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.
- Metro Matters blog
- Metro is hiring for a variety of positions at gov/MetroCareers
I tried to take 114 to work in downtown, but the morning bus I need is constantly canceled, and afternoon trips seem to be frequently canceled, so I don’t ride it due to it being unreliable. I tried to take 111 but found multiple trips in the morning are canceled (yet this is not posted on the 111 schedule website) so I don’t ride it due to it being unreliable. Now I have to drive to Mercer Island from Newcastle just to get downtown. If Metro is trying to take cars off the road, they are failing miserably.
Is it possible some of these routes were “low ridership” because they were so unreliable? For example, I kept going out to the 320 bus stop and finding out that the trip was canceled, and obviously couldn’t wait for another *hour* for a bus to work. So there’s a vicious cycle of the bus not showing up so I can’t count on taking it, so there’s low ridership. Now it’s being suspended entirely? What a disappointing outcome. I would love to hear Metro’s suggestion of how people should get from Lake City to South Lake Union in under an hour – and no, the light rail doesn’t go to SLU.
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You are canceling 320 within 2 weeks of Return-to-Office happening en masse in SLU. These buses have been absolutely packed lately.
To add insult to injury, the main alternative listed (20 to light rail) is being reduced to half-hourly during peak times. How can you consider Northgate a transit hub for north Seattle while absolutely gutting all means to get there.
At best this will result in more people driving to Northgate to light rail downtown. At best. Most likely, it will result in more driving all the way to the final destination. Wasn’t a big goal of this initiative to reduce emissions?
This is incredibly short sighted and baffling in terms of timing.
I am also extremely confused regarding the note of “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.” – gutting public transit options from Lake City, an area housing some of the highest percentages of POCs in Seattle does not align with this messaging whatsoever.
I have never been more disappointed in Seattle’s public transportation system. We recently received a transit survey mentioning plans to increase the frequency of the 20 route to 15 minutes during off peak hours as well, and now that has been not only re-negged on, but it is being REDUCED?
Please reassess this decision. You are causing massive impact to thousands of people.
Isn’t it frustrating to go out to the bus stop at the scheduled time and the bus doesn’t show up? These reductions are painful but Metro can’t continue promising service when they simply don’t have the staffing. If cuts are gonna be made, let’s make them where there’s alternative service.
The Cottage Lake region used to be served by three buses, the 311,232, and the 931. Many years ago the 311 route was changed so that it started at the Woodinville P&R and did not run by Cottage Lake. With Covid, the 931 was suspended and we were left with only the 232. It has just 4 runs in the morning into Bellevue and 4 in the evening back into Cottage Lake and Duvall. And it became so unreliable that we stopped using it as much. Residents of Duvall may be able to use route 224. Residents of Redmond can use the Rapid Ride and many other buses. With these changes Cottage Lake will have absolutely no bus service within about 5 miles, so if you can’t drive or don’t have a car…I guess your only option is Lyft/Uber for those who can afford it. I hope Metro will reconsider and at least maintain two or three 232 runs a weekday or start the proposed 222 route early or return the 931 to service. There needs to be some bus service to the area.
To suspend the route 16, formerly known as 5X, is both disappointing and shortsighted. People are increasingly coming back into the office and now you cancel this key commuter bus route!? I’ve been commuting on this route since 1998 and over the years there was generally continuous improvements in service- now this. Where are the Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds going?
Reducing the route 20 is unfortunate. During the recent 1 Line disruption, getting to the North End from town or the University was a challenge. If it happens again, I won’t be getting to work on time; the light rail already replaced many routes making us dependent on it.
I still love public transportation, but it is unfortunate if you suspend too many buses.
But it’s lucky for me! I still get to take the 302 or 303 to Aurora Village/Richmond Beach/Northgate/First Hill.
The 301 – the reverse-peak bus I take in the summer – is a good bus to take, I couldn’t wait to take it, but, in the next year, I won’t be able to take it anymore.
Are you sure you left the 17X out of the 15X 16X 18X? Are you not affecting the 17X? Well, that IS good for me to hear, but you just suspend routes and adjust schedules for a lot of routes each 6 months.
The bus I sometimes take in summer rush hour – the 15X will be suspended? I think the ridership is about a lot. So, what if you created more buses and build new electric ones?
UhOh is it
OK This is a thing. CAN I GET IT DONE NOW?
What are you talking about! Ride the 224 instead of the 232! Its stops are only a few blocks away! Except for right in downtown Duvall and the Bellevue transit center, its stops are miles! apart!
Ugh I am so frustrated @(#-@/(_-+@)+_+#+)#(+$-(#)-$-($ it won’t send
It did not show up How do I fix this thing
Are all of these gonna be suspended until further notice? Not good for a 51-year-old bus fan. Bring ’em back
How is Route 320 cancelled? ridership is always packed. Return to work in slu is a big deal right now.
If metro was able to save 1.2 billion dollars during the pandemic(as Seattle Times claims 5/11/23) why not just increase the wages so people will want theses mechanic and operators jobs. Investing into making transit jobs more appealing, will ultimately stop service cuts and maybe metro can start increasing bus service. What else would metro do with the 1.2 billion dollars?
Surprising that both routes 64 and 320 have been suspended now that Amazon workers are returning to their SLU offices.
I hope that the driver shortage will be resolved sooner than later.
I don’t understand why you still make this decision to suspend these 20 routes. Yes it may be good for folks who ride other routes, but we who are impacted by suspending these 20 routes deserve to spend longer on buses? The ridership for bus 320 is actually a lot. Especially after Amazon started to ask employees to return to office. Also, the traffic is already pretty bad after Amazon’s return to office and suspending these 20 routes will definitely make it worse! I don’t understand how you people observed the low ridership, isn’t it because of many people were working from home in past 3 years? Or because Covid got people more concerned with public transportation. Now that Covid is not a thing (WHO just said so), many people are going back to office, you guys should add more routes instead of shutting down! This is insane. Can anyone tell me how to let the decision maker know about this.
The 225 to Kirkland needs to stay every half hour on weekdays. I take it alot and its used consistently by a lot of people.
I’m not sure if this decision has taken the recent return-to-office policy implemented by Amazon into consideration. Since May 1st, the ridership on my bus to work (320) has increased significantly. I think the ridership number will look very differently by September and I hope the people in change is aware of this.
To hear that the 55 is canceled outright starting in September is stupid. I would have to walk 5 blocks from where I live just to catch a bus and transfer on to a crowded bus to get to work on time
This fills me with dread because I am on a cane. Coming home will take longer than taking the 55.
What are you people thinking? You say this will generate a more reliable service
Yes, it will for some people. But it will have negative impact on others such as myself.
Route320 is really helpful for us to commute from home to SLU
The 128 doesn’t work for you, you elitist pig?
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The 128 doesn’t work for you?
You can thank Tim Eyman and Mike McGinn for your current service levels on the 55
You can thank the Seattle TBD for why that route still exists.
I’d apply for a job but I am non-24 (have non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder) and doubt there are any positions available for someone who lives on a 25-hour day.
Hope you can find people! I appreciate KCM a lot.
So very sad 😞 Fortunately I no longer depend on Metro as I did happily for 28 years.
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