FOLLOWUP: Metro goes public with more details of temporary service cuts

As first noted early today, Metro is cutting service starting Monday. The next wave of details just went public, including one West Seattle route being dropped entirely, the 125:

Metro continues to prioritize the safety of its passengers, employees, and community members with the implementation of its new Reduced Schedule starting March 23. Under this temporary Reduced Schedule, buses will run less frequently throughout the day. Bus service may also start later in the morning and end earlier in the evening. Some routes will not operate and nearly all routes will see individual trip cancelations.

There will be additional changes to routes and times that take effect on Saturday, March 21 as part of Metro’s regular Spring Service Change. The Spring Service Change brings Eastside riders better bus connections, and improved access to Seattle via transfer between buses and Link light rail at UW Station.

The Reduced Schedule is in response to reduced ridership since the emergence of COVID-19. These service reductions are also designed to maintain a resilient and sustainable transit system that’s able to keep our region moving every day and to ramp back up when this chapter closes.

The Reduced Schedule means that online customer information planning tools and third-party apps may be increasingly inaccurate for Metro and Sound Transit services. While these tools will be updated to the Spring Service Change schedule, they will not reflect Metro’s temporary Reduced Schedule or Sound Transit’s reductions.

Many of Metro’s riders have heeded the steps advised by leaders and public health officials in recent weeks to limit the spread of novel coronavirus by teleworking and avoiding traveling. Bus ridership on Wednesday, March 18, for example, was 60% less than a comparable day in 2019—a reduction of 250,000 passengers.

While many of Metro’s passengers may have other transportation options and choose transit, many others rely more heavily—or exclusively—upon transit, so decisions on where and when to reduce service were not made lightly. Metro has designed reductions to maintain some service on as many routes as possible, acknowledging that people rely on these routes to access medical care, grocery stores, and other vital services. Metro is actively talking with community groups who represent populations more likely to depend on transit, including those that represent customers with accessibility challenges. Metro will remain engaged with those groups to understand their mobility needs and determine how best to serve them during this time.

This move follows Metro’s earlier public safety actions of transitioning to daily sanitization of coaches and transit vehicles/vessels, setting up a Department Operations Center to guide fast response, and temporarily closing in-person customer service offices in favor of phone and online options.

Temporary changes to service under Reduced Schedule (which goes into effect on Monday, March 23)

Under the Reduced Schedule, most Metro routes will see individual trip cancellations. Some routes will not operate, primarily during commute times and when options on other routes exist.

Routes without changes: 22, 105, 118, 119, 154

Routes with fewer bus trips and/or reduced hours of operation: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 55, 56, 57, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 101, 102, 106, 107, 111, 113, 114, 116, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 128, 131, 132, 143, 148, 150, 153, 156, 157, 158, 159, 164, 166, 167, 168, 169, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 186, 187, 190, 192, 193, 197, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 221, 225, 226, 230, 231, 232, 239, 240, 241, 245, 246, 249, 252, 250, 255, 257, 268, 269, 271, 301, 303, 304, 311, 312, 316, 331, 342, 345, 346, 347, 348, 355, 372, 373, A Line, B Line, C Line, D Line, E Line, F Line, ST 522, ST 541, ST 542, ST 545, ST 550, ST 554, ST 555, ST 556, 907, 913, 931, 952, Des Moines Community Shuttle (635)

Routes fully cut: 9, 29, 47, 78, 125, 200, 208, 237, 308, 309, 330, 541, Black Diamond/Enumclaw Community Ride, Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Community Ride, Normandy Park Community Ride, Sammamish Community Ride, Juanita Community Ride, Bothell/Woodinville Community Ride, Mercer Island Community Shuttle (630).

Additionally, the following services and programs will not operate during Reduced Schedule (which goes into effect on Monday, March 23):

Community Ride
Via to Transit

At this time, the Access paratransit program will continue normal operations and will continue to follow its enhanced daily sanitization procedures.

Water Taxi and its two shuttles, routes 773 and 775, will continue to operate on their winter schedule through at least April 20, 2020.

Seattle Streetcar will operate on a reduced schedule starting on Monday, March 23.

First Hill Streetcar will operate with 15-minute headways Monday to Saturday during reduced service hours, 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. There are no changes to service hours on Sundays and holidays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
South Lake Union Streetcar will not operate beginning March 23 and until further notice.

Most of the rest of the release involves non-Seattle service, followed by this info for all:

The Reduced Schedule means that online customer information planning tools and third-party apps may be increasingly inaccurate. While these tools will be updated to the Spring Service Change schedule, they may not reflect all temporary schedule changes in the Reduced Schedule. These systems may still provide useful information, such as maps and bus stop information.

First, riders should visit Metro’s Reduced Schedule page (starting Saturday, March 21) to confirm that their route is operating and view other details, then check to see if their desired trip is coming by using “Next Departures” in Metro’s online trip planner, or Text for Departures by texting your stop ID to 62550.

Information about Reduced Schedule changes can be viewed at including suggestions for alternate routes riders may want to consider.

Riders can also contact Metro Customer Information at 206-553-3000 Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. or reach us on the web using our comment form for assistance.

Sound Transit’s Link and Sounder services and some ST Express bus routes are also reduced. Transferring riders should check

Got questions? We’ll be on a media conference call tomorrow to follow up.

22 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Metro goes public with more details of temporary service cuts"

  • Pigeon Point Mom March 19, 2020 (8:15 pm)

    Great.  I’m an RN at Harborview, and my husband works there as well.  Lots of Harborview folks in WS that I’m aware of,  and the vast majority of us take the bus in because it’s convenient (and parking downtown is ridiculously expensive).   I was really hoping they’d keep the busses running so that drivers remained on the job/paid and people like me (“essential personnel”) can still get to work.

