As-it-happened: Metro Transit GM discusses potential route cuts and reductions, if ‘sustainable funding’ is not found

April 1, 2013 at 9:58 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 85 Comments

9:58 AM: We’re downtown at Metro HQ in Pioneer Square for GM Kevin Desmond’s upcoming briefing on the cuts that are foreseen if “sustainable funding” isn’t found (here’s our background report from last night). The top of the news release we’ve just been handed is “65 bus routes face elimination when Metro Transit’s temporary funding expires.” **The cuts, if needed, would start taking effect in fall 2014, not this year.**

UPDATED: Full list of 65 routes that might be cut: 7EX, 19, 21EX, 22, 25, 27, 30, 37, 48NEX, 57, 61, 76, 77EX, 82, 83, 84, 99, 110, 113, 114, 118EX, 119, 119EX, 123EX, 139, 152, 154, 157, 159, 161, 173, 179, 190, 192, 197, 200, 201, 203, 205EX, 210, 211EX, 213, 215, 216, 237, 243, 244EX, 250, 257, 260, 265, 268, 277, 280, 304, 308, 601EX, 907DART, 910DART, 913DART, 914DART, 919DART, 927DART, 930DART and 935DART.

Full list of 86 routes that might be cut: 1, 2S, 2N, 3S, 3N, 4S, 4N, 5, 5EX, 7, 8, 9EX, 10, 11, 12, 14S, 16, 21, 24, 26, 26EX, 28, 28EX, 29, 31, 36, 41, 43, 47, 48N, 60, 65, 66EX, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 106, 107, 116EX, 118, 121, 122, 125, 148, 156, 177, 181, 182, 186, 187, 193EX, 202, 204, 209, 214, 221, 224, 226, 232, 234, 235, 236, 238, 241, 245, 246, 248, 249, 255, 269, 271, 309EX, 311, 312EX, 331, 355EX, 372EX, 373EX, 901DART, 903DART, 908DART, 909DART and 931DART.

A Metro summary of what West Seattle/White Center might face, with a clearer view of the map shown above, is here.

10 AM: Metro GM Kevin Desmond begins his briefing. “We have a lot to share with you, a lot of information.” He says the system is at a “crossroads. … Unfortunately, bus service cuts are on the horizon again.” After some background about Metro’s second-highest ridership last year, and the increasing use of the service, he gets to the explanation of why they are in money trouble, including sales-tax revenues and the impending expiration of the “Congestion Reduction Charge” approved by the Legislature as a bridge that runs out next year. Metro also has raised fares, reduced staff, improved productivity, drawn on reserves, cutting its capital program to cover the budget gap, Desmond says. He says they are still looking for belt-tightening ways, but when the CRC expires, “we are still facing a very considerable hole in our budget” – $75 million. And that doesn’t even speak to needs, he says, such as retiring aging buses.

10:08 AM: Desmond explains that what’s being released today are not just projected cuts/reductions, but also the annual route-performance report mandated by the County Council for delivery on this date. He says that ideally, they should be increasing service by 10 percent “right now” to serve underserved corridors and improve quality of service – including relief of overcrowding – and that he wishes he were here talking to us about such improvements and increases. “What we’re facing right now based on the initial analysis is reduction of about 600,000 hours of service” – a 17 percent cut. He says the 65 routes potentially to be cut are those falling in the bottom 25 percent of ridership and other criteria. “Mind you, that’s just relative – that does not of course mean that people don’t use those routes – a lot of people do in fact use those routes.” But he says only half the 600,000 hours to be cut could be taken from the bottom 25 percent – some of the lowest-use routes have to be kept to serve certain areas.

Metro currently has 200 routes – discontinuing 65 would be a cut of about a third, and “the effect on our customers cascades.” Routes that aren’t ended or cut would become more crowded, and overall, the reduction would affect an estimated 70 percent of the system. And he says they will certainly lose ridership, including those who are no longer served, and those who say it’s too inconvenient and go back to driving. “Particularly in the context of a growing economy … this will place more and more pressure on the region’s highways and arterials that are already crowded by more and more traffic.”

10:16 AM: He says they are announcing the possible cuts now – even before knowing for sure if the Legislature will provide relief by giving permission for seeking new revenue sources – because they have to prepare. None of this would kick in till fall. And this doesn’t even cover possible restructuring – such as what happened in West Seattle last September. Overall, he says, sustainable funding is not just about staving off cuts, but also enabling Metro to grow, which it needs to do. **We have added the full lists of routes that MIGHT be cut and routes that MIGHT be reduced, above. Please let us know if we’re missing identifying which ones are West Seattle-linked.**

10:23 AM: Q/A. First one: What about fare increases? Desmond says they have had many already, and “that’s raised a lot of money.” They are already assuming a fare increase in 2014, he says, “and that’s built into the deficit.” He says they haven’t lost hope for this legislative session – Desmond says he’s heard talk it may go overtime. “We think the time is now,” since even though these cuts wouldn’t kick in until NEXT year, so much preparation is needed, they need new revenues flowing by the time the Congestion Reduction Charge expires in the first half of next year. He says that if there is a statewide solution, great – the state used to provide a lot more money – but if not, “we need local options,” such as a Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, but “we’d be open to other tools.” He doesn’t think more sales tax is the solution – relying on it so much in the past has left them vulnerable, because of sales tax’s “volatility” as the economy fluctuates.

