Public weighs in on Metro task force recommendations

Public officials and representatives from the task force that created a new set of recommendations for transforming the way Metro makes service and route planning decisions presented their work and heard from the community — and Metro drivers, themselves — about public transit needs in Seattle at a town hall meeting held on the Seattle University campus Tuesday night. A recurring theme for many of the community speakers: increased efficiency within Metro is good but there should be fewer cuts to public transit if regional governments are continuing to spend money on creating more roads. Meanwhile, labor was also present Tuesday night as the drivers union made its concern about increased workload and more aggressive scheduling known.

We’ve included the final recommendation report from the King County Regional Task Force and some highlights from the plan, here. Despite the broad nature of the plan, much of the public comment was, of course, very specific and personal.

“I really sympathize with people who lose their favorite bus. I lost my favorite bus,” one Capitol Hill resident who spoke said.

Earlier, a large group waved signs as their representatives spoke out against cutting Route 42.

With representatives from the task force were Larry Phillips, King County Council’s transportation committee chair, Larry Gossett, also from the county council, and Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Seattle City Council’s transportation committee.

While many of the public speakers praised the idea of a more efficient public transit system, the details of the recommendation left some wanting more. One speaker called the task force “intellectually dishonest” for presenting a rational framework for planning but not including specific requirements for how Metro must implement many of the recommendations.

Representatives from the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 voiced their concern to the task force about the increasingly hectic scheduling for drivers and its impact on health, performance and safety. One driver went so far as to call for the county to “stop the barbaric treatment of Metro drivers.”

Another speaker pointed out a missing element in the plan, asking the task force why it has apparently glossed over the future of Metro’s trolley system. Metro must make a decision on how to best replace its fleet of aging electric trolley buses that serve many of the city’s most-hilly neighborhoods and several key routes in the Central District.

We’ve attached the final recommendation document to this post.

Now that the final recommendation report is out, comments should be directed to elected officials and Metro’s leaders, Council member Phillips told CHS after the meeting. “It’s time now for the electeds to forge legislation based on these recommendations,” Phillips said. You can mail Phillips at [email protected] and Seattle City Council transportation chair Rasmussen at [email protected].

0 thoughts on “Public weighs in on Metro task force recommendations

  1. I am still attempting to completely understand one person’s testimony that had to do with Metro and Sound Transit and sharing of fares. Is it true that Sound Transit receives the whole fare for those who ride the train. On face, that seems fair until I consider that most folks taking the train out to the airport use metro to get to one of the stations and the train would be a lot less useful without Metro, right? Does Metro receive a portion of the transfer fares. Sound transit is not responsible for providing transportation to the few stations where the train stops. Metro is responsible for that piece. I sometimes transfer to a train and for most of my destinations there is not extra charge to my Orca pass. Which entity receives the fare? How is it split?

    I appreciate that they have worked together so far to make these transfers possible. Without that option it would be a mess. Nonetheless, now I want to know how the fares are shared.

    Another testified that a few routes have lost passengers to the train or that the passengers take whichever comes first for areas where there is some duplication, but Sound Transit cannot otherwise serve the complete route.

  2. I attended the town hall and most people were opposed to the 20 percent service cuts. I didn’t hear a lot of praise over “efficiencies,” so much as concern over cuts, and how the county is going to prevent this from happening. Again, why is Sound Transit/Seattle spending $150 million on constructing another Street car line, when Metro is being forced to cut 600,000 hours. Defer the streetcar and put the money into saving existing service until times get better or the stable source of funding County says it must find, is actually found!