FOLLOWUP: What Metro says about this week’s cancellations on West Seattle routes 55, 56, 57

Just as Metro gets ready for tomorrow’s service change – with West Seattle-related specifics here and here – three north West Seattle routes were hit with 12 announced cancellations these past two days. The alerts, as sent on Twitter (which replicates the texts you can sign up for):

What’s going on? Here’s how Metro spokesperson Torie Rynning replied:

There were a couple things going on, but we’re hoping that we’re turning a corner and these are temporary (and regrettable) inconveniences for our customers.

We experienced several call-outs due to sickness, including some multi-day sicknesses, which we don’t expect to continue into next week (fingers crossed, as the region is grappling with cold and flu season).

We are in the process of training drivers on service change route updates, which temporarily took drivers out of the field.

We are about to graduate a new class of part-time to full-time operators, which involved removing operators from the field for training in order to increase our staffing capacity once they graduate.

On Thursday, we had 54 cancellations systemwide out of 13,000 daily trips, (4 of which were on 55/56/57 routes during the morning commute.)

On Friday morning, we had 47 cancellations systemwide out of 13,000 daily trips, (5 of which were on 55/56/57 routes in the morning.) 10 of the missed trips were due to no available bus at Bellevue base affecting a couple of Eastside routes.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and are making every effort to provide service, backfill open work with available standby operators, and keep bus service moving for riders.

The north West Seattle routes have had waves of cancellations a few times in recent years, and we’ve followed up before, including this closer look at the system’s workings in 2015.

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: What Metro says about this week's cancellations on West Seattle routes 55, 56, 57"

  • justme March 22, 2019 (8:00 pm)

    That’s great of you to share this. Many times I’d stand along California waiting for the 55 and it never came, with no explanation. Same thing the other direction from 3rd & Pine. Lots of people were late for work for sure!

  • Bob from west Seattle March 22, 2019 (9:30 pm)

    So how are people expected to get to work on time if bus routes are cancelled. This is totally irresponsible on metros part. Having worked (before retiring) at positions requiring prompt attendance …to rely on a mediocre system is unacceptable. Most companies consider tardiness a reasonable reason for termination if it is excessive. The metro excuses are so lame  and generalized. Suggestion….set higher standards and make sure there are enough staff to cover the ones who call in unable to work.  This is a huge issue affecting responsible hard working people. It just causes people to drive themselves to work if public transportation fails which it appears is happening.

    • Seriously? March 23, 2019 (1:11 pm)

      This guy!*Bob = mic drop!

    • Swede. March 23, 2019 (2:35 pm)

      You mean ‘set lower standards’? Because right now it’s really hard to find and hire personnel to drive, let alone maintain, the buses. Partly due to requirements for employment. Lots of people don’t understand that smoking pot and drive/repair/service buses isn’t compatible even though it’s legal in the state…

      • Seriously? March 24, 2019 (8:18 am)

        @Swede, I am sure there are plenty of people in the Puget Sound and King County who don’t use cannabis or other substances. To say that cannabis is to blame is just as lame and tired as Metro’s own reused excuses.

      • Seriously? March 24, 2019 (8:55 am)

        @Swede, to say that cannabis use is the problem is just as lame and tired an excuse that KCM keeps throwing out there. I am willing to bet there are plenty of people who don’t use cannabis. The passage of I502 did not cause the problem. This had been a on going issue with KCM for over 10 years! 502 didn’t pass until 2012. 

        • Swede. March 24, 2019 (11:24 pm)

          Yes it is an big problem to find people that pass the requirements from drug use. And also yes, it’s been an issue for a long time. (I work at Metro just to be clear…)

  • KT March 22, 2019 (9:52 pm)

    it’s the same old song and dance with Metro.   But until someone with power in Seattle or King County is gonna put an end to this, it will continue.  Metro – β€œwe’ll get you there, just don’t ask us when”.

  • Mj March 22, 2019 (10:32 pm)

    Why are the 55, 56 and 57 routes hit hardest by the cancellations.  It would be more equitable to disperse the pain throughout the entire system!  

    • Nw mama March 23, 2019 (10:54 am)

      Canceling the routes in the same region again, again and again in the same region is beyond frustrating and has already created a general attitude in the admiral area that the busses are not reliable. 

    • MSW March 23, 2019 (8:24 pm)

      Route 55, 56, 57 are short routes and not as desirable to drivers who want to get paid more driving longer routes.  The 56 and 57 before the Rapid Ride,  use to be longer routes, changing their numbers and continued on to the north end. When the route is longer we have  more reliable  drivers staying because it pays more.  The shorter route tends to be given to the new or part time drivers and the turn over is high.  Pretty much the North Admiral and Alki bus routes got the shaft when Rapid Ride was introduced.

    • Seriously? March 25, 2019 (7:02 am)

      @MJ, apparently, if you ask @Swede, it’s pot smokers who are to blame, not Metro. If everyone would just stop smoking pot, Metro, it seems, would be able to hire drivers etc. I guess we just didn’t get the memo over here in West Seattle that everyone in the Puget Sound is a pot head. . .or at least there’s too many pot heads making it impossible for Metro to get drivers . . .

  • Greg March 23, 2019 (7:47 am)

    None of the comments indicate that this problem will go away. Training and sickness are ongoing, even if they ebb and flow throughout a year. We need real mechanisms to prevent this, Metro!

  • Nw mama March 23, 2019 (10:52 am)

    They should send those Ride 2 shuttles to the stops to get people to a reasonable bus stop.  AND they should make sure the water taxi shuttle drivers know these routes are scheduled so they actually watch for people trying to flag them down.  Those shuttle drivers need to be more aware in general…. nice guys, but they zip past bus stops without looking to see if people are trying to catch them

  • Alki commuter March 23, 2019 (11:22 am)

    It was strange but I got a cancellation for the 56 at 8:11 (61st and Alki) but it actually did run Friday. Thank you WS blog for staying on top of this! Metro really frustrates me as well but at least the blog and all of us can continue to submit feedback forms. I literally submit one or two every few weeks and won’t stop. We need to continue to hold Metro accountable for doing their job. 

  • Seriously? March 23, 2019 (1:19 pm)

    Here’s an idea. For each minute a bus is late, we drop a dime off the fare. Each bus cancellation = we take a quarter (on top the the 10 cent per minute late fee). A little non-violent, civil disobedience is good for the soul – and sends a rather loud message. 

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