10:32 AM: Going through more of what Metro has put online – here’s a close-up look at how our region might be affected if these dire cuts are needed. There’s a map, too, which we’ll add to this story as soon as we can process it. Meantime, Q/A continues – Desmond says they are continuing to “work with our labor unions to find ways to contain cost growth” as well as other ways to be “smarter” about spending, but he insists that the King County Auditor’s finding have already resulted in changes and there is not much more they can do. “We will continue to push reforms, we will continue to push working as smart as we can …” If the Congestion Reduction Charge can be extended – $20 for every motorist – it would still only cover a third of the money problem they have, he says. If the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax suggested by regional leaders including King County Executive Constantine and Mayor McGinn is implemented, it would go to roads as well as to transit (which would get 60 percent of it, more than $80 million). But that would only leave $10 million to cover growth, and Desmond says they need to be growing to the tune of $30 million a year, because “the demand for transit is insatiable in this county, frankly.”

10:39 AM: Asked if cuts are inevitable given all the pressure, Desmond says he’s an “optimist by nature. … King County needs to succeed.” He says he thinks even people who don’t use transit will understand the need to “dig deeper into their pockets” because of the road capacity and the fact transit helps with that. “It makes the overall network work better.” So what would he want to see? He’s not specifying exactly which funding source he thinks would be best, just a source that’s “progressive enough and consistent enough … for a sustainable future.” Asked to reiterate the timeline of these possible cuts, he says what’s being discussed today is just “a starting point for our planners,” who would be coming up with something to take to the public starting late this year. Asked again about raising fares, which one reporter says people are suggesting on Twitter, he reiterates that another fare hike is in the works for next year and the farebox recovery – how much of the expenses are covered by fares – is already at more than 27 percent. But, he says again, a quarter fare increase only covers about $10 million. “At some point, you start raising the fare too much, and a lot of people will not be able to afford transit,” or quit because it’s not cost-effective.

10:49 AM: The other shoe dropping on transit funding, the looming expiration of the “mitigation money” covering 45,000 hours of service – mostly in our area – has been brought up. Desmond says he has not spoken to Gov. Inslee yet about that problem (or transit funding in general), but they remain hopeful that the state will find money in WSDOT’s budget to extend that. He says the mitigation money so far has resulted in a “roaring success” – more people on transit, fewer people driving on “that very congested corridor.”

85 Comments

  1. If they are deleting 37 and 57, then we are left with just the little 56 Express bus we have, ok and the watertaxi. We need more direct buses from and to Downtown on the Admiral junction / alki side of West Seattle. This is unbelievable. I hope they at least run more 56 buses then

    Comment by melda — 10:19 am April 1, 2013 #

  2. this is nuts. totally crazy.

    Comment by kgdlg — 10:25 am April 1, 2013 #

  3. Insanity. Deja vu. The 116, 118, 21, 22 all on the block again. With all the new construction in West Seattle, how will the already stressed RR handle it. I don’t think our original issues of inconsistent service and overcrowding have gone away regarding the RR, and it will get much worse.
    The reduction in bus service and the greater distance between stops is having a negative impact on seniors and the disabled who have to get to doctor appointments. I am not whining. I am basically a happy person. But Metro needs to know that seniors are being disenfranchised big time. Off the soapbox and I am off to enjoy the glorious West Seattle weather.

    Comment by iggy — 10:28 am April 1, 2013 #

  4. and if the 21/21express are cut then how do people from arbor heights get anywhere at all?

    Comment by aimymichelle — 10:36 am April 1, 2013 #

  5. Honestly, I am strongly considering whether Seattle is going to be worth inhabiting in a few years time. Rising crime, worsening traffic, worsening transit options, and an influx of residents beyond what the geography can handle is really starting to add up and fast… And city leaders have consistently shown no vision or willingness to address these problems, and indeed have been making them worse.

    Comment by someone — 10:36 am April 1, 2013 #

  6. Is this Metro lack-of-funding situation a result of the passage of Tim Eyman’s past iniatives?

    Comment by bolo — 10:43 am April 1, 2013 #

  7. This is extortion and blackmail! Pay us more money or we’re gonna cut needed services!

    How about Metro learn to operate more efficiently? Cut the routes in the outlying areas that have 2 people on a whole bus at at time (talking to you Enumclaw!) and focus on the core areas where ridership is already bursting at the seams!

