Burien Largely Unaffected By Metro Transit Bus Route Changes
Reduced evening hours on Metro’s Route 139 from the Burien Transit Center to Highline Medical Center will begin in June.
The change is one of many revisions to Metro bus routes that was approved Monday (Jan. 30) by the King County Council.
More than 35,000 service hours will be shifted through the council’s action to “high ridership” bus routes from underperforming routes. This will be accomplished by eliminating 10 underperforming routes and reducing service on another five routes.
Route 139 was one of many targeted earlier for elimination by Metro Transit if a $20 license tab fee to maintain service levels was not imposed on county vehicle owners.
On the plus side, Route 180 from Burien to SeaTac, Kent and Auburn will receive an additional 11,000 hours to provide more evening bus service on the entire route.
Last summer the King County Council voted to impose an annual $20 car tab fee for two years to maintain current Metro bus service and avoid sharp transit cuts.
But County Councilman Larry Phillips of Seattle, appearing on News Line with John Carlson on KOMO Radio Tuesday morning (Jan. 31), said the council was “not cutting bus service” but “was rearranging it … we will have a substantial net gain in ridership.”
Currently the last 139 bus to Highline Medical Center leaves the Burien Transit Center at 9:16 p.m. Beginning in June, there will be no service on Route 139 after 8:15 p.m. – eliminating the final three scheduled evening runs for a savings of 500 service hours.
The only other service impacted in the greater Burien area is Route 129, which serves Riverton Heights and Tukwila. It will be eliminated for a savings of 1,400 service hours.
Routes 129 and 132 will provide some alternate service, but part of Route 129 will have no bus service beginning in June.
Another 8,000 hours of service will be added to 11 other Metro bus routes, and an additional 15,000 hours “will be reallocated to help improve scheduled reliability as determined by the Transit Division,” according to county council spokesman Al Sanders.
He noted that these changes are “the first service adjustments since the adoption of the county’s Transit Strategic Plan.”
“Adoption of these service changes upholds the council’s commitment to Metro’s regionally agreeable upon Strategic Plan,” said Councilwoman Julia Patterson, whose District 5 now includes south Burien.
Phillips said on KOMO Radio that these changes will give Metro “more productive hours” of service on its bus routes.
He added that rider fares pay 25 percent of Metro’s overall operating costs for bus service, which is the national average for public bus transit.