1 West Seattle ‘deletion’ in newest Metro bus-cut plan – with a caveat

September 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

Metro‘s next round of proposed cuts went public this evening, a list of proposals to kick in next February. But they come with a big caveat – if Seattle voters pass the mayor’s transit-funding proposal in November, the February cuts would be postponed until June, and might not happen at all.

First: Here’s the official announcement, with this list-at-a-glance:

As you can see, a few West Seattle cuts are on the list: Route 22, already a shadow of its former self (it once went all the way downtown and is now just a circulator), would be deleted. Part of its service area would keep transit via a change in Route 125, whose proposed revised map looks like this:

Cuts/changes would be also be in store for Route 21, which would be reduced from 15-minute intervals on weekday middays and Saturdays to 30-minute intervals, and for Route 116X, which serves West Seattle on its way to/from the Vashon ferry, cutting three trips a day.

Metro/county reps who talked with WSB via phone conference tonight, after the release of this plan, say the full list of cuts proposed for February equals roughly half what was originally set to be cut through September of next year. And they point out that the West Seattle proposals reflect changes made after public comment on earlier proposals – for example, Route 50 is being left alone.

But passage of the transit money measure in November wouldn’t guarantee cancellation of these cuts – the city and county could work out a different set of buybacks, for example, maybe even involving changes to be made this month (not involving West Seattle routes). And they don’t know what would be needed in terms of belt-tightening after February cuts – that would be worked out in the county’s September 2015 budgeting.

For now, these proposals are expected to go to the County Council within the next two weeks, so that action would be finalized before the council’s focus turns to the budgeting process. Something to say about this new plan? West Seattle’s County Councilmember is Joe McDermott, whose contact info is here; he’s also the council’s current budget chair.

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  1. Big surprise – Metro LIES once again. Route 22 was to be retained until next fall. With the deletion of Route 22 and reduction of service for Route 21, Arbor Heights is screwed. No service at all from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm – and that’s peak weekday service. Way to go, Metro – you’re not only succeeding in putting many more cars on the road every day, you’ve put me out of a job.

    One more thing – the continual ‘adjustments’ to routes only creates confusion and the changes often are nonsensical and make the route difficult to use. Of course, this could well be the goal; the Route 22 has been adjusted several times, becoming more inefficient with each change. Then Metro points to low ridership as an excuse to cancel. It’s a Catch-22. They have been dishonest about funding, and my guess is that voters will not be comfortable giving them more money.

    Comment by anonyme — 7:22 am September 3, 2014 #

  2. They are always threatening to make cuts. Don’t listen to them. Vote NO! Tell them raise fares instead

    Comment by alkibeachdweller — 8:32 am September 3, 2014 #

  3. After looking at the route change to the 125, I can’t help but feel so much pain for the people who have to take that route just to get home to Arbor Heights. What a boondoggle that must be.

    Comment by Brian — 9:00 am September 3, 2014 #

  4. anonyme, you seem woefully uneducated on the reason for the cuts, and to blame Metro (and say somehow that they are lying) for making cuts forced on it by the electorate (in King County) is bizarre.
    .
    The cuts are due to Metro not having enough money to run all the services. Given that, they are cutting routes so as to affect the fewest people possible. Of course that is really bad for people affected, but what do you suggest they do – cut routes with the highest ridership?

    Comment by Moose2 — 9:18 am September 3, 2014 #

  5. Metro: where the fares increase and you continue getting less. Reminds me of another monopolistic cartel: Comcast.

    Comment by Typical — 9:18 am September 3, 2014 #

  6. moose, it is you who are either misinformed, or have not kept up with the constant wavering by Metro. There have been at least two separate reports of Metro suddenly coming up with millions of dollars, only to have those reports hushed up and minimalized. Metro has refused to extrapolate, instead demanding more and more from taxpayers. And yes, as Metro is a public, not private, transportation system, one reasonable approach would be to cut back slightly on well or over-served routes rather than completely cutting service to a large neighborhood of more than 4,000 households. Of course ridership has plummeted in this area! What would you expect when the bus service is bad to non-existent, with constant threats of deletion?

    Comment by anonyme — 10:30 am September 3, 2014 #

  7. The 21 is set to go from a 15 minute interval to 30 minutes.
    .
    We will see how that works out. But if you can drive there faster than the next bus even arrives.

    Comment by dsa — 10:43 am September 3, 2014 #

  8. Anonyme,

    Their could be 10000 households in AH but if they aren’t riding the bus, why serve it?

    I used to live in AH when the 21 was an all day, 7 day a week, every half-hour bus. And most of the time, at all parts of the day that weren’t rush hour, I was the only one on after 35th and Roxbury.
    Did I miss it when it stopped going up there? Absolutely, but it would be insane and terribly selfish to think it was worth it for Metro to keep running up there just for me. Deleting the AH loop made the 21 more efficient which is what everyone keeps claiming they want Metro to do. Apparently, they only want it done to the routes of other people.

    Comment by M — 10:58 am September 3, 2014 #

  9. I’m not sure about a fare increase. Not a regular bus rider I had to use the bus to get just N of the UW for a week. It was $5-10 round trip per day (added 2-3 hours commute to my day). I imagine that begins to be cost prohibitive for many.

    Comment by heather — 11:10 am September 3, 2014 #

  10. I’m somewhat baffled by the 125 route change. Isn’t Morgan Junction currently served by the 128 and other buses headed downtown? This change will cut me out of using the 125, which I do regularly. The walk down to delridge isn’t too bad but I will sure miss the convenience of the 125. It seems like a well-used route to me.

