Photo by Jerry Gay

Metro could face dramatic cuts in 2014

King County Metro Bus could have some problems come 2014, when temporary funding measures run dry.

Metro says for northwest Seattle and North King County, including your favorite neighborhood, bus trips and hours of service are reduced or changed on about 25 routes. Many routes in this area were already changed or eliminated as part of a major service restructure in September, 2012.

In King County overall, 65 routes could get cut and 86 more could get reduced service. Metro has a total of 217 routes.

The cuts are due to a funding gap leftover from a flailing economy and a reliance on a gas tax that has failed to keep pace with the needs of Metro.

According to Metro:

"Metro depends on sales tax revenue for about 60 percent of its operating funds, and has experienced a dramatic drop in revenue since the economic downturn began in 2008. Facing a $1.2 billion revenue shortfall for 2008-2015, Metro has taken many steps to preserve as much service as possible. In 2011, the King County Council approved a temporary congestion reduction charge that is providing about $25 million annually until 2014."

Meaning, once 2013 is up, bus service might not look the same, as Metro could be facing a shortfall of $75 million a year. Metro says they're in talks with city, county and state government on how to proceed with a long-term plan.

King County Metro provides this lowdown on possible cuts and reductions in our neck of the woods:
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  • All-day service—Parts of Shoreline (N 145th Street) could lose all service. North Beach, Sunset Hill (32nd Avenue NW), and west Queen Anne (10th Avenue W) could lose all non-peakperiod service.
  • Peak service—Riders traveling to downtown Seattle, the University District, and Uptown during peak travel periods could see a reduction in service, which could create crowded conditions. Some riders who currently have direct trips could have to transfer to get to their destinations.
  • ƒMidday/weekend service—Green Lake, Greenwood, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Queen Anne, Shoreline, Uptown, and Wallingford could see reductions in services during off-peak periods.
  • ƒNight service—Eastlake, Fremont, Green Lake, Greenwood, Loyal Heights, Queen Anne, Seattle Center, Shoreline, South Lake Union, Uptown, and Wallingford could see reductions in night service.
  • ƒOther changes—In addition to the reductions listed above, some routes could be modifi ed to be more direct or to serve different markets.

Routes that could change: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5X, 8, 16, 19, 24, 26, 26X, 28, 28X, 29, 31, 48, 48X, 61, 66X, 70, 82, 83, 304, 331, 355.
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Other routes that could experience crowding and reliability issues: 13, 32, 40, 44, 330, 345, 346, 358X, RapidRide D Line.

Metro says: "Many riders would have to change the way they travel. Metro would work to accommodate riders on major transit corridors, but some trips would no longer have the capacity to meet the demand for service. Riders on major routes could experience very crowded buses. They could also be passed up by full buses more often, and might have to adjust how they travel as a result of the changes. Metro might have to make further reductions in lower-priority areas in order to provide adequate service levels on major transit corridors."

For more info, visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/Future.aspx

Zachariah Bryan can be reached at zachb@robinsonnews.com

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