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Transportation

Nov. 22, 2010

8:30 p.m.

Metro Transit buses will be on snow routing Tuesday morning

Unsafe roads may cause cancellation of some routes

King County Metro Transit is keeping buses in all areas on snow routes for Tuesday morning. Buses will be crowded and significantly delayed, perhaps even worse than Monday due to the road conditions. If those conditions severely deteriorate overnight, Metro may have to cancel entire bus routes in the morning.

Bus riders should check www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow for the most current status of Metro service before traveling Tuesday. If you do not have internet access, call Metro’s Customer Information Center at (206) 553-3000. Due to the volume of calls, there could be a wait on the phone lines.

Roads throughout the Metro service area are expected to be extremely icy and hazardous Monday evening and Tuesday morning. There are also many abandoned vehicles blocking the roadways.

Please be patient, and dress warmly for waiting outdoors. Returning to regular service will be evaluated again after the morning commute.

Access transit service is limited to life-sustaining medical trips only through 9 a.m. Tuesday due to deteriorating road conditions on both arterials and local streets.

When buses are on snow routing, some streets and bus stops may be missed and there are often delays due to travel conditions. There is new snow routing in many areas that is different from past years, so be sure to check the snow routes for all the routes you use most often.

Metro has these tips for winter bus travel.

Know the snow routing for your bus route. Check the timetables at www.kingcounty.gov/metro for snow route maps for each route. Not every bus route has snow routing, but most do. Two routes – 38 and 45 – don’t operate in these conditions. Special bus service between downtown and First Hill, the Route 90, is operating on Monday.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Transit Alerts to keep up with any major changes to bus service. The alerts can be received as email or text messages. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/metro/signup to subscribe.

Metro is using a new online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County.

When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area is color coded and displayed on an online snow map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing.

General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account.

Here are some other snow tips for Metro customers:

• Be patient. Buses are not always on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. And, increased ridership during bad weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office. If you get a busy signal, hang up and call back;

• Dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays, and wear appropriate footwear for the weather;

• Head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points such as park-and-ride lots, transit centers, or shopping centers;

• Riders should wait at bus stops at the very top or very bottom of hills, because buses are often unable to stop for passengers on inclines; and

• Be aware that online programs like Bus Tracker and other privately developed apps become less reliable in bad-weather conditions, as more buses go to snow routing and service is increasingly disrupted. Also, the Trip Planner does not have real-time information once buses go to snow routing.

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