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Say goodbye to the 47 as Murray’s Metro funding plan heads to November ballot

The-47-on-Bellevue-600x397The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved sending a measure to the November ballot to save King County’s Metro bus service, but it will be too little too late for Capitol Hill’s Route 47. The $45 million plan (PDF) would prevent several rounds of Metro cuts, but not before the 47 and several other lines are slashed in the first round of service reductions scheduled for September.

The measure, first proposed by Mayor Ed Murray in May, is basically a local version of the county-wide Proposition 1 which failed to pass in April. The Seattle plan would raise sales taxes by .1% and add a $60 vehicle licensing fee in the city.

The council rejected an amendment proposed by council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata that may have saved the 47 by replacing the sales tax increase with an annual $18 employee head count tax and increasing the tax paid by commercial parking lot operators from 12.5% to 17.5%. Those revenue streams could have been enacted by council before the September cuts took place.

On the plus side, Murray’s plan has a solid chance of passing. Over 66% of Seattle voters approved Prop. 1 and nearly 80% of voters in Capitol Hill’s 43rd legislative district approved the measure, which included road funding that the current plan leaves out.

After Eastside and rural King County voters torpedoed Prop. 1, CHS’s Bus Stop said this about the 47’s deep history in the neighborhood:

The 47 is Seattle’s shortest trolley bus line, connecting downtown with one of the densest census tracts on the west coast of the US. For 105 years, a bus or streetcar has come up the Hill from downtown, dropped passengers off on Summit Avenue as it headed north, turned around once it hits Lakeview Boulevard, and then headed back down Bellevue Avenue. Its frequency may have gone up or down as the years elapsed, and the 13 streetcar turned into the 14 bus to Mount Baker, which was eventually decoupled to form the downtown-only 47. But this bus has always been here. That looks about to change.

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18 thoughts on “Say goodbye to the 47 as Murray’s Metro funding plan heads to November ballot

  1. I can’t wait until I get the privilege to ride an even more overcrowded 49 to work every day. Thanks for canceling this route, Seattle. It’s really going to turn things around for you, I’m sure.

  2. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around this. The 47 is only N/S route serving the dense residential area west of Broadway.
    I’ve noticed quite a few mobility-challenged riders on this route who will have a much harder time getting up the steep blocks to Broadway and the overcrowded 49.This will be a tough loss for the Shores of I-5.

  3. With the amount of density that is being encouraged in this neighborhood, this is really unfortunate. The neighborhood is diverse – young, middle aged, older – a number of bus riders who are mobility-challenged, and many people who do not work standard 9-5 work hours, or who choose to take the bus to/from events downtown at night. Cab or Uber is not a viable option for a lot of people who reside along this route.

  4. Eliminating route 47 is deplorable and unacceptable. This make it very difficult for seniors to go downtown or to anywhere besides the Summit district. Please reconsider your recommendation and retain route 47.

  5. I’m going to be bold and say it like it is. Metro has MISMANAGED millions of dollars for years. Now they’ve got the nerve to yank the most needed routes serving the hill.

    THERE’S NO POINT IN VOTING YES ON THE MAYOR’S plan. anybody who votes in favor of a sales tax increase to pay for a bus route that no longer exists isn’t thinking.

  6. I have the answer!! Why don’t you increase the bus fares so that the people who ride the bus, pay for the bus. This would be true equality. If you can’t afford to pay for your transportation, then you should stay home or walk where you need to go. Easy answer to an easy question.

    • Yours is a common sense comment. The Mayor’s plan calls for sales tax increase, which affects everyone….and a car tab tax, which affects only those who drive a car. Is this fair? And please don’t bring up the tired argument that busses help decrease traffic congestion because they take some cars off the road. More often than not, the slow/cumbersome busses increase congestion by impeding traffic flow.

      • Your car and all the other SOVs on the road creates congestion for everyone else and impedes the street for everyone else using the street more efficiently. A bus takes the space of 2 cars and carries 60 people so it frees up space for your car and all the other self centered asshole motorists like you to clog up.

    • Its not like you even close to pay the costs of your sacred car with the free parking, free roads, miniscule fees and drop in the bucket gas tax, so shut the F up and get off your high horse. Yes the bus is subsidized and so is YOUR car.

  7. Taking out transit that the city has grown up around seems really unlikely to help. Where’s Metro’s justification for the cuts? And, as Jeanine says, there are a lot of people in that neighborhood who can’t easily hike up and down it.

    I wonder if a private jitney/matatu/vanpool could take up the slack.

  8. KC Metro needs to raise their bus fare. Their last rate increase was September 1, 2011 ( They eliminated the ride free zone the other year too. Other transit agencies have raise rates, cut back times, and or combined routes in lieu of stopping services entirely to certain neighborhodds. When was the last time KC Metro was audited by the county and state. Hard to believe if there were no findings.

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  11. My opinions are basically covered above. I can’t stress enough the inconvenience for people who are mobility-challenged and seniors who may find walking long distances to get to another trolley route increasing the headways between trolleys making using the 14/47 rather inconvenient. They should try decreasing the headways (i.e. more buses per hour) and you night get some riders back. The decision to delete the 14/47 is nothing short of unacceptable.

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