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Seattle Times compiles data about full metro buses

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on March 24th, 2014

Ous news partners at The Seattle Times are compiling data about crowded metro buses and they need your help. The team are looking for information from locals about the frequency of full buses passing them by.

According to The Seattle Times, full buses has been one result of King County Metro Transit ridership growing back to levels recorded before the recession.

Next month, voters in King County will have the chance to decide whether or not to authorize a $60 car-tab fee and a tenth-of-a-cent sales-tax increase for roads and buses.

According to the article, Proposition 1 would raise approximately $130 million per year, with up to $80 million for buses and $50 million for city and county-maintained roads.

Without this increased revenue Metro representatives have reported that service cuts of up to 17 percent may be implemented.

According to The Seattle Times, “Metro logged an estimated 118.6 million rides last year, the highest since 118.8 million rides in 2008.”

The Seattle Times have created an online form to compile the data. If you have had a full bus pass you by, let them know!

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25 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Sam // Mar 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Seattle bus drivers are paid more the drivers in NYC and San Francisci. Is it any wonder the system is bust?

  • 2 KyleK // Mar 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Do you have a source for that Sam? How about a suggested solution?

  • 3 ShortOnCash? // Mar 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    King County Public Transport Spending:

    2008: $668 million
    2012: $740 million

    Source: King County 2012 CAFR

  • 4 Kylek // Mar 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm


    Your number is wrong if we are talking about King County Metro. Maybe it includes the ferries? 2013 Metro operating spending was $639.8 Million and they will need 1.3 Billion from 2013-2018 for capital spending — mostly to replace buses.

    Also — inflation. $668M in 2008 is $712M in 2012.

    Their current projection considering the lowered tax receipts from 2008 to now are 17% of cuts to service if Prop 1 doesn’t pass.

  • 5 Steve // Mar 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    King County employees are overpaid and wasteful government is pervasive. Just take a look at some of the job reqs. Tired of my car tabs and property taxes getting hit and going to government waste.

  • 6 Kylek // Mar 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Steve — Do you have any objective information to back up that claim?

  • 7 ShortOnCash? // Mar 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    #4 – it included capex also.

    Strictly OpEx budgets:

    2008: $544 million
    2013: $671 million

    So ridership flat and expenses up >20%?

  • 8 Kylek // Mar 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm


    Ridership isn’t a meaningful metric in this context — ridership fell off a cliff in 2008 with the great recession along with revenue (both tax revenue and fare revenue) but they didn’t stop running buses. They did, however, take a lot of measures to keep running buses with less than the projected revenue. You can read about what all of those things were and their impacts on the link I provided.

    The net impact of that 5 years of measures, etc is a choice between cutting service by 17% or adding funding. I don’t thing any reasonable person who lives in Seattle thinks cutting bus service by 17% is a good idea.

  • 9 joeblow // Mar 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    KyleK is the myballard troll eh? Let people have their release, let them vent, the bus system here is frustrating, what I find most frustrating is bus drivers letting half of the people on without paying fares. I just want to ask for my money back when that happens, which occures all the time on the 40, when it doesnt just pass me full of people at 2pm.

    Even if a good idea was posted on here or someone posting a link showing how Seattle drivers are paid more than other city drivers, it wouldn’t have any impact whatsoever. Find a new hobby

  • 10 ShortOnCash? // Mar 25, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    >>>The net impact of that 5 years of measures, etc is a choice between cutting service by 17% or adding funding. <<<

    Why? Why are they projecting it costing more than $200 million more to serve the same number of riders as 08? Cumulative inflation has been sub 10% over that period.

    Why in the world would they need to cut service 17% with revenues of $660 million (vs $510 in 08)?

    What is management getting paid to do?

  • 11 NIMBY and proud! // Mar 25, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    “Ridership isn’t a meaningful metric”

    No doubt. Empty buses rock!

  • 12 NIMBY and proud! // Mar 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Vote No. Metro is crying wolf yet again.

    “In newly-released figures, Metro officials announced they received record-breaking levels of tax revenue in 2013, reporting they collected more money from the public in taxes than at any time in the agency’s history.

    The state’s largest public transit agency collected $442,731,128 in tax revenue the last calendar year, surpassing pre-recession revenue levels.

    Officials also say their revenue projection for 2014 will exceed previous estimates by $32 million, with $471 million in collections, resulting in another windfall revenue year for the agency.”

  • 13 Sam // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    “Do you have a source for that Sam?”


    “Metro drivers rank third nationally in wages [behind Boston and San Jose], with a top rate of $28.47 an hour, and the average yearly income, including overtime, is almost $61,000 a year, according to a Metro review that includes full- and part-time drivers.

    Base pay for a top-scale driver is nearly $60,000 a year before overtime. Last year, 255 drivers made more than $75,000, with 20 of those topping $100,000. Metro’s highest-paid driver made $115,716 in 2009.”

