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April 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Three public hearings planned about Metro bus cuts

Citizens will have three opportunities in May to air their views about bus cuts, to the Metropolitan King County Council.

Metro has published a cut list that totals a 16 percent reduction in bus operating hours. These would occur in four phases over 2014-15, beginning Sept. 27.  But County Council members must still take a final vote in June — meaning they’re still susceptible to public outcry.  Service cuts are being proposed following last week’s defeat of Proposition 1, a sales-tax and car-fee increase for transit and roads.  Instead of slashing routes like most transit agencies in the Great Recession, Metro spent down its reserves and trimmed certain expenses, and now officials say they face a $75 million yearly shortfall in sales tax revenues.

Each hearing begins with sign-in at 5:30 p.m. and public testimony at 6 p.m.  The county didn’t list an end time. Similar hearings in 2011 drew hundreds of people and stretched deep into the night.

Public hearings will be held:

  • Seattle, on Tuesday, May 13 at Union Station, 401 South Jackson Street.
  • Bellevue, on Thursday, May 15 at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. N.E.
  • Renton, on Tuesday, May 20 at the Renton Pavilion Event Center, 233 Burnett Ave. S.

Or, people may testify online.

In other developments, Friends of Transit filed initiative language with the City Clerk on Friday, to seek a Seattle-only tax of $22 per $100,000 property value, to pay for buses within the city.  And this morning, Metro gave the County Council further detail about service reductions, to be divided proportionately between peak and off-peak service.  The first phase in September affects low-performing routes, followed by tougher cuts next year. All told, Metro would eliminate 72 routes, reduce or change 84 routes, and lose about 10 million riders a year, compared to the 119 million boardings the system carried in 2013.

Comments | More in Traffic & Transit | Topics: buses, King County Metro Transit

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