UPDATE: New transit concepts for Kirkland and south Kenmore – Tell us what you think by Oct. 12

asd-kkEditor’s Note: This post was updated on Oct. 4, 2016, to extend the deadline for comment on alternative service concepts for Kirkland and South Kenmore to Oct. 12.

Last spring, Metro’s Alternative Services program began working with the communities of Kirkland and south Kenmore to identify transit gaps created in September 2014 when Metro deleted two routes that served these areas. A stakeholder working group helped us prioritize transportation needs that might be met by innovative, custom mobility services.

Here are some options we’re presenting to Kirkland and south Kenmore for consideration:

  • Community van: Metro provides vans for local prescheduled group trips that are arranged by a Community Transportation Coordinator and driven by volunteer drivers.
  • SchoolPool is a free and secure ridematch program that connects parents of children attending the same school who want to carpool, bike, or walk together.
  • TripPool is a “first-mile connection” for commuters. It provides real-time ridesharing that connects members—both drivers and riders—to transit.

Now we’d like to hear from people who live, work, go to school, and play in Kirkland and south Kenmore. Will these ideas meet your community’s transportation needs? Would you be interested in trying them?

Questions? Contact DeAnna Martin, 206-477-3835

New investments in Metro Transit safety, service, and reliability

By Rob Gannon, Interim Metro Transit General Manager

Rob Gannon, Metro Transit Interim General ManagerExecutive Constantine recently gave us a challenge:  how will we meet the demands of one million more people living here in King County in the next 25 years, working 850,000 more jobs?

Metro Transit responded by working with riders, stakeholders, and staff from all corners of our organization to put forth a thoughtful, long-range vision for the next 25 years, which the Executive has embraced.

Because the regional economy is strong, we have funds now to improve service and begin to invest in the vision of METRO CONNECTS, which over the long-term calls for:

  • Doubling ridership,
  • Increasing bus service by 70 percent,
  • Increasing the number of buses on the street by 30 percent, and
  • Making a significant capital investment in the new coaches and technology necessary to deliver this service, and the physical space to house and maintain our equipment.

SM Image IIIt is no easy process to evolve from a system that for many years has been financially constrained to one that is prepared to expand dramatically. Before enacting our long-range vision, Metro must first have the people in place to drive the routes, maintain the buses, trains, and facilities, and manage all that goes into operating our system.

And most of all, every employee needs to feel safe and secure on the job, knowing they will make it home to their families at the end of their work day.

To get there, the Executive is proposing a biennial budget to the Council that takes the first step toward investing in all of us, and in the infrastructure of our health, safety and security. Today, he proposed a budget for Metro Transit that:

  • Adds 30,000 hours to provide more time for comfort station breaks. We know our schedule cuts in 2010 and 2011 along with increased traffic have put our operators behind, and in response, we are making the single largest investment to date to add time for operator breaks and recovery periods.
  • Provides additional Metro Transit police resources to establish  more visible presence and responses to security issues on the buses. This was the number one recommendation to address operator assaults coming out of our Security Summits jointly sponsored with ATU Local 587.
  • Ensures 100% of our coaches have onboard camera systems by the end of 2018. This too was a top priority coming out of our Security Summits, and a priority for the Executive, and will serve to enhance bus security and preserve valuable evidence when incidents occur.
  • Adds other resources to implement the Safety Systems Review that many of our staff participated in, either through questionnaires or focus groups. The full report will be released throughout Metro Transit early next week.
  • For the biennium, the Executive is proposing an additional 300,000 hours of new annual service to reduce crowding, increase reliability and help meet target service levels on key corridors.  By focusing additional service on the most over-crowded routes first, we will improve the daily working conditions for bus operators throughout the system and also provide more service to our customers.

The Executive’s budget also calls for investments in our infrastructure to ready us for the longer-term vision of adding service:

  • Our seven Metro bus bases are stretched to capacity. To expand service, we’re going to have to jump-start the planning to build an eighth bus base, most likely somewhere in South King County.  We also need to expand existing facilities at Atlantic/Central and potentially South Base.
  • We have been struggling to hire and train enough operators to drive our existing schedule. The Executive’s budget calls not only for hiring operators but first-line supervisors, vehicle maintenance crews, and other management and support staff to ensure no compromise to the safety and efficient operation of the overall system.
  • The Executive also calls for a ten-year capital investment plan to build the foundation which will put Metro in position to implement the vision of METRO CONNECTS, and build a transit system that truly meets the needs of our riders by the year 2040.

The Executive’s budget proposal is an investment in the health of our employees and our system, to make sure we are best equipped to serve the public well. Keeping our system safe and make it even safer is a value that must guide our every action, and I am pleased that this proposed budget – which we helped build – takes a step toward making that a reality.  We will keep our system safe, and make Metro a great place to work. That is the path to service excellence.

Sincerely,

Rob Gannon
Interim Metro Transit General Manager

King County Council to consider changing DART routes 907 and 915

Proposed change to Route 907: shorten route to operate between Renton and Black Diamond, increase service so bus comes every 60 minutes. Proposed change to Route 915: extend to South Enumclaw to cover Enumclaw portion of discontinued Route 907. No “one size fits all” approach to transit can meet every community’s needs. So we’re working with communities in southeast King County to find transportation options that will better meet the needs of residents and riders than regular bus service.

In April 2015, we asked for feedback about how people use transit service, what barriers they face, and how local service could be improved. Then we worked with local partners to design some alternative service concepts to address some of the needs people told us about. We heard public feedback about these concepts in May 2015, and used that feedback to finalize a set of proposals we’re moving forward with. Learn more on Metro’s website.

The King County Council is currently considering some of these proposals involving changes to routes 907 and 915, which the public helped us design.