    Comment by Kenny — 10:43 am April 1, 2013 #

  8. why don’t they cut the frequency of bus stops? that should save some money. I find it useless and time consuming that a bus has to stop at almost every corner.

    Comment by jane — 10:45 am April 1, 2013 #

  9. T-the 116/118/119 are west seattle ones too.

    Comment by colleen — 10:45 am April 1, 2013 #

  10. Perhaps Metro should, among other things, loosen up their advertising restrictions on the buses. They could have been making much more revenue from this channel for the past few years.

    Comment by jtm — 10:51 am April 1, 2013 #

  11. West Seattle as we now know it, is on the fast track to
    extinction! Time to get out of the ‘hood – if we can still maneuver around these parts due to all the ‘new and improved community’ ideas the City leaders keep foisting upon us. Jeepers!

    Comment by Carolyn — 10:57 am April 1, 2013 #

  12. Thanks, Colleen. I will just delete the WS-specific lists and leave the full lists standing.

    Comment by WSB — 10:58 am April 1, 2013 #

  13. Instead of cutting service and sticking it to the consumers AGAIN!, why doesn’t Metro start cutting their own lofty pension plans and bloated salaries? There’s a start.

    Comment by Jiggers — 11:02 am April 1, 2013 #

  14. Is this Metro lack-of-funding situation a result of the passage of Tim Eyman’s past iniatives?

    .

    bolo, IMHO, and what I truly believe to be fact, yes.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 11:03 am April 1, 2013 #

  15. One day we’ll have to consider scaling King County benefits back to be more in line with private sector.

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/jobs/benefits.aspx

    Free health/medical/dental? A defined benefit retirement plan?

    When King County wants to raise taxes or user fees, this is what I hear:

    “Taxpayers, please pay us more money so we can continue to give our employees benefits that you do not get yourselves.”

    Yes, government employees who do a good job should get a fair salary. But King County benefits are waaaay too generous in light of our fiscal challenges.

    Comment by skeeter — 11:17 am April 1, 2013 #

  16. Right. Spend millions of dollars putting in new bus benches and shelters, creating large new bus stops that screw up traffic, buying new buses that supposedly speed up service and installing fancy electronic signs. Then, not six months after all that is done, admit that you don’t have enough money for full operations and will have to start cutting service. What in the world are you thinking… or are you thinking at all, Metro? Do you know how to budget or even ask the hard questions of why your revenue is coming up short?

    Not only did you spend millions to screw up traffic, you continue to defend it all to the hilt when people complain because you know better than the people who use the services, drive our streets and rely on public transportation. I can’t tell you how many of us out there who used to support you are disgusted with your operations these days.

    Time for some serious leadership changes in your ranks.

    Comment by CanDo — 11:22 am April 1, 2013 #

  17. I predicted that Metro would somehow manage to completely cut off Arbor Heights, and this validates my suspicions. Arbor Heights has gotten the shi!!y end of the stick in most services for many years, and it just gets worse. If Metro had anything resembling sensible management, this wouldn’t be necessary.

    A current example: off-peak service by Route #21 was eliminated last fall. Due to the fact that so many buses are now piled up at Westwood, the #21 now makes an additional, redundant trip around the block (up Roxbury and back to Westwood) rather than actually providing service by simply resuming the Arbor Heights loop. Metro would prefer that buses idle and drive in circles rather than do anything useful.

    The lack of sensible decision making at Metro is appalling. How can we demand accountability from these numbnuts?

    Comment by enid — 11:43 am April 1, 2013 #

  18. Baffling to me a city with as vital and thriving an economy as we have here doesn’t have proper funding for public transportation.

    Comment by odroku — 11:50 am April 1, 2013 #

  19. I’m just a bit confused here. The city wants to throw $200,000,000.00 at a new sports arena. The mayor wants to look into hosting an Olympics ten years down the road but with billions in costs. According to the city, county, state and national administrations the economy is recovering well. So, if the economy is doing so well why is sales tax revenue down? Why do pet projects that benefit the wealthy get lots of money thrown at them but tranist has to blackmail the public for enough to stay in service?

    Comment by westseattlecodger — 11:51 am April 1, 2013 #

  20. It’s truly a shame that our city can find no feasible plan to get people from point to point in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

    Since I moved here in 2001 it has been a constant disappointment to see our city choke under the weight of its own people just trying to get to work in a reasonable fashion.

    Buses? Cut service to a minimum and raise the prices.
    Monorail? Half-ass it and ultimately pull the plug after properties are already apportioned for stations.
    Light Rail? Half-ass monorail that isn’t above-grade and only serves the south end.

