King County says it may have to eliminate 74 Metro bus routes and make changes to more than 100 other routes unless more funding can be found.
Metro Transit said Thursday that it’s done everything it can to cut costs since the recession, but it has lost about $1.2 billion in sales tax revenue between 2009 and 2013 and some temporary funding will run out in the middle of next year.
More than 80 percent of Metro’s bus and DART routes would be affected. Metro says that will lead to longer waits between buses, more transfers, more crowding and less reliable buses.
It could also mean more traffic on the roads if some riders are forced to use their cars because they don’t have reliable access to buses.
Metro says it would have to raise fares by at least $2 to pay for the shortfall, making a one-way adult fare $4.25. But, Metro says such a move would not be feasible. It would likely lead to fewer riders, create a hardship for low-income riders and Metro said it may cause some employers to end their bus pass programs.
Metro said it still plans to go forward with a new RapidRide line, saying the existing routes are among the most highly-used routes in the county.
Metro has section on the route cuts that details the proposed changes and the reasons for the cuts. It also includes frequently-asked-questions and a calendar of public meetings where people can share input.
King County also has an interactive website with the proposed changes and what alternatives riders can take advantage of.