RapidRide D Line gets extra bus trip to cover growing student ridership

Metro is always monitoring bus routes for reliability and frequency. Starting Dec. 1, Metro added an extra afternoon bus trip to the Rapidrapidride_d_scheduleRide D Line through Ballard to alleviate overcrowding as increasing numbers of students from Ballard High School ride the bus home.

Over the last few months, we heard from riders and operators about an increase in high school students boarding the D Line buses after the school bell rings. Metro has been using a standby bus on some days, which are placed along the route to fill gaps in service, typically when traffic is bad or buses are getting crowded.

Metro has now assigned the standby bus permanently. It enters service at 3:16 p.m., heading southbound from 15th Avenue Northwest and Northwest 85th Street to help cover the overflow near the high school and continue service to downtown.

The D Line is the second busiest of Metro’s six RapidRide routes and continues growing strong since it was extended to Pioneer Square. In October, the D Line hauled an average of more than 15,000 passengers every day. That’s a 22 percent increase over its ridership in October 2015.

The extra trip is an example of little changes Metro makes when possible to respond to concerns and emerging challenges. Twice a year, Metro also unveils big system-wide service changes — in March and September — to improve the frequency, reliability and access of our bus routes.

Veterans ride free to 6th annual ‘Seattle Stand Down’

King County Metro Transit is offering free rides to veterans attending the 6th Annual Seattle Stand Down on December 1-2 at South Seattle College’s Georgetown campusseattle_standdown_pass

The Seattle Stand Down event connects homeless and at-risk veterans with local resources and services. Representatives from businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions, and all levels of government are brought together at one location to provide housing assistance, case management referrals, employment opportunities, legal aid, medical screenings, eye exams, dental services, haircuts, personal hygiene items, and meals.

Representatives from ORCA LIFT, the reduced-fare transit card, and ORCA to Go, which provides information and sales of regular-fare ORCA cards, will be on-site both days.

Veterans traveling to or from the two-day event can ride free by showing one of the following forms of ID:

  • Veteran Health Identification Card
  • Uniformed Identification Card
  • DD-214

Veterans also can obtain a special two-sided free bus pass (pictured above) by contacting Hopelink at llink@hopelink.org or visiting one of the following service providers:

Metro bus routes that travel to or near the campus include routes 60, 124, 131 and 154.
Route 154 is peak-only service.   For additional information about transit
service, visit Metro Online or Metro’s Puget Sound Trip Planner, or call Metro’s Customer
Information line at 206-553-3000.

The Seattle Stand Down will open for registration at 7 a.m .on Thursday, December 1. Services will be available from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. On Friday, December 2, registration will begin at 7 a.m. with services available from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.

More information is available at www.theseattlestanddown.org.

 

 

Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride Changes

As early as December 5, 2016, crews will begin building a new driveway for the Northgate Park & Ride (west) on NE 103rd Street, adjacent to First Ave NE. Driveway construction is expected to take two days to complete, weather permitting. This driveway is needed to accommodate the next phase of Sound Transit’s construction changes coming to the Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride.

In this new configuration, drivers will enter the Northgate Park & Ride (west) from the driveway on NE 103rd Street and exit from the driveway on NE 100th Street.

Upcoming construction of the Northgate light rail station will occupy additional space in the Northgate Park & Ride (west) as indicated on the map. Fencing will go up as early as December 7 around the middle section of the west lot. To replace the loss of those stalls a new replacement park-and-ride will open on the west side of First Ave NE between NE 100th and 103rd Streets. This new, North Seattle Park & Ride, has 102 new stalls and is expected to open as early as December 5, 2016.

Northgate Park & Ride Changes Mapphase-2-change-map

For more information:

Visit http://www.soundtransit.org/northgatestation/northgate-transit-center-park-and-ride

Contact Andrea Burnett, Sound Transit Community Outreach at 206-398-5300 or andrea.burnett@soundtransit.org

For issues that need immediate attention after normal business hours, call Sound Transit’s 24-hour construction hotline at 888-298-2395

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Transportation Survey Seeks Input on Community Shuttle Route 628

Take the survey online through December 7

Through a new transportation survey of people who live, work or go to school in Snoqualmie, Issaquah or North Bend, the City of Snoqualmie and King County Metro Transit are evaluating awareness of Community Shuttle Route 628 to better meet the community’s needs.

shuttle-blueskyKing County Metro Transit Route 628 operates every 30 minutes during peak morning and late afternoon commuting hours between North Bend, Snoqualmie, and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride. The transportation survey seeks information from local residents about their commuting times and area destinations, even if residents don’t currently use Route 628.

Residents can take the survey online through December 7. More info about Route 628 is available at the King County Metro Transit website.

Ride Metro to Huskies, Seahawks games

The Huskies and Seahawks both play at home the weekend of Nov. 19. As the teams set their sights on playoffs, King County Metro can be a convenient way for riders and fans heading to one or both games.

Fans and regular Metro riders should be prepared for heavy game-day traffic and delays in and around the University District on Saturday, Nov. 19, and in and around Pioneer Square and downtown on Sunday, Nov. 20.

