Metro transit prepares for largest service change in history

Sep 26, 2012, 2:05 PM | Updated: 3:23 pm
The largest service change in the history of King County Metro begins this weekend and officials have warned riders to expect delays. (AP photo)
(AP photo)

The largest service change in the history of King County Metro begins this weekend and officials have warned riders to expect delays.

In an attempt to streamline operations and cut costs, dozens of bus routes will change effective Saturday, Sept. 29. Delays are expected Monday and Tuesday as all riders adjust to pay-on-entry.

“Next week the service is going to be a little slower in downtown. Be patient,” said King County Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond. “We think after this period of transition things will settle down.”

Metro will also eliminate the Free Ride Area downtown, a program that has been in place for nearly 40 years. Desmond said getting rid of free rides will raise roughly $2 million in revenue annually, but comes at a cost for the poor.

“Clearly there is an impact on people with very little income; people who don’t have the means to pay a fare,” he said. “That’s why we are putting in a circulator bus with the City of Seattle. That will help mitigate the loss of the ride free area for people who just can’t pay a fare.”

Also on Saturday, Metro will begin new rapid lines serving West Seattle and Ballard.

To help transit customers adjust to the changes, Metro will distribute updated schedules and route information. Roughly 160 Metro employees will be on hand at downtown transit hubs to answer rider questions and address concerns.

To see if your bus route is affected, visit metro.kingcounty.gov.

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Metro transit prepares for largest service change in history