Metro's funding gap equals bus cuts

Dept. of Transportation
Metro Transit Division

King Street Center
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104
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Milestones 2000s

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2000

  • In January, Seattle, King County and private company - Mobility, Inc. - launch an innovative car-sharing program called Flexcar that is designed to cut down on the number of single-occupancy-vehicle trips in the region.
  • In April, King County, the city of Seattle and Sound Transit agree on a plan to transfer the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Sound Transit for light rail use.
  • Metro set a single weekend record when special shuttles carried more than 75,000 people to Seahawks football at Husky Stadium, the hydroplane races on Lake Washington and U.S. Navy ships docked in Elliott Bay - despite the emergency closure of one lane of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge because of tugboat damage.
  • "Bus Only" lanes open on the West Seattle Bridge.
  • On September 18, the first Sound Transit "Sounder" commuter train departs Tacoma for Seattle's King Street Station via the Kent Valley.
  • Also in September, Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit announce they will accept each other's transfers as part of a goal to create a seamless public transportation system in the Puget Sound.
  • A new Web-based service launches October 30 that enables riders to buy transit passes via the Internet.
  • In November, voters approve a 0.2 percent transit sales tax to allow Metro to restore service cuts made after the passage of I-695.
  • Seattle voters approve Initiative 52 to fund additional Monorail plan for resubmission to voters.
  • By the end of the year, Metro Transit ridership hits 100 million boardings. That is an all-time high for Metro, yet still well below record levels set for public transportation during World War II.

100 million trips.

  • After a one-month "soft launch" or trial period, a pilot project to sell Metro Transit bus passes and other fare media online exceeded the expectations of its developers. More than 275 people bought Metro bus passes, ticketbooks and Puget Passes, with total sales of more than $18,000 in one month.

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2001

  • May, Bill Roach, A pioneer in innovative transportation solutions for the region retired. [see story]
  • July, Senior/disabled fixed-route fares are increased from 25 cents to 50 cents during peak hours only. To encourage new riders, youth fares drop from 75 cents to 50 cents. Regular off-peak increased from $1.00 to $1.25 and peak-hour fares increase to $1.50 (one zone) and $2.00 (two zone).
  • July, Metro's fleet retrofitted with new catalytic soot filters that, together with new ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, will reduce emissions by more than 90 percent. It's part of a broad regional coalition to transform the market to the new, cleaner fuel. [see story]
  • July, During the recent All-Star Baseball Game festivities here in Seattle, July 8-10, Metro served more than 4,700 customers using Special Service traveling from Safeco Field and the Stadium Exhibition Center. Metro leads the nation in providing the most-used special service to sports events based on surveys with other agencies.
  • In September, Metro makes the second biggest service change in its history by adding an additional 115,000 annual hours of transit service. The bulk of the new service is added to the Eastside to accommodate the tremendous amount of growth there in the past several years.
  • September, King County Metro Transit unveils next-generation trolley buses; purchase designed to save $20 million. [see story]
  • October, Metro's King County Water Taxi sailed away with a record-breaking number of riders this past summer. More than 100,000 trips were taken on the Water Taxi between late May and mid September.
  • December 4, Metro debuts online Trip Planner in December, a computerized program that allows riders to enter their desired trip start/end points and times via the web, and have routes, transfers, times, locations (and walking directions) calculated instantly. The Trip Planner has been visited more than 32,000 times in just the four weeks since its public launch.

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2002

  • In January, Metro rolls out the first of 100 new trolley buses to replace 22-year-old coaches. Metro saves $20 million by installing rebuilt electric propulsion systems into new trolley bodies.
  • In March, Metro re-opens the Overlake Park and Ride in Redmond, which now includes 308 apartment units in the "air space" above the parking. This is the first development of its kind in the U.S. that links affordable housing with a transit center.
  • March, two online programs were named last week among the 25 finalists for top awards from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). They were chosen from 75 entries to represent the best examples of Consumer Product Launches across America. RideshareOnline.com and Metro's online Trip Planner. Winners will be announced April 30 in Long Beach, California.
  • Metro now offering special service to all major sporting venues in King County, including: Mariners baseball; Seahawks football; Sonics basketball; and University of Washington Husky football.

    Photo of woman stepping off special Husky football service bus.
    Husky football special service.

  • Waterfront Streetcar celebrates 20 years and is renamed George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line after the "father" of Metro's waterfront streetcar on June 1.
  • Metro takes delivery of a hybrid diesel-electric articulated bus to test drive as a possible replacement for the aging tunnel buses.
  • November 5, voters approve Initiative 776 to repeal local auto excise taxes; approve $1.5 billon Monorail plan; and reject Referendum 51 to raise gas taxes for $8 billion in state transportation improvements.

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2003

  • Metro celebrates 30 years of operation on February 1. See photos from the Anniversary Celebration.

    Graphic: Metro Memories

  • March 27th marked the end of an era in local bus travel, as King County Metro Transit retired the last of its AM General 900 series trolley buses. For 24 years, these 40-foot buses have traveled on overhead wires up Seattles hills, down its valleys, and across the flats. Watch the video report:
  • April, Metro offers online start-up help for employee commute programs. King County Metro Transit provides online "start-up" assistance for large and small companies that want to provide transportation benefits for their employees.
  • April, Teens take transit ideas to the public. Teens from Sammamish and Issaquah are helping the community explore new ways to "move it," as the students embark on a public education campaign to get people out of their cars.
  • April, "Smart card" agreement creates a transportation system without boundaries for Puget Sound area. Seven public transportation agencies today authorized a new fare system that will allow passengers to move more easily between buses, trains and ferries across four counties in the Puget Sound. The unprecedented agreement also serves as a collaboration model for transportation systems nationwide.

    photo of Smart Card

  • June, King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit are working on a pilot project that will give a voice to landmarks to assist visually impaired riders.
  • July, Metro Transit Lost and Found adds live, online chat tools to help locate items lost on buses.
  • August, King County Metro Transit, the City of Bellevue, Sound Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation established a unique demonstration program for Bellevue employers designed to reduce drive-alone car trips around Bellevues downtown core.

    The Bellevue Trip Reduction Incentive Program (TRIP) offers a market-based approach to reducing congestion. The program provides cash rewards to local businesses whose employees eliminate their own single-occupant vehicle (SOV) commutes. Those trips can be replaced in a variety of ways, such as using transit, carpooling, bicycling, vanpooling, vansharing, walking or other commuting options. Employers who reduce employee SOV commute trips will receive a cash award of $175 for each trip reduced on an annualized basis.
  • August, Metro Transits Online Trip Planner is the most popular Internet tool used by riders.
  • August, Transit passengers from across King County donated enough school supplies to fill an entire 30-foot Metro bus. The supplies were distributed to children served by the state Department of Social and Health Services just in time for the new school year.
  • September, The U.S. Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee approved an $8.5 million allocation to support the purchase of new King County Metro Transit hybrid electric buses, countywide signal synchronization and the replacement of the South Park Bridge.
  • October, King County Metro Transit began a pilot project to test the use of bio-diesel fuel in its bus fleet, which could eventually reduce the agencys reliance on fossil fuel by as much as 1.7 million gallons a year.
  • October, King County Metro Transit signed a contract to take delivery on 213 new hybrid diesel-electric buses. The order also includes another 22 hybrid buses for Sound Transit.

    Photo: Hybrid bus

  • November, King County Metro is integrating new air conditioned, low floor buses into its fleet.

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Updated: Oct. 21, 2003