emergency snow route is operating, who in government is going to be responsible for shoveling out bus stops?
I spent three hours standing in the cold. It’s ridiculous that feeder buses have no communication with OneBusAway – there’s no way to know if we should be standing at a freezing bus stop or waiting comfortably indoors, the bus could be 45 minutes away but we’d never know it.
I really appreciated the notices and the service during the ESN timeframe this month. Thank you for your excellent service!
I thought the ESN worked as well as it could. It told me which buses were running and where. I live in Shoreline and knowing the 304 and 301 weren’t running even on snow routes gave me the info I needed to plan my day. I knew I had to get to Aurora Ave. if I wanted to catch a bus downtown. So now it was my decision if I wanted to hike to Aurora or work from home. It was way better than past snow days when we waited at stops hoping a bus would come, but no way of knowing if it ever would. The transit alerts helped too, everyone should sign up for those. Hey and nice job bus drivers, it’s hard enough to drive in the snow. Adding a bunch of wet, cranky people, packed in as tight as they can be makes it a little harder.
I was disappointed that the 102 didn’t run from 140th down to Park/Ride on Grady. I had to walk down Puget Sound Drive Road just to catch 101 at the Park/Ride to go downtown Seattle to work. There weren’t any shuttle running in the morning, only the afternoon and they only came every two hours.Then once I got to work, thank God my co-worker said she would take me home. Not only during the snow but you need more 101, 102 routes daily going & coming from downtown. It’s ridicioulous that there aren’t enough buses to transport us from Renton to Seattle.
The 102 shuttle should have been able to take you down the hill from 140th and petrovitsky as an established ESN route. Also the 906 (poorly communicated) was operating a revised route as an ESN route as well which would have connected you to ESN route 150.
It was very disappointing that even when arterials were totally clear they still ran on emergency bus route. We were all expected to get to work downtown but there were no buses available. In addition the website was not updated to show emergency snow route. Everyone went to regular snow route stops. I checked online before waiting for bus 24 on 28th avenue W in Magnolia because it showed that it was running waited over an hour. To find out that there was only a shuttle at village veterinary that went down to Thorndike. There was no place to find that information on the website and no customer service staff on the phones.
I agree and your bus drivers seemed to be just as confused! I checked your site the night before and the morning prior to leaving. I waited at the bus stop because there was no mention of being on a snow route but the driver took the snow route. I did call in to be told that they weren’t supposed to be on the snow route that day. I had to walk to the Twinlakes park and ride from 356th, which about 12 blocks. I did it when I was told it was ESN schedule, but didn’t expect to do it when it wasn’t supposed to be. Most of your drivers did a great job and made a hard time manageable but updating your site in a timely manner and better communication, maybe like the schools do on tv, would have helped.
All of my routes were cancelled during the emergency snow ops time period (8, 12, 43). When the 8 was back up and running, there was a significant delay on the first day. One Bus Away reported the bus as on time that morning. Not sure if I’m only speaking for myself, but the feeling of not knowing if your bus is coming after waiting for a long period of time is frustrating, ESPECIALLY, when all of the available lines of comm appear to be reporting conflicting or wrong info (Google maps, One Bus Away, City Mapper, text to 626550). “Do I continue to wait like an idiot for a bus that may or may not show up? … or do I call an Uber?” Transit more often than not feels like a gamble. I’m sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t have a 2-hr window for arriving to work. Why doesn’t the County harness the technology that app-based ride hailing services have?–an app that shows a real-time map so you can literally see where the bus is? Seeing is believing. If riders could sign up for map-based alerts via a KC Metro app, to see where all the buses on their route are physically located around the city, the whole network would operate more efficiently for its riders. I know I personally would not feel like Metro was wasting my precious time if I could make more well-informed decisions regarding my ridership based on real time visual data.
The 120 running on Delridge didn’t meet people’s expectations. You will see 3 and more buses full with people that didn’t have any room. Waiting long times for a bus out in the snow was very frustrating.
My usual route often uses an articulated bus. Knowing how bad these buses are in the snow, I decided I would avoid taking the bus, especially as my route has several hills. If I’m going to take a risk getting stuck, I’m more comfortable taking my chances in my Forrester rather than an articulated bus. At least if traffic is stopped for an extended period i have the ability to try an alternate route.
