Alternative Service

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Help Metro shape transportation services in southeast King County

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 be more cost-effective — and better meet the needs of residents and riders — than regular bus service. In April 2015, we asked for feedback about how people are using transit service, what barriers to using service they experience, and how service could be improved. Then, we worked with local partners to design some concepts that might help address some of the needs people told us about. After listening to public feedback about these concepts in May 2015, we identified a set of changes we're moving forward with.

New services coming soon

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 Metro TripPool vehicles stationed at transit centers, by taxis, or by transportation network companies such as Uber or Lyft. Riders would have to preregister for the program.

Why: Some residents may already have access to Metro's guaranteed ride home program through their employers or Metro VanPools, but many do not. Since fixed-route service ends in the early evening, a missed connection could leave them stranded in Renton or Auburn with no way to get home. We heard concern about this from current riders during our first two phases of outreach.

We're partnering with Covington, Maple Valley, and Black Diamond to provide connections between and within these communities.

Metro is partnering with these cities to provide a shared mobility coordinator, volunteer drivers, and vehicles that the cities would operate. Trips will be determined by the communities served.

Why: The Greater Maple Valley Community Center stopped running its Southeast Regional Shuttle in 2014 after state grant funding was cut. Many residents in Maple Valley and Covington told us they would like the service to be restored. Because these and nearby communities are close together and have many transit-dependent riders, a community-sponsored service could be a good way to provide important trips during the day.

We're promoting Metro VanPool, VanShare, and TripPool.

We’re working with local partners to increase ride sharing with new outreach, education, and incentives. Metro is partnering with interested cities to develop specific program approaches that are designed to meet community needs.

Why: More than half of survey responders said they would be interested in trying a Metro VanPool or VanShare. With limited fixed-route service and long travel distances in the area, ridesharing could be a good option for commuters traveling to the same destinations — for example, employment centers like South Lake Union, Issaquah, or Redmond. Ridesharing programs are great for commuters and the region. Parking and HOV lane options can shorten commute times; lower fuel, maintenance, and parking costs mean less transportation spending; and reducing pollution benefits the environment .

Learn more about Metro's VanPool and VanShare programs »

Changes to DART routes 907 and 915

Changes to DART routes 907 and 915 would be made in two phases. These changes are consistent with Option C, the preferred alternative identified during our Phase 2 outreach.

Phase 1 – March 2016

  • Invested 2,070 annual service hours in DART Route 915 to provide hourly service on weekdays between Enumclaw and Auburn.

Phase 2 – March 2017

  • Shorten Route 907 to operate between the Renton Transit Center and Black Diamond.
  • Increase service on Route 907 so buses will come every hour.
  • Remove the current Route 907 DART deviation area in Renton.
  • Add one early-evening trip from the Renton Transit Center to Black Diamond.
  • Add a new south extension of Route 915 from Griffin Avenue and Wells Street to McDougal Avenue (the Enumclaw part of current Route 907).
  • Begin providing a demand-response service connection between Black Diamond and Enumclaw.
  • Begin a program to distribute ORCA fare cards and educate 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.

Why Change DART routes 907 and 915: Route 907 operates between the Renton Transit Center and Enumclaw along State Route 169. It’s one of the lowest-performing DART routes in Metro’s system. The part of the route between Black Diamond and Enumclaw has very few riders—just over one rider per trip on average.

In contrast, State Route 164 between Auburn and Enumclaw, which is partly served by Route 915, is underserved according to Metro’s service guidelines. During outreach for this project, many Route 907 riders told us their destinations were beyond Renton, and that Route 915 to Auburn is also an option for them, but they see the additional cost of paying cash for a transfer to Sound Transit as a barrier.

Based on this initial feedback, Metro developed a fixed-route concept (called Option C) to shorten Route 907 so it ends at Black Diamond instead of Enumclaw and reinvest the service hours to better meet rider needs in the corridor. In our Phase 2 outreach, riders responding to our survey identified Option C as their preferred alternative. On June 9, the project's stakeholder working group also recommended that Metro change Route 907 according to Option C.

Added an evening trip to Route 186

In September 2015, we added an evening trip to Route 186, leaving Auburn Station at 7 p.m.

Why: Adding service later in the evening addresses one of the most common requests we heard during our Phase 1 outreach. We were able to add this trip at no extra cost because of savings from adjusting our routes to accommodate Sounder service changes in September 2015.

How did public input shape these changes?

Read our report summarizing feedback received in two phases of outreach in Spring 2015.

Why we're doing this

Southeast King County is the second of several rural areas where Metro is shaping future service according to the county's adopted alternative services plan. The plan is a framework for what fixed-route bus service—and also potential alternatives to this costly service—might look like in less-populated areas of the county as Metro seeks ways to get the most out of every available transit dollar.

In addition to regularly scheduled bus service, Metro provides alternative services like community vans, DART (Demand Area Response Transit) service, and a variety of VanPool and VanShare options. Learn more »

Timeline

We're collaborating with local jurisdictions and stakeholders to develop ideas for better meeting mobility needs in southeast King County.

  • April 21 – May 5, 2015

    Outreach phase 1: Gather input from the public on transportation needs and ways we might meet those needs.

  • Mid-May 2015

    Use the input received to develop some alternative service concepts.

  • Late May 2015

    Outreach phase 2: Share alternative concepts with the public and gather feedback on how those concepts might meet the needs identified in phase 1.

  • June 2015

    Choose idea(s) that will best meet everyone's needs.

  • July 2015 – Present

    Design community van and other alternative service options.

  • Sept. – Oct. 2015

    King County Council considers increasing frequency of Route 915.

  • March 2016

    Metro increased frequency on Route 915 so buses come every hour.

  • Fall 2016

    King County Council considers routing and service level changes to DART routes 907 and 915.

  • Winter/Spring 2017

    Educate the public about changes to bus service coming in March 2017, new service options available to them, and how ORCA can help them make the most of available services.

  • February 2017

    Introduce new demand-responsive service between Black Diamond and Enumclaw to maintain the connection between these communities for Route 907 riders. Service will be available on weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., mirroring current Route 907.

  • March 2017

    If adopted, shorten Route 907 and increase its frequency to every hour; extend Route 915 to cover Route 907 routing in Enumclaw.

Información importante sobre el servicio de autobuses de su zona

Para solicitar esta información en español, sírvase llamar al 206-263-9988 o envíe un mensaje de correo electrónico a community.relations@kingcounty.gov.

Contact us

DeAnna Martin
Community Relations Planner
Send DeAnna an email
or call 206-477-3835