(Light rail trains in their yard south of downtown Seattle in Seattle, WA., on Jan. 17, 2009. Photo by Kevin P. Casey/Bloomberg News)

Oops – Seattle responds to Spanish-language bus schedule snafu

Bus service or no service? That was the question in Seattle, Washington this summer for Spanish speakers in and around the city.

The Department of Transportation Metro Transit Division in Seattle made an earnest attempt to include Spanish speakers by printing the first-ever Spanish language summer bus schedules.

In English, the schedule reads, “The Sunday Schedule shown in this timetable will be operated on the following holidays.” And then there is the translation:  “No hay servicio en estas rutas los fines de semana o los siguientes feriados,” the schedules read. Yep – according to the Spanish portion of the schedules, there is “no service” on these routes on weekends and holidays.

A warning acknowledging the mistake has been posted on all 1,500 buses running throughout Seattle, though there is no telling how many people already relying on printed schedules still have the wrong information.

Several riders, like chef Isabel Aleman,  pointed out the repercussions of the translation.

“These are industrial workers probably trying to get to work to put food on their table,” she tells King 5 in Seattle. She then calls it an insult.

“Me being Mexican, I would think they wouldn’t want me on the bus.”

But Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer says they will make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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