The decision reflects confidence that the area will avoid a refreezing of the pavement, and that city, county and state crews can plow or salt major roadways if needed.

Share story

Although seven bus routes remain canceled on Wednesday and 13 other routes will see some service scrapped, King County Metro Transit said it expects to operate about 90 percent of normal bus routes on Wednesday morning, as warmer temperatures melt the near-record snowfall on Seattle-area streets.

The routes that have been canceled completely are: 71, 78, 200, 237, 268, 308, 309.

The routes that will see reduced service are: 9, 29, 37, 125, 201/204, 208, 224, 243/244, 316, 330, and ST 540.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, CenturyLink, Kemper Development Co., NHL Seattle, PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and Seattle Children’s hospital. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Learn more about Traffic Lab » | Follow us on Twitter »

Jeff Switzer, a spokesman for King County Metro, urged riders to check King County Metro’s website for the latest, most up-to-date information before heading out.

Switzer also said people can find out more by texting a bus stop identification number to 62550 to find out whether buses are headed to the stop or canceled.

“Anybody, anywhere, should make sure there’s a bus coming,” he said.

On Tuesday, Metro decided to begin ramping back up toward full service, which is expected to resume by Friday.

The decision reflects confidence that the area will avoid a refreezing of the pavement, and that city, county and state crews can plow or salt major roadways if needed.

There’s still some flux, said Switzer, because supervisors in the maintenance yards will need to make judgments overnight about whether to add or keep bus chains on the tires.

“If the conditions are looking good, as the buses are leaving the bases, they can make the decision to drop chains, as they go out the door,” he said.

Buses in steep areas will remain on snow routes — such as Fauntleroy Way Southwest instead of the downhill part of 35th Avenue Southwest.

Updates are being posted at, where riders can sign up for alerts. Approximately 200 bus lines will operate. In addition to the cancellations and reduced routes, Metro said on its website that:

  • All Metro morning and afternoon peak-commute routes will experience some level of reduced service: an estimated three out of every four buses will be in service as Metro works to ramp up service, respond to road conditions, repair its fleet and recover.
  • To find out if a particular trip is canceled, text your stop ID to 62550 or check Next Departures on the Puget Sound Trip Planner or its app.

People may also call 206-553-3000 after 6 a.m. Access will be operating, and riders needing a van to medical services may request those at 206-205-5000.

Metro advises travelers to allow an extra 30 to 60 minutes. However, certain buses, including most RapidRide service, have stayed close to on-time since cutbacks started Saturday.

Metro normally runs 237 bus lines that carry just over 400,000 passengers per day, the nation’s sixth-busiest public bus network. This month’s storms dropped more than 20 inches of snow on Seattle, the most since January 1969, when 45 inches fell, says the National Weather Service.

“If weather and road conditions allow, our target is to return to full service on Friday, and we will keep everyone posted on our progress,” Metro General Manager Rob Gannon said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked to provide service in the face of record snow and ongoing winter weather.”

Monday and Tuesday the agency operated 67 routes and shuttles, mainly high-ridership, low slope areas. That left gaps in places like Renton Highlands, Burien, Queen Anne Hill and South Park — where Metro added a shuttle service Tuesday.

Riders have often been confused by the unfamiliar network and have difficulty navigating the maps and advisories. Apps such as Puget Sound Trip Planner are inaccurate during snow routing.

This was the first-ever use of the Emergency Snow Network, which was planned a decade ago following the region’s paralyzing ice storm of December 2008.