    • NotOnHolden March 19, 2020 (8:46 pm)

      Which routes were you taking?  Reach out to Metro and ask if they took into account routes serving this location?  The C and other routes will still run, just not as frequently.  We’ll know more as this moves forward.

      • Lynn March 27, 2020 (2:32 pm)

        I also take the 193 to/from Harborview.
        Many of us are onboard from the South End.
        We need to keep the 5:21 a.m. the 3:47 p.m. and the 7:47 p.m. for the 12-hour days.
        Thank you!

  • 120rider March 19, 2020 (8:49 pm)

    it certainly makes getting to work less safe now for all of us who can’t afford parking because we work in a hospital on 1st hill. crowding is only going to infect more of us who have to go to work and rely on transit. wrong time to cut service on some of those routes traveled heavily by healthcare/hospital workers. 

    • NotOnHolden March 19, 2020 (9:05 pm)

      Yesterday I was one of two riders on my way home, same this morning, and evening.  I don’t think they will cut service so greatly as to have standing room only bus service again.  

  • Pigeon Point Mom March 19, 2020 (9:03 pm)

    I take the 125 or the 120 downtown, then the 3/4 up to the hospital.  No 125 now, and reduced 120 (the link in the article to the Metro site goes to a ‘coming soon’ page and does not have actual info on it, so I have no idea what the reduced routes mean)  My husband catches the 120 at 5am to get to work.  I hope they are still going to be running that early.

    • WSB March 19, 2020 (9:17 pm)

      The schedules will be out Saturday, they say. Tonight’s release was which routes will be affected and which won’t.

  • Jeffrey Baxter March 19, 2020 (9:04 pm)

    I’m ok with cutting back service, but the words “bus service may also start later in the morning and end earlier in the evening” sounds bad to me. They should be cutting back on peak service and on frequency, not on Sunday and night coverage. Generally, frequency is really really important, but during a temporary situation like this, most of the people on the bus NEED to be on the bus. while people will tolerate waiting for the bus longer. Cutting out night service entirely will really hurt some people I suspect. So I would prefer to see the First Hill Streecar go to 20 min frequency (rather than 15) while continuing its current night time service. I hope they don’t cut the C and 120 night service like this. Better to  go to 15-20 min frequency.

  • Jeffrey Baxter March 19, 2020 (9:10 pm)

    I kind of doubt that a lot of people making this decision at Metro have riden the bus at night. The 120 into downtown at night at 4 am isn’t packed (obviously), but there’s still a lot of people on it. Many don’t have a bike or car to get to work —  the bus is their only option.

  • Mj March 19, 2020 (10:35 pm)

    Jeffrey your comments have merit, no need to provide 5 10 minute headway during peak time at the moment but getting critical personal such as nurses to work is important, and they typically work 12 hour shifts and travel at hours outside the typical peak.

    • Jeffrey Baxter March 20, 2020 (8:21 am)

      Exactly! Most of us who ride the bus have the option to drive, bike, walk, or carpool. But not everyone does! So we need to leave at least some service at night for them, particularly when some people have chosen jobs specifically because that night time service exists.

  • JDLR March 20, 2020 (3:40 am)

    I specifically switched to working overnight for the sake of social distancing. If the busses aren’t going to be an option, I guess I could buy a bike? I should check if my building has a shower… 

    • tsurly March 20, 2020 (10:16 am)

      Biking has never been safer for me than it is right now, with all the cars off the road. The shower, however, has become an issue at my building; they’ve locked it and the gym up, so its been sink showers for me.

  • jayma March 20, 2020 (8:36 am)

    can you please find out if previously purchaed bus passes will be honered.  I know if you purchase an amount via the “purse” option is doesn’t expire, but as we know monthly does. Appreciate any information you can find out.Thank you,Jayma

    • WSB March 20, 2020 (8:45 am)

      Will do. I know Washington State Ferries has announced something along those lines.

    • WSB March 20, 2020 (1:47 pm)

      Just asked that question on the media call. Per GM Rob Gannon – They haven’t worked out the details yet but “are committed to making our customers whole” so they WILL figure it out. – TR

  • miws March 20, 2020 (10:40 am)

    This doesn’t specifically answer Jayma’s question, but just putting out for general knowledge; I happened to visit the ORCA site this morning and noticed they had a blurb on there suggesting anyone planning on fewer than 18 rides for April add E-Purse value instead. —Mike

  • Kyle March 20, 2020 (11:27 am)

    How can we give metro feedback on these changes? Didn’t look like there was an email or form on their posting. Is the only recourse the generic comment form? Again, it looks like 125 riders are getting the short end. Agree with others that we should be keeping breadth of coverage more than frequency so that people without other transportation options aren’t left with large gaps.

  • Pam F March 20, 2020 (12:40 pm)

    My husband also works at Harborview , sad that Metro is making it more difficult for essentall medical staff to get to and from work. Remember they don’t work 9 till 5. Now more than ever all the staff need to be able to take care of the patients.

  • anonyme March 20, 2020 (1:03 pm)

    Metro always hits routes with lower ridership, which really doesn’t make sense when you look at the purpose of public transportation.  High ridership routes almost always run more frequently, so cuts mean that riders on those routes still have adequate service.  Not so if you have to rely on a single route to get to work (or elsewhere) and your sole option is eliminated.

  • Kevin Williams March 22, 2020 (9:45 pm)

    Great now how am I am my Co worker’s gonna get to work if our 181,180 not running right how are we going to get to work so we can try to keep this economy and country still running when my job is essential to the economy huh metro ?

    • WSB March 22, 2020 (10:24 pm)

      Those routes are reduced but not cut entirely.

Sorry, comment time is over.