Some confusion, delays on first big commute day for Metro overhaul

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SEATTLE - Metro bus riders dealt with delays and some overcrowding Monday, as a huge round of schedule changes took effect in the biggest overhaul of the transit system since 1973.  Almost a quarter of all routes were affected.

 

"Metro’s Monday evening commute is continuing quietly with no significant delays or disruptions in transit service to report," Metro said in a tweet Monday afternoon.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Chris Legeros said there were a couple of problems, including signs on Rapid Ride routes that weren't accurately telling people when the next bus would arrive and some buses that were packed.

 

Some bus riders were confused as they tried to navigate their way through the service alerts at bus stops explaining the changes in their rides. 

 

David Murphy was stumped trying to get to Queen Anne.

 

"Actually, I don't know how to get where I am going unless I ask these bus drivers," Murphy said.

 

The changes began over the weekend, but Monday was the first work day that commuters had to deal with them.

 

"It wasn't very rapid this morning," said Andrew McLaughlin, of the new Rapid Ride line to West Seattle. "It just took forever, it was like 10 minutes late and then getting on the bus, it was like standing room only."

 

Ann Weigel experienced the same overcrowding on this trip to the West Seattle Junction.

 

"So I had to stand all the way into West Seattle," said Ann Weigel. "So not so good."

 

The new pay-as-you-enter system on all rides didn't cause any major problems, according to Metro.

 

A spokesman said Metro will deal with overcrowding by adding coaches if necessary. 

 

Metro added five new routes but discontinued and made changes to dozens of others.

 

After 40 years, Metro also eliminated the ride free zone in downtown Seattle.

 

In addition, there are two new RapidRide lines to get in and out of downtown Seattle.

 

Bus riders will now be required to pay on entry and exit by the rear of the bus for all trips in King County.

 

For the first few days, Metro will have guides throughout downtown to help people get on and off the bus more quickly.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News received a wide range of reactions from RapidRide commuters arriving downtown from West Seattle and Ballard.

 

Rider Jenny Leland said she was confused by the new routes.

 

"I didn't realize that the change had already gone into effect, and it kind of caught me by surprise.  And I forgot to look up my bus route to get to work," said Leland.

 

Information on the new routes is available at bus stops and printable timetables are available on Metro Online and trips can be planned online with Metro's Trip Planner.

 

But Leland said she still finds the changes confusing.

 

"It's just not that clear, there's nothing that indicates how to correspond the old routes to the new routes," said Leland.

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Alexandra Limon  hopped on the new RapidRide to ask people onboard what they thought.

 

"I was excited to see just how quickly everything is moving  and how quickly the buses arrive," said rider Al Varady.

 

But Seattle Pacific University student Maria Kuyan said cuts to her usual bus route means she has to get up earlier and getting home will take longer.

 

Get information on all of the service revisions.