TRANSIT: Metro plans to officially suspend Admiral’s Route 55 starting this fall

“We’re in the enviable position where people want more transit. But – we’re unable to give it to them.”

So said Metro‘s general manager Michelle Allison toward the end of a just-concluded media briefing with early warning of route suspensions planned for the next twice-yearly “service change,” on September 2nd.

One West Seattle route is on the list – Route 55, which is scheduled for only six trips a day now, five in the morning, one in the afternoon (its schedule was officially reduced last September). “Scheduled” is the key word here – as riders know, Metro has been frequently canceling trips. Allison said the point of suspending more routes – 32 of the current 156 system-wide – is to improve reliability so that by the time they get to September, “the schedule IS the service,” not just an aspirational plan.

Here’s the full list of what they’re planning now for a September 2nd change. And needless to say, currently suspended routes aren’t in the plan for restoration – that would include long-suspended West Seattle Route 37. We asked how they can be certain that this round of suspensions will put them on the road to reliability. Allison, who took over as Metro GM earlier this year, said they believe they’ve done enough analysis and “daylighting” of personnel and supply-chain reality, that they have an accurate picture of what they can reliably deliver. She added that what’s on the schedule starting September 2nd is roughly equal to what, with ongoing trip cancellations, they’re actually delivering now.

Again, the changes announced today – and other forthcoming adjustments – won’t officially be part of the schedule as of September 2nd – so until then, Route 55 is still, technically, operational.

38 Replies to "TRANSIT: Metro plans to officially suspend Admiral's Route 55 starting this fall"

  • Kt May 11, 2023 (11:10 am)

    Weirdly the 113 was not axed.

    • sam-c May 11, 2023 (4:39 pm)

      Why is that weird? Its service was paused during the pandemic, but has been back for a while now, and people use it.  It’s only a few trips to downtown in the morning, and trips back in the afternoon- is that the same type of service that Route 55 was?  Just curious as I’m familiar with 113 but not 55.

  • newnative May 11, 2023 (11:30 am)

    The reduction in service is really hard on us. There is one 56 bus that runs at 6AM from California/Admiral and the next one is 7:20. The 6:40 and 7:00 have been “cancelled” for a very long time. The 7:20 does not get me into downtown early enough for me to on time. When I go home, I have to run up hill to hopefully catch a bus that will connect me to a 56 that sometimes departs early. Yesterday I worked late and realized there was no 56/57 that departed Columbia from 5:45 until 7:04 pm. 

  • Derek May 11, 2023 (11:52 am)

    Why??? I rely on this! Can we appeal?

    • Question Authority May 11, 2023 (12:20 pm)

      Staffing, that’s why.  Let’s also not ignore the elephant in the room and talk about Fare evasion revenue loss, Non Destination Riders, drug use and assaults on drivers that have all taken a toll on peoples willingness to work for Metro.

      • Brian May 11, 2023 (4:16 pm)

        Why would fare evasion be a factor at all? 

        • Question Authority May 11, 2023 (4:44 pm)

          Because fares help cover expenses and staffing requires funding, and without staffing you lose service.  It’s all tied one way or another because how can you hire when budgets are short because of theft.

          • Bus May 11, 2023 (8:26 pm)

            Fares aren’t a huge source of funding to begin with and the small percentage that is unpaid is pretty insignificant.  It’s less than the cost of the fare enforcement officers. 

        • Mel May 11, 2023 (6:43 pm)

          Why would it not be a factor? Less people paying is less revenue for additional routes.

  • Phillip May 11, 2023 (12:42 pm)

    The so-called elephant in the room is the moron who would find that an “enviable” position.Just what exactly is the “enviable” part of that?

    • WSB May 11, 2023 (1:04 pm)

      If it didn’t come across in the copy, sorry, but it was clear that GM Allison found the “people want more transit” part “enviable,” not the “we can’t give them more” part. – TR

  • Kyle May 11, 2023 (12:56 pm)

    I’m genuinely curious why the 128 to the C line transfer isn’t an option for 55 riders? I’m assuming that was why it made the cut list. Do the transfer times not line up? That might be something to talk to Metro about.