Fortunately, I was able to work from home on the worst days.
I remember during 2008 riding the 150 downtown during that snow event. One thing they did right: since most routes were cancelled they used 40 footers for this route and did not service the tunnel. After March 23 since there should be no confusion as to where to catch the bus when a snow emergency is called they should refrain from using 60 footers if possible. On feb 4 alone I saw 2 jacknifed buses and both of them by definition were articulated buses.
I live in Vashon. I understand that we’re a low population area and thus not prioritized, but leaving us with absolutely zero bus service for days forces people into unsafe vehicles. Without the bus many people on Vashon have no safe way to get to the ferry terminals. And to make matters even worse even if you somehow got to the ferry terminal without a bus on the Vashon side you arrive in Fauntleroy to find that the shuttle that’s supposed to be running in the place of the C line for that area is basically nonexistent. The result is that it takes hours to get anywhere, if you can manage it at all. Given that the main highway on Vashon where the bus operates is plowed early and often it seems unnecessary to leave us that cut off.
I take the 348 and aside from one time when I waited an hour as I saw three pass by westbound (one was 55 minutes late), and another time where it was 70 minutes…that was the only issue I had.
At around 1:30 PM on the Friday it started to snow, buses were so packed that they couldn’t stop and let more people on. At least 20-30 people were at my stop downtown waiting for hours, as both packed and empty (returning to transit center) buses drove by. We wondered why the empty buses couldn’t be helping out on these suddenly overcrowded routes. I’m sure it’s not easy to re-route those buses, but if it could be done that would help. I’ve experienced similar issues when there are large events, protests, etc. Lucky for me that Friday, I had the means to throw in the towel after waiting almost an hour for a bus, and shell out $$ for a Lyft home. I hope that the others standing out there waiting eventually got on a bus!
Most likely those buses were waiting to be chained up. That was my experience as I was waiting for a 105 or 240. That day was a panick but they did they best they could.
Inasmuch as Olive Way & John were plowed immediately after the snowfall, there was no reason that I can fathom for you to have re-routed the #60 so that it stopped on Pine instead of on Olive (at Broadway). Please explain.
King County Metro cancels the 60 during Emergency Service Network operations because of conditions along the entire route which includes areas in Beacon Hill and White Center where the streets may be impassable even if capitol hill was clear. My concern is why wasn’t the 49 at least running up to Aloha as the entirety of Broadway neighborhood north of the Cap Hill light rail station had no bus service yet the streets where completely clear.
A lot of cancellations, as you point out, are based not on local/visible conditions but on conditions at a few critical points: with the Northbound 49, for instance, there’s nowhere for it to turn around once it’s past John Street, so even though Capital Hill looked clear, the 49 couldn’t risk getting stranded down the hill on Harvard Avenue, for instance.
On the street, decisions by Metro may look obtuse but they analyze their decisions very closely, and they make decisions with the intention of keeping everyone safe and keeping service at as high a level as possible.
My bus, the 373 was canceled in the storm, so I had to ride the 65 to get to work at UW Medical Center. For the most part that was okay. On Tuesday evening, February 12, a number of the 65 buses had a rough time going west on NE 75th and also going down 35th Ave NE. Our driver, Craig, did a fantastic job threading his way slowly and carefully to the last stop. If possible, I think the shorter buses do a better job in the snow. Another morning, Thursday, February 14, I unfortunately had a very rude bus driver who reduced me to tears. He was the exception, though.
When the 373 buses began to run again not all the times were covered, for some odd reason. On the way home, a number of the runs were still canceled and there were super long waits and super crowded buses. The driver said she did not know why the part-time drivers were still being kept at the bus barn and why those runs were canceled.
Metro reduced routes and canceled trips because of the sheer number of buses that got damaged due to either accidents or broken chains during the snow. I do agree the 373 should be running on a modified route as an Emergency Service Network Route and that it should run all day every day of the week and the 73 should be just gotten rid of all together. Metro still has a few buses out of commission because of the storms.
