King County Metro recalling 200 part-time bus operators

April 29, 2021
The operators were laid off in August and are being recalled in anticipation of increased levels of ridership as the Puget Sound region proceeds to reopen.

King County Metro will be hiring back 200 part-time bus operators who were laid off in August following pandemic-related reductions in ridership and revenues.

“We’re very excited to have them back behind the wheel and serving our community,” the regional transit provider wrote in a blog post announcing the operator recall.

King County Metro reports 135 of the 200 that were laid off have indicated a desire to return with a second recall notice scheduled to be sent in May. King County Metro notes it will begin a recruiting, hiring and training process for new part-time operators if needed.

King County Metro increased passenger limits on its vehicles on April 17 following updated state guidance for transit agencies and is providing more than 85 percent of pre-pandemic service levels. Additionally, the King County Metro Water Taxi launched its summer schedule on April 19, which added midday and weekend sailings.

King County Metro March 2021 average weekday ridership remains down more than 41 percent compared to March 2020, but the number is the highest it has been since November 2020.

In February, King County Metro committed to installing mask dispensers on its entire bus fleet by the end of the first quarter or 2021. According to its rider dashboard, King County Metro rider mask usage was 87.3 percent. In addition to requiring the use of masks, King County Metro upgraded its fleet with new air filters that have a minimum of MERV-9 rating.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.