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Transportation

Jan. 17, 2012

Snow routing continues for Metro buses, with additional route cancellations scheduled for Wednesday

Service may be added back in morning if snow storm is less severe than predicted

With a major snow storm forecast to hit King County early Wednesday, King County Metro Transit is keeping its buses on snow routing until future notice. It is also planning on canceling up to 30 individual bus routes Wednesday morning due to the predicted severity of the coming storm.

Bus riders should sign up for Transit Alerts to receive notification of route cancellations, but also check the service status before traveling on Wednesday. If there is major snowfall, bus service will be significantly disrupted and delayed. People should avoid traveling if at all possible.

Due to the weather forecast for treacherous and impassable roadways, Metro is scaling back some service Wednesday to be able to operate the rest of its system safely and as reliably as possible. The routes scheduled to be canceled for Wednesday are: 2EX, 38, 42, 45, 46, 51, 53, 79, 114, 161, 162, 175, 192, 193, 197, 205, 210, 215, 216, 219, 224, 237, 251, 268, 277, 316, 355, and the Center Park Shuttle.

Information about these Wednesday route cancellations will be added to Metro’s snow page after midnight tonight. But, service on those routes could be restored depending on overnight weather forecasts and actual travel conditions tomorrow. So before traveling, riders should check the snow web page for the most current status of Metro service.

For travel on Wednesday, check Metro’s snow web page before leaving. Updates to the online information begin as early as 4 a.m. and continue as needed until travel conditions improve. Also, it is important to sign up for Transit Alerts so you can be alerted when bus service status changes.

Even though weather and road conditions in the morning may not be bad in your area, delays and service disruptions can occur in other parts of the county that affect bus service in your area. Buses will also be chained, which means they have to travel at slower speeds.

Here are some tips for bus travel during these conditions:

• Know the snow routing for your bus route. Check the timetables on Metro Online for snow route maps for each route. Not every bus route has snow routing, but most do;

• When buses are on snow routing, some streets and bus stops may be missed and there are often delays due to travel conditions. Be sure to check the snow routes for all the routes you use most often;

• If you haven’t already, please 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/snow to subscribe;

• Metro uses an online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service, which can be found online. 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 will be color coded and displayed on the online 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. Blue is used when the Emergency Service Network (ESN) is in place;

• People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000 from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account;

• 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;

• 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; and

• 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.

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