    • newnative May 11, 2023 (3:47 pm)

      The (C)rapidride can get really crowded. In the afternoon, having to transfer to another bus means an additional 20 minutes. I only used the 55 as a back up to the 56/57 but now that’s not possible. 

      • No Admiral District Bus Love May 11, 2023 (7:07 pm)

        Yep – had to use the 55 today because the 56/57 are so frequently cancelled now during peak hours morning and night (just like the 55). I’m having to take the c line regularly because of this and it’s a pretty annoying trek way up the hill (good exercise but I can only imagine the difficulty for elderly or disabled passengers) and as you said it gets super crowded now (no seats full standing).  If the other options were more reliable and not packed it wouldn’t be a huge loss, but here we are. 

    • Former 55 Rider May 11, 2023 (3:49 pm)

      I used to commute downtown and far preferred the 55. It meant not having to transfer and get on the super crowded C line and fight for a spot to stand.  Yes, it is an option, but it just makes an already tiring commute a little more unpleasant. You can also take the 50 to light rail, but that takes forever.  Honestly, I miss the pre-C line days when the 55 ran all day and into the night. It meant you could easily grab a bus downtown straight to the Admiral District after a show and not have to worry about connections and missing transfers. 

    • John Slyfield May 11, 2023 (9:23 pm)

      It is an option the options listed were just those that metro identified as most useful. The 128 isn’t going anywhere. The trip planner will reflect the changes and help riders adapt to what’s best for them as we get closer to September 2. Also some people are mentioning fares. Metro has the money to operate the services that’s not the issue. It’s drivers and parts. Also those who aren’t paying fares likely won’t help this problem because the marginal cost of giving them a ride is near zero seeing as metro already has to run the trips.  There are other issues that go beyond fare collection and it’s best we focus on the well being of the affected individuals rather than the fact they can’t afford to pay 

    • Sue May 12, 2023 (8:32 am)

      I used to live on Delridge and relied on the 128 to get to the Junction or Southcenter years ago. Because of the length of the route it was always unpredictable and never on schedule.  It also used to run every 30 minutes (I thik it might be 20 now) which was a long time to wait for a connection.When I lived near the Junction I used to always take the 55.  The walk was closer to my home than the C line, was closer to my office downtown, and I could get a seat on it. I’m disabled and had to fight my way onto a C, and then would have to ask someone for a seat and half the time they pretended they didn’t hear me. The 55 was more pleasant. At least before they kept cancelling it last minute all the time.  Besides, a single ride is always better than connections.

  • Winston Smith May 11, 2023 (12:59 pm)

    “We’re cutting services to meet our service goals!”  George Orwell would be so proud.

    • Seattlite May 11, 2023 (1:10 pm)

      Exactly….”1984″ double speak and double think.

  • DRW May 11, 2023 (1:02 pm)

    Well then if Metro is not able to give us more transit can we put a hold on building apartments with no parking?

    • Tae May 11, 2023 (3:25 pm)


      • wetone May 11, 2023 (8:11 pm)

        Maybe it’s all part of the grand scheme of things protecting certain areas from Inslee’s new zoning changes. Won’t have to worry about single family neighborhoods being impacted if there is no bus service in area,  they’ll only get 3 units per lot  instead of 6+ ;)

    • Reed May 12, 2023 (6:58 am)

      Nope. Those people can park their cars on the street in the surrounding neighborhoods.

      • Raccoon Bluff May 12, 2023 (1:34 pm)

        Prolly not. The city cops are again (post-Covid) tagging and impounding vehicles parked on residential neighborhood streets for longer than 72 hours. Especially around upper scale grade schools where hordes of parents drive their kids to and from – and are too lazy to park in the school parking lot (e.g. Genesee Hill School), instead angling to get as close as possible to the school entrance by parking on city streets and hogging residents’ available space for parking. Tagging and impounding, as I understand it, only happens in response to “citizen complaints” so I have to assume it’s the entitled school-parent drivers wanting more convenience parking who are fueling the purge by turning in residents just trying to park near their own houses.

  • flimflam May 11, 2023 (1:03 pm)

    I distinctly remember one of the last levies dealing with metro we were promised hellfire, brimstone and route cuts if we didn’t approve the levy. Of course it was approved, like every other levy, and here we are with route cuts anyway.

