Hundreds of people crowded into Pioneer Square's Union Station to demand that the legislature allow King County to tax motor vehicles in order to continue funding Metro bus routes (as well as road and street improvements). As Goldy writes in this week's paper, without that taxing authority, Metro will be forced to slash services by 17 percent next year.

Metro riders wait patiently to plead their cases.
  • Ansel Herz
  • Metro riders wait patiently to plead their cases.

Bus riders are understandably frustrated by the threatened cuts. They're discouraged that they have to once again lobby for services that they fought hard to preserve just two years ago. The Seattle Times has a thorough write-up of Metro's years-long struggle to fund its services, while news intern Ansel stopped by the meeting yesterday and talked with a few people who would most likely be affected by the cuts.

  • Ansel Herz
"My bus commute is the 106, and it takes me about 35 minutes," explained Gabriel Cain, a 34-year-old IT worker. "Driving is faster, but it's not cheaper. My route is on the reduced service list. I think they need to do things like add to the motor vehicle excise tax to pay for this, because this is very important to a lot of people. Cutting bus service impacts people who are a lot more hard off than I am."

"Bus service shouldn't be optional—it should be a right," testified Yasmine Elbaradie, who's unemployed. Elbaradie said that it's really disheartening to see Metro back on the chopping block after cuts were proposed just two years ago. "There's still no guaranteed funding source for Metro. I think it'd be excellent if we could have a permanent source of funding for the buses and not have to repeat this situation down the line again. I depend pretty heavily on the bus, as a lot of other people do. Some people don't have the option—if there's no bus they can't do anything else."