Desmond says integrating Link into the existing bus services King County Metro provides was in the plan from the beginning. “There’s an understanding that when Link light rail begins operation to the extent that it is overlapping or duplicating bus service we can then remove some or all of that bus service and ideally we’ll be able to reallocate those service hours to other needs within those communities primarily to help create feeder systems to the Link.”
Desmond sees Central Link as the system’s spine with Metro buses feeding into it like its bones. He admits that a lot of the Link ridership is going to rely on good feeder service to maximize its value to the community and to maximize the value of the bus system.
But despite the benefits the new plan will provide, it’s still difficult to make any changes to a system that has operated as long and as well as Metro has.
“That’s the hard part,” Desmond says, “because you’re still changing service that people have relied on for many, many years.”
“So we’re working that through a community process. But as typical here, as we work through we get the feedback.”
The Best of times and worst of times excerpt:
When I asked Desmond if he had any advice for other transit executives, he deflected the question as best as he could saying he’d rather hear from others instead of to try and give advice himself.
“We’re in the midst of a completely unique and totally unexpected set of circumstances we’re facing now. You know it’s a tale of two cities; it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times,” Desmond says.
“It’s the best of times with the demand that there has been for transit on the ridership side. It’s the best of times as the nation, particularly now with the new administration in Washington, D.C., has been very focused on climate change and managing carbon to the extent that federal legislation eventually moves toward pricing carbon, whether it’s through say a cap-and-trade or through basically a carbon tax. The president has proposed in his budget a cap-and-trade system.”
Desmond says he thinks transit can play a big role in a system that uses carbon pricing because it will change the way people think about how they use their cars and how roads are built.