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Ballard bus routes slated for deletion in approved September cuts

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on July 21st, 2014

By Joe Veyera

The King County Council unanimously approved a compromise plan on Monday to move forward with Metro service reductions for September of this year, and February of 2015, while also deferring an additional 200,000 hours of reductions originally slated for June and September 2015, pending the adoption of the King County budget for 2015/2016.

According to the Metro site detailing the proposed cuts, a pair of Ballard routes are set for deletion, both in the bottom 25 percent of productivity in accordance with the County’s adopted Transit Service Guidelines.

Route 61, which runs daily between Ballard and North Beach through Sunset Hill and Loyal Heights, and Route 62, which connects Downtown Seattle to Ballard via South Lake Union, Seattle Pacific University, and Interbay are both scheduled to stop running in September.

Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 6.22.18 PM Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 6.22.29 PM

The council also approved 188,000 hours of service to be cut in February 2015, but did not approve the specific routes to be eliminated or revised. In the original listing of cuts for February, Route 29 (connecting Downtown Seattle and Ballard via Seattle Pacific University and Queen Anne) was set to be cut north of 7th Avenue West and West Raye Street, along with the reduction of three morning and three afternoon trips.

The ordinance approved today served as a compromise after King County Executive Dow Constantine asked the Council to approve legislation that would reduce Metro bus service by 550,000 hours between September 2014 and September 2015 after the failure of Proposition 1. The ordinance also calls for a report from the County Executive by September 30 of this year describing revenue and expense reduction options available to avoid service reductions proposed for 2015.

“I appreciate the broad support expressed by today’s Council vote supporting a measured and budget-based approach to transit service changes,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee, in a press release. “We listened to the community and today’s action is responsive to the concerns that have been raised. I thank my colleagues and Executive Constantine for their hard work in forging today’s legislation.”

It’s currently unclear what the future holds for Seattle routes, with the Seattle City Council voting last Thursday to send a measure to the November ballot, for a $60 car tab fee and 0.1 percent sales tax increase in the vain of Proposition 1 to prevent cuts to Metro bus service within the city limits. 66 percent of Seattle voters approved Proposition 1 despite its county-wide failure.

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16 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Katie // Jul 21, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I’m not surprised. I never see anyone on 61, and 62 has so few trips that I’ve never even taken it. So glad my beloved 40 and expresses are still not touched!

  • 2 Gurple // Jul 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I hate to say it, because we badly need *more* transit, not less, but maybe a brief funding bottleneck is for the best… maybe when more funding comes through they’ll beef up the 18, 44, D and 40 rather than bringing back the underperformers.

  • 3 Suomynona // Jul 21, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Route 61 was designed to go nowhere. That’s why it is riderless.

  • 4 Social Justice! Now! // Jul 22, 2014 at 6:43 am

    You can’t cut bus routes that no one uses!

  • 5 Profile photo of SunsetHillGuy SunsetHillGuy // Jul 22, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I use the 61 on occasion, it was designed to replace the parts left without service once the 17 & 18 were gutted, since it’s really a local bus with no service outside Ballard it’s doesn’t get the ridership it would if it went to Fremont or Northgate the way the 40 does. the 40 took over portions of the old 17, 18 & 75 which is where the real ridership has always been. the 17 & 18 were used more for going downtown and the expresses for those routes still are packed everyday. another example of Metro’s boneheaded decision making when it comes to serving the North end of Seattle bus wise (see also the lack of service north of 105th west of Meridian)

  • 6 Profile photo of gooner gooner // Jul 22, 2014 at 8:31 am

    oh man this sucks.

    step 1 create a route that sucks
    step 2 cut it b/c ridership is low.

    Never should have gotten rid of the 17 to begin with. it was used regularly

    I ride (rode) the 61 5 or 6 times a week. but I guess I will walk an extra 1/2 mile now to catch the 40?

    bah humbug.

  • 7 sunset hillian // Jul 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Would be interested to know once the cuts are made what are the longest walks-to-transit in the city of Seattle. We pay major taxes for mass transit and everyone should have reasonable access.

  • 8 NW Citizen // Jul 22, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Thanks gooner – right on!

    Even fewer people ride the #61 now since the CSO project at Blue Ridge has decapitated half the route. The map is bogus as the bus no longer travels on 28th at all.

  • 9 Profile photo of SunsetHillGuy SunsetHillGuy // Jul 22, 2014 at 11:02 am

    sunset hillian – I’d say anyone living in the Broadview area has a long walk as well, the only regular bus service they have is the 5/355 which runs up and down Greenwood, the 28 is now just an express like the 17 & 18 are and even that has been targeted to be deleted sometime next year. An area that stretches from 105th to 145th with basically no real bus service!!! not sure how that’s an improvement in our transit system

  • 10 Anon // Jul 22, 2014 at 11:46 am

    The 61 has an average of one person on the bus at a time. And that’s only if you count the driver!

  • 11 Hobo Hilton // Jul 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I want a bus between my bathroom and bedroom!

  • 12 Stephen Route 61 Rider // Jul 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Metro’s party line is that Sunset Hill riders have “only” a half mile walk from 24th (assuming that you are on the 40, since the 18X doesn’t much stop along 24th), or can take the 44 from the bottom of the hill. I don’t see any mention of the future of the equally underused 29 (the Queen Anne tour bus), is that being cut or not)? While Metro claims it is delaying the cuts while reviewing revenue, they sure did expeditiously murder the 61/62 as soon as they could. Thanks Larry! I’ll be stuffed onto the 40 with the rest of West Ballard. Maybe we can run a few that don’t transit SLU please.

  • 13 yayunicorns // Jul 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I talked to a metro guy at the Salmon Fest and he had nothing to propose when we asked what can we do to stop bus cuts?! When we mentioned a Kickstarter approach, he just laughed. Not sure why it was laughable, but seeing as these cuts just keep on coming maybe it’s time to stop depending on voters and take matters into our own hands. Is a Kickstarter for increasing/maintaining routes something we can legally do? And if so, who wants to join me on getting one started?

  • 14 Transit nerd // Jul 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    The 29 is getting trimmed in the February cuts. It’s only going to run to the top of Queen Anne, 7th & Raye after Feb 2015.

    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/PDFs/changes/route-029-apr14.pdf

    The 62 was designed to be a method of connecting Sounder riders to SLU & Ballard employers, sort of replacing the 17, that never really panned out.

  • 15 Kevin (EyewandersFoto) // Jul 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I wrote the City and Metro directly and even the Mayors office a number of times about route 61 and route 40, the latter of which is always shoulder-to-shoulder in the afternoon Northbound by the time it reaches Fremont.
    Route 61 turns around at the post office near the Fred Meyer in Freelard. All Metro would have needed to do to triple the ridership of 61 and greatly relieve the congestion of 40 was to extend 61’s route down to Fremont. It would help both immediately.
    No responses. Ever.
    So I guess we’ll just delete the 61 instead.
    I seriously hate this city in the past decade more than I love it. Just about had it.

  • 16 Ebra // Aug 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    If the 61 went somewhere useful it would have more riders. But as it stands it is a useless route. I would prefer to take public transport to the airport, and downtown. But they’re making it harder and harder to do this.

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