Metro bus cuts coming in four phases

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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SEATTLE —

At the Third and Union bus stop in downtown Seattle, four bus routes will disappear this September. The 19 to Magnolia, the 62 to Ballard, the 84 to Madison Park and the 280 to Renton and Bellevue will be eliminated.

Evan Miglorie will lose his bus route to West Seattle next year. He said, “I feel awful about it, I mean, I take it to and from work every day.” 

With voters rejecting Proposition One, there won't be a bump in sales taxes or license tab fees to support Metro. The transit agency is proposing to cut service by 16 percent, with the elimination of 72 routes and reductions in 84 others.

Metro’s General Manager, Kevin Desmond, said, “We don’t want to cut service, that’s the last thing we’d be wanting to do.”

Metro will make the cuts in four phases, from September of this year to September 2015. Some have criticized the transit agency for having high operating costs or inefficiencies. Desmond disagrees. He said, “We’ve been tightening our belt for the past five years, we’re going to continue to look for ways to tighten our belt.”

Desmond didn't want to say much about a new initiative that a group called Friends of Transit announced Wednesday. It will ask Seattle voters in November to raise their property taxes to save bus service within the city limits. Desmond said, “I think that could be a solution, I think it’s an interesting idea, but it would only affect Seattle service, and I think we have to be very mindful of that. We’re a regional transit agency.”

The King County Council must still approve the cuts that Metro is recommending, so there's a possibility of some changes. The transit agency is advising bus riders to go to the Metro website to see how their bus routes would be impacted by service cuts.

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