With the Northgate link light rail expansion project nearing completion and the effects of the pandemic lingering, Sound Transit will change its bus routes in 2021. The transit authority focuses on equity in plotting the route changes.

1 minute read

September 14, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

Seattle light rail

Andrew Nash / Flickr

Recently released, Sound Transit's 2021 Draft Service Plan reacts to a sharp decline in ridership by prioritizing the most active routes with a focus on "balancing equity, coverage, and all-day travel," describes Shaun Kuo. While ridership slowly increases at a snail's pace, the Transit Authority, responsible for service in the Seattle metropolitan area is planning for pandemic impacts to stretch into 2021. 

Their draft plan explains changes in seven ST Express routes and investment in service increases for other routes caused by the upcoming completion of the Northgate link light rail expansion project. 

Vital to the drafted plan is a focus on equity. Kuo explains:

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires analysis documents of how a service change impact people of color and low-income populations. Service for these populations are of high priority for the 2021 plan due their higher dependency on public resources like public transit... Sound Transit is planning to reach out to all community, hoping to reach populations that typically not tapped into the agency’s operations. Advertising in non-White media, translations, and Language Line services are planned.

A final plan will be official adopted in November, and a remote public review meeting is currently scheduled for September 24th. 

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