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Metro cuts five bus routes from Kirkland

Metro cuts could hurt local riders on the Eastside. - Reporter file photo
Metro cuts could hurt local riders on the Eastside.
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The King County Council has approved the first 161,000 hours of Metro transit reductions that cuts five bus routes and revises many others serving the Kirkland area. The dates for when the service will end varies depending on the route.

The vote on July 21 came a week after the council failed to pass legislation detailing plans for moving forward with a potential 550,000 total cuts in Metro service over a long-standing revenue shortfall.

Councilmember Rod Dembowski had called for a delay on July 14 to allow the council's transit committee to review a revised ordinance that was substantively no different than what had been agreed to the week before. The transit committee passed the legislation to council with unanimous approval July 15.

"We should be growing the system," Dembowski said, pointing to growing transit ridership. "It's tragic that we're cutting it."

Another 188,000 service hours are to be cut in February, barring an upward trend in the county's economic forecast and review by an ad hoc committee that the approved legislation will create. King County Executive Dow Constantine will be a member of that committee.

Eastside ridership has increased 144 percent from 2003 to 2013, and is expected to triple by 2030. With Sound Transit's East Link extension set to begin operating in 2023, Loewenherz said the city will be focused on ensuring future route changes do not threaten light rail and bus connectivity.

The King County Counncil-adopted legislation sets aside another 201,000 hours in Metro service reductions pending adoption of a 2015-16 county budget.

County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove said the county is already in a deeper financial hole than when it started eyeing bus routes for service cuts and reduction, especially with revenue coming in lower than forecasted. He added national experts are heading over to look at whether using reserves could spare some future cuts.

"That would be one-time funds, and that's not always very dependable," Upthegrove said.

Visit metro.kingcounty.gov for information on alternate routes when service is discontinued.

Routes to be cut in Kirkland

Route No. 238, which runs from downtown Bothell to downtown Kirkland, will be ended between September 2014 and February 2015. This is part of a set of changes to a group of routes to make them more efficient and preserve service for the most riders, according to Metro. In September all night (after 7 p.m.) service, after 7 p.m., will be ended. The remaining service on this line will be ended in February.

The Finn Hill to Seattle Central Business District route No. 260 will be ended Sept. 14. The Juanita to the University District route No. 277 will be ended Sept. 15. Metro said that these routes are some of the lowest performing peak-period-only routes in Metro’s system.

The Kingsgate to Redmond DART route No. 930DART will be ended Feb. 15 next year. This is part of a set of changes to a group of routes to make them more efficient and preserve service for the most riders, according to Metro.

The Totem Lake to Kenmore DART route No. 935DART will be ended on Sept. 14, as it’s one of the lowest performing routes in Metro’s system.

Visit metro.kingcounty.gov for information on alternate routes when service is discontinued.

Kirkland Reporter editor Matt Phelps contributed to this report.

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