Route 99 is leaving First Avenue

Route 99, which serves First Avenue in downtown Seattle, will be relocated later this summer or early this fall when the Seattle Department of Transportation begins construction on the new Center City Connector Streetcar.

A popular route for visitors during the summer, Route 99 currently travels along First Avenue between Broad Street and South Jackson Street, and along South Jackson Street between First Avenue and Interstate 5. During the summer, it runs seven days a week, all day long. The rest of the year it runs only during peak commute hours.

When construction begins, Route 99 will move to Third Avenue for northbound trips and Second Avenue for southbound trips.

Metro is proposing to eliminate the route next March. There are many alternative bus routes on Third Avenue for riders to choose from, and the new streetcar is scheduled to begin serving First Avenue in 2020. Metro will consider ideas for future transit service in the area at that time.

We invite riders and stakeholders to take this online survey and tell us your thoughts on this proposed change and other ideas for future transit service in the area. The deadline is July 16.
RT99Map
Metro initially considered moving Route 99 to Western Avenue instead of Third Avenue, but found road conditions on Western unable to support bus service. Also, congestion around the Pike Place Market would likely affect reliability.

New Belltown stops proposed

To help riders who would be affected by lost service in Belltown, Metro is proposing to add a new pair of stops on Broad Street at the intersections of First Avenue and Second Avenue. These would connect to service between Belltown and Pioneer Square.

Metro invites riders to share their feedback and ideas for future transit service in the area through an online survey, open through July 16.

What the new timeline for Convention Place Station means for riders

Crossposted from KCDOT’s Inside Transportation blog

This week’s King County Council approval of the sale of Convention Place Station for expansion of the Convention Center will bring a steady and reliable stream of revenue to Metro Transit – an aggregated $275 million over 32 years to support service and reliability improvements that begin to address the need for sustainable growth in bus service throughout the region.

Architectural rendering of the planned Washington State Convention Center expansion

Courtesy LMN Architects

Construction for Convention Center expansion will require closure of the site. The station was always slated for permanent closure – light rail already bypasses it by going straight from Westlake to Capitol Hill, and Metro has been planning for removal of all buses from the downtown transit tunnel as early as September 2018.Convention Place Station serves Metro and other bus routes

With the sale now complete, here’s what riders can expect:

  • Removal of the remaining seven bus routes that use the tunnel in March 2019 or September 2019, depending on when the Convention Center secures needed permits.
  • Initial work to continue at the site to relocate a transit power station which sends electricity to trolley buses in the area. A new traction power substation is being installed this weekend. Later, riders will see construction of a temporary ramp at Convention Place Station – providing a path for the seven bus routes up to temporary surface stops on Ninth Avenue.
  • Increased constraints on mobility for all modes of traffic in downtown Seattle, as private commercial construction (just count the number of cranes) and many public projects – including demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, waterfront construction, and new streetcar tracks – constrict downtown streets from 2019 to 2023.
  • Continued opportunities to tell Metro what you think about revisions to bus service which will be needed to maintain a reliable public transit system connecting downtown Seattle and the rest of the region.

With the new timeline for Convention Place Station and the Downtown Transit Tunnel, Metro is reassessing its plans and opportunities for the public to weigh in, and will have more information in the coming months on when and how the public can “Have a Say.”

In the meantime, Metro is continuing work with the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and downtown businesses in a One Center City process to minimize impacts and provide reliable transit service to our customers.

Keep in touch on all these changes by following our social media:

Metro, Sound Transit to run late night service for July 4 revelers

Juy 4

Metro and Sound Transit are running extra service on the evening of July 4 to get you home by dawn’s early light.

For the first time since light rail began operating service, revelers celebrating Independence Day this year will be able to ride Link trains until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5—an hour later than normal. For bus riders, King County Metro will deploy more than 40 extra buses from 10:30 p.m. to midnight on routes serving Seattle Center, Gas Works Park, downtown and light rail stations to help crowds get home.

