Fleet, Infrastructure, and Workforce
LAYOVER AREAS Layover sites are critical for reliable service. They help get buses to the right place at the right time and give Metro drivers safe places for breaks. Metro Connects envisions expanding layover space as service grows. As competition for curb space increases, Metro will invest in new, off-street facilities that will provide longterm stability and benefits for riders and bus operators.
What will future layover areas look like? Layover is time built into bus schedules between a bus’s arrival at the end of a route and its departure for the next trip. This provides break time for operators, helps buses get back on schedule if the preceding trip was late, and allows buses to depart at regular, predictable intervals. Layover areas include facilities for the bus to park, restroom and in some cases break facilities for operators, and are located throughout the county, either on-street or off-street, such as at a transit center. Layover sites have a huge financial impact on Metro operations. Layover areas must have clean, safe, and well-lit facilities for bus operators. Service costs more when operators must drive empty buses long distances to reach layover spaces. Welllocated layover areas—close to the start and end of routes—increase scheduling flexibility, reduce travel time to the beginning or end of routes, and enhance reliability. To achieve the Metro Connects vision, new layover spaces will need be needed to support the growth of the mobility system, and new facilities will be needed at layover locations to support battery electric bus charging and active service management and service modernization. On-street layovers spaces are where buses park along curbs in street right-of-way. Metro partners closely with jurisdictions to secure layover space. Metro sites onstreet layovers where they will not interfere with traffic and strives to minimize impacts on adjacent properties. However, property development or changes often result in pressure to reduce or move layover sites. This pressure can be particularly acute in dense urban areas, where development pressure is intense but where layover space is most needed because of the large amount of transit service starting and ending at major destinations. Many areas are seeing increasing competition for limited curb space. In 2015, Metro’s layover sites accommodated approximately 530 buses. The service changes envisioned in Metro Connects will affect both the number of layover spaces needed and their locations. Metro estimates adding 270 layover spaces to accommodate the 2050 network— approximately 50 percent more than in 2015. This increase reflects the expectation that some current on-street layover spaces will no longer be available because of development. Many of these spaces will be needed in dense urban areas, including downtown Seattle. Metro must update and renegotiate many current layover agreements, develop new ones, and invest in off-street layover facilities. King County Metro Long Range Plan