Metro cuts could hurt Sammamish

April 4, 2013

By Ari Cetron

New: April 4, 2:34 p.m.

Sammamish could lose two of the three King County Metro bus routes that serve the city and see cuts to the third, officials announced April 1.

Overall, the transit agency said it could cut 65 routes and reduce service on another 86 routes across the county if it doesn’t get more funding. In total, Metro officials predict a 17 percent service reduction. The agency has 217 routes in the system.

For Sammamish, Metro predicts it would cut the 216 and 927 routes. It would also reduce service on the 269. Officials did not specify the depth of the reduction.

City officials were concerned about the proposed cuts. Mayor Tom Odell noted at the April 2 City Council meeting that virtually the entire Snoqualmie Valley would have its bus routes cut. If that happens, it could means dozens if not hundreds of more cars clogging the roads or trying to use the already crowded park and ride lots in Issaquah and Redmond, he said.

Councilman Don Gerend was upset about the specific cuts to Sammamish, noting that a bus like the 216 is usually full.

“We worked very hard to get that line for Sammamish,” Gerend said.

Some members of the City Council planned a trip to Olympia to lobby state lawmakers for additional funding for transit. With the state’s focus on court-mandated increases in education funding, however, transit funding likely faces an uphill battle.

Without new funding, Metro warns the cuts could begin in the fall 2014.

Metro officials had issued a similar warning about two years ago. At that time, the Legislature allowed King County to adopt a $20 car tab fee, with the money earmarked for transit. Those who paid the fee would also get a few passes to use on Metro busses.

The fee, however, was only authorized for two years, this year and next year.

The fee generates about $50 million each year, Metro officials said in a press release. They also noted the financial reforms they’ve initiated, including cutting staff, freezing wages, reducing service and reducing the number of replacement buses.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Metro cuts could hurt Sammamish”

  1. JC Warren on April 4th, 2013 7:10 pm

    Cutting bus service due to lack of funding is absurd. Why don’t they simply charge the people who ride the buses an appropriate fee to cover costs (and dare I suggest, make a profit?) instead of forcing everyone else to subsidize them? Better yet, privatize the whole affair.

    Cutting “services” in order to extort money from the productive members of society is such a typical example of government hubris.

  2. lori krueger on April 4th, 2013 8:34 pm

    The public transportation options from the Sammamish Plateau are abysmal. I tried so hard to commute with transit into Bellevue and Seattle, it just didn’t make sense to make 2 and 3 bus transfers and spend 90 minutes on a bus

  3. Moravec on April 4th, 2013 9:50 pm

    Basic bus service should be required to any communtiy in King County where tax dollars are spent on Metro.

  4. Ricardo on April 5th, 2013 2:53 pm

    If they are going to cut the 216, at least Metro should extend the 218 through Sammamish so the we still have access to public transportation without driving to the P&R.

  5. Sammamish Bus Rider on April 6th, 2013 10:43 pm

    While the current transit options are lacking in Sammamish, the routes could be adjusted to provide more coverage throughout the day without adding trips. Currently, the only routes that traverse the city main are 216, 269, 927, and 554. 216 is always crowded and doesn’t need adjustments. 269 is currently the (weak) backbone route for the Plateau and just needs more service during mid-day and evenings, so instead of clustering the trips for the morning and evening commutes (15 trips), the route could be spread out a bit more, like one per hour, but running throughout the day (e.g., 6a, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12p, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11). 927 can just be cut–it overlaps with the 269 (if it were spread more through the day), covers about the same area, is a milk run route with an confusing directional loop, and is unreliable. And the 554 should just run through Sammamish on route to Bear Creek P&R more often throughout the day instead of the current 5 runs at twilight hours. Really, just day-time 554 runs would solve most of Sammamish’s transit problem. 545 in Redmond gets all-day and all-weekend service, so why doesn’t the 554 get equal treatment for Sammamish? And 554 should really do weekend runs through Samammish, as well (I can dream, can’t I?). With the Sammamish + Klahanie community at 50k+ headcount strong and quickly rising, I see a lot of pent-up demand for transit, especially given that the pedestrian and cycling facilities are virtually non-existent.

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