Public transportation changes in response to steep ridership drop

VIDEO: Public transportation cuts tied to steep ridership drop

On Monday, the weekslong tunnel construction that impacted Sounder Link Light rail passengers will end.

This comes as King County Metro reduces its service some 25% in response to a steep drop in ridership because of the coronavirus. These reductions are happening throughout the public transportation system.

Link Light rail customers will not need a shuttle to complete their journey because construction in the tunnel ends Monday. But riders of public transportation are being asked to adjust to still more changes because of this pandemic.

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Sound Transit riders are facing a cut in service, too. Sounder trains will also be running less frequently, now every 14 minutes. Service is staying the same aboard the Washington state ferries despite a 70% drop in walk-on passengers. But workers in the ferries’ call center begin working remotely Monday. A spokesman says that will mean a reduction in some services.

“So you’ll no longer be able to purchase a ferry ticket from an agent,” said Ian Sterling. “However, you can still do so from the dock. You can use one of our kiosks. And you can do so online anytime as well. And we encourage people to do that.”

Yet despite the upheaval, some King County Metro bus drivers are still in good cheer, predicting the cut in service won’t hurt too much.

"It's pretty minimal," said Paul Margolis, an 18-year-veteran. "And I don't think very many people will notice, honestly."

But all of these public agencies said this may not be the end of the changes, as long as there is no end in sight to this pandemic.