Council adopts effort to reduce overcrowding, increase productivity and implement RapidRide
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved the September 2013 Metro Transit service changes that focus on assisting commuters in east King County and creating a demonstration transit project in the the Snoqualmie Valley.
“Metro’s September 2013 transit service changes retool existing resources to address overcrowded buses and provide right-sized transit for rural communities,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “While it would be better to provide for the region’s growing transit needs by expanding the transit network, Metro is using creative, revenue-neutral solutions to address the most urgent transit needs.”
“As Chair of the Regional Transit Committee, I am pleased to see successful regional cooperation,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “These are helpful efficiencies and cost saving measures that provide flexibility in the delivery of important transit services to all parts of the county.”
The adopted changes to I-90 commuter bus routes address chronic overcrowding by redistributing resources within the corridor for faster and more direct trips, it will allow Metro to meet customer demand without adding service hours. The changes focus on overcrowding at the Issaquah Highlands Park-and-Ride by providing additional service, while ensuring that there is still adequate service at other stops.
Metro’s first alternative service demonstration project in the Snoqualmie Valley includes changes to the fixed route bus network and the establishment of a new alternative intra-valley shuttle. The Intro-Valley Shuttle will connect Duvall and North Bend via Carnation, Fall City, and Snoqualmie. The shuttle will operate in both directions on weekdays only, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. about every 90 minutes. The shuttle will have a voluntary, suggested donation on intra-valley trips but will not have a farebox or be part of the ORCA regional fare system.
“I’m very pleased with Metro’s Snoqualmie Valley right-sizing demonstration project. It’s obvious that they listened to the residents of the Valley when creating their plan,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, whose district includes the Snoqualmie Valley. “I’m glad that it will help meet the growing transportation needs of the Snoqualmie Valley by providing better service in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. I’m hopeful this will be a model for future collaboration.”
The concept of alternatives to regular fixed-route transit service was proposed in 2010 by the Regional Transit Task Force, the panel created to develop a vision for public transportation in King County. The Council incorporated the proposal as part of the Transit Strategic Plan adopted by the Council in 2011.
The focus of the alternative services concept is to increase productivity and reduce costs while improving mobility in areas that are difficult to serve in a cost effective way with traditional transit services. Metro has worked with the community in the creation of the service and has identified a committed local funding partner and local service provider that can operate intra-valley service at a lower cost.
The service change also includes implementing two more RapidRide lines in 2014, the E Line in February and the F Line in June 2014. RapidRide provides high quality, frequent service with enhanced passenger facilities, real time information signs, and proof of payment fare collection system. The ordinance includes minor changes near the F Line that will minimize route duplication and improve overall system effectiveness.
Detailed information on the specific route changes is available on the Metro Transit website.