June 24, 2014
As Issaquah’s 200 “freebee” bus faces Metro Transit’s chopping block, city officials are evaluating alternatives.
After the failure of April’s Proposition 1, which would have given King County Metro Transit the necessary funds to avoid service cuts, the regional authority plans to begin phasing out 17 percent of its routes in September. The 200 is among those routes.
“Though it still serves riders, Route 200 is identified as among the lowest performing routes in Metro’s current system,” Metro Transit spokesman Jeff Switzer said.
June 24, 2014
Days are numbered for the 200 bus, the shuttle marked “freebee” that residents are used to seeing around town. While it’s unfortunate, the removal of the bus should provide a catalyst to look at transportation across the city.
After the failure of King County’s Proposition 1 last fall, Metro announced the 200, along with a handful of commuter routes serving Issaquah, will stop service in September.
The city spends about $50,000 per year — on top of Metro’s $1.2 million (which also comes from city residents, of course) to keep the bus running. The route sees about 400 boardings per day; one person might board multiple times, so that doesn’t necessarily mean those are unique passengers.
June 23, 2014
NEW — 5:40 p.m. June 23, 2014
Representatives from Metro will be in Issaquah June 24 to teach the public how to apply for, load and use an ORCA card to ride Metro in the Puget Sound area.
Drop by to the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bring cash or checks to pay for and load your card.
Learn more about the card here.
April 13, 2014
NEW — 10 a.m. April 13, 2014
If you’re not yet registered to vote, you must register in person by 4:30 p.m. April 14 to vote in the April 22 Special Election that will include the countywide measure Proposition 1.
Proposition 1 would provide dedicated transportation funding available to preserve current Metro Transit service levels and provide transportation improvements, including road preservation, safety and maintenance projects, by authorizing the King County Transportation District to levy a 0.1 percent sales and use tax and a $60 vehicle fee, each for up to 10 years.
Proposition 1 would also establish a low-income vehicle fee rebate of $20 and provide funding for a low-income Metro Transit fare.
March 25, 2014
King County voters will decide in April on a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.
On Feb. 24, the Metropolitan King County Council also passed a 25-cent fare increase for bus riders starting in 2015. Peak one-zone fares are $2.50 now, and peak-two-zone fares are $3.
The increases make up a funding package county officials pulled together to save King County Metro Transit from threatened service cuts of as much as 17 percent. County leaders hoped the state Legislature would act to save the bus system, but it didn’t.
The ballot measure would raise $130 million per year, $50 million of which would go to cities around the county to fix their streets. The rest would go toward restoring Metro service and fixing county-maintained roads.
December 31, 2013
NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 31, 2013
King County Metro Transit reminds riders to plan ahead for how they will get around in winter weather.
By signing up for Metro Transit alerts, riders can receive emails or text messages warning about known significant disruptions to Metro bus service. Riders also can preview specific snow routes and review online tips for winter travel.
When snowy, icy conditions affect travel, Metro buses will go to snow routing as necessary, depending on road conditions in a broad geographic area. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. The service status of each area is color coded and displayed on an online snow map.
December 3, 2013
Issaquah’s free bus could be on the chopping block
Without funding, King County Metro Transit could leave Issaquah with only five bus routes next year.
As temporary funding expires in 2014, Metro Transit has reacted by exploring possible cuts to services. A state Legislature special session to pass a transportation package might still happen, but the regional agency is planning ahead for the worst.
“Unfortunately, as a result of the great recession, we’ve lost a considerable amount of the tax revenue that we use to operate our system every day,” Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a video on Metro’s website. “We’ve raised your fare, we’ve spent cash, we’ve improved the efficiency of the system. But we’re running out of the cash reserves and one-time revenue to keep service on the road.”
July 9, 2013
King County Metro Transit has launched a new on-demand bike locker project for cyclists to have a more flexible option to access transit by bicycle.
The Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride received eight of the county’s 68 new on-demand lockers, where cyclists can pay 5 cents an hour to store their bike after buying a $20 access card. These lockers are in addition to the four leased lockers already provided at the facility.
Metro Transit estimates that the on-demand lockers can elicit a possible fivefold increase in usage over the current assigned bike locker system. With them, riders can use the lockers in any participating transit facility, including those in other states, instead of being tied to a particular location, Eileen Kadesh, a Metro Transit planner, said in a press release.
January 29, 2013
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.
January 22, 2013
Fred Butler, a City Council stalwart for 13 years and a voice in important debates about the future of Issaquah, entered the race for mayor Jan. 17.
The contest could hinge on the vision for the decades ahead, as city leaders seek to position Issaquah for redevelopment and attract more jobs to the community.
Butler, 72, served on the council at major junctures in recent history, as members debated the defunct Southeast Bypass road link, how to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain and, late last year, a 30-year redevelopment blueprint called the Central Issaquah Plan.
“We are in the process of evolving from a small town to a small city, moving from suburban to urban,” he said in a Jan 17 interview. “Because I’ve been involved in a lot of the planning and the development of the urban villages and the Central Issaquah Plan, I believe I’m in a pretty good position to help implement the direction that we are going in.”