Today, King County Metro Interim General Manager Terry White shared Metro’s “COVID-19 Response and Recovery Report,” which is the first compilation of the actions Metro took to maintain safe and reliable public transportation services during the pandemic and summarizes the agency’s approach to support the region’s future recovery.

Since February, the public health, economic, and racial disparity crises caused or worsened by COVID-19 have continued to unfold, and their impact on transportation in King County is ongoing and evolving.

Metro provides the Puget Sound region with bus, vanpool, and water taxi services, and operates Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit Link light rail, and Sound Transit Express bus service. This public transportation network never stopped during the pandemic thanks to dedicated transit operators, facilities workers, and vehicle maintenance staff who were committed to keeping the region moving.

COVID-19 Response and Recovery report cover image of a bus with Masks Required sign and masked driver
(Click image to access PDF)

Looking ahead, the systems now in place and in development will support the safety of employees and customers, and put a flexible framework in place for providing public transportation services that will help rebuild ridership and respond to changing mobility needs and challenging financial realities.

Public transit is at the heart of a successful recovery from the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. By operating an all-day regional network and prioritizing service to neighborhoods and populations that have been historically underserved, Metro is improving the quality of life for all in King County and addressing historic racial inequities.

“Metro is preparing for the day when daily travel in the Puget Sound region returns to normal levels,” said Metro Interim General Manager Terry White.  “As ridership shows, public transportation continues to support travel for those who need it to access education, groceries, medicine, work, and other critical needs. In the region’s recovery, public transportation remains essential to expanding opportunity, combating our climate crisis, and providing an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles and congested roads.”

To best serve our region during the pandemic, Metro actively sought input from a diverse cross-section of the community, including Metro businesses, customers, elected officials, employees and jurisdictions, and community partners representing priority populations.

Metro’s “COVID-19 Response and Recovery Report” outlines our goals and provides a snapshot of the critical actions we’ve taken since March 2020. Metro will be values-driven and data-informed to focus on:

  • Making our services safer than ever for employees and customers
  • Aligning our practices with our values, with equity at the forefront
  • Putting essential riders at the heart of our recovery
  • Becoming a more resilient organization
  • Supporting a climate-friendly economic recovery

Vision for recovery

Public transit will be at the heart of a successful recovery from the health, economic, and racial inequity crises precipitated or worsened by COVID-19. Metro will emerge from this three-part crisis a stronger and more resilient agency that supports our community’s rebuild, honors our employees’ contributions, and is grounded in our values of safety, equity, and sustainability.

Six recovery recommendations

  • Restore transit service over time
  • Keep transit moving when traffic returns
  • Explore all-door boarding beyond RapidRide
  • Work with national peers to explore the post-COVID future of public transit
  • Support local and small businesses around our Metro work site facilities
  • Join with regional partners to address homelessness

 Metro will be sharing its recovery report with regional and community leaders, as well as with transit agencies and associations.