Service Guidelines Task Force


The Service Guidelines Task Force having a meeting

In 2010, King County formed a Regional Transit Task Force which recommended that Metro create objective, data-based guidelines for planning and managing transit service. Metro responded to this recommendation, and the King County Council adopted the King County Metro Strategic Plan for Public Transportation and Service Guidelines in July 2011.

After Metro had used these guidelines for several years in transit planning, the King County Executive and Council formed a new task force to further analyze how transit service is evaluated and allocated. The Service Guidelines Task Force worked from March through early October 2015, developing principles and recommendations for modifying the guidelines.

Principles and recommendations

These principles and recommendations respond to the charge the Task Force was given and will guide the King County Council and Metro as they update the Strategic Plan and develop King County's first-ever Long Range Plan for Public Transportation.  Once the Task Force's proposals have been translated into policy, they will give the public and regional bodies concerned with public transportation further clarity about Metro's service planning process.

Read a summary of the principles and recommendations.


  • Different parts of the county have different travel demands
  • Measure performance of routes against similar services.
  • Right-size service and seed new markets.
  • Create better connections between centers.
  • Maintain and improve services that meet productivity objectives.
  • Maintain and improve services that meet social equity objectives.
  • Maintain and improve services that meet geographic value objectives.
  • The demands for transit service far outweigh current available resources.
  • Value all forms of partnerships, including direct financial support, improved transit speed and reliability, and with cities that make land use and infrastructure decisions that would support transit access and ridership.



Task Force Charge

The King County Council asked the task force to review and make recommendations regarding:

  1. How transit service performance is measured to reflect the varied purposes of different types of transit service.
  2. Approaches to evaluating how the goal of geographic value is included in the guidelines, including minimum service standards.
  3. Approaches to evaluating how the goal of social equity is included in the guidelines.
  4. Financial policies for purchase of additional services within a municipality or among multiple municipalities.
  5. Guidelines for alternative services implementation.

The Service Guidelines Task Force will do this work in 2015 so that it can influence development of both Metro’s long-range plan, scheduled to be complete by mid-2016, and its service guidelines update, scheduled to be complete by April 2016. Metro is coordinating its long-range plan development with regional planning efforts being undertaken by Sound Transit, the Puget Sound Regional Council, local jurisdictions and stakeholders.

Service Guidelines Task Force and Long-Range Plan Differences

Both processes will consider questions and make recommendations related to the way transit service is provided, in coordination with local jurisdictions and other transit providers.

Topics Service Guidelines Task Force Long-Range Plan
Primary goals

How to implement service changes/investments.

Determine long-term service needs and investments.

Service types

What performance measures might be set for different types of services?

What services and facilities will be provided, and where, in Metro's future public transportation network?

Geographic value

What should be the minimum level of service to activity centers?

How should park & rides be used to enhance transit access around the county?

How will Metro's future network serve growing cities and employment centers?

What capital investments, including park & rides, transit priority and passenger facilities, will be needed?

How could features like sidewalks and bicycle facilities improve access to transit?

Social equity

Should additional social equity measures, such as locations of social service agencies, food banks, and medical services, be in the service guidelines?

How can we better engage communities in transit planning?

How will Metro's future network connect historically disadvantaged populations to jobs, services and other opportunities?

How can we better inform human service agencies, employers, and jurisdictions about the future network, to help them plan?

Purchase of additional services

How can the service guidelines incorporate community mobility contracts?

How can the future network include innovative opportunities for partnerships?

Alternative services

How can the service guidelines better incorporate alternative services?

What role will alternative services play in enhancing mobility in Metro's future network?

Meeting dates, locations, and materials

Service Guidelines Task Force Report and Recommendations

Report and Recommendations

The Service Guidelines Task Force transmitted its report and recommendations to the King County Council and County Executive on Nov 2, 2015.

Next Steps

Task Force recommendations have been incorporated into updates to Metro's Strategic Plan for Public Transportation and Service Guidelines. The King County Council passed the updates in June 2016. Metro will continue its work to achieve the goals outlined in the plan.