UW News

September 23, 2014

Don’t ignore looming Metro bus cuts, check your options now

News and Information

University of Washington classes start Sept. 24, just three days before many bus routes serving the University District and other areas of King County are cut back or eliminated altogether.

It’s time to figure out if your route is affected and explore options, if you haven’t already done so.

a bus on the street stopped at a bus top

Route 48 is among those serving the University District where service is being reduced.University of Washington

Along with King County Metro’s tools – see Special Rider Alert: Service Changes – the UW in August introduced a Commute Concierge service. UW staff can help riders with personalized commute plans on the phone at 206-221-3701; in person at the University Transportation Center, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and via email or using a new webform.

Members of the concierge staff also will be available at meetings, if requested, to help faculty, staff and students.

UW Transportation Services was already contemplating adding service to help people plan their commutes, but when Proposition 1 failed last April there was a clear need to get the Commute Concierge in place prior to the Metro transit cuts.

“The cuts are so complex, there are so many changes in service that everyone can be affected differently,” said Celeste Gilman, commute options manager. “That’s why we wanted to provide individualized service.”

Concierge mastheadFor buses serving the U District, examples of changes include route 30 between Sand Point/Ravenna/U District and downtown, which will operate only during peak hours and no longer offer off-peak or weekend service. Completely gone are the 205 Express between South Mercer Island/Mercer Island Park and Ride/First Hill and the U District, as well as all express service on route 48 between Loyal Heights/Greenlake and the U District and on into the Central District and Mount Baker station.

Mass transit, of which Metro is one option, is the most common way people commute to campus, Gilman said.

In advance of the Metro changes, Transportation Service has also reached out via email this summer to alert faculty, staff and students about possible changes based on the zip code where they live. Two more waves of emails will be sent this month.

The reductions taking effect Sept. 27 across the Metro ridership area are designed to help bring service levels in line with available funding. Three additional cuts in service have been planned in 2015, although those cuts may not have to be as deep as expected because the revenue picture has improved. Passage of a ballot measure in Seattle in November may further affect the scale of the cuts in 2015.