Regardless of how you vote on November's Seattle-only Metro funding measure, significant cuts to Metro service will go into effect in September, although only a few of those cuts will impact Seattle bus riders directly.
(The November ballot proposal, which Mayor Ed Murray announced back in May, would raise $45 million a year by increasing sales taxes by 0.1 cent and imposing a flat $60 vehicle license fee. A competing proposal by city council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata to keep the flat VLF but replace the sales tax with a "head tax" on employers and an increase in the commercial parking tax failed last week.)
Of the 32 routes that will be eliminated, and the nine routes whose service will be cut, in February, four eliminated routes, and two routes whose service will be reduced, are in Seattle. Additionally, two Seattle express routes (routes that are also served by slower local buses) will be eliminated.
Here's a breakdown of what you can expect to see in September:
• The 7X, linking downtown and the Rainier Valley, and the 48X, linking the University District and Ballard, will be cut.
• The 19 (linking West Magnolia to downtown), the 47 (linking downtown to Summit Ave. on Capitol Hill), the 61 (linking north and south Ballard), and the 62 (connecting west Ballard to downtown) will all be cut. All four, however, are largely duplicated by other routes serving the same areas (except, arguably, the 47, which is the only bus route directly serving the neighborhood west of Broadway on Capitol Hill.)
• The 27 (linking downtown to Colman Park on Lake Washington) and the 30 (linking downtown and Sand Point via the U District) will have reduced service, with buses running only during weekday peak (rush) hours.
Of course, if Seattle voters fail to pass the Metro funding plan, the next round of cuts, scheduled for February, will be much more drastic, impacting workhorse routes like the 7, 8, 14, and 60, among many others.
And Seattle's funding measure won't save service in suburban areas that voted against April's Proposition 1, which would have preserved bus service throughout King County, although the proposal does include up to $3 million for partnerships with other cities and transit agencies that provide service to or through Seattle.
Read the full list of proposed September and February changes here.
The King County Council is taking up a proposal at its meeting this afternoon to create a new "ad hoc committee" consisting of the King County executive and three council members to consider changes to the February 2015 reduction plan. Among the routes that could be restored are half a dozen Dial-A-Ride Transit (DART) routes operated by Hopelink in unincorporated King County, which Republican county council member Kathy Lambert, a Hopelink board member, has made her personal cause célèbre.