131 was not running on the Emergency Snow Network Routes, but 128 and 120 were. I’ve gotten all twitter feeds, bus stops and notices, and all seemed up to date.
Back in 2008, I remember walking to 15th & Roxbury to catch a bus downtown. This year (now retired) I couldn’t get out out of my neighborhood to get to a 128, a mile away. Biggest problem getting to a bus? Snow on sidewalks 2-feet deep. That includes sidewalks by the horse barn (owned by the city?) at Westcrest Park.
*Also, not having 131 go down 8th/Highland Parkway and then cut over to 16th or Delridge skips a lot of people on ‘regular’ snow routes (not ESN).*
Good for a first year; better tracking when routes will be arriving/departing would be helpful. Maybe a specific new app would be helpful!
On Wednesday Feb 13th, I was unsure if my bus (28 Express) was servicing Broadview in the AM. The news message said to text the stop number (27930) to find out. I got the following response:Stop: 27930
28 7:18a (s)
28 7:39a (canceled)
28 8:00a (canceled)
28 8:27a (s)
That 7:05 never came and neither did the rest. We then walked to Greenwood Ave in the street because there are no sidewalks and had the same issues with stop 5630. The text function was a complete failure.
We depend upon the 347 bus in Ridgecrest/Shoreline, to get to the Northgate Transit Center and connect to downtown. This route was not running even though the arterial 5th Ave NE was clear and there was no other bus anywhere nearby.
It would be great if the third party apps could show and provide the same information on what routes are operating and when the next bus will arrive during the ESN.
I don’t know what happened to Rapid A service as the line is listed on the ESN. But I didn’t see any buses 7AM to 730AM between Tukwila Link Station and 160th Street: I just walked.
There were different reports about service on Renton Avenue South thru the Skyway area. The ESN plan says a “Route 106 Snow Shuttle” serves the Renton Avenue South-never saw that nor where to board same at Rainier Beach Link Station. Route #106 drivers were saying the #107 was providing service to Skyway area-never saw it.
Also, Route #106 snow route diverts down Rainier Avenue South but there are no established bus stops along Rainier from Seward Park South to Renton. My thanks to your drivers who dropped me off at Rainier Avenue South & 57th Avenue South. I could have used the reverse service but didn’t try it.
PS: I know you do not operate Sound Transit’s Link. But please pass on to them the Link Train service was awesome during the ESN. I didn’t miss a night of work at SeaTac.
Actually KCM DOES operate link under a contract from Sound Transit!!
My route #49 was suspended for 3 days. I am not regular bus rider and haven’t sign-up alert, so waiting my bus at my bus stop for looong time. I couldn’t see my route was cancel. 1) Requesting little more clear about ESN (vs. Snow route) for general population on your website. 2) Many residents including many seniors along Rt. 49 don’t have own car and believe running highly populated/major business area. We relay on public transportation. 3) Also, between Saturday evening and Sunday evening was clear weather. Traffic street along the route were cleared. There was no reasons of NOT running such a high demand route(s) till inclement weather began later hours.
I think Metro’s drivers, mechanics, and team performed heroically. But I wish there had been some way to keep the 50 going so West Seattle residents (and others on the route) could connect to the Light Rail. Our only option was to go all the way downtown on the C and get snarled in that mess, rather than connect at Sodo. Also echoing others, there should be some way to get the Metro Trip Planner or Google Maps (which I’m assuming is linked) to reflect the snow schedules–it was really a challenge to figure out what was running and what wasn’t.
The 120 is my regular bus so I’m lucky to still have a route I know during snow. It was helpful to read a statement FROM Metro on the West Seattle Blog instructing us to leave 30-60 minutes early to get where we’re going. I know buses run less frequently, but knowing HOW MUCH less frequently is useful. Especially on weekends, when my every-7-minutes bus goes down to every 30. Does that mean I’m going to be waiting two hours?
I think it might also be worth identifying individual stops that are just awful during snow (especially ones in the middle of hills). Those could maybe get a snow flake or other icon on the stop so people know it will be skipped when the bus is on a snow re-route, even if the bus route takes it past that stop. This may help keep some routes moving better. Just an idea.
