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Transportation

Nov. 23, 2010

4 p.m.

Icy roads continue to limit Metro Transit buses

Expect snow routing to continue until roads thaw

Metro Transit continues to caution people to limit travel if possible throughout the remainder of Tuesday due to dangerous conditions on icy and snowy roads. Travel conditions are not expected to be much better on Wednesday morning.

All Metro buses remain on snow routes through Tuesday night, and it is expected they will be on snow routing for Wednesday as well. Riders should check www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow for the most current status of Metro service before traveling. Updates for Wednesday will be made by 4 a.m.

Metro Transit is still urging people to limit travel if possible due to icy and snowy roads  and frigid temperatures.

Expect buses to be crowded and significantly delayed when on snow routes and travel is difficult. It is also likely Metro will continue to have to cancel entire routes, if road conditions do not improve.

Metro staff will be out on the roads overnight and in the morning to assess driving conditions and travel safety. Vehicle maintenance staff will continue to retrieve buses that became stuck in the ice and snow. Temperatures are expected to drop and roads refreeze overnight creating treacherous driving conditions for all vehicles again on Wednesday.

Metro’s website is the best place to get information about service status. If you do not have internet access, call Metro’s Customer Information Center at (206) 553-3000 between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Due to the volume of calls, there could be a wait on the phone lines.

Access transit service is limited to life-sustaining medical trips only due to the unsafe road conditions on both arterials and local streets.

Remember, 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.

People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. 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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