Transit Advisory Commission seeks new members

Have A Say LogoDo you ride transit and have a desire to improve transit service for everyone? King County is seeking several new members for its Transit Advisory Commission.

The commission helps improve transit services, planning, and programs by advising Metro, King County, and leaders about transit policy (visit the website to learn more).

The commission’s members include residents and other transit stakeholders. Our goal is to reflect the county’s diversity. Most members ride the bus, and all live in King County. Each serves a two-year term. The commission meets monthly or as needed.

Photo courtesy Ned Ahrens, KCDOT

Photo courtesy Ned Ahrens, KCDOT

In particular, we encourage people who live in the third, sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth county council district (see a map); young people; people of color; and people with disabilities or limited English proficiency to apply.

Learn more and apply online.

La Comisión de asesoría de transporte público colectivo (Transit Advisory Commission) busca nuevos miembros

Have-a-Say-Spanish-500pwide¿Utiliza usted el transporte público y desea mejorar el servicio para todos? King County busca nuevos miembros para su Comisión asesora.

La comisión ayuda a mejorar los servicios de transporte, planificación y programas, asesorando a Metro, a King County y a líderes acerca de la política de transporte público (visite el sitio web para más información).

Photo courtesy Ned Ahrens, KCDOT

Photo courtesy Ned Ahrens, KCDOT

Entre los miembros de la comisión se encuentran residentes y otras partes interesadas en el transporte público. Nuestro objetivo es reflejar la diversidad del condado. La mayoría de los miembros usa transporte público, y viven en el condado de King. Cada miembro se compromete en participar por dos años. La comisión se reúne mensualmente o según sea necesario.

Photo by Ned Ahrens, King County

Photo by Ned Ahrens, King County

En particular, invitamos a inscribirse a las personas que viven en el tercer, sexto, séptimo o noveno distritos municipales del condado (ver mapa); a los jóvenes; a personas de color; y a las personas con discapacidades o dominio limitado del Inglés.

Obtenga más información y complete su solicitud en línea.

How’s our translation? If you speak English and Spanish and want to help us improve our translations, compare this post to the same post we made in English and share your feedback by emailing

METRO CONNECTS, Metro’s long-range vision transmitted to King County Council

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Today Executive Dow Constantine transmitted METRO CONNECTS, Metro’s plan for bringing you more and better transit service over the next 25 years, to the King County Council for their consideration.

METRO CONNECTS presents a vision of a transportation network that can accommodate the 1 million more people and 850,000 expected in our region by 2040. Key features include much more frequent service—including 20 more RapidRide lines and all-day express service, innovative new travel options, improved passenger facilities and pathways to bus stops and stations, and customer information tools that make travel by transit easy.

This plan was a community effort, shaped by more than 1,500 people who attended our open houses, 9,700 people who responded to our online surveys, a 25-member Community Advisory Group, and a Technical Advisory Committee with representatives from King County cities and other organizations.

Metro appreciates the thousands of people who took the time to learn about the long-range plan, come to an open house or event, fill out a survey, or send us your comments.

The Council is expected to review, discuss and vote on adopting the plan in early 2017.  You can sign up here to receive updates from Metro about METRO CONNECTS. We hope you will stay engaged with Metro as we reach out to you and your communities for input about  making our vision a reality.

Explore the plan at, and read more below about how community input shaped the final plan.

Changes based on what we heard during spring 2016 outreach

Metro received valuable feedback about our draft plan from thousands of people and from organizations, cities and transit agencies. We made many changes to the final plan based on what you told us.

Easier to read
We think you’ll be excited about the future of transit in King County. To make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for in our far-ranging vision, we simplified the plan’s structure.  It presents our big-picture vision in the first few pages. That’s followed by detailed but concise descriptions of what we’re proposing to do—like more RapidRide lines, better bus stops, and new kinds of information at your fingertips. We simplified the maps, added new graphics, and used icons and call-out boxes to highlight key themes like sustainability, equity and social justice, partnerships, and innovation.  The final section explains how we would make the METRO CONNECTS vision a reality.

Service network changes
We changed the 2025 and 2040 service networks to provide additional coverage where gaps were identified, improve routing alignments, connect with light rail, reduce duplication, and adjust service frequencies to best accommodate anticipated demand.

Other key changes
Metro clarified or added more information in many areas, including capital improvements, the customer experience, boarding and fares, partnerships with cities and others, and implementing the plan.

