We want to hear from you

Public meetings on proposed service reductions are underway

Without a stable funding source for public transit, Metro is preparing to cut more than 600,000 hours of service.

Our proposal to close the budget gap includes deleting 74 bus routes and making changes—mostly service reductions—to 107 more. The effects of these cuts will be felt across the county. Many of our riders will have to walk farther or wait longer to ride buses that are more crowded, and drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians will face increased congestion on highways, city streets, and county roads.

We’re reaching out now to help our customers learn about the proposed cuts, and asking them to tell us how the cuts will affect their daily lives. With no new funding, we will have to make the cuts, but public input could help us fine-tune our plans.

Suggestions that help us reduce negative effects on our customers while still making the needed cuts could result in changes to the proposal—but it’s no fair asking us to move your cuts to another area instead.

Get informed | get involved

Upcoming meetings

  • Bellevue: Wednesday, Dec. 11
  • Kent: Monday, Dec. 16
  • Kirkland: Thursday, Jan. 16
  • Southeast Seattle: Thursday, Jan. 23
  • North King County: Monday, Jan. 2

Check our online calendar for times and locations, plus other opportunities to learn about the service cuts from Metro staffers.

  • Thousands of riders have visited our website to learn about the cuts.
  • More than 2,000 people have filled out our survey to tell us about the impacts they will be facing when the cuts are made.
  • On social media channels, use #KCMetroCuts to join the conversation.
  • Meetings are taking place around the county (see list or check our schedule online). So far, community members have come together in Federal Way (see a slideshow on YouTube), West Seattle, and North Seattle to talk with Metro staff members, get their questions answered, and share their perspectives on the situation. This is a great way to get individualized attention from Metro staffers on your situation and learn about alternatives that may be available to you.
  • Metro staff members are also visiting bus stops, park-and-rides, and other community gathering places to share information. Check our complete current schedule or watch for the van in an area near you.

4 thoughts on “We want to hear from you

  1. I think METRO needs to sink. I think Kevin D. has not done a very good job, and maybe that goes for The Executive too. METRO needs an overhaul, and shouldn’t have spent the rainy day funds all at once so that there is now such a significant drop in money now.
    I don’t believe any county referendum will pass.
    Just plan on sinking.

  2. I do not understand how Metro Transit can continue to provide a 97% subsidy level to Metro Access and then scream that they have a funding shortage? Metro Access only charges a meager $1.25 for a ride that costs $44 to provide. This is not fair to other system users who are seeing dramatic cuts in service. The fare for Metro Access needs to be raised immediately to be on par with other users (this was a stated goal of Metro in 1999; 14 years is more than ample time to achieve this). In fact the fare should be raised to the maximum allowable by law!

  3. Thank you for your comment, Mark. Following is some additional information from an Access supervisor. We hope it will help to clarify the situation with Access:

    In 1999, the King County Council adopted an ordinance that stated their intent to achieve parity between complementary paratransit service and Metro’s regular fixed route fare. Paratransit fares have not kept pace with regular bus fares, which have increased 80 percent since 2009.

    There are many reasons why decision-makers have found it difficult to raise the Access fare, but two likely reasons are that disabled individuals as a group are the least able to pay and often their only means of transportation is highly subsidized paratransit service.

    There is a close correlation between having a disability and having a limited income. Disabled individuals are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than those without a disability. In 2011, the United States American Community Survey found that 27.8 percent of non-institutionalized working-age people with a disability live in poverty, while the poverty rate of working-age people without disabilities was 12.4 percent. Most people with disabilities want to work, but find it very difficult to obtain employment for various reasons. Per the 2011 American Community Survey, only 34.4 percent of working age people with disabilities in our country is employed. During that same year, the employment rate of working-age people without a disability in the United States was 75.6 percent.

    The cost of the average trip on Access is currently about $44. Metro’s current Access fare is low, $1.25 per trip. A monthly Access pass is available for $45. This is one of the lowest paratransit fares in our region. Community Transit, which serves portions of Snohomish County, charges $2 for a trip on DART, their complementary paratransit service. This is the same fare charged on Community Transit’s local bus service. A monthly pass for DART service is $72. However, Pierce Transit’s paratransit fare is 75 cents, and monthly passes can be purchased for $27. Kitsap Transit’s ADA paratransit fare is the same as their full fare for regular bus service — $2 per trip — and a monthly pass is $50. Intercity Transit’s paratransit fare is $1.25. Individuals with a reduced fare permit can by Dial-a-Lift monthly passes for $15 or an annual pass for $180. Whatcom County Transit, which serves the Bellingham area, charges a fare of $1 for paratransit service, which is the same as their regular bus fare.
    Federal ADA regulations allow transit agencies to charge up to twice the base fixed-route (bus) fare. However, state and local regulations may also come into to play if they allow greater access than federal policy. Washington State Law (WAC 162-26-070) states that it is unfair practice to charge for reasonable accommodation of the special needs of a disabled person. Since Access is an accommodation for persons with disabilities who cannot use the bus, this has been interpreted to mean that fares for ADA paratransit service in Washington State cannot be set higher than the regular adult fare for fixed route service.

    If King County Metro’s financial situation results in reductions to fixed-route service, the availability of Access service in some areas of the County and at some times of the day may also be affected. Although it not possible to increase fares enough to cover Metro’s revenue shortfall, an increase of both fixed-route and Access paratransit service fares may be part of the solution. It is questionable whether Access fares can be increased by enough to be the same as Metro’s regular bus base fare. To do so would require a doubling of the current Access fare. Metro’s long-range budget includes Access fare increases in 2015, 2017 and 2022. Of course, the King County Council would need to approve these fare increases. Given Metro’s current financial condition it would not be surprising to me if the Access fare increases prior to 2015.

    The King County Council reviews all of Metro’s fares regularly and always provide the public the opportunity to comment during their deliberations. Should a fare increase be proposed, I encourage you to participate in Council’s discussions. We value our customers and appreciate that you took time to share your thoughts with us.

    If you have further comments or questions, please feel free to share here or correspond directly with David Hull at david.hull@kingcounty.gov.

  4. Thank you for the feedback.

    I find it incredulous that Metro continues to identify a funding shortage yet can continue to provide a 97% subsidy to one group of Transit Riders AT THE EXPENSE OF ALL OTHER RIDERS! I have a mother with late stage dementia AND there are private service providers that provide door to door transportation. Thus other Private Service transportation available to serve disabled people. How many of the Paratransit Users simply failed to properly save during their working years?

    Once again I see where Metro has failed to increase the Paratransit Fares at the same pace of regular bus riders. If Metro simply eliminated this service (I realize it is not legal to do so) over $50,000,000 would be freed up to maintain service for other system users.

    The 97% subsidy for Paratransit Users is simply too high. It is time that the Paratransit Fare be set on par with regular users as noted in 1999 and to hear that the Paratransit Fares have not even gone up at the same rate as other user fares is unjust to the other system users. These other system have seen drastic cuts in their service!

    Mark

    Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2013 18:51:53 +0000 To: mjjmjj@msn.com

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