Bus riders say they're afraid at stop in Pioneer Square

SEATTLE — Bus riders who used to board buses in the bus tunnel say their new bus stop in Pioneer Square isn't safe.

Several hundred riders who used to get on buses to Bellevue in the tunnel are now standing at the stop at 2nd Ave South and South Washington Street.

About 2,000 people use the bus stop each day, according to King County Metro.

"This corner specifically isn't safe for a bus stop," said passenger Erin Christensen. The new mom from Issaquah says she recently started carrying a knife for protection. "I've been yelled at, not attacked, but approached by people who seem very unpredictable."

All buses were moved from the bus tunnel March 23 to allow more access for light rail.

King County Metro is aware of the concerns at the stop at 2nd Avenue and South Washington. Since March 23, they've had 13 complaints. While the number isn't high, Metro says about half of those complaints also involved calls to 911 and they are taking them very seriously.

"I don't want to minimize that because half of those complaints were pretty serious complaints that also involved calls to police," said Bill Bryant,  Managing Director Service Development at King County Metro. "Our top priority for all of our customers, whether they are on the bus or at a stop or walking to a bus stop, really is safety."

Bryant showed KIRO-7 how the sign for the bus stop was moved down the block closer to the bus shelter to more clearly designate those shelters for passengers. He also said Metro is considering adding more lighting. Metro says it has bicycle officers patrolling bus stops.

Metro says it has also had safety concerns from riders at 3rd Avenue and Pike Street and says Metro is looking for ways to improve safety there too. Many of those riders used to catch the bus in the tunnel as well.

Passengers in Pioneer Square told KIRO-7 they'd like to see the stop moved up or down the block. Metro said they need a place where 3 buses can park and says moving the stop isn't easy. 
Some riders told KIRO-7 they purposely avoid the stop and walk further north to a stop at 2nd and Cherry.

If you have a safety concern at a bus stop that needs police to respond, call 911. Metro says to also report the problem to them so they can keep track make any necessary changes.

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