King County Metro Transit to buy new buses, add trips on 50 routes

SEATTLE -- Commuters will get some relief this fall when King County Metro Transit buys new buses and adds trips on 50 routes.

The Seattle Times reports that King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the bus plan on Friday.

They said that surging regional sales-tax income, low diesel prices, belt-tightening and state grants have freed up enough cash to buy buses and provide more trips.

"Improving transit to suburban cities and giving drivers options reduces traffic on Seattle's most crowded streets," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. "The voter-approved expansion of bus service in Seattle increases reliability and reduces overcrowding for commuters and students who come into the city. This agreement reflects our commitment to working with regional partners."

The service upgrades will include four routes on the 520 bridge and five across the I-90 bridge.

"We're taking advantage of favorable conditions to deliver increased transit service for commuters throughout King County three years earlier than planned," said Constantine. "While this is a significant investment in our transportation system, we still have a long way to go to keep up with the current and growing demand for public transit as our economy strengthens and our population increases."

Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond says the region is booming and the economy is stronger than they predicted a year ago. He says they're responding to the current demand for service.