King County Metro is planning for a 17% reduction in bus services beginning in 2014 during a time when ridership is at its highest point since `08. Unless state lawmakers take up transit funding during the upcoming special session in November transit riders can expect cuts to 600,000 service hours, 65 routes eliminated, and 86 routes reduced or altered.
That will mean longer walks to stops, longer waits, more difficult transfers, and more crowded rides. To some, it will mean total loss of public transit options. To find out the details about what routes are at risk, visit King County Metro online.
Transit riders and city residents will have an opportunity on Monday October 14th to make their concerns heard when State Senators will be making a stop on their “listening tour” in Seattle at First Presbyterian Church. The Transit Riders Union is planning a rally outside the church beginning at 5pm.
They are likely to get an earful. Here is why:
Transit riders who have a car are likely to go back to driving, adding between 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles (according to the office of County Councilmember Larry Phillips) to already congested traffic conditions in Seattle. Not only will commutes become more hectic, but the city’s environmental goals for transit will be undermined.
For those who rely on public transit – most likely to be people of color and low wage workers – service cuts represent more than an inconvenience. A disruption of transit at this scale can be detrimental to those for whom public transit is their primary source of transportation to get to jobs, schools, daycares, and grocery stores.
According to Got Green’s Community Survey – Young Workers in the Green Economy – roughly 1/3 of young people don’t have access to or can’t rely on a car for transportation. Claira, an 18-year-old retail worker, recounted how a lack of viable public transit has meant the loss of a job. “Where I work, there is only a bus every hour. . . . I lost a job once because I missed a bus. Because I was late, they passed my time slot to someone else. It’s devastating sometimes.”
For more information about the cuts visit KIng County Metro online.