Capital Improvements
Metro heard that people care most about capital improvements that help buses run faster and more reliably and those that make it easier to access transit by foot, car or bicycle. Metro added more of the following types of capital improvements to the plan:

  • Road improvements to help buses move faster and more reliably
  • Additional park-and-ride spaces
  • Better facilities at major bus stops, including pedestrian and bicycle pathways

 The customer experience
Ensuring that customers have a positive experience is central to the METRO CONNECTS vision. We invite you to imagine what it could be like to use the future transit system.

Boarding and fares
We heard that people wanted to see more in the plan about making boarding and fare payment easy for everyone and keeping fares affordable. METRO CONNECTS calls for Metro to work with Sound Transit and other agencies to better coordinate fares and fare payment between different service providers. It also calls for Metro to continue promoting and expanding the ORCA Lift program. Fleet vehicles and facilities will be designed with all users in mind, including people who walk, bike, or use a wheelchair and parents with strollers.

Implementing the vision
Many stakeholders wanted to see more information about how the vision could be implemented. METRO CONNECTS gives more detail about the implementation program—a collaboration with riders, community members, cities and transportation agencies to coordinate near-term service changes, complementary capital investments, and other program and policy work needed to support the METRO CONNECTS vision.


Ride to Seafair with Metro and Sound Transit

Need a ride this weekend to Seafair? With the Blue Angels, hydro races, and road closures coming to town, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit want riders and Seafair revelers to be preparedBlueangelsformationpd

Metro offers free shuttles for those traveling to Lake Washington to see the hydro races and Blue Angels air shows. And with new light rail stations on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington, riders have more options than ever to leave their car behind and take the train to connect with free bus shuttles to see all the action.

Metro also will reroute several buses during temporary closures of the Interstate 90 floating bridge to accommodate the Blue Angels as they practice and perform their air show, starting Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, Aug. 7.  Shuttle buses, requiring payment of fare, will operate between North Mercer Island and the South Bellevue Park and Ride lot during the I-90 closures.

Hydro shuttles, August 5-7
Getting to the Albert Lee Cup hydro races can be a little easier with free Metro shuttles Friday through Sunday, from 5:45 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Shuttles operate from the Columbia City Link light rail station (Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and South Edmunds Street) to Stan Sayres Pits near Genesee Park on Lake Washington, where fans can also view the Blue Angels air shows.

Near Columbia City Link Station, board a shuttle eastbound on South Angeline Street just west of 32nd Avenue South. Shuttles operate frequently and depart as the buses fill.

Leaving from Genesee Park to rethydro_shuttle1urn to Columbia City, riders can board shuttles northbound on 43rd Avenue South, just north of South Genesee Street.

Metro bus Route 50 is rerouted during this event.

I-90 bridge closure reroutes and shuttles
All I-90 bus service will be rerouted to State Route 520 during the I-90 bridge closures, which affect eastbound, westbound, mainline and express lanes.

During the I-90 closures on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Metro provides shuttle bus service between the park-and-ride lots at South Bellevue and Mercer Island. Regular fares are required on the I-90 shuttles, which operate about every 30 minutes.

Sound Transit Routes 550 and 554, which normally travel via I-90, will be rerouted to SR 520 and will not serve stops on I-90 at Rainier Avenue South and Mercer Island.

I-90 transit service will be rerouted during the following times:

  • Thursday, August 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, August 5, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 6, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30m.
  • Sunday, August 7, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Free rides for military personnel

Military personnel, either in uniform or carrying military ID, can ride free on all King County Metro and Sound Transit transit service during Fleet Week, from August 3-7.

Find more information

Details about reroutes and shuttle service are available in the Metro Online Alerts Center. Riders also can use the online Trip Planner for information about getting to and from specific locations, or call Metro’s Customer Information Office at 206-553-3000 on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Visit Sound Transit’s website for more information on Link light rail service. WSDOT has I-90 bridge closure information and the Seafair website has event information.

Metro: One community, 4,500 strong


Vicki Leslie, a 35-year employee honored as Metro’s Operator of the Year.

By Rob Gannon, Metro Transit Interim General Manager

One of the best parts of my job is seeing and meeting Metro employees who go above and beyond to serve the people of King County.

Vicki Leslie is one of those people. With 35 years as a bus driver, Vicki was honored Thursday as Metro’s Operator of the Year.