The only other suggestion I have is to train drivers not to pull right to the curb when they have chains on their tires. I’ve seen and been on buses that pull right to the curb and slowly (or quickly if there’s ice) grind that chain against the curb until it’s damaged, then loose, then falls off entirely. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s nearly always the passenger-side chain that is damaged or missing. Being on the buss when the chain is loose and whacking HARD against the wheel well is super awful (and I’m sure also bad for the bus). As is getting stuck after a chain is gone.
Anyway, I follow Metro on Twitter and get snow info from the West Seattle Blog. I don’t subscribe to the alerts mentioned here. Maybe I will some day, but my two existing news sources gave me enough info to get where I was going without ever being late to work. Thanks for getting us through the storm, and thanks for soliciting feedback for next time.
The snow was bad a couple of days, tops. But bus service was disrupted on my route for almost all of the last 2 weeks. Why is that? It doesn’t make sense. Please, if you divert or cancel routes serving Alki, please add service to get people to the Alaska Junction. If the 50 isn’t running, there’s no way to get to the Junction. Frankly, there’s no reason why the 50 was so disrupted on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. None.
If there is any possible way to make One Bus Away work during the ESN, that would’ve been ideal. If people can’t trust the bus is coming, they won’t try. I walked instead of even trying to take the reportedly unreliable 90 shuttle Monday, and Tuesday I ended up walking after waiting too long for a 10 that didn’t show up. We also had to rescue a friend who had gotten to the U District on the bus but couldn’t get back to Wedgwood on Sunday night (don’t know which route this was).
Queen Anne service definitely needs to be tweaked. Operating the 3&4 via south on QA Ave, west on W Galer St and north on 6th Ave W to the 7th Ave W/W Raye St terminal would have greatly expanded Queen Anne service during the ESN operation. Streets on upper Queen Anne were well tended to by the city. Routes 3&4 are part of the ESN and vital to our service on upper Queen Anne. They need to be expanded!
Instead of running 3/4 extension you could, once you get one bus up here to QA, run a frequent shuttle between the ESN 3 terminal and 7th and Raye via Galer; perhaps this would be easier for timekeeping.
These streets have been passable throughout the period and once up here there’s no significant hills.
We in the QACC are interested in what you do. We note the new route 13 does show a snow route (not a ESN tho).
The ESN is a good idea, and one that should continue to be followed. Maybe some tweaks to routes based on input about coverage gaps, but all in all a good idea.
I was more disappointed with Metro’s service before the ESN was implemented and after it was lifted. I live in Highland Park and can’t tell you how many 125’s and 120’s that were scheduled just didn’t show. This is after the ESN was lifted and regular service was supposed to be resumed. For example, yesterday 2/14, the 7:12am route 125 was a no show. No cancellation or tweet or anything. I waited 25 minutes before slogging down the hill to find over worked 120’s that were passing people by. Assuming there were missed runs there as well.
I hope for the next storm Metro can figure out how to effectively communicate cancelled runs. The current process of announcing some cancelled runs and silence on others just leads to general confusion and a lack of trust in Metro’s service.
If you want more feedback the comments on http://www.westseattleblog.com are full of no shows that weren’t communicated over the past two weeks.
All in all, a great job! Since I live in the “hills of Renton”, the 102 route, my only frustration was mixed information on email from Metro. I was told my route was back in service last week but no bus came. I take the first 102. When I got to the South Renton Park and Ride, the 102 was waiting in the wings there. He pulled into the pickup lane at his scheduled time of arrival at the Park and Ride. I told him no bus ever showed and he stated we should have had a shuttle to bring us down. He called dispatch to confirm. They did not know where the shuttle was but confirmed we should have had one. Low and behold, about the time of his communication with dispatch I get this new email notification about the shuttle. I truly believe it was generated because of our driver. Kudos to him but too late for those reading the email the night before and having a promise not kept. My advice? Don’ Make statements you cannot keep.
I also ride the 102 and had very similar experiences with the snow shuttle. I had issues where the shuttle was cancelled, but no notification went out to let me know of the cancellation. This leaves people out in the cold waiting for a ride that isn’t coming.
