Metro Transit

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King County's Proposition 1, which would have raised sales taxes and car tab fees to preserve Metro bus service, is failing. Initial counts show 55 percent of voters rejected the measure, leaving low odds of passage.

Still, Seattle transit advocates are down, but not out of ideas.

Jennifer Wing / KPLU

This time next year, King County's Metro Transit system could be working out the final details of eliminating 65 bus routes and other cuts in service.

The grassroots group Transit Riders Union is holding a rally on Saturday just south of the King County courthouse in Seattle. It starts at noon.

Vermin Inc / Flickr

Metro Transit in Seattle has apologized but says it won't discipline the driver who asked a woman with a baby to get off a bus because of a stinky diaper.

Metro told KOMO the driver did not violate policy when she acted for the comfort of other passengers.

An apology is not enough for the mother, Nichole Hakimian, who threatens to sue.

Vermin Inc / Flickr

A woman is complaining to Metro Transit that a driver kicked her off a bus in Seattle because of her baby's stinky diaper.

The woman, Nichole Hakimian, tells KOMO she was taking her son to a clinic Tuesday because of his diarrhea. She says the driver asked her to get off because the smell was too much for everyone else on the bus.

The woman says she found a place to change the diaper and caught another bus to the clinic.

For nearly 40 years, riding the bus in downtown Seattle has been free. Now, with Metro Transit set to end the free ride zone in September as a cost saving measure, officials are wrestling with how best to serve people who won’t be able to afford the new fares of $2.25 to $2.50.

Public outcry may rescue a popular South Seattle bus line. An amendment to the transit re-alignment plan passed by the King County council late Monday afternoon has temporarily spared the route.

Ten other bus lines that are considered inefficient have been eliminated.

It’s the first phase of a voter-approved plan to make King County's  Metro Transit agency more efficient.

King County Metro

If you rely on the bus to get around Seattle, Shoreline or South King County, changes could be coming to your route. Metro is proposing reducing or redirecting more than 60 bus lines. 

The shifts are part of a plan to use revenue from King County’s car tab fee to preserve bus service.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

A plan to use public transit to offset traffic congestion while the new Highway 99 tunnel is built in Seattle is expected to run out of money – long before the project is completed.

Oran Virivincy / Flickr

A grand compromise, showing that bi-partisanship and good government still exist. That's what members of the King County Council are saying after the announcement that they have a super majority to back a temporary $20 car tab fee and stave off massive cuts to metro transit.

Two Republicans - Jane Hague and Kathy Lambert - have agreed to back the deal when the council votes on Monday. Among other things, it will phase out Metro's subsidy for the free ride zone in downtown Seattle starting October 2012.

Public Health Seattle & King County

A major ad campaign launches this week to promote healthy living, with advertisements featured on Seattle-area television, radio and billboards. Just about the only place you won’t find the ads is on Metro buses.

The transit agency says the advertisements violate its new policy regarding public service announcements. The policy, adopted April 8th, prohibits ads that express a viewpoint on “matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues.”

The King County Council postponed a decision on a two-year, $20 car tab fee to maintain Metro bus service until August 15th in an attempt to pass the measure without it having to go before voters.

Advocates for social justice, economic development and environmental protection packed council chambers for the hearing. Nearly all testified in favor of the council enacting the fee.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

So far, the meetings on Metro Transit’s proposal to raise car tab fees by $20 or cut 17 percent of bus services have been packed with lines going around the block. Tonight you have another chance to be heard: The meeting starts at 6 p.m.  in the Burien City Council Chambers, 400 S.W. 152nd Street.

Last week, among those turning out to voice support for the fee and to weigh in against service cuts were college students who said a cut in service could result in students dropping out.

Could cuts to Metro bus routes result in more college dropouts? Student leaders at the University of Washington say it’s something they’re deeply concerned about.

Students testifying last night at a hearings in King County over a proposed $20 car tab fee argued in favor of the charge. The money would  help keep Metro busses running at current levels. Without the fee, Metro service is expected to be cut by 17 percent.

King County Metro

More people who work in downtown Seattle are riding mass transit than driving to the office. That’s according to a survey just released by Commute Seattle, a non-profit that tries to reduce the number of people who drive alone. 

Gary Davis

Are you willing to fork over extra money to register your car in order to keep buses running?

King County Executive Dow Constantine is betting you are. He’s urging the King County Council to pass an emergency ordinance temporarily increasing car tab fees by $20 per vehicle. The two-year charge would generate about $25 million per year and be used to preserve Metro Transit service at current levels.

Photo by Atomic Taco / Flickr

Shiny burgundy buses equipped with automated pay stations, three doors each, low-riding chassis and accelerated time tables started serving south King County last fall. They're called RapidRide and they're funded by the Transit Now ballot measure that voters approved in 2006. 

A second route is slated to start serving Bellevue and Redmond in October. The King County Council votes on exactly where they'll go on Tuesday afternoon

Gary Davis / KPLU

King County's Metro Transit is making lots of changes to its bus schedules starting this Saturday, February 5.

Who's affected?

The changes will impact all areas of the county and include routing and bus stop changes for approximately two dozen routes from various areas of the county that pass through downtown Seattle.

King County Executive Dow Constantine says the escalation of global interest in a bus placard critical of Israel introduces significant security concerns and makes Metro buses vulnerable to disruption. 

Because of this, he’s approved an interim policy that calls for a halt to the acceptance of any new non-commercial advertising on King County buses.

Metro expects to complete work on a permanent transit ad policy by the end of January.

Paula Wissel/KPLU

Local Air Force nurse attends signing of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal; a bus ad controversy heats up in Seattle;  speculation grows about who'll get the state's newest Congressional district; and the Pacific claims another Grayland home.

There for the Signing

She's been asking for her job back, and soon Maj. Margaret Witt will get her wish. The Air Force flight nurse, a  lesbian, is anxious to rejoin the Air Force Reserves soon, now that President Obama has signed the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. 

A sign scheduled to run on Metro buses next week has King County officials debating the limits of free speech in transit advertising.

The ad features the words, “Israeli war crimes your tax dollars at work” next to a group of kids staring at a demolished building.

King County Councilman Peter von Reichbauer called for a re-evaluation of the proposed ads, set to roll out Dec. 27.  The date coincides with the two-year anniversary of Israeli military action in Gaza.

Liam Moriarty/KPLU

Nearly two years ago, heavy snow and ice from an unusual mid-December storm and cold snap left roads and sidewalks treacherous for a week or more. Road and transit agencies in Seattle say the hard lessons they learned during the big snowstorm of 2008 are showing up in their response to this snowfall.

KingCounty.gov

Metro buses will be running on snow routes Monday. It's a precautionary measure due to the threat of snow. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory, warning of possible snow accumulations during the day on Monday of one to three inches from southwest Washington northward, perhaps as far as Seattle and Everett.