Some of Metro's Highest-Ridership Routes Slated for Cuts

By Josh Feit August 8, 2011

Seattle Transit Blog has a handy guide---in chart and Excel formats---to Metro's route-by-route annual ridership for 2010, including the system's 20 top-performing routes.

Since it would take all day to dig through all the data (check out the Metro-2010-Rt-Perf here if you want info for a specific route), I thought it would be interesting to compare the top 20 routes to the routes that are slated for cuts if the county fails to pass a temporary, $20 vehicle license fee in time for next year's budget. (The council can pass the fee on its own or put it on the countywide ballot; both moves would require a supermajority vote of six council members or more. Last month, the council put off making a decision on the fee until August 15.) Without the fee, which would last two years, the county will have to cut 17 percent of all Metro service, or roughly 600,000 hours.

Comparing the routes to Metro's proposed cuts, some interesting patterns emerge (full list of the top 20 routes and Metro's plans for them below):

Only a handful of Metro's top-performing routes would be entirely preserved under Metro's proposal, including the 120 (Seattle to Burien), the 49 (U District to downtown), the 44 (Ballard to Montlake) and RapidRide A (Tukwila to Federal Way).

Of the remaining routes, 14 would be reduced under the Metro cuts proposal. Thirteen of those, including routes 7, 36, 8, 5, 15, and 16, would be permanently reduced, and one, the 358, would be scaled back after the RapidRide E route, which will run from Shoreline to downtown along SR 99, opens in 2013.

Other routes would be eliminated and replaced by RapidRide routes: The 18 and the 15 express from downtown to Ballard.

Finally, several of Metro's most heavily-used routes would be cut entirely (and not replaced by another route), including the 7 express, the 43 from the University District to downtown, and the 73 from downtown to Jackson Park.

Here's a full list of the cuts to Metro's top 20 routes:

Slated for elimination:

7 Express, 15 Express (replaced by RapidRide D), 18 (replaced by RapidRide D), 43, 73

Slated for reduction:

7, 358 (replaced by RapidRide E), 36, 8, 41, 5, 5 Express, 48, 15, 150, 75, 3, 16,

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