Metro Unveils June 2012 Service Change

King County Metro 8 on Denny

Could this bus be on time?

As if the proposed September 2012 restructure weren’t news enough, on Thursday Metro released its proposal for the June 2012 service change, and it’s another round of good news for those of us who advocate for ridership- and efficiency-oriented improvements to the bus network. This service change is simultaneously broader and narrower in scope: it covers the entire county rather than focusing on the Ballard-Downtown-West Seattle corridor, but involves only incremental cuts and improvements to the network instead of wholesale changes to the network structure; Metro is billing this as “transit reinvestment”, an apt description.

As with the last restructure, I shall provide links to Metro’s descriptions, and a discussion of the highlights, after the jump.

The list of cuts will feel somewhat familiar to those who followed the $20 CRC debate closely: the routes slated to be cut or reduced seem to be a subset of those slated for elimination in the 100k cut initially proposed for February 2012, but then formally withdrawn after the passage of the CRC. I have sent questions about this to Metro’s staff to clarify some specific points, and I’ll probably make a short followup post with the responses next week.

The proposed changes break down into five categories:

  • Deletions. Metro swings the axe on nine of its most underutilized routes: 38 , 42, 79, 129, 162, 175, 196, 219, the unique 600, and two Eastside DART routes, 912 and 925. In all but one case (177 extended to serve 196 riders), no replacement service will be added; riders are directed to existing service.
  • Reductions. Routes 25, 119, 139 and 935 lose some trips due to poor utilization. While Metro doesn’t specify duplication as a reason for cutting the 25, its unique walkshed is limited and little used; in my experience, much of its ridership is opportunistic,  to or from the U-District.
  • Route 99 reduced to peak-only. This belongs in the previous category, but, knowing the proclivities of my readers I suspect this will dominate the comments and probably deserves its own bullet point. Beyond having a farebox recovery of 0%, Route 99 has performed poorly off-peak for as far back as I can find performance reports; hence the deletion in those time periods.
  • Adding trips to address overcrowding. Routes 1, 8, 9X, 41, 44, 128, 169, 218, and 372 will gain more weekday service; routes 36 and 73 will gain more Sunday service. The site is vague on the details and quantity of added service; I have asked Metro for more information, although an improvement in baseline frequency seems unlikely, so this is probably just additional trips at times of high demand.
  • “Schedule Calibration”. 65 routes are identified failing Metro’s criteria for on-time performance and in line for investment to improve, which presumably means adding service hours to more accurately reflect the time taken to drive the route. The list is tentative, including a number of routes which may well be eliminated or changed in the Fall 2012 restructure, and not all routes on the list will receive the recommended investment, presumably due to lack of resources.
  • Extending evening service on Route 180 to Burien. Metro has identified this corridor as underserved; it currently has no service in the evenings. Trips that currently terminate in SeaTac will be extended to Burien.

In all, this is another laudable step towards a bus network that serves more riders, serves them better, and gets better value for money. Several of the routes receiving additional service are trunk routes in corridors that will become high-capacity transit corridors in future (41, 73), or will complement those corridors (8, 44); money spent there is an excellent investment.

Feel free to discuss this proposal in the comments, but even though Metro’s staff do read this blog, I recommend sending feedback directly to Metro via the comment form on the “Have a Say” page. Metro staff read every single comment that is submitted.

UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention. The level of detail in the discussion of these route changes is excellent, but on every PDF, Metro erroneously claims that Link operates at 30 minutes at night, which has never been true since the creation of Central Link.




Comments

  1. Will Douglas says:

    I don’t understand how these changes are anything but a ticking time bomb for the future of transit in King County. The concept appears to be to take food from the starving and give it to those who are fat.

    Everyone likes to bash egregious examples of underused routes like the 42, or routes like the 99 where farebox recovery is zero. But the purpose of a good bus system is to provide not only coverage, but opportunity. There is value in leaving routes as they are with the expectation that as gas prices continue to rise and the cultural shift away from driving continues, people should have an opportunity to turn to the bus even if they do not live in a good “walkshed” or in a dense neighborhood or on a high capacity corridor.

    Which brings me to the ticking time bomb. By going in the opposite direction – cutting off service to entire neighborhoods in order to concentrate on already popular routes, Metro is setting itself up for a political disaster. Metro is politically popular because it serves a lot of people who live in a lot of places. The CRC would not have been approved if Metro just served Seattle and a few key routes on the eastside and in South King County. It cannot win voter approval for new funding sources without a big pro-transit vote in Seattle itself.

    By deleting entire routes and replacing them with essentially nothing, Metro is eroding its own political base. Even someone who does not ride the bus is more likely to vote for funding them if they see a bus in their own neighborhood. But if they see no bus service near them, they’re unlikely to believe that spending on transit will help them and the hill becomes that much harder to climb.