Huskies vs. Arizona State, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19

husky_stadium-1

Metro operates Husky game-day non-stop shuttle buses to UW Husky Stadium from park-and-rides at Eastgate, Houghton, Kingsgate, Federal Way/South 320th Street, Shoreline, South Kirkland, South Renton and Northgate Transit Center.

Pre-game shuttles leave designated park and ride lots as they fill starting 2½ hours prior to kick-off time, with the last buses from each park-and-ride leaving approximately 40 minutes before kick-off, except for the Federal Way shuttle; this trip can take up to one hour and the shuttles are scheduled accordingly.

A $5 round trip voucher is required for each person age 6 and older to board the shuttle. Purchase vouchers from the vendor located at each park-and-ride lot. No passes or transfers are accepted on the Husky park-and-ride shuttles, including ORCA and UPASS. Game tickets are not accepted as fare on any service.

Post-game shuttles depart from designated locations near UW Husky Stadium. The last park-and-ride shuttle leaves the Husky Stadium area 30 minutes after the game.

Buses rerouted

With shuttles picking up and dropping off on Montlake Boulevard and NE Pacific Street, riders of regular Metro routes serving the UW Link light rail station (31, 32, 44, 45, 48, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, 271 and 372) will be rerouted to 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Campus Parkway before and immediately after the game (see for more info).  Riders headed to or from Husky Stadium can walk or ride a free shuttle the rest of the way.

The UW Link shuttle operates about every 7½ minutes from a posted shuttle stop southbound on University Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast Pacific Street. It serves stops along Pacific before turning around at Montlake to provide westbound service back to the University District.

Seahawks vs. Eagles, 1:25 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20

Seahawks shuttles serve the Eastgate park-and-ride, Northgate Transit Center, and South Kirkland park-and-ride and travel nonstop to CenturyLink Field. Nearly all regularly scheduled Sunday transit service – including Sound Transit Link light rail and the First Hill Streetcar – that serves downtown Seattle also travels to or near CenturyLink Field and is a great way to get to Seahawks games and other stadium events. Sound Transit also operates Seahawks Sounder trains with stops in Auburn, Kent and Tukwila.

Metro’s park-and-ride shuttles leave parking areas two hours prior to kick off time and as they fill, with the last bus leaving about 30 minutes before kickoff. The park-and-ride shuttles do not operate for weekday games.  Fans who miss the shuttles can ride regularly scheduled service from the same locations to get to the game.

A cash-only, exact fare of $4 one way or $8 round trip per person is required on the shuttles. No ORCA cards, passes or transfers are accepted.  A valid regular fare is required on all other regularly scheduled Metro service. All pre-game shuttles arrive near CenturyLink Field on Fifth Avenue South at South Weller Street.

After the game, shuttle buses returning non-stop to Eastgate and South Kirkland leave from southbound on Fifth Avenue South at South Weller Street, and the Northgate shuttle leaves northbound on Fifth Avenue South from just north of South Weller Street. The last bus leaves 45 minutes after the end of the game.

For information about regular transit service to games, 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.

Make Metro a safe place for everyone

By Rob Gannon, Metro Transit General Manager

In this moment of change and transition, County Executive Constantine has reaffirmed our values and principles.  King County is a place that values women, people of color, people with disabilities, people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, immigrants and refugees, and people of every religion, or of no religion.

In the delivery of our service to the public, Metro Transit does not tolerate harassment of any kind.  The vehicles we operate will remain safe places for our passengers.  Acts of harassment on our buses or at our shelters violate Metro Transit’s commitment to inclusion for all in our community and our rider Code of Conduct.  Should they occur, we ask people to report them to our employees or call 911 if law enforcement is needed immediately.

Metro Transit GM Rob Gannon portrait photo

Rob Gannon, Metro Transit General Manager

We will take enforcement actions against violators of this code.  And we are reminding operators of our procedures for addressing violations of the code of conduct aboard their coaches.

King County is a growing community rich in diversity and is one of the world’s great metropolitan areas.  Metro demonstrates our contribution by providing the best service possible, safely and with respect given to all our customers.  We ask all our riders to join in that commitment.

Ride safe, and help us keep our system safe for everyone.

Survey: Help Metro learn about transit gaps since Route 331 service was reduced

1016auroravillagetc001-2In September 2014, Metro reduced evening and night service on Route 331, which connects Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Shoreline, and the Shoreline Community College campus. Now our Alternative Services Demonstration Program is working with the communities of Lake Forest Park and Shoreline and with Shoreline Community College to identify transit service gaps that might have been created by this reduction.

Do you live, work, or go to school in Shoreline or Lake Forest Park? Tell us about how you use or would like to use public transportation to get around.

Plan for transit delays during Monday Night Football

The Seahawks play their first Monday Night Football game of the season next week on Nov. 7. That means buses and downtown streets are likely to be crowded as thousands of football fans converge on CenturyLink Field just as thousands of commuters are trying to get home from the office. seahawks_crowd

King County Metro urges riders to plan ahead. The Monday Night Football match-up starts at 5:30 p.m. Buses are likely to be delayed on surface streets and inside the Downtown Transit Tunnel.

