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Metro Evening Bus Service to End in Magnolia

August 17th, 2012 · 16 Comments

By reporter Steven Smalley

Although many in Magnolia aren’t aware, Metro bus service after 9:30PM is about to end in September, according to David Hull, Metro’s Supervisor of Service Planning. “The night time service on Route 24 did not meet the productivity guidelines,” he explained. “We understand it causes some inconvenience.” Magnolia Voice spoke with Bruce Nourish, a writer for the Seattle Transit Blog who first brought this change to a more prominent light. “Metro administratively changed Magnolia’s service to delete service leaving downtown Seattle after 9:30 PM. Basically after 9:30 there will be no bus service in Magnolia.” he explained. “This was an administrative change. There was no public process. This was something they were just able to do. I know it’s not been widely published. They put it on their website, but as far as I know it’s not been widely known.” Bus riders who use Metro at night were disappointed to hear the news for the first time. “The 24 bus comes every day. Now I’ll have to walk to 15th avenue even in the rain,” declares a long-time Village restaurant worker. “This has been my job for five years. I don’t know.” Another rider coming home late from working downtown also had not heard the news. “It’s going to be a big hassle. I’m working at a frozen yogurt place. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do,” she lamented. “It’s the only way I can get home. Taking the bus is a huge convenience for me. It’s really fast and reliable.” “A lot of working poor people do use the bus.” Nourish notes. “Magnolia is not just a place full of rich people. Now they are all equally cut off from the bus. From the Magnolia Village to the nearest bus will be more than a mile away. That’s a lot of people without bus service.” Metro’s David Hull, was contrite. “No matter what action we take to implement policy…we impact people’s lives. We lay awake at night. We do see the faces of the people who ride the bus. It’s not an easy thing,” he said. “I’m listening. I do hear. We’re guided by policy given to us. I feel empathy for those (on which) the impact was really great. We take it really seriously.” Previously Metro proposed a plan to re-route the 24 bus and send it from the Village to Ballard, giving Magnolia an easy way to travel north. The community rejected it mostly because it eliminated service on West Viewmont Way, Nourish explained. Now comes this latest idea to end night service. “(Metro) had a plan,” Nourish says, “The community didn’t accept it, and I guess (Metro) had to find some way to balance the budget, and they said, well, relatively few people use this bus, so we’re going to cut it. I think the smart thing to say was well, this bus service wasn’t working as well as it could. So we should fix it rather than cutting it. I think Metro should go back to the community in Magnolia to try and search for a way to restructure Magnolia’s service in such a way that’s efficient and makes that connection to Ballard, which everybody in Magnolia would benefit from.”

Magnolia Voice wants to hear from you about Metro’s plans. Please let us know how you feel in the comments section.

Tags: Uncategorized

  • Otter

    For the people who depend on service after 9:30, I can really sympathize but not sure what Metro could do if the service is so underutilized making it economically unsustainable when money could be used to preserve more utilized routes. This is another example of government cuts to things, not unlike the library having to cut back hours and closing community centers. We’re a generous city, but sometimes it isn’t possible to keep everything at the status quo. I hope the employers of the people interviewed can work with them in light of the transportation change.

  • Cynthia

    I’m having a hard time with Metro’s website finding the information; is service on the 33 also getting cut?

    • Heywood

      According to the transportation blog the Route 33 bus will en at 9:30PM too.

    • Guest

      Leaving us with nothing is unacceptable. Don’t we fund the Metro bus service as much as everyone else in the city?

  • Tootie12

    The city on one hand encourages taking public transportation and on the other, suspends Magnolia’s options. They already cut the #31 on Sundays! Are you kidding?

    • Valentijn

      When did the 31 ever run on Sundays? In the 1950′s?

  • Guest

    Metro service change information is posted here: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/have-a-say/projects/restructuring-system.html Summary of changes

    The 33 route will not change. It’s last run currently is at 9:30. It’s
    not just about Magnolians funding Metro, it’s also about using it. It is a waste
    of taxpayers money to have empty buses running through Magnolia.

    Last winter people decried cutting 24 service along Viewmont, but as
    evidence by this article about hide and ride,
    http://www.magnoliavoice.com/2012/05/07/neighbors-say-no-parking/,
    plenty of Magnolians would rather drive to a more convenient bus stop or maybe not take the bus at all.
    Unfortunately that means cuts to service due to under-performance. Use it or lose it!

