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.