... Today's Seahawks parade had happened after a 17 percent cut in bus service?
(King County may have to cut as much as 17 percent of its bus service unless voters approve a $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1 percent increase in the sales tax, thanks to legislators' failure to pass a transportation package that would have included a less regressive option for funding transit. Or, more specifically, a failure of moderate suburban Seattle legislators such as Majority Coalition Caucus leader, Sen. Rodney Tom, D-48, Medina, for giving in to the ideologues in his Republican coalition that don't want back a transportation package because of their kneejerk politics.)
By all accounts, thousands and thousands (and thousands) of people got to today's downtown parade on transit—to the point that many potential riders were actually turned away because of full buses and trains. (I got passed by by the Route 7 in the Rainier Valley this morning, and the followup bus was standing-room-only).
Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer says the agency doesn't know yet exactly how many people (of the 700,000 estimated celebrants) rode the bus to the parade today, but says Metro was "really excited to be part of this historic event. All the buses were crowded, and all during the morning commute, as the 12s were joining the commuters and were moving along, we were just excited about the fact that we were able to get so many people into downtown."
According to Sound Transit, Link Light Rail carried around 4,000 people per hour, with trains running as frequently as every six minutes. Sounder commuter trains, meanwhile, were "completely full," according to a Sound Transit statement, with around 20,000 riders using the service during the morning commute. And Sound Transit's Express buses were also running at capacity.
This is a great sign—a sign that transit works, that there's demand for it, and that this is no time to cut back on service.
Yesterday's packed Metro hearing would have been even bigger if the parade had been two days earlier—because of all the suburban King County residents who relied on the bus system to get them reliably to downtown Seattle today.
Josh has a PubliCola One Question out to the group of aforementioned suburban Seattle state legislators in the Majority Coalition Caucus—Sens. Tom, Steve Litzow, Joe Fain, and Andy Hill—about whether they'll reconsider the proposal for a transportation package that includes a local option for Metro, given today's flood from the suburbs into Seattle via public transit from districts like the ones they represent.)
If you're a daily commuter who was annoyed by today's crush capacities, I hear you—but think about this: Every Bellevueite who rode the bus for the first time today is a potential vote to save transit service. Reliable transit is an advertisement for itself. Conversely, cutting bus service by 17 percent would devastate the reliability of the county's transit system—and make those first-time riders return to their cars.