Changes and cuts possible for Central District bus routes

Major changes and cuts to many of Seattle’s bus routes loom if lawmakers don’t take steps to shore up King County Metro’s budget. Metro’s proposed service cuts include eliminating routes 4 and 27 entirely and changing routes 2, 3, 7 and others.


Metro says they’ve taken steps to avoid coming to this point, having already cut costs, raised fares, and put other efficiencies in place. But temporary funding from the state expires in June, and if lawmakers don’t step in, we’ll see drastic route reductions city-wide. Metro proposes eliminating 74 routes and changing 107 routes, resulting in 33 routes likely becoming more crowded. Though a bit of a scare tactic to spur Olympia to action, this could become a reality.

You can provide feedback on the cutbacks to [email protected]. A meeting will be held December 10th in downtown Seattle to discuss the cuts.

Downtown Seattle Service Reduction Public Meeting
Tue, December 10, 12pm – 2pm
Where: Union Station, 401 S Jackson Street, Seattle
Created by [email protected]
Description:  Come talk with Metro staff about the service reduction proposal. The meeting will be an open house format – with the option to participate in a short, interactive presentation and small group discussion from 1-1:30 pm.

You can also provide feedback via Metro’s service survey. The entirety of the cutback plan once short term funding dries up next June is available here.


15 thoughts on “Changes and cuts possible for Central District bus routes

  1. I’m not sure what “a bit of a scare tactic” means exactly.

    Metro *has* made significant efforts towards efficiency. Fares have gone up multiple times, punishing lower-income folks who don’t have employer-subsidized ORCA cards. Metro adopted service guidelines last year to cover service cuts, which is what guided the proposal you’re talking about. There were plenty of other changes made at Metro as well – see

    But let’s be very clear – if Olympia does not come through (which looks pretty unlikely right now) then either the County or Seattle run a ballot measure to increase some other tax authority to help fund Metro. Or we lose 17% of current service. If you’ve been on a bus in the CD in the last several years, you know how much the service is getting used. Imagine fewer runs on the #2 during the morning and evening peaks, and tell me this is something anyone wants to see.

    • How soon could a ballot initiative get passed? My understanding was that the cuts are scheduled for next June.

      • They would be phased in over multiple quarters; they couldn’t do this big a change all at once.

        As for a ballot measure, it’s more a question of how soon could you run it so you could avoid all the service cuts (or at least the majority of them). Given the Legislature just ignored the Governor and there was not even a mention of a transportation bill…I’d say there are probably folks at King County talking about this very issue.

  2. I’m always amazed at how empty (like a couple people) the duece is when following it in my “car” down Union St. Yes i drive… I don’t know much about efficiencies but thats my take.

    • If you rode the #2 consistently for a week, you’d smack yourself for even having said that.

  3. CDN – of course not every single trip is going to be packed. But take a look at Metro’s numbers, and you’ll find the “2S” – which is the 2 from downtown to the lake and back – is in the top 20 of all routes system-wide in terms of ridership.

    • Plus– if they cut out the big chunk of #8 on MLK (which is a convenient link to the Mt. Baker light rail), it only leaves the #2 to get downtown and l to the airport. Then, cut off #2 service at 11pm, and you can’t get home from the airport at all. And that’s if you even live close enough to walk to Union to begin with.

    • Yes and now all of the number 2 would be dumped at the bottom of Madison to find a way downtown, Seattle Center or even a direct connection light rail or tunnel transportation. I am not sure that this even has any overall fiscal impact on the budget. The shorter the route, the less efficient as a greater percentage of the time is turn around time. The over all effect on residents and businesses here is great. And, in the meantime there is no indication how or where the separated 13 would turnaround to go back to QA. Sad, sad. Where is the leadership for any of this, locally or statewide.

  4. I suggest we kick Metro out of the city entirely and institute a private mosquito fleet more fitting of seattle’s history and needs.

    Local fellas in RB and South Park Neighborhoods would itch for the chance to chop some trucks and build busses. Customized, funky, lightwieght busses. $1 per ride. moving at a frequency to that mirrors demand.

    Private owners – 100 or more new businesses. No subsidy from the state or city except to the extent that they regulate emmissions the state would kick in to fund the owners the cost of natural gas or electrification of the vehicles.

    We can build a world class system of individually owned and opperated micro-busses serving the city in a brilliant, colorfully gay, one of a kind ant hill of busses.

    Anything else seems fat slow and wastefull. Let’s kill Metro today.

    • Right, sure. And see how many neighborhoods don’t get served at all. Great for wealthier neighborhoods. Sucky for everybody else.

      • No, not at all. The model is volume based. The city could subsidize a route – bid it out to qualified vendors. But generally you would have individuals plying the streets looking for rider. In Samoa and the Philipenes people wait for their favorite busses and those busses come frequently. You may just wait for a driver that you like better or the music is better. Any way – just a few minutes and the next bus will be there. The busses will be sponsored and painted wonderfully. Some will be Jesus busses. Others will be Mohammed busses. Most will be Monster Energy or something like that. In America anyway. Private folks like that will are not as prejudices as you think. People that get subsidized bus passes can just use a voucher card on the Mosquito bus. Visit some 2nd world countries and see how the population operates. Places like Turkey. Don’t look just at the G20 or G8 to see the world. Real human ingenuity is more often found where people struggle a little bit more. That is why this plan will work better for South Seattle than North. The Owners will be from the farthest south outskirts of Seattle.

        Seriously give some imagination to seeing colorful owner operated busses. Poeple striving and doing their own thing to make it in America and have a good time doing it. Imagine ethiopian busses. Mexican busses. Rapper busses. Jazz busses. Rocker busses. Jesus busses. LGBTA busses. Limo busses. Hi Tech busses with WiFi and desks for geeks. You could even have busses where you actually just get on the bus in the morning, work all day, and come home after touring the city all day working from your i-pad.

  5. Lovely. My wife relies on the 4 to get to work downtown. All this, because republicans in Olympia refused to fund any transportation package in order to block light rail on the proposed I-5 bridge from Portland to Vancouver. We’re all just collateral damage to them. Thanks, Republicans, for throwing us under the bus, as it were!