King County Metro Council unanimously approves Michelle Allison as new general manager

March 2, 2023
Allison was previously deputy general manager and becomes only the second woman to lead King County Metro.

King County Metro Council unanimously approved Michelle Allison as the agency’s new general manager. Allison was previously deputy general manager and now becomes only the second woman to lead King County Metro. Allison is leading King County Metro as it celebrates its milestone 50th anniversary in 2023, and the agency is carrying energy and enthusiasm forward as it heads into the next 50 years.

When nominating Allison in December, King County Executive Dow Constantine praised her deep knowledge of the agency, tremendous care for the employees and a demonstrated commitment to working with community members to co-create a brighter future. Allison joined King County 13 years ago and King County Metro six years ago, where she oversaw the Bus Operations, Facilities, Vehicle Maintenance, Marine and Rail divisions. She formerly held roles with the Bread of Life Mission, the Seattle Children’s Museum and EnviroIssues. 

“Michelle Allison embodies the practical hopefulness that King County Metro needs as we seek to recover and thrive in the wake of the pandemic,” said King County Council Chair Dave Upthegrove. “I couldn’t be more proud to support her as King County Metro’s new general manager. With her experience both at King County and in multiple roles with King County Metro, Michelle has a fundamental understanding of the crucial role her agency plays in keeping our region moving forward. She has shown commitment to King County Metro’s employees and the people of King County who they serve, and I’m excited to work with her in this new role.”

Allison will guide King County Metro toward a community-led vision of making transit everyone’s first choice for getting where they need to go.

“Leading with equity and delivering world-class service are not in opposition,” Allison said. “They can and must go together. By investing in and prioritizing serving people who are Black, Indigenous and of color, have low- or no-income, are immigrants or refugees, have disabilities or are linguistically diverse—we help right the historic wrongs that created an unjust system. By ensuring King County Metro is accessible, affordable, reliable, safe and stress-free, we build region-wide support for a top-notch transit system that moves all of us forward.”

During Allison’s tenure in King County Metro’s general manager’s office, she worked to embed equity and sustainability into the agency’s long-term service and vision documents. She will now navigate the award-winning agency’s path to fulfilling its promise and delivering for communities, customers and employees.

“While we never fully know what the future holds, I am certain that transit is integral to King County’s bright future,” Allison said. “Only transit allows our region to grow and preserve without adding congestion or pollution. We safely connect people to education, to health care and to jobs across ability, age, background, identity and income, and we seek to be a workforce that fully represents the communities we serve at all levels and to be an agency that works hand-in-hand with riders and neighborhoods to meet their needs.”

King County Metro, a global transit leader since 1973

Allison reflected on the agency’s national and global leadership since its founding in 1973. King County Metro united the transit agencies of jurisdictions across King County and now includes bus, light rail, on-demand services, paratransit, streetcar, vanpool and other modes. King County Metro also operates Sound Transit light rail.

“Fifty years is an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and on the exciting path ahead,” Allison said. “We’ve led the way nationally on working hand-in-hand with community members to plan and deliver transit service. We have affordable fares for customers with lower incomes, people with disabilities and seniors. Fares are free for residents on certain government programs and youth up to age 18. We’re making transit more secure and welcoming while showing up in the right way and offering support to those in crisis, and just last year, the Federal Transit Administration named King County Metro the most equitable agency in tackling climate change. Most importantly, we have great customers, a talented workforce and a region that understands the importance and value of transit.”