Vicki has earned praised for how she connects with customers on her routes between Woodinville, Bothell and Kirkland – she knows the names of all her regular passengers, and always keeps her cool in stressful situations. Vicki also has made a big impression on her peers, which is why they chose her as this year’s recipient.


Vicki Leslie (L) is recognized by her supervisors at Metro’s Bellevue base.

I had the chance to express my gratitude during Thursday’s surprise ceremony at Metro’s Bellevue base. Joining us were Vicki’s family, friends, coworkers, and supervisors, as well as Senior Deputy County Executive Fred Jarrett and Director of Transportation Harold Taniguchi.

Longtime Metro veterans and newer employees also were in attendance. Some, like Janice Berlin, a 36-year veteran and chief in our Transit Control Center, were just days away from retirement. And others, like Adbi Elmi, a Bellevue base chief who brought his wife and children to Thursday’s event, are just a few years into their Metro career.


Abdi Elmi, a Metro base chief in Bellevue, and his family. Pictured behind them is a circa-1980s era Metro bus on which many veteran operators began their career.

They all share a strong sense of commitment and dedication, which bonds us together. We are one community, 4,500 strong. We take pride in serving the riders who depend on our 2,700 operators every day to get to work or school safely
and efficiently. That’s why in this community, we hold high expectations for each other.

We also encourage and support each other. As Vicki’s nearly three decades of service demonstrate, Metro can offer a long and rewarding career. I invite anyone interested in a career as a Metro transit operator to learn more about becoming a part of our team.

In the meantime, thank you to Vicki and all of our Metro employees for their hard work and dedication. It means a lot to me and the people you serve.

Take care of each other, and be safe.0716OprtYrVickiLeslie071

You can PokémonGo further with an ORCA card

By Adam Jabari Jefferson, KCDOT Multimedia Specialist

For a Pokémon Go trainer, traveled distance makes the difference between bagging your 16th Caterpie in Seattle’s Occidental Square and catching a wild Seaking from the suspension bridge at White Center Heights Park.

The “go” in the game’s title urges exploration. There are 200+ bus routes in King County. The twin Water Taxis shuttle more than 500,000 passengers a year between Seattle and Vashon Island and West Seattle.

Zubat Pokemon cartoon image on a bus with text reading PokemonGO further with an ORCA card

Boat, bus and Link light rail connections help us and our virtual avatars access real spaces. And they all accept the ORCA Card.

Public transit is integral to Go’s augmented reality world. Even the ORCA LIFT enrollment office sits between two Pokéstops. And that’s where my journey began. Equipped with an ORCA card, bicycle and fully charged phone, I embarked on a catch-‘em-all quest through King County.

Graphic with red circle and line warning riders to not look down at their phone while walking in traffic(Smart trainers never bike, drive or walk while staring at their phone. Be safe out there.)

Like an Eevee drawn to incense, I took the proliferating pocket monsters reported in King County Parks as an invitation. I racked my bike aboard a 36 bus bound for Beacon Hill. At my transfer point to route 60 is a bus shelter photo mural where I viewed a “City Under Construction” and collected several Pokéballs. We crossed the South Park Bridge too quickly to visit any of its three Pokéstops. Other passengers, quietly lost in books or music, listened for their stops to be announced (unaware of the lurking digital beasts).

In Southwest Seattle, I cycled half-a-mile, phone in my pocket – Seriously! Look up at the road, trainers – into unincorporated King County where Steve Cox Memorial Park hosted a carnival for White Center Jubilee Days. Joyous noise and families filled the playground. A son and father, phones in hands, chased Poké pets along the ball field. We exchanged smiles and knowing nods as the giggling duo tracked Clefairy.

We are looking at one another. It’s a strange, refreshing byproduct of this mobile game. Your phone is out and so is mine. The way we walk, curiously searching the space around us, reveals our common ground. You, stranger, also are a trainer. We share the same excitement for a wild Weedle. And in our interaction, we learn to better navigate both worlds.

Take a survey, share input on park-and-ride parking

Our customers count on quick access to reliable parking at our park-and-rides. Yet many tell us it’s getting harder to find spaces, especially as more people use transit.1795

We also know some of our park-and-ride spots are being filled by people who aren’t there to catch a bus, vanpool, or carpool—instead, they’re going to nearby businesses, apartments, or construction sites.

