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.
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.