King County Metro activated Emergency Snow Network, service reduced for Saturday and possibly beyond

SUMMARY

With heavy snowfall across the region, King County Executive Dow Constantine directed Metro to shift bus service to the Emergency Snow Network starting Saturday, Feb. 9, reducing service to just 60 core routes that the City of Seattle and other jurisdictions prioritized for snow and ice removal.

STORY

The Emergency Snow Network (ESN) will be effective at 4 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, until further notice.

Customers will be able to board service only on 60 core bus routes and shuttles primarily serving key arterials and transit centers. The network was prioritized based on high ridership routes and to serve areas to avoid steep hills. The routes were developed in coordination and collaboration with jurisdictions and taking advantage of designated snow plow plans, including the City of Seattle.

Routes operating as part of the ESN will serve core centers around King County, via routes 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 21, 24, 24 shuttle, 31, 32, 36, 40, 41, 44, 45, 48, 62, 62 shuttle, 65, 70, 75, 90 shuttle, 101, 102 shuttle, 106, 106 shuttle, 120, 124, 128, 150, 166, 168, 169, 180, 181, 235, 245, 248, 252/255 shuttle, 255, 255 shuttle, 271, 331, 345, 348, 348 shuttle, 372 Woodinville and 372 Lake City, ST 522, ST 545, ST 550, ST 554, ST 554 shuttle, RapidRide A, B, C, D, E and F lines.

Metro will be monitoring performance of this network and make adjustments as needed to improve operations. Customers in outlying areas and neighborhoods should prepare for reduced or temporarily unavailable bus service on Saturday and for several days due to inclement weather, difficult travel conditions and topography.

“We are experiencing the second punch of winter weather within a week, and shifting to snow routes today and the emergency snow network on Saturday positions us to safely serve customers on a core system for those who need transit most,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon.

“We still have hundreds of buses to repair, and vehicle maintenance staff are working around the clock to chain buses, troubleshoot and make repairs. With several days of freezing temperatures in the forecast, transit customers should prepare for reduced service levels until road conditions improve.”

The agency is working to repair and prepare its fleet to be ready to hit the ground running as road conditions improve.

This week, customers have experienced an already reduced levels of service, as Metro was forced to operate only 65-75 percent of service during peak commute times. Snow and ice conditions had improved some from earlier in the week, however vehicle maintenance crews were juggling ongoing chaining operations and troubleshooting damaged buses.

Executive Constantine will lift the ESN at approximately 10 a.m. the day before service is restored.

Emergency Snow Network- Access

Access Services will also move to the ESN to mirror fixed route services. Access’ main objective under the ESN will be to provide life sustaining medical transportation. During this time, customers who are not certified to use Access that need to connect to life sustaining medical services can call 206-205-5000 to request services between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Access will also be working closely with fixed route services to help support customers that are stranded due to breakdowns or weather conditions.

What Riders Should Know

Metro encourages people to avoid traveling if at all possible.

Riders who intend to use Metro’s services should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options.

Posted timetables on Metro’s Schedules and Maps page are a good point of reference for the 60 ESN routes that are operating, but unforeseen roadway and weather conditions may result in delays or unplanned reroutes.

Customers should be aware that Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps will not reflect ESN service and will not be accurate for planning itineraries on ESN days.  However, once intending riders know which ESN route they want to use, other Puget Sound Trip Planner features, such as maps, bus stop locations and timetables for ESN routes are valid.  Puget Sound Trip Planner and other apps are still accurate for planning trips or getting schedules for regular service days.

RELEVANT LINKS

·         MetroWinter.com

·         twitter.com/kcmetrobus

·         Emergency Snow Network webpage