Transit riders will reap 2015 rewards of newly approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District on Capitol Hill and beyond

Seattle Transportation Benefit District Routes

Seattle Transportation Benefit District Routes

Yes, indeed, the 47 will come back. Seattle transit riders will reap relatively immediate benefits from Tuesday’s Election Night tally signaling approval of a new Seattle Transportation Benefit District. Officials announced Wednesday that upgrades, fixes, and restoration of service to King County Metro bus lines serving the city will be rolled out in June and September of 2015.

The new district funding will drive three areas of immediate improvement:

  • Add new buses to all 16 Seattle routes that are chronically overcrowded
  • Fix the schedules of all 48 routes that are chronically unreliable
  • Add frequency to 28 high-demand routes

“The message from voters is clear: Seattle riders value Metro Transit, and with this vote, Metro will have the means to deliver more transit for the people of Seattle,” King County Exec Dow Constantine said in a statement detailing the next steps in the district’s creation.

Here’s how the improvements will roll out:

  • More buses on all 16 routes that are chronically overcrowded: Routes C, D, 5, 8, 15X, 16, 18X, 28, 40, 41, 44, 48, 70, 71X, 72, and 74X
  • Revised schedules on all 48 routes that are chronically unreliable: Routes C, D, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17X, 18X, 21X, 21, 24, 25, 26X, 26, 27, 28X, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 37, 40, 41, 43, 44, 48, 49, 55, 56, 57, 60, 64X, 66X, 70, 71, 72, 74X, 76, 83, and 99
  • Better frequency with more trips per hour on at least 28 high demand routes: C, D, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9X, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 24/33, 25, 27, 30, 31/32, 40, 41, 44, 47, 48, 49, 60, 66X/67, 68, 70/71X/72X/73X/74X, 68, and 125
"Last run" of the 47

“Last run” of the 47

You’ll note Route 47, our poster girl for the previously hamstrung Metro budget, is listed as a “high demand route” slated for “better frequency.” After the 47 made its “last run” back in September, any frequency at all will be an upgrade.

Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1 asked Seattle voters if they wanted to buy back sliced Metro services in Seattle and improve existing routes with a $60 annual vehicle license fee and .1% sales tax hike. The measure is expected generate around $45 million annually. The Seattle Times reports the sales tax hike will likely go into effect by spring with the car tab change coming later in summer.

The district will expand the hours of frequent service on more than 20 routes and will add Saturday, Sunday, or night service every 30 minutes “to other routes that do not currently have service at those times.”

Prop 1's tally as of Wednesday night, November 5th

Prop 1’s tally as of Wednesday night, November 5th

As part of the district, the City of Seattle and King County will forge a “Community Mobility Contract” with the following elements, according to a statement on the agreement:

  • Require robust ridership and performance data reporting by Metro
  • Allow independent third-party audits of Metro’s cost allocation process and service data
  • Reduce City responsibility for county administrative overhead
  • Credit Seattle for higher fare box revenue produced on city trolleybus routes
  • Pay only the annual share of new buses required for increased service
  • Protect against supplanting

The district will also create a new operating reserve fund that “will reduce the likelihood of cuts in service in Seattle if system revenues fall as a result a future economic downturn.” $3.5 million will be annually added to the fund.

The Seattle Department of Transportation is also staffing a new Transit Division to “provide additional oversight” over the district.

“As the fastest growing city in America, these investments are a huge step forward,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “With this accountability agreement with the county, Seattle residents will know that they are getting value for their investment in Metro service.”

“With these investments Seattle will have the best bus service in the history of our city,” City Council transportation committee chair Tom Rasmussen said. “I’m grateful to the voters for approving this much needed expansion and can’t wait for the new service to start.”

Transpo Benefit District

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25 thoughts on “Transit riders will reap 2015 rewards of newly approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District on Capitol Hill and beyond

    • Yes, this would be great to know. I wish they would have let us know what the planned route additions and buy backs would have been before the vote. I was torn over voting for this thinking the 47 wouldn’t come back even after I had the privilege of paying an extra $100 a year or more.

  1. One other question or comment….do we get our benches and rain covers back? They ripped those suckers out before the 47 was even gone! Obviously getting the 47 back is the bigger issue, but it would be nice to not have to stand uncovered in the rain on Bellevue waiting for it to arrive.

    Not to sound too cynical, but that’s Government efficiency at it’s finest. Rip them out then put them back in 12 months later. I suppose we’re just lucky they didn’t yank the electric wires down as well.

    Either way, hooray for the 47!!!

    • I heard they would never have been able to rip out the wires anyway since there is a substation on the 47 route that feeds all of the Capitol Hill wires. I’m not sure if this is true or not.

    • There is a substation just south of Thomas on Bellevue that does fee some of the area wires! I assume they could find a way to pull the wires down but it probably would have take some larger reconfiguration.

  2. thank god. I didn’t think the abbreviated schedule of the #27 would screw up my day as much as it has. I’ll be so glad to have weekend and midday bus rides back!

  3. As the resident manager of the RoyVue Apartments which was directly affected by the loss of the 47 line since it stopped right in front of our building on Bellevue Ave. East I want to acknowledge all those in our community who put forth a grassroots effort to have this bus considered as “high demand”.

    One of out tenants of 43 years! was the leader of inspiration for our entire building to get behind this action. She is disabled and NEEDS this service to get to and from her work at varying schedules during the week. She would have lost her job and home here had it not been for a volunteer ride share team, of our own tenants, that we put together for her to get to and from and still utilize ever day.

    We reached out to other buildings, gathered 500 petitions, went to King County Metro public meetings and spoke, wrote city leaders, media, and made as many calls as we could to urge leadership to consider this route as necessary before the cuts and for the reinstatement.

    We all know this was King County Metro’s mismanagement of funding to their over inflated salaries and pensions that has led to these cuts to service, but hopefully the city of Seattle can run this system in a more efficient way than King County Metro even though they are still involved.

    A big round of applause to all those who made the 47 and other bus cuts a priority to save for the good of people like the disabled and transit for all who need it.

    With that said, remember that we can’t keep giving money over to government agencies which mismanage funds this way and hold us, the taxpayer, accountable. The yes vote saved the buses, but put money back into the mismanagement, so keep informed on matters such as these. We should never be forced to make a vote like we just had to make.

    “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

    Thank you for your support.

    • So glad to hear your tenant (unfortunately, I forgot her name) has been able to get transportation help in the meantime to get to/from work, etc. She has worked hard and passionately to rally support for Route #47.

    • Thank you! Having the #47 back (eventually) will also help reduce congestion on the 49 and 43. And be transportation for those who can’t even get to the 43 and 49.

  4. Excellent news for the 47! I do wish was a closer start date with the rain and snow around the corner rather than June when our weather is drier.

  5. Just so you know, the picture you used links to the whole flickr album. I clicked through a few of someone’s cat and then stopped. You should check them out.

  6. So, the City will add a whole division of staff to monitor things like whether they’re absorbing too much County overhead? LOLZ.

    Excited for the buses though!

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  10. Hello I’m making a move from Dallas to Seattle here soon I wanted to Knowles u guys metro get u to all surrounding cities how far it goes an how do u guys like y’all bus system to be honest Dallas is wonderful jus moving to see something different please reply an let me know thanks

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