JASON RANTZ

Rantz: Does King County Metro turn a blind eye to traffic violations?

Aug 16, 2017, 6:58 AM | Updated: 9:01 am
King County Metro...
(Jason Rantz/KIRO Radio)
(Jason Rantz/KIRO Radio)

As local law enforcement agencies have been commanded to crack down on drivers safely texting their loved ones that they’ll be late to dinner because they’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, King County Metro bus drivers continue to ignore basic traffic laws, putting those around them in danger. But this is not about Metro; it’s about the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Related: Metro’s illegal, dangerous driving part of bigger problem

Yet again, on a walk, a Metro driver made a left turn when there was no room to accommodate the bus near the Mercer Mess. Consequently, the majority of the bus lingered in the intersection, blocking traffic and causing further delays.

This kind of driving happens regularly and it’s dangerous. But is it systemic? Is the pressure so high for drivers to drive their route on time that they have to commit these actions in order to keep their bosses happy? After all, as I’ve explained, I don’t necessarily fault them for driving this way; Seattle transportation planning doesn’t aim to service drivers, so the only way to even get past an intersection during the commute is to block the intersection. You’re all forced to bend or break traffic laws, otherwise, you’ll be stuck for an hour.

King County Metro tells me no; that this driving behavior isn’t encouraged or permitted.

“Drivers are instructed to obey all traffic laws,” Metro’s Jeff Switzer emailed me. “Our training is focused on safety, not schedule. Drivers can and do sit through multiple traffic lights when an area is gridlocked.”

Metro is in a tough spot. There’s no doubt that the training tells drivers to obey traffic laws. But, if the drivers did, buses would be even more consistently late than they already are and if you’re perpetually behind schedule, I can’t imagine that bodes well for the driver. And if bus drivers are perpetually stuck in traffic, due to poor management, it would be rightfully blamed on the Seattle Department of Transportation and their purposeful efforts to ignore the reality that people use cars to get around. Metro doesn’t want to do that to SDOT. Their partners in this because the harder it is for car drivers, the thinking goes, it’s better for Metro because the driver will ditch the car for the bus.

So what are we to do here? This isn’t about Metro but we’re going to have to use their traffic violations to make things flow smoother. We are all better served by a transportation department that accommodates drivers, along with bus riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The situation on and around the Mercer Mess is untenable and infuriating. Let’s use SDOT’s love of buses against them and enact some change.

Here’s what to do: file a complaint. It takes less than a minute.

Switzer provided to me the easy way to file your complaint, along with some tips (and kudos to him: despite me being a pain in his backside, he’s always responding to me): “Contact Metro customer service via phone or web form, detailing as best as possible the time, location, direction and four-digit coach number so we can identify the operator. 206-553-3000 or http://metro.kingcounty.gov/cs/index.html.”

Every time you see a Metro driver commit a traffic violation, document it safely, then submit your complaints here. Why? Because these complaints become part of the public record. Because Metro is unwilling to throw SDOT under the bus (pun intended) and admit how bad the traffic management is, we’ll let these complaints get on the record and force Metro to respond to their behavior.

Consequently, the bus drivers will change their behaviors because now they know they’re being watched. What’s that mean? They’re slower on their routes, which will hopefully force Metro to confront SDOT about signal synchronization issues and poor traffic management. Some of you might think SDOT will make changes that will solely benefit the bus drivers. It doesn’t work that way. In the cases I’ve documented, they’re turning onto bus-only lanes. As these cases indicate, changes that ignore drivers to the sole benefit of other modes of transportation end up making traffic worse for everyone.

So start documenting and complaining.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Rep. Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash. (Getty Images)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Rep. Strickland makes evil claim about Justice Thomas on interracial marriage

The congresswoman claimed that Justice Thomas would overturn interracial marriage. Her comments are utterly vile and evil.
2 days ago
...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Terrifying Pike Place Market road rage, hammer assault video released

Cell phone video from a terrifying Pike Place Market road rage incident shows the chaos that ensued on Easter Sunday last month.
3 days ago
Rebecca Perry YT...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Democrat candidate’s vulgar campaign ad calls for mass property theft

A Democrat candidate for congress is calling for mass lawlessness to send a message to the "corporate elite."
3 days ago
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee speaks prior to U.S. President Joe Biden's appearance at Green...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gas shortages and record high prices plague Washington drivers

Gas stations in Washington are resetting their price boards to accommodate double digits in preparation for fuel prices potentially reaching $10 a gallon.
4 days ago
Ferguson, booster...
KTTH staff

AG Ferguson seeks protection for out-of-state abortion providers

Washington AG Bob Ferguson sent a letter asking to not disqualify out-of-state abortion providers from obtaining a license to practice medicine if they're penalized if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
5 days ago
Car Shot Seattle...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man nearly murdered in random Seattle drive-by while celebrating job promotion

My 25-year-old coworker had just finished hitting a bucket of golf balls at a North Seattle golf range. Moments later, his elation turned to terror as a man tried to murder him.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Rantz: Does King County Metro turn a blind eye to traffic violations?