Metro has sent out a reminder that the King County Council votes next week to implement a two-year $20 car tab fee, or to let the voters decide in November whether to cut 600,000 service hours. Yeah, that’s 600,000 service hours. The stakes are high for commuters.
The King County Council will vote on Monday, August 15th. Public testimony has been closed–the Council will take final action at the August 15 meeting.
Included in the Metro reminder, titled “Update on Congestion Reduction Charge, Service Cuts Proposals” was this:
Metro GM debunks myths
Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond recently wrote a letter correcting inaccuracies published in a Seattle Times op-ed.
“In a recent op-ed in the Seattle Times, the Washington Policy Center distorted the history of Metro’s revenues and services,” he wrote. “It twisted the recommendations of the Regional Transit Task Force and the aims of Metro’s new strategic plan. And it confused our guidelines for achieving efficiency with the flat-out loss or degradation of service—the kind of cuts that the public in recent weeks has dramatically risen up to oppose.” Read the entire letter here.
Here’s where I get thoroughly conflabberghasted. Kevin’s letter to the Council says:
“Nowhere does the Transit Strategic Plan or the Regional Transit Task Force recommend cutting 600,000 hours, or 476,000 hours, or even one hour of service for the public.
What both do call for is getting more productive and more efficient use out of each transit dollar by reducing or eliminating routes with fewer riders, restructuring corridors that may, for example, have both regular and express buses on the same route, and reinvesting those service hours into routes that more people would use – all while ensuring that geographic areas and pockets of low-income residents who heavily rely on bus service get a fair share.
The WPC twists those guidelines out of context as if they only apply to reducing the size of the system, as if you could simply whack the lower-producing routes and declare, “problem solved.” No, those guidelines call for reducing inefficient or redundant routes and reinvesting those hours in routes that more people would use.”
And yet, Metro’s own website shows a proposed cut of 600,000 service hours here. And here. And, well, all over the place. They even made maps of proposed route cuts. Maybe the Transit Strategic Plan and the Regional Transit Task Force aren’t recommending cutting 600,000 service hours but Metro seems to be. Unless this is all a scare tactic, eh?
If I’m missing something folks, clue me in. I just don’t see how Metro’s messaging and Kevin’s letter make sense together. To be fair, Kevin’s letter is the very first time I’ve seen any Metro representative (and I’ve talked to a few in person recently) say that riders need to get where they’re going. And he does, which I totally appreciate.
Regardless, I guess we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what’s next in the Metro saga. Til then, visit www.kingcounty.gov/metro/