17% Metro Bus Cuts — with Plenty of Blame To Go Around!

I just got home to the news that Proposition 1 is going down in defeat.

“Great job, Seattle!” some say derisively, but this is a King County issue, affecting King County Metro.

And caused by the state legislature, which affects transit all over the place. Pierce Transit & Community Transit have already made drastic cuts. We’ve talked about more people driving with these cuts, but I think it deserves examining.

ImageDo we really want to cut Sunday service everywhere? As someone who doesn’t own a car, I can see how this hits the poor disproportionally. Do we really want not just more cars, but more cheap cars on the road, when people can’t take a bus to work? Do we want those crap cars to be uninsured?

This mess is blamed on Metro, when Tim Eyman’s initiatives took away the necessary funding for Metro. Then, in Olympia, Rodney Tom’s crazy caucus cocked up all hopes for State Transportation Funding. Now Tom’s bowing out, and there’s a chance to break the logjam.

But will it be too late? Will people move? Will people drive, and not go back? Will it have adverse effects on the economy? Those ‘No on Prop 1’ folks “sending a message” to Metro are assuming that this will force Metro to make personnel cuts to make up the losses. I’m assuming they’re sending this message comfortably from their cars, because I’ve seen a lot of those folks on their phones lately. Meanwhile, I’ve been spending time on the bus. On packed buses. In heavy traffic.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that traffic is bad, and that we could use more transit.

But if someone’s only looking at the bumper in front of them, they might not notice the bus getting on the express lane.

What I’m saying is that good transportation planning takes some foresight. Like many dumb decisions, putting Metro on the ropes seems like a good idea. But those optimistically voting No are in for a rude awakening. Metro has already cut, and already released their plan. It’s going to be brutal.

17% Metro Bus Cuts are happening. I’ve been telling you this. I’ve been handing out fliers and talking to strangers.

“Your sticker makes me wish I’d voted”, I was told today. Aw, goddamn it. C’mon! It was ONE BUBBLE.

I’ve also heard everything. I was riding Pierce Transit buses when I first heard the cuts were going to happen. I was using it to drop off my son. Those cuts affect me personally, directly, and I was worried. But people scoffed: “They’ll never let this happen in Seattle” I was told. But I had my doubts. I went to transportation planning open houses and asked questions. I pin-holed a SoundTransit official, but they weren’t worried. (ST is funded differently anyway – hope you’re in for this learning experience!) Metro tried to work it out…

I don’t have to tell you how this ends. Olympia didn’t budge. They refuse to pass a Transportation Package.

More blame: The local news media – I’m lookin’ at you Seattle Times – trashed Proposition 1. They didn’t mention that 40% of the funds go to fix our roads. At that transportation open house I learned that we are hopelessly behind on road repairs. We just add to the list at this point. But the state legislature won’t dare spend any money fixing it. We want to fix it. They won’t even allow us to raise the money to fix it.

So where are we at? I’ve managed to scratch the surface of a rats-nest of problems which have been delved into more accurately elsewhere, but which we still haven’t made any ground on.

Well, we need to get angry. We need to replace Rodney Tom, and more importantly his completely ineffectual and crippling approach to government. Then we need to find a way to sustainably fund our transportation.

Hey, Sustainable! After all, today was Earth Day!

Oh, wait: For Earth Day, King County pledged to take vehicles off the road!*

*(just the high capacity ones, tho)

That’s just great

Transportation needs to be an option, and buses are an important aspect of that. Taking them away may prove to be a serious problem. We can’t all live next to the Light Rail (especially at this rate of construction), and buses are highly flexible.

The fight to Save Metro ain’t over, and I predict I’m not done ranting about it.

Luv ya, but remember to Vote, damnit!

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One Response to 17% Metro Bus Cuts — with Plenty of Blame To Go Around!

  1. Nicole says:

    It makes me so upset when people are “too busy” or “I just forgot” to vote. Voting is where our power is, our voice. I saw this happen yesterday with people who even use buses as their main transportation! Where is the disconnect? How do we mobilize people to use their voices? Today I did some research on why people don’t vote. One site said, “Of those not voting, 8.6% were out of town, 18.9% were too busy, 12.7% did not like the candidates or campaign issues, and 15.7% reported not being interested.” The people I’ve encountered (some of my friends), fall into the 18.9% category. Short of sitting down next to them while they fill in whichever bubble they want, I’m not sure how to impress upon them the importance of voting. Maybe ask them over for a beer, and then, hey! Let’s do something fun! Let’s vote! A lot of it seems like people forget about it until the last day and then come up with excuses for why they can’t cast their ballot.


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