Puget Sound transit agencies are moving ahead with modest service changes this month. Those changes cut both ways with some additions and some reductions, depending on the transit agency. King County Metro and Sound Transit’s service changes will begin as soon as Saturday, March 18th with other agencies start implementing changes on Sunday, March 19th.
King County Metro service changes
King County Metro will unleash revised service starting on March 18th. This will involve additional service, particularly on weekends, and the launch of the new RapidRide H Line. However, the agency has consistently been canceling around 3% to 4% of scheduled weekday service — usually during peak hours — and about 1% of schedule service on weekends. The latter means around 50 to 100 canceled trips each Saturday and Sunday, so adding in the extra trips seems a gamble given the grave understaffing situation that Metro faces just for current service levels. Nevertheless, the service changes shake out as follows:
|3||On weekdays, two eastbound trips and one westbound trip will be added. On Saturdays, two eastbound and westbound trips each will be added. On Sundays, one eastbound and two westbound trips will be added.|
|4||On weekdays, two eastbound trips and one westbound trip will be added. On Saturdays, two eastbound and westbound trips each will be added. On Sundays, one eastbound and two westbound trips will be added.|
|28||Each day of the week, one northbound trip will be added.|
|33||On weekdays, one southbound trip will be added.|
|36||On weekdays, two southbound trips will be added. On Saturdays, two southbound and two northbound trips will be added. On Sundays, one southbound trip will be added.|
|40||On weekdays, one southbound trip will be added. On weekends, one northbound trip will be added.|
|44||On weekdays, one westbound trip will be added.|
|48||On weekdays, one northbound and one southbound trip will be added.|
|50||On weekdays, two eastbound trips will be added. On weekends, two westbound trips will be added.|
|65||On weekdays, two southbound trips will be added.|
|67||On weekdays, two northbound trips will be added.|
|70||On weekdays, one southbound and one northbound trip will be added. On Saturdays, one southbound and one northbound trip will be added. On Sundays, one southbound and two northbound trips will be added.|
|73||On weekdays, three southbound and northbound trips each will be added. On weekends, 23 southbound and northbound trips each will be added.|
|106||On weekdays, two southbound trips will be added.|
|107||On Sundays, there southbound trips and one northbound trip will be added.|
|331||On weekdays, one eastbound trip will be added.|
|C Line||On weekdays, two southbound and three northbound trips will be added. On weekends, two southbound trips will be added.|
|D Line||On weekends, one northbound trip will be added.|
|E Line||On weekends, one northbound trip will be added.|
As should be obvious, most new trips are focused on Seattle routes due to funding from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District.
Metro also will launch the new RapidRide H Line between South Lake Union and Burien via Delridge. That will replace Route 120 and offer more frequent service. The line will operate every 7 to 15 minutes on weekdays from 4:00am to midnight and every 15 minutes on weekends from 6:00am to 11:00pm. Riders will also benefit from better buses and stop features.
Additionally, earlier this month the King County Council approved the agency’s service recovery plan, which technically takes the system out of an emergency status that it’s been in since the pandemic started. As of September, Metro still had about 572,000 annual service hours in suspension, of which 228,000 annual service hours were for Seattle-affected routes. Most of these suspended service hours affect routes operating today, but a total of 17 routes remain on the fully suspended list. In time, those service hours could be restored as staffing levels allow, though upcoming bus restructures may affect how the service hours are allocated.
Sound Transit service changes
Sound Transit will roll out service changes on March 18th through March 20th. Changes will shake out as follows:
|510||Minor schedule adjustments|
|511||Service will be fully replaced by Route 512 and 513 service|
|512||The route will see added peak-hour trips and minor schedule adjustments|
|513||The route will see four fewer weekday trips and minor schedule adjustments|
|522||Minor schedule adjustments|
|532||The route will see two added weekday trips and minor schedule adjustments|
|535||Minor schedule adjustments|
|542||Minor schedule adjustments|
|550||Minor schedule adjustments|
|560||Minor schedule adjustments|
|566||Minor schedule adjustments|
|574||Minor schedule adjustments|
|586||Minor schedule adjustments|
Sound Transit also plans to make minor schedule adjustments to the Sounder S Line. Sounder N Line riders can also take advantage of the restored Rail Plus program, which allows riders on two daily Amtrak Cascades weekday trips each direction from Seattle to Everett for the cost of a normal Sounder trip.
Community Transit service changes
Community Transit isn’t planning to offer new trips, instead the agency plans to reduce service on nine routes to improve reliability due to staffing shortages. This will affect Routes 101, 105, 115, 116, 119, 196, 201, 202, and 412 and go into effect on March 19th.
Pierce Transit service changes
Pierce Transit will launch service improvements on March 19th. These generally apply to weekends with brand new trips. Routes 1, 4, and 212 will see extra Saturday service and Routes 10, 11, 16, 28, 41, 42, 45, 48, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 100, 202, 206, 214, 402, 409, and 501 will see extra Saturday and Sunday service. Route 497 will also see new trips on weekdays. This totals just over 6,700 annual service hours and about 149 new daily trips. The agency also plans to participate in the ORCA LIFT program for low-income riders by offering $1.00 fares. That begins on April 1st.
Intercity Transit service changes
Intercity Transit will launch service improvements on March 19th.
|12||Three extra evening trips are added from Olympia at 7:30pm, 8:00pm, and 8:30pm|
|41||An extra evening trip is added from Olympia at 9:00pm|
|64||Frequency is improved from every 60 minutes to every 30 minutes|
|65||An extra evening trip is added from Lacey at 8:28pm|
|68||Weekday span of service is improved from Lacey with service starting at 5:31am|
Everett Transit service changes
Everett Transit had planned to implement a network redesign with improved service. That has been punted to June to give more time to train operators. The redesign that the agency plans to implement is a lot more coherent than the one proposed in the fall, but riders will have to wait a few more months for better service.
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.