    This city is overrun by indecisive, bought-and-paid-for, jackasses.

    Comment by brian — 11:59 am April 1, 2013 #

  21. Folks, let’s try to remember that *Metro* doesn’t make decisions in a vacuum. If you have ideas or suggestions, send them to your County Councilmember (the folks who oversee Metro).

    Also please remember that Metro serves the entirety of King County. The service guidelines Metro adopted most recently are far better at allocating service where it is most needed, but people in Enumclaw still pay taxes.

    Comment by JohnS — 12:07 pm April 1, 2013 #

  22. Now, now codger. We’ve ALL got to make sacrifices if we want to have a World Class Basketball, Hockey, and Wiffle Ball Stadium.
    .
    Jeez! Next thing you know, people will be criticizing the Tunnel.

    Comment by DBP — 12:13 pm April 1, 2013 #

  23. hmm. sure does make you not want to ride.

    maybe the fares should go up.
    maybe they should collect fares from those who ride, there is not enough room for those who don’t pay!

    maybe we should let it go bankrupt and start all over. sounds like driver benefits could use some trimming.

    just a disgruntled ex-rider.

    Comment by donofAdmiral — 12:14 pm April 1, 2013 #

  24. If those routes are cut in West Seattle, that is when I will seriously consider moving out of it. It pains me to even say that because I *love* WS, but those buses they’re considering cutting will negatively impact me far more than the ones they already cut. And with all the increase in building apartments, which the current bus lines and bridge can’t handle, it will only get worse. I am beyond frustrated with this joke of transit in Seattle.

    Comment by Sue — 12:23 pm April 1, 2013 #

  25. skeeter, those “free” health benefit plans have deductibles and out-of-pocket costs of $2-4,000 for average family coverage. In combination with a salary lower than the the private sector. (unless the comparison is to Wal-Mart).

    No one seems to gripe about Microsoft and Boeing employees getting plush benefits. We should all get a living wage and reasonable benefits.

    Comment by LivesInWS — 12:23 pm April 1, 2013 #

  26. Easy solution for funding transit, schools, roads, etc.
    ……………
    Property taxes for Multi-Family projects should be based on appraised value PER UNIT.

    Comment by bs — 12:34 pm April 1, 2013 #

  27. CanDo and Westseattlecodger said what I’m wondering. I think a lot of the “improvements” made to services also are directed to the middle class and not the working class that lives in real neighborhoods and work in industrial locations. What a farce.

    Comment by newnative — 12:39 pm April 1, 2013 #

  28. Remember — when you bring up Tim Eyman’s name – he didn’t just wave a magic wand & make his initiatives law —- enough people voted for them.

    Comment by Anne — 12:41 pm April 1, 2013 #

  29. Reducing the 21X would be bad, but eliminating it would be disasterous. In the morning rush hours, those buses are standing room only and in the afternoon rush hours, the 5pm runs can be filled to the back door. I guess we’ll have to get used to crush loads and missed buses due to them on the 21 local during the rush hours like the RRer’s.

    Comment by East Coast Cynic — 12:41 pm April 1, 2013 #

  30. Way to entirely strand the Arbor Heights folks. :(
    This is nuts.

    Comment by daPuffin — 12:46 pm April 1, 2013 #

  31. Kevin Desmond needs to go! This is absolutely ridiculous. How can we fight back? Please, someone point me in the right direction. WE need a full audit of Metro and new leadership there. This is so maddening.

    Comment by Amanda — 12:53 pm April 1, 2013 #

  32. Honestly there are at this point only a few options left to West Seattle and it’s residents.

    1: Stop being a bedroom community for people who work Downtown. Travel between the peninsula and the main hub of activity is becoming such a drain on time and resources that West Seattle seriously needs to find ways to attract businesses large and small, that pay the sorts of salaries as those Downtown. Failure to do this will simply result in further decay as we who merely sleep here decide that enough is enough, and pack or bags. That will only send property values even further down the drain.

    2: Fight harder for your transit. Really, if there is no way to bring a MS / Google / Amazon to WS then you have to fight to keep your path to work open. Every extra minute you spend on the road due to the transit/traffic insanity is like a little pay cut. It’s totally wasted time that you aren’t being compensated for. If you drive, it is extra gas you pay for and extra wear on your vehicle you pay for.

    3: Leave. It’s clear as day that West Seattle isn’t a priority for metro or for the county. Sell your house now before anybody with half a brain realizes that this place is on the ropes and going down for the count.

    Comment by someone — 12:53 pm April 1, 2013 #

  33. Well maybe if they did not spend a fortune building these fancey new rapid ride stations they might have a lot more money to keep buses running. Also if our council members were elected by district They might think twice about who they cut service to.

