Monday, July 19, 2010

Report on Metro Transit from John Coney

Several Queen Anners attended the Metro Transit meeting yesterday the purpose of which was to inform the pubic about the study Metro will undertake to pave the way for elimination of the Seattle electric trolley bus system. Thanks to QACC Board Member Margaret Okmoto for attending. Thanks to Larry Phillips for his strong talk there in favor of retaining the Seattle electric trolley bus system. Metro Transit faces a continuing Sales Tax revenue shortfall into the foreseeable future, so obvious choices are between cost cutting and service hours reductions. Seattle is outvoted on the King County Council. Suburbanites care little about the fate of our trolley buses.

The study will look into the possible substitutes for the trolleys on those routes. The most prominent substitute mentioned was diesel hybrids - really another version of the smoking, noisy diesel bus we know so well. Our County Council Member Larry Phillips (4th District) has developed the legislation authorizing the study, certainly a delaying action at this point. Metro will submit its final report on the fate of the trolley buses around April, 2011: 9 months from now. Metro expects to make the decision and put it to the King County Council in their Biennial Budget submission in November of 2011.

But that doesn't mean that we who favor retention of the trolley buses have 9 months to speak up. The comment period on the scope of the study ends in TWO weeks! You can make effective comments on the scope of the study at this time. Here are the contacts to reach with your message: (Metro Community Relations); Community Relations);;;; (acting Chair.); (Transportation Committee); (Director, Metro Transit).

Here are some study scoping points that were mentioned at the meeting that might make the study less likely to recommend ending the Seattle trolley bus service.

- Utilize independent consultant to define likely scenarios for diesel fuel and Seattle-generated electric power costs within the lifetime of buses purchased in 2014.

- Define the trade-off for Seattle transit services between service hours reductions and elimination of the Seattle electric trolley bus system in the years 2014 - 2034.

- Utilize independent consultant to determine potential for loss of Federal grant status, if the Seattle electric trolley bus system is replaced by diesel buses.

- Define the Federal grant dollars lost to Seattle City Light, if the greenhouse gas-free Seattle electric trolley bus system is replaced by diesel buses.

- Define the loss in Federal grant dollars now given to Metro Transit for maintenance of the electric overhead wires. (This loss of sales from City Light to King County would impact Seattle electric rate payers.)

- Define the loss in property values due to increased noise and air pollution from diesel buses vs. electric trolley buses.

Queen Anners: Speak up now and continue to speak in defense of the non-polluting trolley bus system or don't complain when Metro Transit switches to an all-diesel fleet.

1 comment:

  1. In comparing costs of power using the overhead wired trolleys, it should be noted that newer busses can feed back electricity into the system when they are going down hill. The busses being slowed down hill thus power other busses in the system. This saves on electric power and also saves on brakes.

    This regeneration should be allowed for in any comparisons of diesel vs electric busses.