King County Metro: Prepare For Bus Cuts This Weekend | KUOW News and Information

King County Metro: Prepare For Bus Cuts This Weekend

Sep 24, 2014

Metro Transit employees, like Dominic White, will be out at bus stops this week helping riders prepare for this weekend's cuts
Credit KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

If you are a bus rider in King County, you might want to double check to make sure your bus will be running next week.

This coming weekend, King County Metro will make its largest round of service cuts in its history, affecting more than 10,000 people.

The agency will eliminate 28 routes, including numbers 19, 61 and 202. Service on 13 other routes will be reduced, and 250 bus stops will be closed.

In anticipation of the change, Metro has posted thousands of rider alerts at bus stops and on buses. This week, Metro personnel will be handing out leaflets around the county to ensure that riders are ready.

"We wish we were not doing this,” said Kevin Desmond, Metro's general manager. “If your services are changed, or if you are seeing more crowding on your bus routes as a result of these service reductions, we do ask for everyone’s patience."

This will be the first of several rounds of cuts that are planned for Metro. The agency says it needs to trim about 11 percent of its budget in order to balance its books.

That’s actually less than originally planned. Last year, the agency said it need to make a 16 percent cut, but higher than expected county revenues and additional savings have led the agency to spare some service.

Political leaders in Seattle are hoping that voters will allow them to roll back some of the planned cuts.

In November, voters will be asked to approve Transportation Prop 1. It would raise about $45 million a year through a $60 car tab fee and a .1 percent increase in the sales tax. That money would restore all of the cuts that Metro is planning for 2015.

In addition, supporters say there should be money left over to actually increase bus service on overcrowded routes.

If Prop 1 wins at the polls, Metro's Kevin Desmond says the cuts planned for February 2015 will immediately be put on hold.