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Metro bus cuts will start in September
Metro is now preparing to cut bus service beginning in September to address its ongoing budget shortfall. Although the size of the cuts was recently scaled back slightly due to more favorable sales tax revenue projections, the impact on Mercer Island will be severe.
For more than five years, King County Metro has taken significant actions to preserve bus service because of a $1.2 billion shortfall in funding due to reduced sales tax revenues during the recession. The agency cut more than 100 staff positions, improved operating efficiency, raised fares four times, dug into reserve funds, and took many other steps to save or raise about $800 million from 2009 through 2013.
Of the 16 routes that circulate on or traverse across the north end of the Island, 13 will be reduced or eliminated entirely. The following table summarizes the cuts currently planned (note that once routes are deleted, they are not expected to return, even if funding begins to recover):
Deletions: Routes 202, 203, 205, 210, 211, 213, 215, 217
Reductions: Routes 204, 212
Deletions: Route 201
Reductions: Routes 111, 114
The City of Mercer Island notes that several of the routes identified for elimination are important circulators that loop around the Island, or offer transport between key locations such as the Community Center, City Hall, and the Park-and-Ride lot. In order to address serious community concerns about future mobility, the City Council is exploring various options to ‘buy back’ certain limited services, such as by using circulator vans, on-demand buses, and other means.
Go to metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future/index.html to view service reduction maps.