Metro will add 250 hours of service, augmenting 20 routes that serve large crowds after July 4 festivities, as well as routes that connect with Link light rail. Routes include the 5, 8, 26, 28, 31, 32, 40, 44, 49, 62, 70, 120, RapidRide A, B, C, D, and E Lines, and ST Routes 545, 550, 554. Metro’s Service Quality supervisors will monitor crowds during the evening and deploy the extra service as needed.

The last southbound Link train from the University of Washington Station will leave at 2 a.m. The last northbound train from Angle Lake Station will leave at 1 a.m. Southbound trains from the UW will operate every 30 minutes starting at midnight. Northbound trains from Angle Lake will operate every 30 minutes starting at 11:30 p.m. The downtown transit tunnel, which will stay open late to accommodate extended light rail service, will close at 2:20 a.m.

Light rail trains will operate on a Sunday schedule on July 4. Link service will resume normal weekday operating hours on July 5.

During the rest of the day, Metro will operate on a normal Sunday/Holiday schedule. More holiday schedule information is available at soundtransit.org or metro.kingcounty.gov/alerts/holidays.html. Some transit service will be re-routed due to various July 4 events. Customers should make sure they’re signed up for Rider Alerts, which provide information about special service to events, schedule changes and help riders plan trips around inclement weather. Just go to soundtransit.org/Subscribe-to-alerts or kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/alerts-updates.aspx.

Several ST Express bus routes will not operate on July 4, while other routes will run on a Sunday schedule. Sounder commuter rail service also will not operate on July 4.

Weekend construction: no bus service inside the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel July 1-2; Link light rail remains in service

Due to scheduled weekend construction at Convention Place Station, buses will not be operating in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel July 1-2. Customers who normally ride bus routes 41, 101, 150, 255 & Sound Transit Express Route 550 in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will instead board or exit buses on surface streets.

Photo of rider alert sign posted at International District Station

This Rider Alert is posted at International District Station. Alerts are posted at each tunnel station with instructions to riders about changes to bus service July 1-2; Link trains will continue to operate in the tunnel.

NOTE! Sound Transit Link light rail will continue to operate in the tunnel. Buses are scheduled to return to service in the tunnel Monday morning, July 3.

Tunnel buses will travel the surface street routing they use when the tunnel is closed, as indicated on Rider Alerts posted at tunnel stations and on surface street bus stop signs along Second and Fourth avenues, Fifth Avenue South, Olive Way, Stewart and Virginia streets. Details are in Metro’s Alert Center.

Construction crews are scheduled to install a new traction power substation, which powers area electric trolley buses, as Metro’s Convention Place Station property is prepared for sale.

Nighttime construction continues after 9 p.m. on weekdays at Convention Place Station, during which riders board buses only at Bay letter “Ι.”

Ride with Pride: Metro celebrates and honors LGBTQ riders and employees

Editor’s Note: Plan to travel early and prepare for service delays and crowded transit service as an estimated 200,000 people will be downtown for the parade. Transit service will be rerouted Sunday, June 25, off of Fourth Avenue in Seattle from about 7 a.m. to the late evening during the Seattle Pride Parade.

This weekend, Metro is proud to participate in the Seattle Pride Parade. On behalf of our employees and riders who identify as LGBTQ, we march with you.

King County is reaffirming its steadfast commitment to fairness, justice and diversity. At a time when the rights of many in our country are under threat, our community is strong and supports our LGBTQ employees and customers.

When we hear stories of bus drivers and riders who help and care for each other, it represents the best of our greater community.

Every member of our community is entitled to travel without fear, free of harassment, intimidation or harm. Each customer is expected to ride in a way that is respectful of other customers and conforms with Metro’s Code of Conduct. Join us in our pledge to make our transit system safer, more inclusive, and we will be stronger together.

“Whether you arrived here last week or whether you’ve lived here for five generations, you belong here” – King County Executive Dow Constantine

Dow Constantinte and Joe McDermott raise the Pride flag at King County's administration building June 23, 2017.

