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Changes ahead for Island Metro routes if car tab fee does not pass
Changes to Metro Transit could directly affect Mercer Island residents by reducing or eliminating several inter-Island bus routes.
Due to falling revenues and higher demand for services, the transit agency has turned to the King County Council to implement a two-year $20 car tab fee to help the agency keep from cutting 600,000 hours of transit service.
If the fee is not passed, the reduction of the first 100,000 hours of service would take place in February 2012. The succeeding cuts would be phased in over two years during the three times that routes are adjusted each year.
The agency set out months ago to determine how to make changes to the routes. The criteria includes the need for bus service, ridership, revenue and socioeconomic factors.
Within those cuts, the Metro routes that serve Mercer Island will be affected — the 201, 202, 203, 205 EX, 211 and 213 will be eliminated. Metro route 204 will be reduced or revised. Route 216, which on stops at the Mercer Island Park and Ride, will remain unchanged.
Even if the $20 fee is approved, the agency would still have to reduce service to routes systemwide as the fee will not entirely make up the shortfall. More changes would also be necessary to reduce transit costs after the temporary tab fee would expire.
Special Metro Routes, including 891 and 892, which serve Mercer Island public school students during the school year and routes 981 and 989, which serve private schools such as Lakeside and University Prep in Seattle, did not appear on the change list.
To learn more about Metro and Sound Transit services, including possible changes in service, visit metro.kingcounty.gov and soundtransit.org.