Editor’s note: Please visit our service change page for details.
King County Metro will increase reliability and build resiliency with its fall update to transit schedules. The agency currently is delivering 95% of more than 11,200 daily bus trips while facing challenges with canceled trips. The changes beginning in September will ensure riders can have confidence knowing that Metro will be there no matter where they need to go.
To ensure transit services are in sync with fleet availability and its workforce, Metro will focus upcoming revisions on 20 low-ridership routes, and 92% of boardings will not be directly impacted. These changes will help prevent last-minute cancellations and improve reliability for riders. Metro will help connect riders with other transit options for nearly all the impacted routes.
“We designed the September service change guided by our customers,” said King County Metro General Manager Michelle Allison. “These adjustments mean riders will know their trip will be there. This approach also better positions Metro to grow our transit network in future years.”
The vast majority of Metro’s routes – 124 of 156 routes – will be preserved and see no changes. Metro sought to protect several categories of service, including routes that have high ridership demand and where there were few alternate transit options. Routes protected from significant changes also serve a higher percentage of riders who have lower incomes or identify as Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. By adjusting schedules and suspending routes, the upcoming service change will deliver roughly the same number of transit trips currently operating on the road, without the day-to-day variability that has inconvenienced riders during the past several months.
“Reducing service to make our transit schedule more accurate is neither a rest nor a retreat,” said Allison. “We’re engaged in full-scale business transformation across recruiting, training, retention, fleet maintenance and agency-wide innovation. Metro is working harder than ever to deliver your service every day, to strengthen and improve our agency, and to grow transit region-wide.”
September was the next opportunity to make updates across customer information, service planning and staffing. By sharing this information months ahead of the change and highlighting alternate transit options, riders on affected routes can be better prepared to adjust their travel if needed in the fall.
Suspended routes have alternatives available
These 20 routes will be fully suspended beginning Sept. 2. Each of these routes has alternatives, and most are available either at the same bus stops or nearby. Routes 15, 16, 18, 29, 55, 64, 114, 121, 167, 190, 214, 216, 217, 232, 237, 268, 301, 304, 320 and 342.
Twelve bus routes will be reduced to operate less frequently: Routes 7, 10, 20, 28, 36, 73, 79, 225, 230, 231, 255, 345. Some high-ridership routes such as 7 and 36 will continue to have very frequent service, with wait times of just a few more minutes. Some low-ridership routes will shift to service every 30 to 60 minutes during some time periods.
Metro and Sound Transit bus route alternatives for planned suspended routes in September 2023
- Route 15 (suspended): Alternate route RapidRide D Line
- Route 16 (suspended): Alternate Route 5
- Route 18 (suspended): Alternate Route 40
- Route 29 (suspended): alternate routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 31, 32, 40, RapidRide D Line and Seattle Monorail.
- Route 55 (suspended): Alternate routes 56, 57, or Route 775 to connect with the West Seattle Water Taxi, RapidRide C Line, Route 21
- Route 64 (suspended): Routes 62, 65, 322, ST Express 522, Link and Route 8 at Capitol Hill Station or Route 70 at U District Station
- Route 301 (suspended): Alternate routes 346 and 348
- Route 304 (suspended): Alternate routes 331, 345 and 348
- Route 320 (suspended): Alternate routes 20, 372, ST Express 522, Link and Route 8 at Capitol Hill Station or with Route 70 at U District Station.
East King County
- Route 214 (suspended): Alternate route ST Express Route 554
- Route 216 (suspended): Alternate routes 218, 269, ST Express routes 545, 550 and 554, Metro Flex in Sammamish.
- Route 217 (suspended): Alternate routes 269 and ST Express Route 554.
- Route 232 (suspended): Alternate routes 224 and RapidRide B Line.
- Route 237 (suspended): Alternate routes 231, 250, 311, ST Express routes 522, 532 and 535.
- Route 268 (suspended): Alternate route 269 and ST Express Route 545.
- Route 342 (suspended): Alternate routes 245, 250, 331, ST Express routes 535, 560, 566
South King County
- Route 114 (suspended): Alternate routes 105 or 240 and transfer to/from Route 101; Route 240 to/from ST Express Routes 550 and 554.
- Route 121 (suspended): Alternate routes RapidRide H Line, Routes 113, 131 and 132.
- Route 167 (suspended): Alternate routes 101 or 102 to Link light rail, routes 255 or ST Express Route 542.
- Route 190 (suspended): Alternate routes RapidRide A Line to Link light rail at Angle Lake Station, routes 150, 162, 165, 183 and Sounder.
Routes affected by September 2023 service change
|Route(s)||September 2023 Reduction/Suspension Summary
(affected time periods in parentheses)
|15, 16, 18, 29, 55, 64, 114, 121, 167, 190, 214, 216, 217, 232, 237, 268, 301, 304, 320 and 342||Full suspension|
|7||On weekdays: reduce to every 10 minutes (AM peak); reduce to every 7.5 minutes (PM Peak)|
|10||On weekdays: reduce to every 15 minutes on weekdays (peak). On weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays: reduce to half-hourly (weekday nights, all weekend)|
|20||On weekdays: reduce to half-hourly (peak and off-peak); reduce to hourly (night)|
|28||On weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays: reduce to hourly (off-peak, night)|
|36||On weekdays: reduce to every 10 minutes (AM peak, off-peak, evening); reduce to every 7-8 minutes (PM peak)|
|73||On weekdays: reduce to half-hourly (peak); On weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays: reduce to half-hourly (off-peak, night)|
|79||On weekdays: reduce to hourly (all periods)|
|225||On weekdays: reduce to hourly (peak, off-peak)|
|230||On weekdays: reduce to hourly (peak, off-peak)|
|231||On weekdays: reduce to hourly (peak, off-peak)|
|255||On weekdays: reduce to half-hourly (night)|
|345||On weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays: reduce to hourly (night)|
By the numbers
Operators: As of April, Metro has 2,484 transit operators, including 571 part-time bus drivers and 1,913 full-time bus drivers. An estimated 172 additional full-time equivalent, or a combination of 113 full-time operators and 99 part-time operators, are needed for current service levels. Service levels will be aligned with estimated available workforce in September.
Mechanics: As of April, Metro has 231 full-time bus mechanics. An estimated 252 are needed for current service levels. An estimated 12 additional mechanics are needed for September 2023 service levels.
Canceled trips: Metro has 11,200 scheduled weekday trips. But fleet availability due in large part to supply chain challenges and operator availability has reduced our trip delivery to 95%.
System service levels: Of Metro’s 156 bus routes, 124 routes will have no changes. These unaffected routes carry an estimated 1.21 million of Metro’s 1.38 million weekly boardings. The total system reduction in September is an estimated 150,000 service hours, or 3.8 percent of Metro’s 4 million annual service hours. Until September Metro will continue to operate as much of its scheduled service as it can, which is currently about 95% of service.