    Comment by boy — 12:58 pm April 1, 2013 #

  34. I thought that Seattle & King Co. wanted us to use the public transportation as much as we could, and ditch the car. I was wrong!
    Now I have to walk 7-8 minutes to get to the closest bus stop!
    What’s up, Metro!?

    Comment by atl — 1:06 pm April 1, 2013 #

  35. April fools?

    Comment by Spana — 1:08 pm April 1, 2013 #

  36. Perhaps I am just too cynical, but with public budgets in general, does it seem odd that when the public demands more accountability, transparency or votes down tax increases, that TPTB seem to react by cutting (or threatening to cut – see above) the most popular, most used publically funded line items such as…Library hours are cut, parks are closed or cleaned less often, teachers assistants are gone, etc.??? My point is that the items The Powers That Be should cut LAST are the ones they attack first. Is it just me?

    BTW: Since Rapid Ride has been such a statistical and Glaring public planning disaster in WS and IMHO certainly could be used as an example of what not to do nationwide…It takes balls to threaten even worse service …again IMHO. Living in the Arroyos, the closest stop used to be about .75 miles away…now it’s three except twice per day which I see is on the chopping block.

    Comment by SaveWest Seattle — 1:20 pm April 1, 2013 #

  37. If RapidRide had been put on a Fauntleroy Direct route, so many hours could have been saved for Metro – and in the lives of commuters. That clumsy California/Edmonds/44th/Alaska/35th gerrymandering of what could have been an efficient system is a planning joke. A bad joke.

    Comment by gatewooder — 1:27 pm April 1, 2013 #

  38. West Seattle Bike Connections is having our monthly meeting this Tuesday (4/2) at Cycle University starting at 6:30 PM.
    .
    http://westseattlebikeconnections.org/events/wsbc-monthly-meeting-2013-04-02/
    .
    We certainly invite anyone to attend, and will discuss transportation options to/from West Seattle. We’re normal West Seattle residents who choose to use a bicycle for transportation, and will help anyone get started who is interested.
    .
    Hope to see you there!

    Comment by Jeff H — 1:30 pm April 1, 2013 #

  39. Am I missing something, or wasn’t the recent car tab rate hike directly related to “sustainable funding” for Metro? How much did the recent construction/”upgrades” cost? If the transit system cannot support itself by providing transit, then a long, hard look needs to be taken.

    Comment by Todd — 1:34 pm April 1, 2013 #

  40. There is no “war on cars”. But there is a highly-successful “War on Transit”.

    Comment by J — 1:41 pm April 1, 2013 #

  41. Todd – the $20 “congestion reduction charge,” mentioned in our coverage today and last night, is going to Metro. But it expires next year. And they have to get Legislative authority to try to extend it and/or do something else.
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:57 pm April 1, 2013 #

  42. OK folks, you do know this is an April Fools joke… don’t you? Sadly, this great spoof appears plausible because it is so close to reality. Metro is like Christmas every day, except it is April First. Tracy please say it is a joke.

    Comment by gatewooder — 2:00 pm April 1, 2013 #

  43. It might have been more succinct to list the bus lines that would remain after the suggested cuts.

    I get what the gentleman is saying, though. The state is cutting spending to the bone (OK, I think they are being forced to cut a lot of muscle along with fat), so these cuts are going to cascade across our state’s economy and infrastructure. I know we car drivers are happy that our annual tab fees are relatively low, but the cost of using our cars will only increase if more bus riders are forced to drive, fewer parking spaces are available (due to more drivers), and our roads turn into moonscapes. So the taxpayers of this fair state and region should quit being cheap idiots (cut off the nose to spite the face), and pony up the extra $50 or $100 per vehicle needed to keep our region moving. I am a driver and I transit user. Both benefit me tremendously. Being stuck in traffic, paying for downtown parking, and realigning steering systems do not benefit me greatly, in fact they would likely cost me a lot more than the cost of supporting transit.

    And blaming the benefits of public servants is silly.

    Comment by onion — 2:08 pm April 1, 2013 #

  44. I think it might be more Halloween-esque than April Fool’s …

    Comment by WSB — 2:17 pm April 1, 2013 #

  45. Further, the $20 charge is what King County could require without going to the public vote. What Metro wanted/needed (their words) at that time was an $80 fee. But they knew that would never happen.
    .
    This is a repeatable cycle. Metro does not have a balanced or sustainable budget. Every time a source of funding expires, this conversation will happen again.

    Comment by McBride — 2:18 pm April 1, 2013 #

  46. I guess I don’t understand because just yesterday I witnessed a bus fill up with at least 30 people and it was so full that people were standing. I think this is pretty normal. And they want to eliminate all these routes? It’s crazy.