Visit Metro Online or Metro’s online Trip Planner to find out your options for riding transit to and from the game. When planning your trip, check Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

Metro will assign extra staff in the Downtown Transit Tunnel to help customers board on crowded buses. If you use an ORCA card, be sure to have it ready for speedier boarding. Sound Transit plans to operate extra 3-car Link trains to help handle the large crowds expected after the game.

NO SEAHAWKS SHUTTLE: Park-and-ride shuttle buses that Metro normally operates before and after Sunday games will not be available for Monday Night Football. No other service changes are planned during Monday’s game. There are no special fares. All service requires a regular fare payment.

 

Leading Metro into a new era

Metro Transit GM Rob Gannon portrait photoBy Rob Gannon, Metro Transit General Manager

I was deeply honored last week to be named the Metro Transit general manager by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Department of Transportation Director Harold Taniguchi, and look forward to confirmation by the King County Council.

This is an exciting time to lead Metro. We’re poised to begin implementing Metro Connects, our long-range plan for providing more and better transit service over the next 25 years. Not only does Metro Connects call for a 70 percent expansion of our transit system, it also envisions frequent service all day across the county, numerous safety and customer service enhancements, corridor investments to keep buses moving, and many more innovations and improvements.

We collaborated with community members, cities, and other transit agencies as we crafted this bold plan. As we move forward, strong relationships with communities and agencies will be critical to making our shared vision a reality.

Those partnerships will be one of my top priorities, along with customer and employee safety and strengthening Metro as a great place to work—the best way to ensure outstanding customer service.

While new to the general manager position, I’ve been at Metro for several years, serving as the interim general manager since March and as a deputy general manager from 2013-2016. In my time here I have interacted with employees throughout our agency—bus drivers and mechanics, customer service and facilities maintenance employees, planners and managers. They all share a devotion to providing the best possible service to the public, and I’m thrilled to be leading this great team.

I’ll keep you informed as we strive to deliver outstanding service every day while working toward our vision of a world-class transit system for King County.

 

Farewell to Metro’s Breda trolleys

Metro said goodbye this week to one of our longest-running bus fleets. The Breda articulated trolleys served King County commuters for 26 years, and were the first buses to operate inside the Downtown Transit Tunnel when it opened in 1990.

“They have been true workhorses. When you count all 236 buses in the original fleet, they logged more than 100 million miles and they provided seats (and some standing room) for about a half- billion riders,” Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said.

Gannon, along with Senior Deputy King County Executive Fred Jarrett and Metro Atlantic Base Operations Chief Tim Mack, led a brief ceremony Thursday on Beacon Hill to celebrate the history of the Breda fleet. About 40 people, including transit enthusiasts and current and former Metro employees, turned out for a final ride on the bus’s high floors and a chance to hear the sounds of transit past — like an actual bell ringing at bus stops.

Operators Larry Kingsbury and Mike Freund took the last Breda bus for its final in-service trip along Route 36.

The Bredas played a big part in Seattle’s transit history. When the tunnel was built, Seattle’s light rail still was nearly two decades away. Metro needed a bus that could switch from diesel power on city streets to electric power inside the downtown tunnel to avoid harmful emissions. Metro selected Breda Costruzioni Ferroviare to specially build these dual-powered coaches, which were the first to operate as dual-power diesel/electric trolley buses in North America.

In 2005, after their service in the tunnel ended, Metro took out the diesel components and repurposed 59 of them into straight electric trolleys.

As a Metro Councilmember in the 1980s, Fred Jarrett voted to build the downtown transit tunnel and become the first agency to buy and operate dual-powered diesel/electric Breda trolleys in an underground tunnel. This week, as Senior Deputy County Executive, he joined in retiring the Breda buses at the end of their useful life.

“What I remember is the innovation. Nobody had been able to make a bus system work that was not fully electric, in a tunnel,” said Jarrett. “And Metro was willing to take the risk, and partner with the federal government, to demonstrate what we could do to bring transit into the late 20th Century and into the 21st Century.”

The Bredas had a reputation for being difficult to maintain. Parts were unique and had to come from Europe. But the Bredas outlasted the average diesel bus by 10 years, and the Bredas that were converted into trolleys averaged 656,000 miles over their lifespan.

“That our mechanics and operators kept them running is a testament to our staff,” Gannon said. “Some of us are sentimental about seeing them go. Others of us know it’s time to wave goodbye and move on to our next era of coaches – like the state-of-the-art trolleys you see running behind me — and the improvements they bring in service.”

Last fall Metro introduced its first new trolley fleet in 30 years. These are state-of-the-art trolleys, a mix of 40- and 60-foot-long New Flyer coaches, equipped with low floors for easy boarding, air conditioning and backup battery power for traveling off-wire. As of October 14, Metro has put 152 of 174 new trolleys into service.