Prepare for winter weather
Are you ready for winter?
We prepare for winter weather by planning alternate bus routes for snowy conditions, maintaining communication tools to keep you informed about weather-related service changes, and having an Emergency Snow Network (ESN) that operates during the most severe conditions. This guide will help you learn how you can get the most out of Metro’s winter weather preparations.
Before snow season
Sign up for Transit Alerts and we will e-mail or text you about any changes in service for the bus routes you select. You can also visit and bookmark our Alerts & Updates page, to find changes to bus service due to snow or other disruptions, the Snow, Ice & Flood map, a list of rerouted buses, links to descriptions of snow routes, and our Emergency Snow Network.
Pick up a printed timetable for your route early in the season. These timetables show both snow routes and regular routes. Locate other bus routes or stops that would work for you if your regular service is delayed or rerouted. There may be more bus service available on cleared arterials, at major transit hubs, and at park-and-ride lots. Save our Customer Information number, 206-553-3000, in your phonebook.
Know your snow routes
When streets become snowy or icy, we may reroute buses away from hills and onto less-steep roads, or shift buses from neighborhood streets onto arterials that are more likely to be plowed. We provide a Snow, Ice & Flood map that shows areas in the county that have been moved to their snow routes.
When it snows or there is a threat of snow
Before traveling, check the weather reports and the Snow, Ice & Flood page to see what areas are affected and which routes are rerouted. Some routes may also be delayed or otherwise affected due to conditions in other areas. Remember that Metro’s Online Trip Planner and Online Tracker do not show service revisions, delays or cancellations. This also applies to other trip planning programs not provided by King County.
Snow, Ice & Flood Map
Metro will announce how weather is affecting its bus routes in seven areas of King County. Some or all of the routes in each area could be rerouted, based on weather and road conditions.
We will display the most up-to-date map. You may also hear the map areas mentioned on news reports. Know the name of the geographic area where you live and work and remember the color codes. They will help you when you hear or receive reports about Metro’s snow service.
Bus operations in effect in each area are shown by four colors:
- Green means buses are operating on regular routes in that area.
- Yellow means some buses are on reroute.
- Red means all buses in that area are on reroute and some routes may be canceled.
- Blue means the Emergency Snow Network is in effect. In the rare event that Metro declares a snow emergency, the entire map will be blue.
The King County Department of Transportation is providing this information as a service to the general public. While every attempt is made to provide accurate and timely information, estimates of the nature and duration of any particular route change or other event are subject to conditions beyond the control of King County and are difficult to predict. Those relying on this information should do so at their own risk, and neither King County nor any of its employees or agents shall be liable for the accuracy of this information or any actions taken as a result.