West Seattle snow aftermath: Two notes re: roads and buses

POTHOLES: As reported here, the city has crews out fixing those, and we asked for word of any West Seattle sightings. Brian just e-mailed, “I saw a crew of 3-4 working on fixing potholes on 35th by the fire station around 2 pm this afternoon.”

BUS SCHEDULES: In previous discussions of the challenges Metro and its riders faced during the snow, talk turned to the “partial-holiday schedule” that is in effect for this entire week (except tomorrow, which is a Sunday schedule). We first called attention to it on Christmas Eve after Metro’s Linda Thielke, who had been sending WSB info and answering our questions (as well as dealing with a host of other media outlets), e-mailed to say that she was concerned local riders didn’t fully realize this schedule change was ahead. Subsequently, some have been asking, when was that schedule change decided, and how was it communicated? We sought clarification, and here’s Linda’s reply:

Metro began communicating about the partial holiday schedules for Nov.
28, Dec. 26, Jan. 2 and Jan. 19 in September, when the new timetables came out for Sept 2008-Feb. 2009 service.

We had also identified an additional 8 days in 2009 when we wanted to run that kind of a schedule, if it seemed to work on these first four days. All were identified as historically low-ridership days; and will include the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in 2009. The specific notification about those days will occur when the timetables for those periods are published.

Once the snowstorm began hammering our buses that were on the road, our vehicle maintenance staff said they would be very hard-pressed to run full service this week. They needed time for repairs and backlogged maintenance. We were already scheduled to run Sunday service on Thursday, Jan. 1 and partial holiday on Friday, Jan. 2, so the decision was made early last week to operate partial holiday schedule on Dec. 29, 30, and 31.

Agree it was short notice, and last week most people were more focused on the holidays and the actual snow on the ground than on what their bus would be doing the next week. Here’s what we did to get the word out:

–News release went out Tuesday, Dec. 23 and was also posted on county home page (it was mentioned in PI story on Wednesday, Dec. 24);

–Posted on the Regional Public Information Network (RPIN) on Dec. 23 and sent out via email/text msg to all RPIN subscribers;

–Mentioned as much as possible in live radio/TV interviews Tuesday through Sunday;

–Called out in e-mail to West Seattle Blog at 12:49 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 24;

–Audio announcements made on buses Dec. 26, 27 & 28;

–Rider Alerts posted Dec. 26 at the bus stops most impacted and all the buses;

–Updated information on Metro Online starting Dec. 26 (had to wait to see if we would be past the snow routing by Dec. 29);

–Another news release and phone calls to dailies and broadcast outlets on Sunday, Dec. 28.

We’d suggest that if there is a more helpful way that the information could have been delivered to you as a bus rider, this is probably a great time to suggest it. Here’s the form for sending feedback (the left-side menu on that page includes other options for contacting them); you will also want to let your King County Councilmember, Dow Constantine (who also chairs the Transportation Committee and has participated in earlier comment threads about this), know what you think – his contact info is here.

P.S.: One last county note, not bus-specific (except for the fact that the Customer Information hotline will be out of service because of it): This Friday is the first of 10 “furlough days” that King County government is implementing to help deal with its budget trouble. That means most county offices/facilities will be closed. Here are full details.

5 Replies to "West Seattle snow aftermath: Two notes re: roads and buses"

  • Central District Resident December 31, 2008 (5:25 pm)

    For some reason this blog pops up on my google news, and for the life of me I still cannot figure out why west Seattle (Ballard annex, because they could not fit all of the boring things in one place) has a blog about Seattle. I would gladly give your bland, bitchy neighborhood to Auburn. Get over yourself, we have.

  • WSB December 31, 2008 (7:50 pm)

    Hi, it “pops up” on Google News because it’s a news site. If you’re in Seattle’s Central District, there’s a different type of neighborhood-news site there at:

    which I believe is indexed by Google News too, but it won’t pop up on your reader as often because of a lower volume of coverage.

    West Seattle is really southwest Seattle, actually. By “Ballard annex” you may be thinking of northwest Seattle, aka Magnolia. And if you’re looking for news about those areas:

    Happy New Year! – TR

  • k December 31, 2008 (8:10 pm)

    Again, thanks to TR and the WSB team for their great coverage of all things related to our fine area!! I appreciate the great example you set for all of us!
    Have a fabulous New Year,

  • payton January 1, 2009 (11:25 am)

    WSB, thanks for getting the answer. This finally sounds like a real and straightforward explanation of the situation and decision.

  • shepard January 2, 2009 (12:30 pm)

    Route#133,not running since the 1st day f snow.It is one of the buses that carries about 80% of UW and UWMC employees.When enquired about the canceled trips was told that it is not opereating because the school is out.May be metro needs to know who actually rides that bus before canceling the trips.

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