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Metro Connects sets course for better transit service across King County

Summary

The King County Council on Monday approved Metro Connects, Metro Transit long-range plan and a shared vision created by transit customers, community stakeholders, regional leaders and County Executive Dow Constantine.

Story

Metro Connects, the long-range plan for improving King County Metro transit service, was adopted Monday by the King County Council, following review by the Regional Transit Committee. Metro Transit serves more than 400,000 daily riders today; under this plan there will be over one million daily riders on transit throughout King County by 2040.

Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon thanked the County Executive, County Council and Regional Transit Committee for their leadership and approval of the Metro Connects plan.

“When transit service is integrated, customers win,” Gannon said. “Transit demand continues to climb, and with Metro Connects we now begin the work of further expanding this region’s world-class system. Behind the buses and route numbers are the operators, mechanics and planners who will make this plan happen, and we are focused on accomplishing this work so service can better meet customers’ needs now and in the future.”

The enhanced bus network will be integrated with current and expanding Sound Transit Link light rail and Sounder rail networks, and respond to current and evolving transit demand which Metro monitors in its annual System Evaluation report. 

Major features of Metro Connects

  • Shared vision for transit: Metro Connects improves coordination between transit agencies and cities to build an integrated transit network and tie regional transit expansion with local transit services and city development. 
  • More frequent service: Metro will expand RapidRide by another 13 routes by 2025 and finish the alphabet by 2040, creating and a grid of more frequent service
  • Improve all-day and flexible service: Express buses, running every 15-30 minutes all day; more service on the streets early in the morning and very late at night; more flexible services to fit the unique needs identified by communities.
  • Improve access to transit: Create easier and safer ways to drive, walk, or bike to transit
  • Make travel faster with help from partnerships: Work closely with cities and transit agencies on street and travel improvements that support transit

Achievements expected with Metro Connects

  • Transit ridership in King County can more than double to over one million daily boardings.
  • Metro will quadruple the number of people with easy connections to Sound Transit Link light rail to make the most of regional investments.
  • Freedom to travel easily by providing 73 percent of King County residents with frequent bus service within a half-mile by 2040, including even more access to disadvantage populations.  

Background

Metro Connects was created in 2015 and 2016 with the help of transit customers and community partners, including 1,500 people who attended 17 community meetings, and nearly 10,000 survey respondents, 100 technical and community committee members from 39 cities, and 55,000 website visitors.