Frequently Asked Questions

Seattle is one of the fastest-growing big cities in the county and improving transit is currently the only feasible approach to maintaining mobility for our growing community of commuters, students, people who choose not to drive and people who can't afford a vehicle or are unable to drive. Previous Metro funding was not able to provide the needed level of bus service within the City and, as such, Proposition 1 was proposed and passed in November 2014. Proposition 1 will provide the City of Seattle with approximately $45 million annually for the next six years to fund the purchase of additional Metro service.

The majority of new service will roll out in two phases-June 2015 and September 2015. In total, that will equate to approximately 223,000 additional bus hours annually.

Roughly 85% of all Metro routes in Seattle will receive improvements. See the list of routes for more detail.

SDOT identified, selected and approved of each route improvement. The improvements were identified based on King County Metro Service Guidelines performance reports and on the Seattle Transit Master Plan. The improvements included added or restored service on:

  • 16 chronically overcrowded routes
  • 48 chronically unreliable routes
  • 28 routes needing increased frequency to meet ridership demand

Seattle voters approved Proposition 1, which funds expanded bus service through 2020.

Yes.  Proposition 1 includes a Regional Partnership program that invites other jurisdictions to partner 50/50 with Seattle to improve routes that enter Seattle from other areas.  King County and Mercer Island are already partnering with Seattle.

Routes that have 80% or more of their stops in the city are eligible for service investments. Any route that enters Seattle is eligible for Regional Partnership investments.

The City welcomes and encourages ideas and input from residents and businesses.  Please contact the SDOT Transit Desk at 206-233-2614

Approximately 223,000 annual hours of service will be added in 2015, with an additional 20,000-40,000 in 2016 to extend the RapidRide C and D lines into South Lake Union and Pioneer Square respectively.  Additional service may be available in 2016 and future years, depending on cost and revenue.  The City intends to respond to changing conditions and emerging needs by adjusting the Proposition 1 service package as needed. 

The need for added frequency and improved reliability is spread throughout the day, night and week. Non-peak funding will make transit more convenient for students, shoppers, visitors and others who use the system for many types of trips-not just work trips. Additionally, work trips increasingly occur outside of the traditional weekday "nine to five" shift. A tremendous number of Seattle workers need reliable transit at non-peak times.

Reducing peak period overcrowding is a central piece of the service plan. Peak period bus service is significantly more expensive to operate than non-peak service, but the proposal does include a significantly larger peak investment than that which is indicated by the Metro Service Guidelines.

In September 2014, Metro reduced or discontinued 11 Seattle routes. This project restores two of the canceled routes. Discontinuation of Route 19 in Magnolia contributed to overcrowding on Route 24 because the routes serve some of the same markets. Reinstating Route 19 is the most cost-effective way to address this overcrowding. Route 47 in Capitol Hill was also discontinued, creating a steep uphill walk for high concentrations of senior citizens. Reinstating Route 47 during daytime hours is the most cost-effective way to provide these populations with access to the transit system.

No, but SDOT identified and approved the improvements. King County Metro continues to operate most bus service within Seattle and is implementing the improvements designed by SDOT.

Approximately $45 million per year will be invested in this additional transit service for the next six years.

Funding is in the form a new $60 car tab fee for Seattle residents and a .1% sales tax increase.

Although this is a great investment for the City of Seattle, Metro has an unmet need of more than 550,000 service hours throughout the county. As our region continues to grow, more and more residents look to transit for their transportation needs. The county is continuing to look for a long-term, sustainable funding source to maintain and grow transit throughout King County.

As part of the agreement between the City and Metro, several accountability measures are in place:

  • Extensive ridership and performance data reporting.
  • Regular financial reviews and independent audits of Metro performance data.
  • Regular reports to the City Council and citizen oversight body with in-depth performance reports.