Seattle buses on Pike St, courtesy of Canadian Pacific.

The Metropolitan King County Council and Seattle City Council jointly approved a bus service contract yesterday to deploy 223,000 service hours in the city of Seattle. Service increases go into effect June of this year for the first round with a second in September. Deleted routes like the 47 could return while crammed buses such as the 5 and C Line could see serious service boosts in the peak and off-peak. The agreement lasts until December 31, 2017, but could be renewed for another three years and last until December 31, 2020. King County issued a comprehensive statement on the service program last night saying that:

The increased service hours will be implemented starting this June. The second phase will be put in place with the scheduled September transit service changes. Seattle will pay for each hour of bus service provided, with the hourly rate reflecting Metro Transit operating costs for each type of bus used. Metro agrees to maintain current bus trips on route that Seattle invests in. The agreement also defines Metro Transit’s commitment to maintaining service in areas where bus service is restructured.

The investment in service will focus on:

  • Overcrowding. Added bus trips on crowded routes listed in the Metro 2014 Service Guidelines Report–the top priority in the Metro Service Guidelines for adding service. All identified Seattle route needs are included.
  • On-time Performance. Added service hours to improve schedule reliability on bus routes identified as having poor on-time performance in the 2014 Service Guidelines Report–the second highest priority in the Metro Service Guidelines for adding service hours. All identified Seattle route needs are included.
  • Underserved Transit Corridors. Added service hours for some transit corridors identified as “underserved” in the 2014 Service Guidelines Report–the third highest priority in the Metro Service Guidelines for adding service hours.

Some transit service reductions that had been part of the September 2014 transit service change will be reversed in this agreement: Route 19 peak service will be restored, with five morning and six afternoon peak direction trips; the Route 47 will be partially restored; and Route 27 off-peak and night service will return.

Additional Seattle bus service investments provide more service on Metro routes that are identified as priorities in the Seattle Transit Master Plan, a City-generated plan. These investments include peak period, midday, evening, and weekend service.

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Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.