    Comment by Chris — 12:44 pm September 3, 2014 #

  11. Get rid of the #22….. Why not ,the folk buying these black box houses, that are ruining this area , wouldn’t be caught on a BUS!

    Comment by Gate wood gurl — 12:46 pm September 3, 2014 #

  12. Chris,

    I may be parsing your sentence incorrectly but the 128 doesn’t go downtown. And the only other bus that serves Morgan Junction that goes Downtown all day is RR C.

    The restructure is more to keep service in Gatewood (it actually increases from what it has now with the 22) and increase E-W capabilities. Also, the 125 restructure was moved up from September. Still suggested for September is moving the 128 away from Morgan Junction. So if that suggestion goes through, there won’t be duplicative service on Morgan.

    Comment by M — 1:09 pm September 3, 2014 #

  13. M,
    My post wan’t very clear but I am aware that the 128 doesn’t go downtown. My thought is that the RR C is very frequent but I get your point about keeping service in Gatewood. There certainly aren’t any easy decisions on this subject.

    Comment by Chris — 1:32 pm September 3, 2014 #

  14. 125 seems to be taking the most roundabout way to get to downtown. That route looks like 1+ hour on a good day to get to downtown. As a Gatewood resident I highly doubt I’ll use it.

    BTW: Gate wood gurl, nice job on mixing frustrations about new houses (one probably ruined your view or something) and possibly wage inequality with the bus routing. Higher property taxes from those houses are completely welcome to help run various needy city/county features (I am not sure how much goes to Metro).

    Comment by wsn00b — 1:35 pm September 3, 2014 #

  15. Sure, save money by eliminating the least-crowded routes. By why stop there? We can “save” even more money by eliminating police service to low-crime neighborhoods, and limiting fire department and ambulance service to peak hour service. And the school district can be more efficient by only admitting children who live in dense neighborhoods!
    .
    It’s fine with me if Metro wants to emphasize the big Rapid Ride busses, but they could at least have smaller busses that circulate to carry riders to the Rapid Ride stops.

    Comment by Community Member — 5:07 pm September 3, 2014 #

  16. “But passage of the transit money measure in November wouldn’t guarantee cancellation of these cuts”

    To me, that is the most eye opening sentence in the article. It seems the only way that our city and county leaders can attempt to solve issues is by raising taxes.

    Comment by White Center Hipster — 5:25 pm September 3, 2014 #

  17. To clarify my sometimes bleary-eyed writing – if for example voters approve the November ballot measure and it raises X dollars, it then would be up to the city to talk with the county and work out what it wants those X dollars to go toward. The one thing the ballot-measure money, if approved, could NOT go to Metro for, according to the county reps who talked with us last night, would be creation of new bus service. Clear as mud, I know, I’m sorry, but I promise that we will pursue information before the election that would include for example city leaders’ commitments to what they would want Metro to restore if the money measure is approved. Also, Metro is saying (follow the link to the full announcement from yesterday) that it is open to working out agreements with other local governments who might want to ‘buy back’ service. Seattle already pays for some Metro service, it’s been reported before. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:43 pm September 3, 2014 #

  18. Thanks for the explanation. Interesting to see that there would not be any new bus service. But with the abysmal “RapidRide” implementation, that is probably a good thing.

    .

    One creative way to raise revenue for bus service would be to implement a 5% tax for every latte sold in the county.

    Comment by White Center Hipster — 6:03 pm September 3, 2014 #

  19. I just love when people complain that Metro is run incompetently and wastes tax dollars and/or should just raise fares… BUT it should also continue to run the least productive service into their neighborhood and instead cut the higher-ridership, profit-making routes instead.
    .
    Bottom line, if you don’t want to pay for services, then you don’t get to receive them. And you can’t continually decrease the relative amount of tax dollars local governments take in while expecting them to serve more people everywhere AND offer more services. That’s not how economics work.

    Comment by Mickymse — 10:13 pm September 3, 2014 #

  20. Hmmm. When I happened upon one of those metro future transit meetings I ended up speaking with a metro representative about privately operated public transit. From what I understood, a private group can start an organized public transit option as long as it is not exclusive, per city rules. Exclusivity can be eliminated, for example, by everyone having access to a “card”, even though there may be different or no payment tiers – everyone gets the same card. It is legal to service only WS but not “just Admiral” or “just Alki”. Personally, I’d love to see Metro “bus hubs” at the junction, Fauntleroy/AK and the top of the bridge. All other WS transit could be cool trolly loops that intersect with “bus hubs”. ie South WS/Westwood/Ferry/Beach Dr/Alki/…returning via 35th. That way we would have maybe 4-5 “trolly loops” w/ trollies every 15 min. The trollies could be representative of WS, give people quick local access, access to amenities including nature (Lincoln park, Alki, Camp Long, golf course…) and access to Metro. I know the original trolly tracks have been removed here but I’m sure if we put our heads together we could find solutions. It’d be good for tourists too. And just cool, really.

    Comment by heather — 7:58 am September 4, 2014 #

  21. It’s a regional mentality amongst various agencies. Their answer is always “more money” but the question is “where has the money gone and why haven’t we received what has been promised in exchange for that “more money”?” And the answer to that question is “more money”. I see a pattern developing here.

    Comment by Rick — 8:11 am September 4, 2014 #

  22. My suggestion is to create a system where a bus always arrives when I want it to, and the very same bus takes me exactly where I want to go. I’m sure if we put our heads together we could figure it out.

    Comment by Ennui29 — 11:24 pm September 4, 2014 #

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