Elections
7:44 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Popular King County Bus Routes On The Chopping Block If Prop. 1 Fails

King County Metro buses are facing cuts if Proposition 1 fails to pass. Of those lines facing possible extinction, routes 4, 21 and 72 have the highest ridership, each moving thousands of riders per day.
Credit Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC BY-SA)

King County Metro says if voters don’t approve Proposition 1, the agency will have to cut 70 bus routes. The three most popular lines on the chopping block are routes 4, 21 and 72.

Misty Kohal was waiting for the 72 express in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood. She’s one of over 5,000 riders who board that line every day. 

“I’m a housekeeper," Kohal said. "And I go to my job to turn in checks every week. And the 72 takes me there, but I still have to walk 10 blocks. So if they cut that route, I’m going to have to walk even farther.”

That’s exactly what Metro says will happen if the agency has to make the cuts. Riders will have options. They’ll just be less convenient ones.

Down in West Seattle, Roger Roseborough waited for the number 21. He’s a disabled vet who says vets like him rely on the busses to get to the VA hospital. Rosborough said it’s not right to raise car tab prices, but he’d rather pay the tabs than lose bus service. "Maybe that will make people think, 'Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t have a car, maybe I should get on the bus.' And that would help with pollution and help keep the air a lot cleaner."

Roseborough is one of nearly 4,000 passengers who take the number 21 each day. Most of the riders I spoke with support Proposition 1. But the ballot measure does have opponents.

Dick Paylor is a volunteer with the campaign opposing Metro. “I think that they’ve probably exaggerated what they need to cut,” Paylor said. He believes Metro has room to cut its costs. “There’s only two other agencies in the country — and I believe that it’s Boston and San Jose — that have higher driver salaries than Metro.”

The ballots have been sent out to King County voters for the April 22, 2014, election date.