Metro Transit to become independent department Jan. 1

Shared from King County Council News

King County Metro, recognized this month as the best large transit system in North America, will become an independent County department with Monday’s unanimous approval of legislation by the Metropolitan King County Council.

In September 2017, Executive Constantine announced his proposal to make Metro Transit a stand-alone department rather than a division of the Department of Transportation.

King County has been responsible for public transit since the voter-approved merger of the county with the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro). Metro Transit has been a division of the King County Department of Transportation (KCDOT) since 1994. The adopted legislation will make Metro Transit responsible for all of the functions currently in the Transit Division of KCDOT as well as the Marine Division of KCDOT.

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Metro Transit General Manager Rob Gannon

Rob Gannon, who has been the General Manager of Metro, will become the department’s first Director and General Manager when the legislation takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

“This change strengthens Metro Transit by giving it the organizational flexibility to meet the rapidly growing needs of transit riders,” said Council Vice Chair Claudia Balducci, who serves as the chair of the Council’s Mobility Committee. “Mr. Gannon has been an effective leaders and I am confident in his ability to continue to build an efficient and adaptable transit service that works as part of an integrated transportation system to improve mobility for all residents in King County.”

“General Manager Rob Gannon is an excellent choice to lead Metro Transit. I trust that he, along with the incredible staff at Metro, will continue providing first-rate transit service while pushing to improve regional mobility,” said Council Chair Joe McDermott. “I look forward to working with Mr. Gannon as we tackle our transportation challenges and opportunities.”

“This department will coordinate and provide more mobility options as it collaborates with other groups, businesses, and cities. Mobility throughout the county is important,” said Council Vice Chair Kathy Lambert. “I know Director Gannon will do an excellent job and that Metro will continue to be a national leader in transit service.”

The legislation also calls for the new Metro Transit Department to emphasize:
• Innovation in the development, planning and delivery of mobility and transit services around the county,
• Performance standards to meet the increasing demand for transit among King County’s residents, and,
• Foundational commitments to equity and addressing disparity through transit services.

The Council unanimously approved Gannon’s appointment as Metro Director at today’s meeting. Gannon who, served as Metro’s Deputy General Manager from 2011 to 2013, has been Metro’s General Manager since 2016.

The riders who board Metro’s 200 bus routes, use a Metro vanpool, walk onboard the King County Water Taxi, or reserve a ride on an Access paratransit van, will not see any changes in service when Metro becomes a county department.