King County Metro Transit works to ease bus crowding

January 29, 2013

By Staff

King County Metro Transit is gathering public input on proposed schedule and route changes to routes along the Interstate 90 corridor, including routes serving Issaquah.

The shift is meant to ease crowding and improve travel times on peak commute routes.

The routes under consideration for changes include routes 210, 211, 214, 215 and 218 — routes serving Issaquah. The list also includes Sammamish-to-Seattle Route 216 and Eastgate-to-Seattle Route 212.

Metro Transit identified the routes as among the busiest and most productive commuter routes in the transit network.

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King County Metro Transit Interstate 90 corridor meeting

Buses carry 5,000 to 7,000 Eastside commuters daily along the I-90 corridor to downtown Seattle and serve major transit hubs in the Issaquah Highlands, downtown Issaquah and Eastgate.

Officials said growing demand among Eastside commuters led to crowded buses.

Metro Transit proposed redistributing some trips to operate at times and on routes to better match demand.

Some routes could change paths to serve riders in higher-demand areas by skipping stops in areas where duplicate service is available.

The agency’s budget is limited, so the proposed changes only redistribute existing service or make no-cost operational changes.

Metro Transit planners also fanned out to talk to riders on buses and readied to answer questions at a Jan. 31 public meeting.

The group met riders at the Issaquah Transit Center early Jan. 24 to discuss ways to speed up bus service.

The transit agency took some steps late last year to address crowding on the routes.

Once the agency adjusted service in the fall, analysis showed increasing ridership throughout the transit system. Strong demand and ridership on routes 216 and 218 led to crowding and buses occasionally too full to pick up passengers.

In October, Metro Transit stopped serving the Eastgate Freeway Station with Route 218 to alleviate the pressure.

The agency also intends to stop serving the Eastgate Freeway Station with Route 216 late next month.

Despite the changes, Metro Transit continued to hear from riders about crowded buses.

Once public feedback is collected, Metro Transit planners intend to propose changes to the King County Council in March.

The council could review and act on the proposal in April. If adopted by the council, Metro Transit intends to implement changes in September.

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