Expect transit delays during Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Fremont Solstice Parade

Seattle celebrates two big annual traditions this weekend for those ready to rock ‘n’ run and bike in the buff. Metro buses The Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Fremont Solstice Parade both will affect transit service, so riders should plan ahead and prepare for delays due to street closures and crowds.

Fremont Solstice Parade/Saturday

The Fremont Solstice Parade  starts Saturday at 1 p.m. from Northwest 39th Street and Fremont_solstice_avatarLeary Way Northwest and travels east along North 36th Street on its way to Gas Works Park.

Metro will operate a special shuttle from downtown to the south end of the Fremont Bridge. The shuttle service will operate every 15 minutes, from  10 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting from Sixth Avenue and Blanchard Street. Regular fares, transit passes and paper transfers will be accepted. (Try not to get body paint or glitter on the seats, please!)

Several bus routes that normally serve the Fremont area will be rerouted during Saturday’s parade, including routes 31, 32, 40 and 62. Sign up for transit alerts or check Metro online for service alerts.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon/Sunday

On Sunday, runners will be out bright and early for the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and half-marathon. The full race starts this year from Husky Stadium and makes its way through the Arboretum, down along Seward Park, up through the Rainier Valley and over to State Route 99 before looping back to CenturyLink Field.

For transit service during the race, the following routes will be affected by street closures: 2, 5, 7, 8, 14, 26, 27, 28, 43, 44, 45, 48, 50, 65, 106, 120, 125, 271, RapidRide C, D and E Lines, ST 522, ST 545 and ST 554. The Route 7 reroute will temporarily end at at Rainier Avenue South and South McClellan Street.

While runners are in the Rainier Valley, between 5:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., regular Route 7 service will operate between downtown Seattle and the Mount Baker Transit Center, and a free shuttle bus will provide service every 20 minutes between the Mount Baker Transit Center and South Henderson Street.

For information about regular transit service, or to plan other trips, visit Metro Online or Metro’s online Trip Planner. When planning your trip, check Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

Metro is taking action to address cost, quality, and equity in Access paratransit

(Editor’s Note: Updated 7/18/17 to include a chart of the audit’s recommendations and how Metro is addressing them, as presented to the King County Council)

By Chris O’Claire, Metro Transit Assistant General Manager, and Priscilla Vargas, Managing Director of Paratransit & Rideshare Operations

Metro Transit is committed to continuing to improve the Access paratransit service we provide to qualifying riders who cannot ride fixed-route bus service. The King County Auditor’s Office has presented the findings of a performance audit of Access Transportation to the King County Council. Metro concurs with the recommendations of the audit and is moving forward to address each of them.

The audit results echo feedback Metro staff solicited and received from customers over the last year, even as Metro worked collaboratively with the auditor. Metro listened to public feedback from customers, caregivers, stakeholders, and a community advisory group. Together, this feedback identified areas of improvement that Metro used to inform current and future service improvements.

How Metro is responding to the Paratransit Audit

How Metro is responding to the Paratransit Audit. (Click to enlarge)

In recent months, Metro has already taken steps to reduce costs, better monitor and enforce cost controls and good service quality, and assure equitable access to Access Transportation. Specifically,