    Comment by Bonnie — 2:46 pm April 1, 2013 #

  47. Before leaving Wallingford last year, I noted Metro threatening to cut the ever packed 26, 26x, 28, and 28x. Now they’ve added 70-73 and 76 from downtown to UW, routes so busy it can take 45 minutes to catch a 5pm bus to UW. Are they just fear mongering so we’ll hand over more cash?

    Comment by Chris W — 3:08 pm April 1, 2013 #

  48. We can fix this, but we are going to have to pay for it first. The taxes we pay now are being squandered elsewhere- sad to say but TRUE. It’s time we step up:

    West Seattle needs to form a Local Improvement District (LID). The LID will be able to levy a property tax. The tax revenues will go to Sound Transit (NOT Metro!) to complete the West Seattle LINK light rail from Westwood Village to downtown Seattle. Ballard will fund the other half.

    We CAN build a West Seattle – Downtown – Ballard Subway. Time to buckle down and just do it already.

    Comment by cascadianone — 3:15 pm April 1, 2013 #

  49. Mat McBride! Help me organize a resistance!

    Comment by Amanda — 3:20 pm April 1, 2013 #

  50. King County Metro Vision 2020
    http://www.strangecosmos.com/images/content/140294.jpg

    Comment by wsn00b — 3:32 pm April 1, 2013 #

  51. Audit Metro!!

    Comment by West Seattle HIPster — 3:56 pm April 1, 2013 #

  52. “Is this Metro lack-of-funding situation a result of the passage of Tim Eyman’s past initiatives? ” (Out of state friends say his clone is in their city;)

    Yes, ANYTHING this man proposes should be read very closely. It always knocks an other block out of the delicate balance of livable city. Cuts taxes yes, but also cut into a communities ability to financially thrive.

    btw I know people who’s house cleaners can’t get to their house anymore cause of the bus cuts.

    Comment by patt — 3:58 pm April 1, 2013 #

  53. Such prototype bungling from city officials has never before existed outside of Detroit. Maybe before you buy more shiny new crap you should make sure that the shiny new crap is sustainable. Fundamentals first, the buses that we just decommissioned would have been a lot cheaper to keep running and even retrofit if needed than shiny new crap. And don’t tell me it can’t be done, the military can keep tanks going for decades if needed. I am going to go finance some shiny new crap on my current salary that is beyond my means and then blackmail my employer for more cash since my current pay scale isn’t keeping up.

    Great more people on the lamb because the executives had to get some shiny new crap. Less wages into the economy, less movement of goods, services and “PEOPLE”.

    METRO “Bringing you the best in shiny new crap” (Unfortunately it will have to sit in storage since we can’t pay anyone to drive it)

    Comment by WsEd — 4:29 pm April 1, 2013 #

  54. IF the 118 and 119 are cut there will be no busses on Vashon Island. I use these buses on a daily basis to get to West Seattle in the morning and back in the afternoon. I will have to move if these buses are cut!

    Comment by vashoncommuter — 5:09 pm April 1, 2013 #

  55. Does anyone know if these cuts are consistent across King County / Seattle, or is WS taking more than their fair share of cuts???

    Comment by Alki Beach Guy — 5:21 pm April 1, 2013 #

  56. Just another reminder. Metro is a county agency, not city. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:22 pm April 1, 2013 #

  57. WSCodger asked: “if the economy is doing so well why is sales tax revenue down?”
    ***
    Because the economic recovery has been among the super-wealthy, not the rest of us, and no matter how profligate a wealthy person may be, they simply don’t consume that much more than the rest of us. Sales tax revenues are down in this state because they are paid primarily by the middle- and working-class, who are still hurting.
    ***
    The economic recovery in our Nation has gone completely to the rich, and as the most regressive tax system in our Nation, Washington is simply not in a good position for collecting taxes.
    An income tax would solve that issue.
    ***
    When do you suppose the “trickle-down” begins?

    Comment by dawsonct — 6:11 pm April 1, 2013 #

  58. Only with King County would you find that raising rates is not a solution. Overcrowded buses means you can raise fares or did they not take Econ 101? I catch the bus and I don’t mind higher fares if a bus would actually be more convenient.
    .
    Metro apparently didn’t take Math 101 either because they claim 117 million riders and say that if you raise fares 25 cents you get 10 million dollars. Uhh 117 million * 0.25 is 29 million. Huh? No wonder they can’t make ends meet.

    Comment by eric1 — 6:12 pm April 1, 2013 #

  59. I’m really beginning to think that Seattle government loves its taxes and hates its taxpayers.

    Between the small lot construction, transit insanity, lack of road capacity, terrible planning and hiring of companies that can’t even design a proper float system. It’s like they want us to all move out.