  • Andy May 11, 2023 (1:11 pm)

    The dearth of bus coverage to the Admiral District is already truly frustrating. This is just a little more salt in the wound.

  • C May 11, 2023 (2:09 pm)

    City: we need people out of single occupancy vehicles and more folks to commute on public transit. Also city: cutting all busses, good luck 

    • WSB May 11, 2023 (2:14 pm)

      Clarification, Metro is run by King County. So they’re who’s making the cuts. However, the city does provide some supplementary funding, so it can get confusing – TR

  • Megan May 11, 2023 (2:21 pm)

    The 55 seems kind of redundant when riders can just take the 128 south and transfer to the C. Both of those routes run more frequently and all day. I mean, yeah the C can get a little crowded in the mornings, but it also runs like every 10 minutes. 

    • Mellow Kitty May 11, 2023 (5:13 pm)

      Sometimes the transfer can be up to 3 busses getting from Admiral/Alki to get places downtown. The busses don’t connect well and a simple trip to First Hill can take hours when you include the wait for each bus. There is serious need for a direct connection to downtown from those areas. 

    • Dano May 11, 2023 (9:47 pm)

      The 128 is not a great option … 1st of all it adds 4-6 block walk for those on the far north end of Admiral … 2nd you end up either waiting thru 2-3 full busses (30-45 minutes) or shoehorn yourself on for a 45 minute stand up run to downtown.  And all the time we are hearing that developers are not required to provide parking in the projects because we want people to take transit.

  • oerthehill May 11, 2023 (2:28 pm)

    I use to ride the 55 frequently to use all the resources and conveniences of down town and the ease of not having to transfer. I bet I’m not the only one who chooses to no longer use down town for anything due to the crime. Could also be some of the low ridership.

  • 42nd Mom May 11, 2023 (4:28 pm)

    For almost 30 years, I have taken the bus downtown to work AND paid my fare. Over the last several years, the 55 has not been a reliable option. It was especially hard when there were no transit alerts.  Now I get transit alerts all day that the 55 will not be operating! I have been late to work multiple times when the bus doesn’t show up and I walk somewhere else to get the bus. I have had to Uber home at night because no WS buses show up. Not even the C Line. I have had to take a random WS bus just to get to WS and then get home a different way. Just not knowing if the bus will show up to take me to or from work is a horrible start and end to the day. When I did take the bus, I felt much safer on the 55. Too many strange and scary incidents on the packed C Line. Transferring from he 128 wasn’t a good option for me. Too much has been put on bus drivers and I totally understand why there is a lack of drivers.  I have given up and now drive into work.  I guess I did my part for almost three decades to keep single occupancy vehicles off the road. Oh well.  I tried. Make it too hard for people to take the bus and they just won’t take it anymore. I am lucky I have a car to use to go to work.

  • star 55 May 11, 2023 (10:09 pm)

    I just wish metro had a way to insure everyone paid their fare. After sounders and mariners games rapid ride h and c just have people fill buses without having fare paid. I understand getting people on board asap but come on have a way for people to pay their fare.

    • CAM May 12, 2023 (7:59 am)

      Unless they’ve changed things, transit is generally free after professional sporting events coming from the stadiums. Nobody is evading paying. 

  • Alex May 13, 2023 (1:28 am)

    I learned to take a bus as a kid in the 1980s on the 55, sometimes the 54. It’s been 20 years since I left Seattle, but this news makes me sad. I guess times are changing.

    • newnative May 13, 2023 (7:54 am)

      Alex, the 55 and the 56 radically changed after the rapidrides started being built. when I moved here in 2009, those were the buses to take downtown and they ran all day. I really them. 

  • Susan May 16, 2023 (5:30 pm)

    The unreliability of the 55/56/57 routes has been a total drag for us these past months. Our teenage son was able to ride home from downtown after school in the afternoon for several years but now every day is a bust with cancellation after cancellation, you no longer can make plans.  A total joke. Seattle is just not the place it used to be; Belltown bus stops are not safe unless you feel like purchasing meth or having your phone stolen, there is little reliable public transportation to a populated city neighborhood, and as others have mentioned the rapidly growing density of West Seattle has had a huge impact on both Bridge and local traffic. 

Sorry, comment time is over.