Transit Now (but maybe not later)

Despite some pretty serious money problems, Metro is continuing to fulfill its promises to voters by expanding transit service in the region. This Saturday’s shakeup will include two new routes and increased service on many existing routes.

New routes: 157 (serving Lake Meridian P&R) and 215 (serving Issaquah and North Bend)

Routes with increased service: 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 14, 26, 28, 41, 44, 46, 143, 153, 164, 209, 230, 253, 269, 915

(Oh, 27, why do the transit gods give you no respect? Do they not see how efficiently you zoom down Yesler, putting those excruciatingly slow trolleys [not to name names, but the single-digit routes on the list] to shame?)

Also, some good news for bike nerds: Starting on Monday, you can load your bike at any station in the transit tunnel, instead of only at the first and last stations.

You can find all the details in the county’s press release or in this article.

I am happy for the increased service, but–given that there are no prospects for a reversal of the agency’s financial fortunes–I’m worried about how long it will last. Metro needs to start lobbying the state (right now) to authorize more funding options for transit agencies; sales tax is hardly the most reliable or progressive. In the meantime, we need to work together as a community to identify revenue sources that don’t require state approval. Rochester, NY and Detroit provide some instructive examples.

Other possibilities: contracts with vendors at transit centers and in the bus tunnel, leasing (instead of selling) unused property, bake sales (kidding! sort of)…