@Anonymous #2: Your comment is confusing and contradictory You’re asking for services to be reinstated though your walk to the stop is unsafe? KC Metro have nothing to do with sidewalks. Literally nothing. That is your city/county ordinance, take it up with them and encourage your neighborhood to shovel as you/they are *required* to. If you’re walking by businesses, absolutely call them and let them know, ask why it hasn’t been cleared. Please be more reasonable.
Bus drivers were safe, slowed down where appropriate, and communicated when needed.
Communication from the Twitter account was great and immensely helpful.
The decision to shut down parts of services before/during inclement weather could definitely be revised; the 23 or however many buses stranded from Luna Park up to the top of hill on 35th Ave SW due to the snow on Monday afternoon could have been avoided. Absolutely continue to get patrons safely to the furthest point possible, but no attempts to drive up DURING the snow should have happened, chained tires or otherwise. A few buses stuck in the moment I can understand, but that number should not have grown to what it did.
I agree with prior comments that some routes/zones should be reinstated as they become safe (and fleet is available), versus lumping most into an ESN “on/off” situation.
The AM 21/21X service was great during ESN. A few 5-10 minute delays but as expected.
i agree about the luna park issue you mentioned. I live in Shoreline and we had the same issue on N 175th Street on the Monday FEB 4th as well as on N 200th Street just east of the Aurora Village Transit Center. N 175th Street had a minimum of 20 buses stuck in a 5 block segment of the street which caused Shoreline to shutdown the road until the next morning. Also on N 200th Street both Community Transit and Metro Buses were getting stuck and tangled up. That morning I waited for nearly 45 minutes for a 301 because of all of the buses stuck on N 175th that were supposed to be using N 185th instead.
The “shuttle” provided for the C line south of Alaska Junction did not run frequently enough. The C line dropped me off around 6pm at the Alaska Junction and I had to wait 35 minutes for a shuttle on Tuesday (2/12). My total commute time from Belltown to Morgan Junction was 1 hour 45 minutes. On a typical day this commute would be around 30 minutes. I realized there would be some delays with the snow but this was not acceptable in my opinion.
Also it would have been helpful if there was a schedule for the shuttle service. At least if I knew I had a 35 minute wait I could have just called an Uber, friend or even walked home at that point. We were all waiting in the cold and had no clue when the shuttle would arrive which made for a frustrating experience.
Additionally almost every bus stop was covered in packed snow and ice. If the city wants people to not use their vehicles at least make the bus stops accessible to everyone. It was downright dangerous trying to even walk and get on/off busses with the icy conditions. If it would be possible to pre-treat those sidewalks or have maintenance crews shovel etc that would be ideal. I’m sure other big cities used to snow do this for their residents.
I can understand the immediate need to concentrate on core routes during a weather event but in application I don’t think it worked as it should have. There were “buses” that were supposedly running that we never saw in West Seattle. There were multiple idle buses not running while people were standing at bus stops in subfreezing weather. I walked 3 miles without seeing any of the buses that were supposedly running. I heard multiple reports of people walking as long as 70 minutes without ever seeing a bus. This was in West Seattle. We were repeatedly told to rely on Metro and yet our core routes were not running. There were way too many different modes of communication that people were having to look up and research to find out if their bus was coming or not and even then, they were not accurate, causing people to stand in the freezing weather or miss their bus.
Overall drivers on numerous routes I used 101,550,219,143 did an amazing job and it seems some drivers put extra hours in to get the job done.
But some routes were just totally ignored.
I use the 143 route and use it often.
Last Friday I ended up walking for an hour in the snow from Renton transit center
I understand it is difficult to serve all routes but to just cut off one significant one does leave regular customers with tough decisions to make.
What is going on with 64X? It is STILL not running. Getting from Lake City to Cherry Hill is so difficult right now, it’s been taking 1.75-3 hours to get back and forth.
While I love the ESN, it would be nice if commuter routes could be reinstated once their roads were deemed safe. I had to work remotely Tuesday because the 311 wasn’t running and it was unsafe for me to walk a mile on uncleared sidewalks.
