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Originally published Monday, October 8, 2012 at 8:17 PM

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Metro rolls out fixes for crowding

King County Metro Transit is making changes to fix some of the most severe crowding caused by last week's huge service overhaul.

Seattle Times transportation reporter

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The "problem" on most of these routes is that Metro cut service. Period. For ... MORE
Metro couldn't see this coming? What did they do to figure out these changes? Throw... MORE
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King County Metro Transit has announced a plan to fix some of the most severe crowding caused by last week's huge service change.

The Route 218 bus, from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to Issaquah Highlands, was so full Oct. 1 that a driver waved riders aboard without requiring payment to avoid delaying buses and trains behind it.

Later about 10 riders were bypassed twice, and waited more than 30 minutes for a bus that had room. Crowding continued all week.

So starting Monday, the afternoon 218 buses will skip Eastgate Freeway Station on their way to Issaquah.

This will force Eastgate-bound riders out of the Seattle tunnel and up to Second Avenue to catch Eastgate-bound route 212, 216, or 554 — instead of the 218.

Metro initially thought it could improve service by reducing bus frequency on the 218 and adding buses to the busier 212, but the strategy backfired.

Over in West Seattle, Metro added two buses to the new RapidRide C Line in the morning and two in the afternoon to provide frequency every eight or nine minutes.

There was ample room Monday on the 8:26 a.m. bus, and the 8:31 bus leaving Alaska Junction was only one-third full, but the Columbus Day holiday may have kept some commuters home.

Riders told West Seattle Blog an 8:05 bus became packed and skipped riders downstream.

Metro says transit ridership has grown compared to counts just a few months ago.

On the other hand, some West Seattle buses no longer go downtown, as Metro funnels its lines, customers and dollars into RapidRide.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @mikelindblom.

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