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Meetings ahead for Metro bus cuts

Summary

Due to inaction to date on stable funding for public transit, Metro must begin three months of meetings across King County to inform riders of proposed drastic bus cuts due to the absence of funding.

Story

Nov. 20 starts three months of outreach on cuts in absence of stable funding

Due to inaction to date on stable funding for public transit, Metro must begin three months of meetings across King County to inform riders of proposed drastic bus cuts due to the absence of funding.

The first meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 20, in Federal Way.

Facing the proposed cancellation of 74 bus routes and revisions to 107 other routes, Metro is working hard to help riders understand the details and consequences of cutting up to 17 percent of the transit agency’s service. Thousands of riders have visited Metro’s website to see how the cuts affect them.

The question of whether these cuts can be averted is in the hands of the state legislature, which has not yet approved stable funding authority sought by King County. Metro must take steps to reduce costs in 2014 and in 2015 as temporary funding expires and reserves are exhausted.

The proposed cuts could mean a loss of an unprecedented 14 million rides annually, and would revert Metro’s service to levels not seen since 1997 – even as ridership nears all-time highs. Metro provides about 400,000 rides each day and is nearing the annual record of 119 million riders reached in 2008.

Metro Transit meetings

  • Federal Way: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6-8 p.m., Federal Way Community Center, 876 South 333rd St., Federal Way
  • West Seattle: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6-8 p.m., Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle
  • North Seattle: Thursday, Dec. 5, 6-8 p.m., North Seattle Community College, 9600 College Way N, Seattle
  • Downtown Seattle: Tuesday, Dec. 10, noon- 2 p.m., Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle
  • Bellevue: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6- 8 p.m., Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue
  • Kent: Monday, Dec. 16, 6-8 p.m., Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N, Kent
  • Kirkland: Thursday, Jan. 16, 6- 8 p.m., Peter Kirk Community Center, 12421 103rd Ave NE, Kirkland
  • Southeast Seattle: Thursday, Jan. 23, 6-8 p.m., South Shore K-8, 4800 South Henderson St., Seattle
  • North King County: Monday, Jan. 27, 6-8 p.m., Lake Forest Park City Hall, 17425 Ballinger Way NE, Lake Forest Park

Also, Metro staff will be out at certain transit and community centers to share information and answer questions, shown in an online schedule.

Metro faces an annual funding shortfall of $75 million needed for 600,000 hours of service and bus purchases. Another 150 daily bus trips between West Seattle and downtown Seattle – buses that ease construction congestion during the Alaskan Way Viaduct project – also are at risk of being canceled in June when state funding ends.

The King County Council is expected next spring to consider the proposed cuts service cuts.

Route details: Proposed cuts of up to 600,000 hours of service, or about 17 percent of Metro’s current service, and 45,000 hours of Alaskan Way Viaduct construction mitigation service, are posted online. An overview info sheet also summarizes the situation (pdf).

Financial management, reforms:
Metro kept service on the road through the financial crisis by implementing comprehensive financial reforms that have closed the budget gap by $800 million from 2009 through 2013.

Public outreach, meetings:
Metro planspublic meetings and other informational opportunities throughout the county during the next three months. Riders with questions or comments can visit Metro’s service cuts page for more information. On social media channels, riders can use #KCMetroCuts to join the conversation.