Metro‘s September “service change” is now 2 1/2 weeks away, so today the transit service officially announced what’s changing, as well as new safety features.
CHANGES: Saturday, September 19th, is this fall’s “service change” date; all the changes – including continued suspensions – are listed here. A West Seattle highlight: “Almost all service” will be restored on Routes 55, 56, and 57. You can follow those links for new timetables, or, Metro suggests, ” Riders can use Metro’s online trip planner and enter a date of Sept. 19 or later to see options.”
SAFETY: Also in today’s announcement:
Metro is now installing safety partitions to allow front-door boarding in preparation for restoring fares, targeted for Oct. 1, although a firm date has yet to be announced.
The plexiglass safety partitions will swing into position when a driver opens the front door, minimizing interaction between boarding passengers and the driver. The partition also can be opened manually by the driver to allow them to leave their seat to assist passengers, including those who use mobility devices. …
Each automated partition is estimated to cost $3,200, about half the $6,000 cost for a comparable manual-only door from an outside vendor. Metro is using CARES Act funds to help pay for the equipment.
Metro has more than 1,000 barriers out of 1,444 produced today, and expected to have all partitions installed by October.
The new partitions were “designed, engineered, and fabricated by Metro’s in-house vehicle maintenance staff,” the announcement says, along with this:
Alongside new safety partitions, Metro is installing mask dispensers on 102 buses this month, starting with RapidRide buses on the A and F lines in south King county and 60-foot trolley buses on routes 7, 36, 43, 44, and 49 in Seattle. Metro intends to install more dispensers on other high-ridership routes in the future.
Each dispenser holds about 150 masks, and Metro will monitor demand and refill them as needed. The King County Council designated funds to purchase and make available masks on public transportation.
Metro says it sampled mask compliance on four high-ridership routes recently and it ranged from 72 percent to 85 percent. Ridership, meantime, is less than 40 percent of what it was last year (on weekdays).