WEATHER: Metro Transit Preparing For Wednesday Snow; Are You Ready?


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King County’s Metro Transit announced Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 22) that it is “preparing for Wednesday snow,” and encouraging all bus riders to plan ahead for rapidly changing travel conditions on Wednesday and into Thursday.

Here’s the full press release, fresh into the station:

Bus riders urged to be ready for changing travel conditions through Thursday

Weather forecasters are predicting cold temperatures and snow will increase during the day on Wednesday. King County Metro Transit advises bus riders to plan ahead for rapidly changing travel conditions on Wednesday, and into Thursday.

Wednesday’s snowfall may start out light in some areas, but transit users should plan ahead for bus trips that could be disrupted, delayed, and on snow routing. Even though weather in the morning may not be bad in your area, you should leave from a bus stop or park-and-ride that also has service when buses are on snow routes in case travel conditions deteriorate by the afternoon commute.

Also, give yourself extra time to reach your evening destination. Buses are often very crowded in the early part of the afternoon commute when everyone tries to get home before snowfall is the heaviest.

Metro is urging bus riders to prepare by making sure they are signed up for Transit Alerts and know the snow routing for the buses they will ride tomorrow.

Then before traveling, riders should check www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow for the most current status of Metro service. Updates to the online information begin as early as 4 a.m. and continue as needed until the storm is over.

Wednesday’s forecast could create challenges for all vehicles, especially if the snow begins to fall during the afternoon commute. Other areas, particularly in the Snohomish-King County convergence zone area, could see snow in the morning. Bus operations could change rapidly depending on traffic and travel conditions.

Here are some tips for bus travel this week:

  • Know the snow routing for your bus route. Check the timetables at Metro Online for snow route maps for each route. Not every bus route has snow routing, but most do;
  • When buses are on snow routing, some streets and bus stops may be missed and there are often delays due to travel conditions. There is new snow routing in many areas that is different from past years, so be sure to check the snow routes for all the routes you use most often;
  • If you haven’t already, sign up for Transit Alerts to keep up with any major changes to bus service. The alerts can be received as email or text messages. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow to subscribe;
  • Metro is using a new online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service, which can be found online at: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing;
  • People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account;
  • Be patient. Buses are not always on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. And, increased ridership during bad weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office;
  • Dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays, and wear appropriate footwear for the weather;
  • Head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points such as park-and-ride lots, transit centers, or shopping centers; and
  • Riders should wait at bus stops at the very top or very bottom of hills, because buses are often unable to stop for passengers on inclines.
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