Delayed work — including new parking restrictions and expanded bus stops on Capitol Hill — to make the heavily-used but notoriously behind schedule Metro Route 8 line more dependable is expected to be wrapped up this week.
The “Report it to Stop It” campaign focuses on encouraging riders to report the problem: Metro is calling on riders to report misconduct by:
- Telling their Metro bus driver at the time of the incident,
- Calling the King County Sheriff’s Office/Metro Transit Police 206-296-3311,
- Calling 911.
The push to encourage reporting comes amid a huge increase in reported incidents, according to officials. “Since the #MeToo movement gained widespread attention in October 2017, calls to KCSARC’s Resource Line have increased by more than 50% compared to the previous year,” Metro says.
If you can’t beat them, join them. King County Metro is looking to form a consortium of “two to five employers” to form a “shared employer shuttle” pilot.
“Metro is exploring these partnerships to find new ways to connect people to transit service and provide customers with mobility options,” Metro GM Rob Gannon said.
The one-year pilot seeks to band together a group of employers somewhere in the county for a Metro shuttle program to transport employees to their jobs and homes. “Only workers at those companies would be eligible to ride shared shuttles,” the Metro notice on the call for proposals reads. Continue reading
The King County Council Monday voted on a new flat pricing for Metro transit fares — $2.75.
Bye, transit zones and peak fares. 👋
— King County, WA (@KingCountyWA) November 14, 2017
“We’ve heard from the community, and we are responding by making riding Metro Transit in King County easier and more convenient,” said Rod Dembowski, chair of the county council’s transportation committee and prime sponsor of the legislation, said. “Riders, especially ones new to the system, should have the confidence to board a Metro bus and know the required fare. I hope the flat fare makes using Metro more understandable and encourages first-time users to ride Metro.”
“The new fare plan eliminates a payment system that fluctuated between time and distance and could cost an adult rider between the ages 19-64 anywhere from $2.50 to $3.25 a ride,” the county said in its announcement.
The new adult fare also will not affect the roughly Metro riders who pay ORCA Lift—Metro’s low income fare program— or youth, senior, and disabled fares. The agency says roughly 2/3 of its riders will pay the standard adult fare.
The new flat rate goes into effect starting July 2018.
If you have an ORCA card supplied by your employer, sorting out what you’re going to pay to ride a Metro bus is pretty simple. But, for the rest of us, King County’s fare system is, as the Seattle Transit Blog says, unfair and complex.
Metro is rolling out a survey to help shape a proposal planned to get in front of the county council by June. You can add your thoughts in the first planned survey here by April 7th. You can read what the experts at STB have to say about the plan and what is behind the effort to change the system here:
The background materials presented to the Advisory Committee convened for this project show that Metro is primarily focused on two goals: in the short term, potential elimination of zone and peak surcharges, and in the longer term, moving gingerly toward cashlessness and/or universal off-board payment. Please take the survey, and we’ll keep you updated with additional feedback opportunities as the project progresses. You may also email comments to Metro’s DeAnna Martin.
Given the tight turnaround time to get the proposal in front of the King County Council, a second survey on options for how to best shape a new fare structure will follow in April.
Metro is also holding public meetings on the fare review. The next is April 4th at King Street Station from 3:30 to 5:30 PM.
You can learn more at kingcounty.gov.
King County has agreed on a price for the Washington State Convention Center to acquire the Convention Place Station bus facility, part of the $1.6 billion project to expand the center and a harbinger of the end of Metro’s use of the downtown transit tunnel.
The WSCC will pay $161 million for the land over the next 30 or so years — $275 million with interest.
“This proposed sale will help support Metro’s service and reliability improvements for the next three decades,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in the announcement of the agreement. “Meanwhile, the expansion of the Convention Center will generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic growth for the region. This agreement is good for taxpayers, transit riders, and workers.” Continue reading
More Capitol Hill commuters are traveling by public transportation — and they’re ditching buses in favor of light rail and the First Hill Streetcar in droves. The new numbers come from the Seattle Transit Blog’s analysis of the first release of systemwide ridership data following the opening of Capitol Hill Station, UW Station, and the U-Link restructure that optimized Metro’s lines around the opening of light rail service between downtown and the University of Washington via Broadway.
While Capitol Hill-area riders are less likely to be hopping on a bus, the data comparing Fall 2015 with Fall 2016 activity show Metro’s restructure apparently paid off by putting the county system to work serving areas away from the light rail circuit and feeding riders to the stations. “Despite an aggressive ULink restructure, Metro ridership stayed flat, declining by just 0.2%,” the STB wonks write. Continue reading
You likely won’t see one regularly crossing Capitol Hill until 2020 but King County Metro is accelerating its efforts to reduce emissions and become a carbon neutral system with a $90 million-plus plan to add more than 100 battery-only electric buses to its fleet.
“This puts us in on the forefront of innovation and technology,” King County Council member Rod Dembowski said. “We were innovators in wheelchair lifts. We were innovators in hybrid electric. Transit agencies look to us for what they’re going to adopt.”
“We are signaling that is is proven technology,” the county District 1 rep tells CHS. Continue reading
The notoriously undependable but much-depended on Metro 8 might be a little more trustworthy thanks to changes planned on Denny Way including two stretches of bus-only lanes and improved bus stops on Capitol Hill segments of its route.
“Though reliability increased when Route 8 was divided into two separate routes in March 2016, late buses are still a problem, especially during rush hour and major events at the Seattle Center,” the agency said in its announcement of the planned streamlining.
On Capitol Hill, Metro announced that “on-street parking will be restricted on short sections of Denny Way, Olive Way, East John Street, and East Thomas Street” and two bus stops on E Olive Way and E John will be expanded “so buses don’t have to leave and re-enter heavy traffic, and to provide more space and amenities for waiting passengers.” Continue reading
King County Metro will field public comment through October on a proposal to expand its late night bus service:
The public is encouraged to review the proposal and offer comments via an online survey until Oct. 30. Public comments will help shape a final proposal, which could go before the County Council later this year. If approved, it will take effect in September 2017.
The agency says late night passengers represent “a small portion of Metro’s total ridership,” but that demand appears to be growing, with boarding increasing “by 20 percent in the last five years.”
Details of the proposal can be found at kingcounty.gov and the full announcement from Metro is below. Across the Hill, Route 11 would see boosted service along with possible tweaks to improve transfers on other routes. Continue reading