While I am grateful for all of the drivers and staff who worked hard during this, it was incredibly frustrating and exhausting that the 74 didn’t show up on the days that it was supposed to be back on schedule. Including today, February 14. I (and others) waited in the tunnel today from 5:10 pm until 6:10pm, there should have been THREE 74s in that time frame but zero showed up. I have a disability that keeps me from being able to walk very well, but over the last two weeks I’ve had to walk so incredibly far (on ice) to get home from work. It was infuriating to see so many of the other buses come by, like the 41. I couldn’t see any updates saying that the 74 was rerouted, and the transit security even confirmed that it should have been there. I understand that this weather is rare for Seattle, but the updates should have been better, so that I could have planned differently. It was really very awful.
Website needs a re-do. Not user-friendlynand very to confusing.
I think that the Richmond Beach segment of the 331 Snow/ESN route should be eliminated or served by the 348 as a turn back due to the lack of interest in the 331 with in the Richmond Beach area(near the QFC on Richmond Beach Rd), it would also simplify the 331’s Snow\ESN routing a little bit.
I also think that when ESN is in affect, that all of the Real Time Arrival signs at Rapid Ride Stations and other stops in Seattle should actually mention that ESN is in affect.
I think that drivers should be clearly reminded that when on snow route they are supposed to provide service to all posted stops along the snow route and that if there are no posted stops along the snow route that the drivers are supposed to stop, if it is safe to, when someone flags down the bus or if a stop is requested.
I think that the ESN should be able to be implemented on an area by area bases as I saw on Saturday Downtown Seattle and Capital Hill both had areas normally served by the 49 completely clear or at least passable but the 49 wasn’t running and the only service on broadway was the Streetcar. Plus I have notice that both this year and back in early 2017 the 90 First/Capital Hill shuttle wasn’t running, when it was scheduled to, and that most if not all the drivers I talked to about the 90 didn’t even know what that route was. I think there should be better clarity as to whether or not the 90 is running and also I believe there should be a schedule for the 90 posted online so that we can have an idea when the bus might show up as it is most likely not available in OneBusAway or the TripPlaner.
Thank you for doing your best to keep King County moving. You do really live up to you slogan :We’ll Get You There”
Please make your bus routes during these times easier to figure out and clearly list if any big bus hub transfer stations are open or closed.
That is a priority. Thank you for writing, Tina.
Develop realistic reroutes, for example the route 120 was virtually shut down completely because the driver was told to go up and down sw Barton or Roxbury, when the obvious to EVERYONE reroute was to continue on the main street Delridge and left on Roxbury.
Our driver called in to ask for permission to take this route and was told no. Meanwhile 35 to 40 passengers have bo idea how we are getting home.
Also as bus after bus stacked up behind us there was no announcement to us or the drivers to avoid this hill where 2 buses were stuck, so now its 100s of people stranded for no good reason instead of 35 to 40.
Thank you, David, for sharing. We are reviewing our snow routes. I appreciate that you provided some specific information about Route 120.
Thank you metro for providing the best communication as possible with customers.
I would urge you to review with your contractor hopelink which routes they would feel comfortable operating. They were awesome and operated many routes which are not normally on the ESN. Had I still lived in Fairwood the lack of clarification would have made me take either the 102 shuttle or the 169.
I live in the Renton highlands and as difficult as it was for me to get to the landing I’m not honestly sure what metro could have done to safely transport me to other connections. Maybe have a limited route that served points on 4th might have worked. Not really sure.
Also communication would be helpful too at the stop level. Many people were waiting at bus stops on sunset that were just never going to come.
Also it might be helpful to put signs at stops which are not served when a route is on a snow route, and indicate on the signs if a route is on the Emergency Snow Network (ESN).
I remember 2008. That was bad. This storm was in many ways a rival to that if not worse. You kept people moving on corridors that were reliable and safe. I would have been able to reach my destination where most wouldn’t have been able to if my place of employment was open on Monday and my travel time on 2/12 was actually better than on 2/4 despite having to walk down sunset.
Good job on implementing the South Park ESN shuttle route!! Awesome work by your planners.
It was some of the most stressful days for me but I made it through it!!
And your twitter feed was running during the entire event!!
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am glad you found our Twitter feed helpful. We are sorry to hear that so many people waiting at Metro’s bus stops were unaware of our service changes. This is one of the key topics on the agenda for our comprehensive ESN review process.
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