King County Metro announces temporary service reductions

Saturday, May 13, 2023

On Thursday, May 11, 2023 King County Metro announced temporary service reductions that will go into effect at the Fall Service Change, on September 2, 2023.

The primary reasons are a shortage of drivers and a maintenance backlog.

According to Metro:

These temporary reductions will match our schedule to what we are currently able to operate on a daily basis. 

This will mean a more reliable schedule for riders, instead of the daily cancellation of approximately 5% of our scheduled service.

In addition to customer impacts, Metro’s current schedule is not sustainable for its workforce. We are relying on many employees working overtime and high stress levels for our workforce that maintain vehicles and communicate these daily cancellations to customers.

While this is a challenging decision that we do not take lightly, it is fully informed by our conversations and engagement with communities, customers and our employees. In making these difficult decisions, Metro centered the following factors:

  • Maintaining overall service coverage across the county
  • Minimizing impact on routes with high Equity Opportunity scores
  • Minimizing impact on high-ridership routes
  • Minimizing impacts to students
  • Maintaining the frequent all-day network
  • Maintaining length of operating hours (span of service)
  • Minimizing/eliminating potential for crowding resulting from reductions
  • Operational factors

Based on these criteria, the Fall 2023 schedule includes
  • temporary service reductions to 12 routes (Routes 7, 10, 20, 28, 36, 73, 79, 225, 230, 231, 255, 345), 
  • temporary suspensions to 20 routes (Routes 15, 16, 18, 29, 55, 64, 114, 121, 167, 190, 214, 216, 217, 232, 237, 268, 301, 304, 320 and 342). 
  • Weekend reductions are limited to three routes (20, 28 and 73).

Many of these routes were selected because other transit service exists nearby, and 99% of boardings on fully suspended routes are at stops where other service will be available within one-quarter mile.


Route 16 (suspended)
  • Along Greenwood Avenue N and/or Phinney Avenue N, use Route 5 to/from downtown Seattle.
Route 64 (suspended)
  • Between Lake City and Roosevelt, use Route 322 or Route ST 522
  • Along 35th Avenue NE, use Route 65
  • Along NE 65th Street, use Route 62
  • Parking is available at Green Lake Park and Ride
  • Between Roosevelt or University of Washington Stations and South Lake Union, use Link to connect with Route 8 at Capitol Hill Station
  • Between U District Station and South Lake Union, use Route 70
Route 301 (suspended)
  • Between Shoreline and Northgate, use Routes 346 or 348
  • Parking is available at Aurora Village Transit Center and Shoreline Park and Ride
Route 304 (suspended)
  • Between Shoreline and Northgate, use Routes 331, 345 or 348
  • Parking is available at Shoreline Park and Ride
Route 320 (suspended)
  • Between Lake City and Northgate, use Route 20
  • Between Kenmore, Bothell, Lake Forest Park and Lake City, use Route 372 or Route ST 522
  • Between Northgate and South Lake Union, use Link to connect with Route 8 at Capitol Hill Station or with Route 70 at U District Station.
  • Parking is available at Northgate Station

These temporary service reductions now will allow Metro’s workforce to better prepare for future service expansion by allowing Vehicle Maintenance to reduce maintenance backlogs, permit time for improvements in hiring and training processes to move forward, and reduce current pressures on workforce that could impact employee retention.

Additionally, we are continuing with our major community-focused Mobility Projects and planning our future Service Recovery community engagement work. These projects ensure communities throughout King County have the option to participate in developing our future transit service.

In the months leading up to September, Metro will continue to deliver the highest percentage of trips possible. We will use our Metro Matters blog and other channels, such as email, text and social media, to inform customers about service for the coming week as well as any day-to-day impacts.

Here is a link to the Metro Matters Blog post on the September service reductions

The Seattle Times published an article on the topic

County Councilmember Rod Dembowski called the reductions painful but needed, to get Metro on a reliable footing before more changes hit in 2024 to sculpt bus lines around Sound Transit’s new Northgate-to-Lynnwood train extension.

“We’ve received too many concerns from riders who are out waiting for a bus that doesn’t come,” he said.

A slow supply chain hinders local service, said Dembowski, who chairs the council committee overseeing transportation. “It takes nine months to get a radiator. The pandemic really shook the system, and I think we tried to come back too quickly.”


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