    I say lets make west seattle a seperate city so we don’t have to deal with them anymore. With only two major access points and a top notch news team, we already seem like a seperate entity.

    Divorce Seattle! ;)

    Comment by Civik — 6:40 pm April 1, 2013 #

  60. Was just atthe southwest sports complex. While watching a baseball game I watched the 120 bus go by every five minutes and thats no joke. The sad part was it was nearly empty every time. What gives. Why so many in arow?

    Comment by boy — 7:00 pm April 1, 2013 #

  61. Hmmmm. Can’t decide if I want to be Last37BusRider or Last57BusRider:(

    Comment by Last53BusRider — 7:12 pm April 1, 2013 #

  62. How many people work for Metro?
    It sure would be nice to see an org chart for Metro.
    I’d like to see how the whole thing lays out, with salaries and all, from Admin to HR to drivers – whatever their nomenclature, just to see why all the cuts fall to service.

    Comment by old timer — 7:23 pm April 1, 2013 #

  63. I’m kinda amused by all of the surprised posts. The bus service in Seattle is heavily subsidized. Riders do not pay their fair share. I never ride the bus, but have without complaint incurred/paid the taxes of being an individual who commutes by car. Through gasoline, vehicle sale and annual car tabs (hint: this subsidizes those buses). If you want to complain about the service given, pay the actual cost of your ride >.>

    Comment by EdSane — 8:18 pm April 1, 2013 #

  64. I am always wondering how cost efficent it is to let all the busses they only go downtown in the morning and to ws in the evening f.e 56, 37 run empty from and to the base instead of picking up some paying busriders on Admiral. It looks like a lot of waisted work hours and gas not using the busses in both directions to transport bus riders. Maybe on the way back for a different route

    Comment by mela — 8:22 pm April 1, 2013 #

  65. I don’t know how a once pragmatic, blue-collar city that did things right transformed into a incompetent city of pie-in-the-sky ideologues who gave us a toy train at the expense of bus routes, tore down a humane library and gave us a sterile, ugly user-unfriendly central library, a uninspiring and deserted waterfront Sculpture park, and now a completely bungled metro makeover.

    Seattle is so over with.

    Comment by G — 9:00 pm April 1, 2013 #

  66. Actually, the light rail, library, and the Sculpture Park were amazingly well done. Metro, Seattle Public Schools, and the Seattle Police Department have all been driven into the ground however.

    Comment by West Seattle HIPster — 9:06 pm April 1, 2013 #

  67. This is just Metro scare tactics so they can get more support for their next tax levy during a future election. The general trend I see is that our city leaders put every essential service that they think can pass to a levy vote then they never have to tackle hard decisions themselves because we keep passing the levies. I think this is a cop out and have started voting against every levy even if it is for a service that I support.

    Comment by junction resident — 9:27 pm April 1, 2013 #

  68. What we need is new leadership at the Council level. We need to change up things at Metro and do an audit of what is actually happening there. Where is the money going? It’s a credits / debits thing. When I moved to Seattle in 2001, bus fare was $1.50. Now, it’s $2.75. It’s $2.25 in Chicago, $2.50 in NYC, $2.45 in LA. We are the most expensive bus fare, but are getting shafted in service. There is someone we can contact – community.relations@kingcounty.gov – DeAnna Martin & Alice Ann Wetzel. I encourage all of us – and I mean it – to contact her. And follow up, and keep on it. And most importantly, call Joe McDermott. Hell, contact all of them. Harness that anger and drive it somewhere.
    *
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/councilmembers.aspx

    Comment by Amanda — 9:34 pm April 1, 2013 #

  69. Keep Voting For Theese Clowns.

    Comment by D.D.S — 9:45 pm April 1, 2013 #

  70. The changes last September doubled my commute time, reduced the service hours, and raised my fare. Really, does Metro think that I – and the many others like me – will stand for another round?

    Comment by JKB — 12:01 am April 2, 2013 #

  71. gatewooder, it’s not a joke.

    Comment by T — 3:12 am April 2, 2013 #

  72. My only question is, how are our leaders working for our constituents in WS? The clear fact is they are not, and caving to corporate interests. Do we REALLY need a new stadium? No! Do we need to host the Olympics? No! It’s time that the city and county actually cared about it’s citizens, especially the poor, elderly, disabled, homeless, and mentally ill. What you do for the least in society, you come back unto yourself. There really needs to be a large social and cultural change in this region. It’s not all about corporate interests. There are a lot of people in this city and county who are suffering and receive no help. It’s time we stood up for our rights as citizens and human beings.

    Comment by T — 3:23 am April 2, 2013 #

  73. Delightful. I was looking to move out of the West Seattle/White Center area, only to see the other bus options in the areas I was looking to be on the cut list.

