Bus riders need to prep for Alaskan Way Viaduct closure too
We have been warning drivers for months about how their lives will change January 11, 2019 when the Alaskan Way Viaduct is shut down for good, but that move is also going to cause serious delays for Metro bus riders too.
The buses are going to be stuck in the same backups as the cars, and riders need to be prepared for that. While Metro’s Bill Bryant isn’t saying you can throw the schedule out the window, every route could feel the impact.
“Every route that comes into downtown Seattle, which is the bulk of the Metro system, is likely to suffer some sort of travel time delay or just a consistently longer travel time,” he said.
A dozen routes will be hit harder than most. Bryant notes direct impacts to twelve significant bus routes: 21x, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 121, 122, 123, 125 and C Line. Metro operates these routes into downtown every day which “carry about 30,000 riders per day,” according to Bryant.
Regional leaders have been asking the public to try different options during the three weeks of construction where Highway 99 is out of commission, including trying the bus. Bryant wants those new riders to take several practice runs. You do not want Jan. 11 to be the first day you are riding the bus.
“Get a feel for transit,” Bryant encouraged new drivers. “Get a feel for what to expect. Be ready to adjust your travel times as well.”
Metro said it’s prepared for those three weeks of congestion. It has plans in place to make service as smooth as it can be, including adding standby buses to pick up the slack.
“We do plan to have about twenty buses on standby during the morning and afternoon rush hours to carry extra passengers,” Bryant said.
Service on the West Seattle Water Taxi will also be doubled.
So bus riders, you have been warned. You need to prepare for longer than normal trips. You need to prepare for more passengers on your routes. And you need to be ready for changes to your regular stops through downtown.