With the temporary funding authority expiring in June of 2014, King County Metro has proposed drastic service reductions that are expected to affect 80 percent of routes. Amongst this 80 percent is the 271 and 245 – two vastly popular routes that currently stop directly on the Bellevue College campus. These buses would be rerouted to only stop on 148th Avenue. According to The Office of Sustainability’s transportation survey, this would affect routes serving 55 percent of BC transit riders and those students make up 17 percent of the BC population.
Alex Clark, BC’s Associated Student Government environmental and social responsibility representative, is coordinating a series of events in opposition to the disproportionate targeting of students that provide little to no financial gain to Metro Transit. Andrea Torres, ASG vice president of student affairs and pluralism, and Komalpreet Sahota, ASG chief justice, are organizing a rally on Dec. 11 at 6p.m. at the Bellevue Service Reduction Public Meeting. “A majority of our outreach is planned to hit in January,” explained Clark. While still very much in the preliminary stages, Clark is hoping to hold a community forum and produce buttons to promote awareness.
This reroute would put many students in a highly vulnerable position. Students would no longer have access to warmth, technology and security provided by the bus shelter. Additionally, students will have to walk approximately a third of a mile to the bus stop only to wait in a dark uncovered area. This also poses risk to students with disabilities as the pathway is long and not well maintained. Steve Ferreira, Peer2Peer coordinator, expressed concern for wheel chair accessibility, as there is risk of not being allowed on or off the bus due to limited sidewalk space. As acknowledged by Clark, our campus was built to accommodate cars and buses, thus lacking adequate infrastructure for so many on-foot commuters.
Disincentivising the student populous from using public transportation means more students in cars causing more congestion, a decrease in revenue for metro and an influx of students parking on campus. The bus now stopping on 148th would likely further exacerbate that congestion.
“It is going take people voicing their opinion on this because if there is no voice, the changes just get made,” stressed Clark.
For the full extent of services revisions as well as a calendar of meetings and events, go online to metro.kingcounty.gov/am/future.
In order to receive more information or to get involved, contact Alex Clark at email@example.com.