  • MH

    I recently moved to Magnolia, so I was unaware of the “planning process” until just now. I’m a little upset, as my spouse and I share one car and I occasionally use the night buses to get downtown. There are always at least 3-4 other people on those buses, so I understand that it’s not a really profitable route, but it is definitely serving some people. I don’t understand why Metro’s decision had to be all-or-nothing, as it seems like there are some much more palatable alternatives that weren’t even considered. For instance, run the bus once every hour instead of once every half-hour (less convenient, but keeps some service available). Create a dedicated “night route” that runs after 9:30 or 10:00 on one of the other buses which utilizes 15th Ave, which could make a quick loop into the Village (would add a few minutes for some riders to the north, but would avoid cutting off all bus service to an entire neighborhood). Why did it have to be either changing the whole scope of the 24 — a terrible idea — or hacking off night service? Metro is definitely not thinking creatively here, and I’m extremely disappointed in them.

    As an aside, there is NOTHING about this change on the Metro website under the “Schedule and Route Revisions” section. It’s only in a .pdf document that is very difficult to find. The website is terrible, and continually redirects you back to the same page which doesn’t actually give any information. Disgraceful.

  • MH

    I recently moved to Magnolia, so I was unaware of the “planning process” until just now. I’m a little upset, as my spouse and I share one car and I occasionally use the night buses to get downtown. There are always at least 3-4 other people on those buses, so I understand that it’s not a really profitable route, but it is definitely serving some people. I don’t understand why Metro’s decision had to be all-or-nothing, as it seems like there are some much more palatable alternatives that weren’t even considered. For instance, run the bus once every hour instead of once every half-hour (less convenient, but keeps some service available). Create a dedicated “night route” that runs after 9:30 or 10:00 on one of the other buses which utilizes 15th Ave, which could make a quick loop into the Village (would add a few minutes for some riders to the north, but would avoid cutting off all bus service to an entire neighborhood). Why did it have to be either changing the whole scope of the 24 — a terrible idea — or hacking off night service? Metro is definitely not thinking creatively here, and I’m extremely disappointed in them.

    As an aside, there is NOTHING about this change on the Metro website under the “Schedule and Route Revisions” section. It’s only in a .pdf document that is very difficult to find. The website is terrible, and continually redirects you back to the same page which doesn’t actually give any information. Disgraceful.

  • minou-cat

    Maybe if Metro drivers actually forced the homeless kids who take the bus to/from Discovery Park to actually PAY the fare, this would be a non-issue. Every day I see them letting them ride for free (because its obvious they won’t pay) and they do this little head nod/smirk as they get on and off.

    If Metro is hard up for cash, making everyone pay their fair share would be a start.

    • Valentijn

      The kids aren’t homeless. They’re ravers that spend all of their money on drugs and raves, then pretend to be homeless to get more money for drugs and raves.

      • minou-cat

        Raves? Please, there haven’t been any real raves in Seattle for many years. Just because they’re wearing baggy pants doesn’t make them ravers. They’re common street kids who panhandle and are involved in the occasional petty theft.

  • bmerlin

    If the Mariners, Huskies, Sounders and the new Sonics will all start their games at 4:00 pm, we’ll be able to take the bus home to Magnolia under the Mayor’s Walk, Bike Ride program–it will be tooo late to bike.

    • Guest

      That’s a good point. Everyone will be forced to drive or use taxis for evening sporting events.

  • Cristin

    It does produce a vicious circle – if there isn’t reliable bus service when people need it, people don’t take the bus at other times either, and still more gets cut as unused. A workable public transportation system requires that the transportation is always there when you need it, with minimal wait times. Seattle voters, notorious for wanting all kinds of things at the same time they reject any bill to pay for them, won’t pony up for that. It’s so frustrating that every town I visit has efficient and usable public transportation except the one I live in.

  • magnolia nana

    Someone said instead of every half hour make it every hour or hour and half but don’t just terminate the service. Maybe Metro could run those shuttle buses late at night instead of the huge diesle articulated hogs that they use. I guess they want all of the Seattle citizens to ride bicycles at night.!!!