  • Metro is buying smaller paratransit vans this summer to improve service flexibility and performance.
  • More fare payment options will be available to customers this summer.
  • New online scheduling features will be implemented later this year so customers can make ride requests outside of normal business hours.
  • Under a new contract expected in 2018, Metro will conduct a monthly review of the mix of service being used to provide rides with the goal to optimize the most cost-effective service. In addition, the contractor will have financial incentives to reduce the cost of each trip and financial disincentives intended to avoid higher trip costs.
  • Also under the new contract, Metro has defined a contract management plan that specifies contract compliance, methods for verifying compliance, and a schedule for reviewing and enforcing performance standards.
  • (Revised) Metro has agreed to adjust drop-off times has already taken action under our current contract to schedule drop-off to no more than 30 minutes from the start of an appointment time by the end of 2017.
  • Preventing excessively long trips: The scheduling system has a series of parameters that ensure trips are scheduled consistent with comparable fixed route trips; however, actual on street conditions can result in longer than a
    nticipated trips. Longer than anticipated trip times area also experienced by users of the fixed route system when the on-street conditions result in the actual trip taking longer than the scheduled trip. Metro staff currently monitor the trip lengths which are also subject to review by the FTA. If a customer feels they have experienced an excessively long trip, we encourage them to report it to Metro customer service so we can monitor emerging patterns in customer experiences and take action if performance falls short of FTA requirements.
  • Access will explore translating its “Access Ride Guide” into King County’s 13 top tier languages. A shorter summary of services is currently translated into 10 languages and some materials are translated online as part of our commitment to address language barriers to our materials. Translation and interpreter services already used by Access also bridge the language challenge experienced by some Access customers as they apply for and use services. Access also works with Community Access Transportation program to better meet the unique needs and help overcome the language barriers of various communities.
  • Access also will work with the Executive’s Office and DOT Director’s Office to begin the Equity Impact Review. The process will include review of the E
  • quity Impact Analysis tool as well as tools currently used by Metro to conduct equity analysis for the fixed route system.

More details about these actions are provided in a survey available to customers now. Access customer prepares to board service provided by MetroMetro mailed this survey to active Access users and has been talking directly with customers in outreach events targeted to hear from populations with limited English proficiency or other barriers to completing a paper or online survey. Metro is invested in making sure we heard from our customers and that the actions we intend to take will respond to their concerns. The survey is available online in English and Spanish is open through the end of June.

Metro’s bus fleet is currently 100 percent accessible to riders with disabilities. For riders with disabilities who cannot ride the public bus system, Metro provides a paratransit service, fully complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Metro also goes above and beyond the ADA to better serve areas and times not served by bus service and at a lower fare – a key element that can drive up costs while we fulfill King County’s greater mission of providing mobility to those who are most dependent.

Metro is committed to continually looking at improvements to the system as we move forward, and we will work with the King County Auditor’s Office and the public to make progress on the recommendations. We look forward to working together to providing a service that is responsive to our customer’s needs.

UPDATE! WORK COMPLETE! UW buses (no longer) face reroutes on campus June 12-25

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS WORK CONCLUDED EARLY. BUSES HAVE RETURNED TO REGULAR ROUTING AND ARE SERVING REGULAR CAMPUS STOPS. (Updated 5:55pm Tuesday, June 20)

From Monday, June 12 until about Sunday, June 25, with one 2-day exception, Metro routes 32, 67, 75, 78, 277 and 372, and Sound Transit Express Route 540 will be rerouted off of Grant Lane and Stevens Way, due to construction on the University of Washington campus. We’ve made a handy map to help it all make sense.

During this time, these routes, while traveling in any direction, will travel instead via 15th Avenue Northeast, Northeast Pacific Street and Montlake Boulevard Northeast to and from their regular routes, and depending on the route, destination and direction of travel.

Map depicts bus stops temporarily closed on UW campus June 12-25 and alternate stop locations.

Click map to access PDF of planned bus stop closures on UW Campus June 12-25

The one exception to the approximate two-week UW campus road closure is the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18, during which the UW campus and bus stops will be open and these reroutes will not be in effect.

At times when the campus roads are closed and these reroutes are in effect, transit riders should expect possible delays in service for the affected routes. Use the regularly published timetables, wait at designated stops along the reroute and expect possible delays.  Allow plenty of travel time for trips that use these routes.

 

Metro has new ideas for transportation in Sammamish

Metro is IMG_1704working with the City of Sammamish to develop innovative, customized services to meet local transportation needs.

Almost 500 people took our survey in January to tell us about transportation needs in Sammamish. We reviewed this feedback with the help of a stakeholder group and developed four service ideas that are tailor-made for Sammamish.

Tell us what you think by June 16

Take a survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SammamishMCC.

Learn about Metro’s Community Connections project in Sammamish: http://kingcounty.gov/metro/alt-sammamish