Tag Archives: Transit Now

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)…

Remember all the new bus service we voted for last fall?

Yesterday, the County Kingpin announced a contract to purchase up to 500 buses, enough to provide that new service*–and then some.

The first 22 articulated hybrids will arrive next spring, with another planned order for 100 buses in 2009 to provide new Rapid Ride service on five routes.


The contract, structured similar to those used in the aviation industry, will give Metro the flexibility to order different types of buses and components specifically designed for different uses whether it is hybrid-electric, regular diesel-powered or European-style coaches fashioned for future bus rapid transit routes. General Motors and Cummins will provide major operating components for the buses.

Metro expects subsequent orders will be used to replace aging buses in its fleet and for expanded service to offset the traffic impacts associated with reconstruction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and State Route 520.

Want to know more (about costs, vehicle specs, and the details of the contract)? Check out this article in Transportation Today.

*Note that some off-peak service improvements are already in place.