Getting to a place: My vision for Metro
by Metro General Manager Terry White
At King County Metro, we believe mobility is a human right. A right to get where you need to go when you need to—safely, equitably, and sustainably.
Our Metro team is committed to ensuring everyone has the right to move. For us to truly move forward together, mobility must be about the business of building fast, frequent, reliable all-day services that are both prioritized and co-created for those with the greatest need of public transit.
Transit journeys took us to places in life far beyond those that we could have ever imagined.
As many of you know, I am a lifelong transit rider. During my childhood years, public transit was my family's only option for getting from a place to a place. We were a family of four—Black, low-income, and raised by our mother, whose disability prevented her from driving.
Even so, my mother worked to provide us with opportunities that would brighten our future. To get to those opportunities, we used public transit. Transit journeys took us to places in life far beyond those that we could have ever imagined.
To this day, I still enjoy riding transit to a place. Today, I use bus and rail as my ride of choice, which is often to and from Seattle's Central Business District. No matter what the circumstances, pandemic or no pandemic, I ride.
Transit is where I work, read, rest, and occasionally reminisce. The ride provides time for an occasional look back on all that has been made possible for my family and me simply by being able to get almost anywhere we really wanted to go.
As a rider, what an incredible feeling it is to have the ability to move. Despite the many obstacles and daily challenges faced, my family used transit to obtain opportunities. The thing we needed most to help fulfill our dreams was getting to a place. And to be clear, place is never just a physical address derived from a street destination; place is socio-economic; place is one's position within society; place is a specific condition; place is a state of mind.
And to be clear, place is never just a physical address derived from a street destination; place is socio-economic; place is one's position within society; place is a specific condition; place is a state of mind.
Our ability to move by way of the transit system was life-changing. Unfortunately, movement throughout the transit system was not always straightforward and efficient. My childhood transit system was not designed with input from family units of poor, Black, disability-challenged dreamers. Nor did the system intentionally look out for English-language learners and foreign-born dreamers. Still, transit helped to move this 10-year-old dreamer to a better place.
Imagine if transit had been intentional about including the voices of historically marginalized and silenced communities in the process of planning! What place would that bring us to—both personally and in our region? Guided by the communities we serve, that imagined place is exactly where Metro is going.
At Metro, we are a microcosm of what is happening across the nation. We are holding ourselves accountable for the role we played in allowing historical systemic practices that cause harm to persist. Even within Metro, marginalized and silenced minorities have been unfairly bearing the weight of an uncaring system.
As we are doing the work externally to benefit the region, we are also internally moving to an organizational culture where all are welcome and all have the opportunity to thrive.
Going forward, we will remain focused on responding and recovering from the pandemic, double-down on prioritizing equitable and sustainable systems, and continue to modernize how we provide services to ensure readiness for the very bright and very different mobility system of a post-pandemic world.
Thank you for riding with us on this incredible journey.