    Source: Seattle Times

  • 14 Sam // Mar 25, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    “Metro has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

    “Since 2000, Metro’s tax revenue has increased by 56 percent and their operating costs by more than 80 percent. Added revenue streams in 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2011 have not been enough to off-set Metro’s out-of-control spending. Recently, Pierce County voters forced Pierce Transit to re-evaluate similar out-of-control costs by voting no on new tax increases. As a result of spending reforms, Pierce Transit will actually expand operating hours by 3 percent or 427,717 hours this year.”

  • 15 KyleK // Mar 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Haha, yeah… joeblow… You really need to look up the word “troll.”

  • 16 Anon // Mar 26, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Sam = ShortOnCash? = NIMBY and proud!

    I love the people that want Metro to fail, but will be wailing and gnashing their teeth when traffic level then rise to apocalyptic levels. Believe me, you’ll be spending much more than that $60 in gas and time if Metro has to cut back.

  • 17 iheartalgore // Mar 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    KyleK is not a troll, he’s got some really great points.

    And who gives a rip if bus drivers make $60k?! That’s what you need to survive here in Seattle!

    When will we stop trying to bring our fellow man down (they make more than I do! They don’t deserve to make that much!) and instead help all boats rise with the tide – we should all be paid livable wages, and we should all have access to great public transportation.

    Everyone benefits. End of story.

  • 18 Sam // Mar 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    “And who gives a rip if bus drivers make $60k?”

    They start at $60K and go up to $100K +. Who gives a rip? Taxpayers. Hey, but let’s just give Metro even more money and some matches to burn it. NYC and SF are more expensive but they survive on lower salaries.

    But be my guess, vote ‘yes’. It’s going to lose just like McGinn’s Prop 1 car tab tax.

  • 19 Richard // Mar 26, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Keep in mind that for only $60 extra car Tabs, ( in addition to the other increased gas Tax) we will also get improved sidewalks and Pot Holes fixed. What that means is that they will build the Sidewalk out into the Street like they did on 15th ave so that we go from 3 lanes to only one at rush hour every time a Bus stops. And more traffic lights like the one at the Ballard High Pool that makes traffic wait for the Bus lane even when there isn’t any Bus. Lets not forget more Bike lanes. Pot Holes, sure they will continue to throw some Asphalt in some water filled Potholes. Its a plan to get the motorists to pay to have the roads ruined that they drive on.

  • 20 Anon // Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23 am

    @Richard You do realize that the three lanes north of 65th was worthless, considering the 20 block length side lane was only usable for a two hour period, plus it necked back down to two lanes at 65th, so it wasn’t really adding any worthwhile capacity anyways. Plus, I’ve never witnessed a backup caused by the bus at the few bulb-out stops.

    And I too have noticed the bus light at the pool showing green when there’s no bus. It’s probably an error with SDOT’s ITS. Complaining on a blog won’t do anything, so you might get in touch with someone there to see if they are aware of the problem and if they are working on a solution.

  • 21 Richard // Mar 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    How could there not be a backup at a bulb out stop ? When the bus used to stop it used the 3rd lane with two still open. Now there is only one lane open. There wasn’t any parking at rush hours so the 3rd lane was used. Despite the road narrowing down at 65th the 3rd lane was used every AM, about 1/2 the traffic made a right turn on 65th, or any of the side streets along the way.

  • 22 Anon // Mar 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    @Richard Your comment is filled with speculation. Mine is filled with observations. Again, a bus stopping once every ten minutes doesn’t have an effect.

  • 23 Noprop1 // Apr 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Dorey Monson is the only one shedding truth on this matter. Kiro Radio 97.3. Metro is full of it once again, just trying to get more money to raise drivers pay again. Leave our tabs alone, how about start charging some of these cyclists for these new improved bike lanes all over the place. Cyclist tabs, sounds great!

  • 24 Noprop1 // Apr 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm

  • 25 Raj Reddy // Jun 27, 2015 at 7:42 am

    It’s funny how no matter what happens, Metro seems to win in the voting system. I’m not happy that my car tabs for both of my vehicles went up $60.00. I’m not happy when a Metro bus driver struck my car and damaged the bumper. He wouldn’t even open the door of the bus for me to get his information for my insurance. Calling Metro was a joke, they blamed me for not yielding to the bus driver. Metro gets away with a lot of senseless spending and always threatens to always get there way. They will cry for money again next year. I agree there needs to be set tax base to keep things going, though seems Seattle tax payers get gouged yearly with higher taxes (property tax etc). I bought a Honda Civic last year or better fuel mileage and now the mayor is proposing a mileage tax because cars with better mileage are not contributing to the crazy gas tax hike. I just don’t get it.

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