Update: The list of threatened cutbacks, reductions — and eliminations — for the Capitol Hill area and central Seattle have been added at the bottom of the post. Only one on-Hill route appears to be a possible target for elimination. If the threatened Metro belt tightening occurs, say goodbye to Harvard Ave’s Route 25. A long list of Capitol Hill-crossing routes could see a reduction in midday and peak service, documented below.
Officials said Monday that funding shortfalls could mean Metro faces up to 65 routes eliminated and up to 86 routes potentially reduced and revised — about 40% of the system.
The release of the threatened cutbacks comes as legislators in Olympia consider a statewide transportation funding package.
We’ve also embedded Metro’s annual report to be presented to the King County Council Monday afternoon, below, for an in-depth look at the transit service, the opportunities it provides and the challenges it faces.
Original Report: We haven’t done many April Fool’s posts on CHS but there have been a few good tricks here and there:
- 2011: CHS Pics: Pine/Pike prank
- 2010: Group makes April Fool’s joke, still takes “First Hill Streetcar” name literally
Organizers have also been adamant that Monday’s dance-in in Olympia is not an April Fool’s shenanigan. We’re assuming Metro’s announcement about an announcement is also not a prank.
Monday, the doomy and gloomy (14 to 16% cuts coming by next summer) GM of the King County transit system, Kevin Desmond, is slated to release a report detailing cuts to the system *if* new sources of funding can’t be found:
Facing funding shortfall, Metro to release report showing routes at risk for cuts, revisions
Reforms made, reserves drawn-down, and temporary funding expires next year Metro Transit faces a funding shortfall due to lagging sales tax revenues during the Great Recession, and temporary funding runs out next year. Without a stable source of revenue, Metro estimates 17 percent of bus service will face cuts and revisions. A report outlining routes at risk of cancellation or reductions will be delivered to the King County Council Monday, April 1.
Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond will brief media at 10 a.m. Monday, April 1, to share the report, the potential service cuts and what bus riders face unless Metro can obtain a stable revenue source.
10 a.m. Monday, April 1
King Street Center, 201 S. Jackson St. Seattle
Eighth Floor Conference room
Metro has a projected $75 million annual budget gap beginning in 2014. The county temporarily averted bus cuts by enacting a two-year Congestion Reduction Charge, but that $20-per-vehicle charge expires in 2014. Metro also made extensive financial reforms and raised fares to keep buses on the road. Metro’s financial reserves, which also helped provide a one-time financial stop-gap, will be depleted and not available on an ongoing basis to sustain service.
Metro operates 217 routes and is the ninth largest transit system in the country. The agency has a fleet of 1,400 buses that carried 115 million passengers in 2012 – Metro’s second highest ridership ever. Metro’s largest source of funding is sales tax revenue, and since late 2007 the weak economy has caused ongoing revenue shortfalls. If new funding does not become available, Metro’s 2013-2014 budget assumes that deep service cuts will begin in fall 2014 and continue in 2015.
The state legislature is considering funding solutions for transportation needs statewide, including transit. King County has joined with the Sound Cities Association and the city of Seattle to ask the legislature for local transportation funding tools.
Cuts discussed recently have focused particularly on West Seattle-related service that could end with the coming retirement of an “enhanced” service package temporarily paid for by WSDOT:
Service enhancements that are at risk when funding ends
30 peak period trips on six routes: 18 X, 21 X, 56 X, 120, 121 and 358. Twenty-two of these trips are West Seattle-downtown routes.
Schedule adjustments on 16 routes: RapidRide C Line, 21 (local and X), 37, 55, 56 X, 57, 113, 116 X, 118 X, 119 X, 120, 121, 122, 123 and 125.