File photo
A Metro 21 bus struggles in the snow and ice on S.W. Avalon Way in West Seattle, 2011.

Winter weather tips for the Metro rider

With snowfall and dropping temperatures making the case for a real winter at lower elevations, King County Metro has released a few reminders for Metro riders:

Metro Transit ready for winter weather
Rider checklist: Transit alerts, snow routes & new guide

Some snow is in the forecast overnight, Monday, Dec. 17, and into the morning commute Tuesday, Dec. 18, and King County Metro Transit wants to remind riders to plan ahead for getting around during winter weather – especially since many changes were made to bus routes this fall.

While major accumulations aren't expected, riders should plan ahead in the event minor snow and icy conditions delay buses. Metro Transit has online tools to help riders stay informed, which is helpful for minor weather challenges and essential for big storms that might come later in the season. When needed, Metro is ready to reroute buses around closed roads, chain up or switch to snow routes.

By signing up for Metro Transit Alerts, riders can receive an email or text message warning about known significant disruptions to Metro bus service. Riders also can preview specific snow routes, and review tips for winter travel online.

Metro customers know when bad weather strikes it can delay or reroute any number of Metro’s 240 bus routes. When snowy, icy conditions affect travel, Metro buses will go to snow routing as necessary, depending on road conditions in a broad geographic area. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. The service status of each area is color coded and displayed on an online snow map. The pre-planned snow routing for individual bus routes is displayed in the print and online timetables.

Winter-travel tips for Metro customers
• Sign up to receive Transit Alerts for the routes you use (at
• Check the print and online timetables for snow route maps.
• Pick up the new Metro Snow & Ice Guide on buses and at Metro literature stands for general tips.
• If the weather is bad, check the color-coded status map on Metro Online before you travel (at
• Be patient. Buses are not always on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. And, increased ridership during bad weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information 206-553-3000.
• Your favorite smartphone apps and online trackers may not be reliable when buses are rerouted or significantly delayed.
• Dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays, and wear appropriate footwear for the weather.
• Head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points such as park-and-ride lots, transit centers, or shopping centers.
• Riders should wait at bus stops at the very top or very bottom of hills, because buses are often unable to stop for passengers on inclines.

Tools for bus riders
• Metro Online (
• Sign up for Metro Transit Alerts (
• Metro’s Snow & Ice (
• Metro Customer Information Office 206-553-3000
• Metro on Twitter @kcmetrobus (
• Metro on Facebook (

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.