King County Metro Transit buses carry safety reminder for drivers

November 20, 2012

King County Metro Transit joined the state Department of Transportation, King County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol and other organizations Nov. 1 to remind motorists to move over or slow down in emergency zones.

Through the public safety campaign, buses bear posters to remind drivers to “Move Over or Slow Down,” because state law requires motorists to yield or move — or else. Under state law, motorists face a $248 fine for exceeding the speed limit in the 200 feet before and after a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights or siren engaged.

“The importance of drivers being attentive while approaching and traveling through emergency zones cannot be overstated,” Capt. Chris Gundermann, Washington State Patrol district commander, said in a statement.

King County Metro Transit holiday schedule starts on Veterans Day

November 9, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 9, 2012

King County Metro Transit bus riders should prepare for reduced service in upcoming weeks, starting Nov. 12, as the nation observes Veterans Day.

The transit agency operates on a reduced weekday schedule on several holidays through January — including a full week of reduced service at the end of December.

The planned reductions arrive during a slow period, as Metro Transit experiences a reduction in weekday riders — estimated to reach 15 percent or more systemwide.

The mass transit agency uses a Sunday schedule for several of the upcoming holidays. The reduced weekday schedule features more bus service than on weekends, but less service than on regular weekdays. Officials estimate the limited schedule saves Metro Transit about $1 million per year.

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King County Metro Transit offers tickets to homeless riders

October 23, 2012

King County Metro Transit is poised to offer more than 41,000 additional subsidized bus tickets to community service groups.

Officials said the human services bus ticket program offers critical support for homeless people by providing a means to get to jobs, medical appointments, shelters and other services.

Funding for the program came in a mass transit package approved last year by the King County Council. The package imposed a $20 vehicle-tab fee to forestall a 17-percent reduction to mass transit countywide.

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Next King County sheriff faces tough decisions to reform agency

October 16, 2012

The contest to lead the King County Sheriff’s Office could hinge on a series of audits into how the agency operates.

The sheriff oversees a budget of about $150 million and about 1,000 employees, and leads the largest local police organization in the state after the Seattle Police Department.

John Urquhart

Steve Strachan

The contentious race pits Sheriff Steve Strachan, a former Kent police chief, against John Urquhart, a former sheriff’s office sergeant and spokesman.

King County Council members appointed Strachan as sheriff in April, not long after former Sheriff Sue Rahr resigned to lead the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, or state police academy.

Though the election is to fill the Rahr’s unexpired term through 2013, the next sheriff faces a landmark effort to reform the agency in response to audits critical of policies put into place under Strachan’s predecessors.

Strachan, a SeaTac resident, served as a police chief and state legislator in Minnesota before accepting the Kent post in 2006. In the Minnesota Legislature, he helped pass legislation to reduce the blood-alcohol limit to 0.08 percent. Rahr tapped Strachan as the chief deputy, or No. 2 spot, at the sheriff’s office in early 2011.

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King County Metro Transit addresses crowding on Issaquah-bound route

October 16, 2012

King County Metro Transit is attempting to ease afternoon crowding on buses from downtown Seattle to the Issaquah Highlands by eliminating a Bellevue stop.

Starting Oct. 15, the transit agency cut a stop at the Eastgate Freeway Station to reduce crowding on the Issaquah-bound Route 218 buses. Metro Transit provides 15 trips on the route during the weekday afternoon commute.

Riders heading to the Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue can instead use alternate service on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Metro Transit plans for weekday morning Route 218 buses to Seattle to continue to serve the westbound Eastgate Freeway Station.

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King County Metro Transit addresses crowding on Issaquah-bound route

October 8, 2012

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 8, 2012

King County Metro Transit is attempting to ease afternoon crowding on buses from downtown Seattle to the Issaquah Highlands by eliminating a Bellevue stop, starting Oct. 15.

The transit agency is cutting a stop at the Eastgate Freeway Station to reduce crowding on the Issaquah-bound Route 218 buses. Metro Transit provides 15 trips on the route during the weekday afternoon commute.

Riders heading to the Eastgate Park & Ride in Bellevue can instead use alternate service on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.

Metro Transit plans for weekday morning Route 218 buses to Seattle to continue to serve the westbound Eastgate Freeway Station.

Meanwhile, afternoon riders headed to the Highlands from Eastgate can ride Metro Transit Route 211 or Sound Transit Express routes 554 and 556.

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King County Metro Transit offers discounted tickets to homeless people

September 24, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 24, 2012

King County Metro Transit is poised to offer more than 41,000 additional subsidized bus tickets to community service groups.

Officials said the human services bus ticket program offers critical support for homeless people by providing a means to get to jobs, medical appointments, shelters and other services.

Funding for the program came in a mass transit package approved last year by the King County Council. The funding for subsidized tickets augments the $1.8 million Metro Transit already contributes each year for discounted tickets.

The package approved by the council imposed a $20 vehicle-tab fee to forestall a 17-percent reduction to mass transit countywide.

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Used vanpool vehicles return to service for nonprofit organizations

September 19, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 18, 2012

Leaders donated used vehicles from the King County Metro Transit vanpool fleet Monday to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, seniors and youths.

King County Council members authorized the donation. The vans served in the Metro Transit vanpool fleet for at least six years and reached the end of service life.

“Serving the mobility needs of those too young and too old to drive, as well as those with health challenges, is an important service for King County to provide,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert — Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee chairwoman and the Issaquah representative — said in a statement. “Using our retired vanpool vans for these important transportation needs is an efficient way of serving those who do not have other options.”

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King County Metro Transit route changes impact Issaquah riders

September 11, 2012

King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for major changes in the weeks ahead, as the agency launches a pay-on-entry system and updates several routes.

Transit planners advised thousands of riders to expect changes on bus routes starting Sept. 29, as the agency changes bus stops on dozens of routes, shifts buses to different streets and alters schedules.

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King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for changes

September 6, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 6, 2012

King County Metro Transit riders should prepare for major changes in the weeks ahead, as the agency launches a pay-on-entry system and updates several routes.

Transit planners advised thousands of riders to expect changes on bus routes starting Sept. 29, as the agency changes bus stops on dozens of routes, shifts buses to different streets and alters schedules.

The changes affect the routes 217 and 218. Both routes run through Issaquah.

On Route 217, planners also intend to eliminate one morning eastbound trip and one afternoon westbound trip.

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