    Why don’t they save time and just tell everyone in Weat Seattle/White Center to just take the 120 or C Line, because that’s all that will be left. Horrendous moves if this happens.

    For the record, I use the bus for work. I have a car. I just paid my tabs. I don’t mind driving to work, I just can’t afford the parking.

    Comment by jedifarfy — 7:53 am April 2, 2013 #

  74. Slowly but surely our expectations are being dumbed down. In 5 years, we’ll be playing “remember when?” Like, remember when we had transit that served our needs without overcrowding, smelling like pee, or leaving out huge neighborhoods?
    .
    Beyond West Seattle, which at least still has (increasingly sucky) options, those cuts are awful and will dump thousands of cars onto the road (try getting out of North Bend or Snoqualmie without the 209 or the 215.)

    Comment by Kayleigh — 8:17 am April 2, 2013 #

  75. How much money could have been saved if someone did not have the idea to move the sidewalks into the streets so the buses could slow traffic down?

    Comment by Mad Max — 9:28 am April 2, 2013 #

  76. A agree with Amanda. Harness all that negative energy and let your voice be heard where it counts at Metro and the County Council. Money (lack of it) is a problem all over this country. It’s true we need to cut back and prioritize but the city has to function or die. I would think that the business community would be yelling and screaming about the gutting of our transportation system because they will be severely affected.

    Comment by Norma — 10:47 am April 2, 2013 #

  77. maybe if we weren’t wasting our hard earned tax dollars on another retarded sports stadium, we wouldn’t have to cut things like this. or a mayor that wasted how many thousands of dollars painting bike lanes on the streets that no one uses. oh and we would HAVE A MONORAIL BY NOW if looosers didn’t vote it out and waste all our money on “studies”

    Comment by lll — 11:19 am April 2, 2013 #

  78. Renewed both our cars’ tabs a few weeks ago totaling $350. We already have Orca passes (1 employer and 1 personal) to take the 21 a few times a week (while we live half-block away from a 22 stop). King County surely has this data as I’ve filled several metro surveys in detail. And still, with each of our new tabs, we get high quality color printouts offering 8 free ride tickets per tab. Small waste but indicative of well intention-ed but bureaucratically executed wasteful mechanisms.

    I agree with “West Seattle HIPster”. Audit Metro. And FFS charge at cost while reducing costs.

    Comment by wsn00b — 11:54 am April 2, 2013 #

  79. Metro should consider eliminating overtime and hire more part time drivers. More jobs and fewer hours would save money. Driving umpteen hours is not consistent with good public safety guidelines. The part-time drivers and newbies that are not paid as much should get more help with their healthcare costs until they move up. The higher paid workers should pick up more of the cost of that – basically align with Obamacare and pay 9.5% of your salary toward healthcare. Additionally, Metro should perhaps consider full exploration and piloting of battery powered buses which would produce whopper-sized fuel savings. The days of turning a blind eye to skyrocketing operations costs are over. It’s the New Normal. Let’s all get on board. I think Metro should be asking for money to expand service, not cover inefficiencies.

    Comment by Kate Martin — 1:15 pm April 2, 2013 #

  80. Should one of those lists of routes read as “List of routes that may be reduced”?? Both currently say “cut”.

    Comment by Ari G — 1:37 pm April 2, 2013 #

  81. Metro needs to be audited. Last summer they had the crapid ride bus touring in seafair parades, remember that? the crapid ride super hero? what a Joke! how much did that cost? Ever noticed the fancy solar powered garbage receptacles, oh yea those babies cost over $2,000 a piece. Didn’t you notice how much more pleasant those solar garbage cans made your commute? This organization pretty much just blew through a whole bunch of money and managed to make commuting by bus noticeable worse for the majority of the people. To the point where I often choose driving over using my bus pass. Audit Metro.

    Comment by anettey — 5:44 pm April 2, 2013 #

  82. As mentioned in the story, Metro was audited and says it’s implemented the recommendations. Here’s a recent county update:
    .
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/news/2013/March/LP_transit_audit.aspx

    Comment by WSB — 5:53 pm April 2, 2013 #

  83. re-audit

    Comment by anettey — 6:12 pm April 2, 2013 #

  84. You have exactly two people to blame for this. Tim Eyeman and anyone who voted for his car tab reduction measure. Time to pay the piper folks. Thanks for being selfish back then. Nice move.

    Also, it’s not just WS getting cuts. It’s city-wide. Seattlites everywhere will be stranded if we don’t come up with cash.

    Comment by Chadwick — 7:59 pm April 2, 2013 #

  85. No, not a performance audit. But an actual fiscal audit – by an independent firm that has no ties to anyone financially in the County.
    *
    Thanks Tracy for finding that tid-bit.

    Comment by Amanda — 6:44 am April 3, 2013 #

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