By reporter Steven Smalley
Score a small victory for the Magnolia Transit Riders, that small band of Metro customers who needs a ride at night and can’t get one past 9:30. They can now. An additional bus is being added both coming and going downtown beyond the current cut off time. “A handful of minor changes are coming February 16 for several King County Metro transit bus routes, part of an effort to improve service…,” reads a Metro press release.
“As the economy strengthens we continue to see transit demand increase, and we see in urgent need for sustainable budget solutions to address crowded buses and calls for more service,” said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager. Part of the calls for more service comes from our intrepid band of hearty riders led by Jim McIntosh, a visually impaired man who relies on buses for all of his transportation needs, including at night.
“I‘m happy…if we are going to have a world-class transit system, it’s going to need 20-hours of service – up to midnight,” says McIntosh. “I got a letter a couple of months ago stating the times (Metro) would be leaving downtown is roughly 10:20 in the evening to head out to Magnolia.”
At approximately the same time, one last bus will leave Magnolia for downtown, according to McIntosh. “This is still the last bus. Magnolia Transit Riders group is pushing for more service,” he added. “We like to go to 1 o’clock.” Although Metro could be looking at a 17% service cutback by 2014, McIntosh says the official position of his group is to resume evening bus service at 11:20, 12:20, and 1:20.
The work of the group in that regard isn’t over. In an effort to keep momentum moving forward, a public meeting with King County Council Member Larry Phillips is scheduled for the Magnolia United Church of Christ, 3555 West McGraw Street, February 19 at 7PM. McIntosh asks everyone who is interested to attend.
“This is the way democracy works,” he said.