Metro is now looking at a range of options to improve management of parking at our lots and garages, and we want your input.1830

One option might be permits for priority parking for carpoolers, similar to a program Sound Transit will roll out this fall.

We’d like your thoughts about permit parking, as well as any other ideas to help us better manage parking at our park-and-rides.

Take this 10-minute online survey to tell us what you think, or contact us at or 206-263-9768.

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 19.

Learn more
Project website:
Sound Transit parking permits:
Metro Connects (our DRAFT long-range plan – see Pages 35-42):

Best kept secret: Bus driving career

Abdi Elmi has a motto: having a career driving a bus for Metro is one of the best kept secrets in the region.

Elmi, a Metro Base Chief in Bellevue, is from Somalia, and his story is one of triumph and hard work to overcome adversity. As a teenager he and his family fled the civil war in Somalia, and he lived in a refugee camp for several years.

Later he brought his family to the US, and came to Seattle in 2009. In 2012, he was hired as a part-time driver while going to the University of Washington, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. He was promoted to chief in 2015.

Photo of Abdi Elmi, Metro base chief, standing next to a Metro bus

“If you like customer service, you would love this job,” says Abdi Elmi, Metro Transit base chief and former bus driver.

Metro is hiring, and Elmi will share his story and perspective on working for Metro at a free info session coming up July 26, where people can learn more about being a bus driver. Transit demand is growing and bus drivers are the backbone of transit service and the key connection to customers every day.

Drivers are part of the community and the economy, and connect with riders to make a difference. And by working for the county, there are good benefits, starting out with flexible part-time hours with room to grow into a full-time career.

Come to the event to hear Elmi’s inspirational story and understand the application process to become a transit operator, whether you want part-time flexible work or a full-time career. Space is limited so register today. Light refreshments will be provided. You also can go online to see our job description and application information.

  • WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 from 8-9:30 a.m.
  • WHERE: King Street Center Building – South Jackson Place 8th Floor Conference Center, Seattle, WA 98104 – View Map King County Transit

Learn more about becoming a transit operator at this information session and consider joining our team to support the growing demand for public transit throughout King County. We would love to meet you July 26!

King County Metro Transit is popular locally and admired nationwide for its innovative transit services, pioneering green practices, and visionary approach to meeting the transportation needs of the county’s growing population.

In a service area of more than 2,000 square miles and 2 million residents, Metro operates more than 200 bus, trolley and Demand Area Response Transit (DART) routes that serve destinations across the county. Every bus is equipped with a bicycle rack and a wheelchair lift.

5 best things about Capitol Hill

Live or work on Capitol Hill? A free ORCA card can help you catch more PokemonGo! Take advantage of the 5 best things in these great images by Robyn Jordan, a Lowell Elementary School art teacher, and find ways you can give your car a break.

Sign up by Aug. 7 with King County In Motion and get great rewards while helping reduce traffic and improve the environment!Cartoon of the 5 Best Things about Capitol Hill; includes people watching at the park, night life culture, space needle nearby, options for travel, buses, streetcars and light rail; sign up by Aug. 7 for free rewards like an ORCA card



‘Metroadeo’ featured precision drivers at their finest

Metro Transit’s finest operators competed this week to prove just how awesome and precisely they can drive a 40-foot-long Metro bus at the annual ‘Metroadeo.’


2016 Metroadeo winners

Drivers snaked their buses through left and right turns, passenger stops and tight spaces. It takes care to adjust your speed and set up just right to perform each of the maneuvers, all scored by judges with a sharp eye and high expectations for precision.

“Our operators are great, but the top Roadeo finishers are amazingly good– true technicians of their craft,” said Rob Gannon, Metro Transit interim general manager.


Tammy Klein, No. 1!

This year’s No. 1 driver is Tammy Klein, a Ryerson Base operator – now a five-time winner of the Metroadeo! (2009, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016).

Tammy will represent Metro at the state roadeos in September, competing against transit drivers from Washington State, and next year’s international competition sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Congratulations to all of the winners! Metro is proud of you!

(Think you have what it takes? Metro is hiring! Search “Transit Operator” at the King County jobs site.)


Chai Kunjara takes 2nd place!

1st          Tammy Klein

2nd        Chai Kunjara

3rd         Tom Ponischil

4th         Sheila Malbrain

5th         Ahmad Yousefbeigi

6th         Billie Farris

7th         Chuck Riess

8th         David Crock

9th         Janet Palmer

10th       Francis Lebel