Similar to Route 14, Metro’s Route 27 has deep roots, extending back to the 1888 construction by Seattle Electric Co. of a cable car on Yesler from 2nd Ave to to Leschi Park, where the original rail bridge still stands. In the 1940′s, when Seattle’s streetcar network was dismantled, the cable car was replaced with motorcoach service which (I believe) alternated between Lake Dell Road and Frink Place, serving Lakeside in two different segments; at some point, the route was consolidated into the existing alignment that serves Lakeside from Alder St to Colman Park.
For students of Seattle neighborhood history, and lovers of the city generally, I highly recommend a ride on the 27. The route goes through diverse and historic parts of First Hill and the Central District that are changing fast. Ride out to Lakeside Ave, then enjoy Leschi and Frink parks, which are particularly beautiful in the fall. Walk north on Lakeside to Madrona Park, which has public piers jutting out into Lake Washington, and catch the 2 back downtown from its terminal.
Chart and discussion after the jump.
Note that the scale on this chart is different to that of the 14, and that colored lines for early morning and night service do not exist on this chart due to the lack of significant amounts of service in those time periods.
Route 27′s patterns are very much a weaker echo of Route 14. Performance is good out to the commercial district centered at 23rd Ave, although well below that of the 14; beyond that, only a handful of stops exhibit much activity. Arguably the strongest parts of the 27 are those parts that are three blocks north of the 14 on Jackson St, although between 3rd Ave and Boren there is a steep hill between Yesler and Jackson.
Ridership seems to be much more peak-oriented on the 27 than the 14, although this may be distorted by the fact that Metro operates more peak trips on the 14 than the 27, while midday frequency is the same. In addition, the evening schedule exhibits an uncommon asymmetry, with mostly hourly frequency inbound to downtown versus half-hourly outbound to Colman Park; presumably the ridership lost to that lower frequency is sufficiently small that Metro prefers to deadhead the bus back to base.