Phillips: Prioritize RapidRide in balancing Metro’s budget shortfall
With the news that RapidRide received a federal grant and the arrival of the first RapidRide branded buses, Councilmember Larry Phillips announced today that he will ask Metro Transit to prioritize RapidRide service when balancing the agency’s projected $100 million annual budget shortfall in 2010 and beyond. RapidRide is Metro’s new streamlined bus service that will provide frequent, all-day service in five major corridors throughout King County.
“I predict that Metro’s RapidRide lines will become some of the highest-ridership, most-productive, and cost-effective routes in Metro’s system,” said Phillips. “With the budget shortfalls Metro faces, moving toward a more efficient system—one that maximizes opportunities for federal, local, and private partnerships—will allow us to get the most bang for our buck. RapidRide is a model for the direction Metro should be heading, so it makes sense to prioritize implementation of the five RapidRide lines.”
The Federal Transit Administration today announced a $13.8 million federal grant to help fund new articulated hybrid-electric coaches, station, and shelter improvements for Metro’s first RapidRide line serving Tukwila, SeaTac, Des Moines, Kent, and Federal Way. Other RapidRide lines will serve Bellevue and Redmond, West Seattle, Ballard and Uptown/Lower Queen Anne, and Shoreline along Aurora Avenue.
RapidRide is designed to operate quickly with features to speed up travel and boarding times. Buses will arrive at stations every ten minutes during peak commute hours, and every fifteen minutes during off-peak hours, with real-time information signs that allow riders to do away with printed schedules. Features include dedicated bus and turn lanes, distinctive branding, passenger-activated lights to signal that someone is waiting at stops, new 60-foot articulated electric hybrid buses with three doors for faster boarding, and options for fare prepayment.“RapidRide will help take Metro in a new direction, delivering fast, efficient bus service that rivals the speed, comfort, and convenience of driving alone,” said Phillips. “It can’t come too soon for giving a boost to King County’s families and businesses, and for helping reduce congestion and protecting our air quality and Puget Sound.”