  • Route 907 would be shortened to run only between the Renton Transit Center and Black Diamond.
  • Route 907 would have increased service, with buses coming every hour.
  • The current Route 907 DART deviation area in Renton would be removed.
  • Route 915 would be extended from Griffin Avenue and Wells Street to McDougal Avenue (to serve the Enumclaw part of current Route 907).

If these changes are adopted, they will be made in March 2017. Related changes would include the following:

  • A demand-response service connection between Black Diamond and Enumclaw (expected to begin service in the first quarter of 2017).
  • A campaign to distribute ORCA fare cards and educate Route 907 riders to help Enumclaw residents make use of transfers between Metro and Sound Transit service in Auburn and the new demand-response service between Enumclaw and Black Diamond. (This would take place before the March 2017 service change.)

Stay tuned for additional services in 2017:

  • We’re developing an emergency-ride-home program. If riders miss their connecting routes in Renton or Auburn during evenings or weekends when fixed-route service is not available, this service would provide the last leg of the trip to get them home. The service could be provided by taxis or by transportation network companies such as Uber or Lyft. Riders would have to preregister for the program.
  • We’re partnering with the cities of Covington, Maple Valley, and Black Diamond to provide connections between and within these communities. Metro will provide a community transportation coordinator and vehicles that the cities would operate. Trips will be determined by the communities served and provided by screened, volunteer drivers.
  • We’re promoting Metro VanPool, VanShare, and TripPool. We’re working with local partners to increase ride sharing with new outreach, education, and incentives, and partnering with interested cities to develop specific program approaches to meet community needs.

Visit the King County Council’s Transportation Environment and Economy Committee website for more information about how to participate as the current legislation makes its way through the council approval process.

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 community.relations@kingcounty.gov.

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

SM Image II

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 kcmetrovision.org, 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.

 

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 haveasay@kingcounty.gov or 206-263-9768.

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 19.

Learn more
Project website: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/parking
Sound Transit parking permits: www.soundtransit.org/permitparking
Metro Connects (our DRAFT long-range plan – see Pages 35-42):
www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/metro-connects-draft-plan

Congratulations! Gary Archer is Metro Transit’s 2016 Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year!

In a surprise ceremony Wednesday, lead mechanic Gary Archer was named Metro Transit’s 2016 Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year – to the smiles and applause of his coworkers and team at South Base in Tukwila.

It’s the second time Gary has won the award, unprecedented in Metro’s history. Archer was selected by his peers, more than 600 vehicle maintenance workers across Metro’s seven bus bases. Gary first won the Employee of the Year award in Vehicle Maintenance in 2003.

Mechanic Gary Archer“Seeing Gary today with his colleagues, it was clear to me what a quiet, humble man of integrity he is,” said Rob Gannon, interim Metro Transit general manager. “His team is truly inspired.  He is a model of leadership for all of us.”

Metro hired Gary as a mechanic in December 1979. He was promoted to his present position as a lead mechanic in September 1982. Throughout his more than 36 years with King County, he has received numerous commendations for his outstanding work.

Thanks to his hard work leading a team of mechanics, nearly 300 of Metro’s 1,400 buses are ready to roll out of South Base every morning for transit operators. Gary has dedicated his career to providing safe, dependable vehicles for bus riders and transit operators – key to keeping commuters and the economy moving.

Winning the award a second time shows the continuous admiration and respect Metro’s mechanics have for Gary. He is known for his people skills, confidence and focus on teamwork. He is admired for being solid, fair, even-tempered, a mentor, humble, honest, well-liked, dependable and a problem solver. We’re honored to have Gary Archer as a part of our team in Vehicle Maintenance!

#PrideMetro: King County and the community stand together, march together

Editor’s note: See how transit service will be adjusted during Pride Festival and Pride Parade celebrations.

Pride parade photo with bus and celebrantsIt’s Pride week and our transit community is again celebrating across King County. You’ll see Metro at the #SeattlePride festival and in the parade on Sunday, where King County employees and their families are again supporting our LGBTQ riders and employees following the values of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –  the symbol of our county and an international icon for justice, equality and peace.

VIew of pride parade from atop a bus, with balloonsAs a county and an agency we embrace the values of inclusion, diversity and excellence on behalf of the people we serve. We stand up for, support and ally with our gay and LGBTQ employees and riders – and our community is stronger for it.

Sadly, we’ve seen the power some take from others with their words and actions on our buses. Each slight, intended or not, eventually pools together and deepens the terrible stain of hate, homophobia, racism and violence in our culture. We want riders to feel empowered to stand up to hate when they hear it on our buses, see it at bus stops, anywhere it lives.

sideview of pride parade from bus mirror with balloonsAs a community, we know individual acts help form a shield against hate and work to help heal the hurt – and serve as examples to others who wondered afterward ‘what should I have done?’ A ride on Metro can be a place where people from all over our community come together and demonstrate respect and support for one another.

So look out for each other today, tomorrow, and every day. Speak up, smile and support each other on every ride. Together, we’ll get there.

 

Help shape the future of Access Transportation – Tell us what you think by July 10

AccessBoardingInformación en español

NOTE: This post was edited on July 1 to indicate that the due date for participation has been extended from July 5 to July 10.

Metro needs your feedback to help shape the future of Access Transportation, Metro’s ADA paratransit service.

We’ll reach out to the public several times this year to learn about what’s working well and how Access could be improved. Your feedback will inform Metro staff as they plan for new Access contracts that will take effect in 2018.

In this first phase of outreach, we want to hear about how we’re doing with Access service, what’s most important riders, and ideas for improvements.

Tell us what you think about Access Transportation by July 10

Learn more