    In other words, the kind of approach that Bruce Nourish is lauding has little actual political support. That’s a broader problem with neoliberal policies, as others have noted with regard to other matters of public policy.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Fortunately for those of us who actually use Metro’s buses, ill-advised and uninformed opinions such as the one you have put forth here no longer seem to hold much sway at the county.

      • Will Douglas says:

        Or you could engage with the substance of my comments.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        What substance? Your entire comment is predicated on the magical thinking that people will support transit at the ballot box because they get a warm, fuzzy feeling from seeing empty buses driving in circles all over the place every hour, but won’t be inspired to the same support when they see fast, frequent, reliable buses full of people.

      • Brent White says:

        I want to know what bizarre notions people outside the transit-riding bubble think, because we need their votes. Yes, Will is way off base, but I hope we can have a modicum of civility on this forum.

    • Even someone who does not ride the bus is more likely to vote for funding them if they see a bus in their own neighborhood.

      That’s not necessarily true. I know people who see empty buses going through their neighborhood, and say, “oh, Metro must be overfunded”.

      Metro is politically popular because it serves a lot of people who live in a lot of places.

      No, Metro is politically popular because it has a lot of riders. And all of these proposed changes will increase the number of riders that Metro gets for their dollar.

      In other words, the kind of approach that Bruce Nourish is lauding has little actual political support.

      Actually, the CRC passed *precisely because* Metro committed to restructurings like the ones that are planned for June and September.

      If that’s not actual political support, then I’m not sure what is.

      • Will was not at the Eastside hearing for the CRC where Tim Eyman and a bunch of residents complained about hundreds of empty buses running around Kirkland and privatizing Metro.

        Empty buses are a political liability Metro cannot afford to have.

      • Brent White says:

        There isn’t much Metro can do about “empty buses” at Kirkland TC. They are at the end of the line. Of course, they are empty.

      • Brent: Take a ride on the 43/49 to the U-District, or the 44 to Ballard. A significant portion of the riders of these buses get off at the end of the route (or nearly).

        The best bus routes are ones with strong destinations — “anchors” — at each end of the line. It’s not always possible to structure routes like this, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a better job than we’re currently doing.

        Also, FWIW, why would a (useful) bus be empty at Kirkland TC? I would assume that most 255/540 riders get off either at the TC or at South Kirk P&R, and for suburban routes, the TC is the start of the line, not the end.

      • Route 236, 238, 245, 248, and 540 terminate in downtown Kirkland.

    • I can confirm that many of these routes are crap. No one is using them. I could actually off up more too. But I want to see suburban service improve. Why have hours having zero productivity? I’d rather hours go to actually offering me a *real* opportunity to use service. I live in the exurbs, there’s no way I’d argue putting service on Covington-Sawyer Road even though I *would* use it. Most wouldn’t. And that happens to be the case with many suburban routes. Also, plenty of these are peak-only. Their capture of riders is incredibly poor.

      • @Stephen Fesler,

        Notice where the service hours will be invested: All in the 180.

        (which, BTW, will enable ST to truncate the mostly empty 560 at the airport)

      • Scratch the above comment. Metro lists a bunch of routes getting more runs. The 180 is just being extended to Burien in evenings.

        Sorry.

    • One of my overarching concerns about public transit in the Puget Sound has been about the tragectory we are currently on – or bang for the buck if you prefer.
      I’ve always supported putting resources where they will do the most good, and it seems that Metro has gotten that message from their political masters, who have been getting an earfull since operating revenues started tanking going back some years now, to get mean and lean.
      It’s not well reported in the press as to how our region compares to similar urban areas as to how much money is collected in total (all the transit agencies combined), and how that money is being invested.
      Metro has done some good work in the Task Force showing how they rank, but nothing when the big picture is looked at.
      If the voters decide they are getting short changed in a big way someday, all the boats on the pond will fall. Conversely, our investments may be brilliant in the big arena, resulting in a very happy electorate willing to invest more.
      I don’t know the answer, and wouldn’t begin to know how to sort all that our. Anyone smarter than me know if that is being looked at?

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      Will,

      What neighborhoods are being cut off by these changes?

      • zefwagner says:

        It seems to me that Metro has been very careful to only delete routes that already have nearby service. Nobody is being stranded by this.

    • What about the people who live in higher-density areas that have half-hourly buses or overcrowded buses. They’re voters too, and they aren’t getting adequate bus service.

    • zefwagner says:

      Your premise seems to be based on the idea that if we only used productivity, then pretty much only Seattle would get bus service. That’s not true at all! There are plenty of popular bus routes in South King and the Eastside that are in no danger from Metro’s new focus on productivity. What they are doing is deleting or reducing routes that are useless to almost everybody, and directing people to nearby bus routes that are useful. People are voting with their feet by riding or not riding certain buses–shouldn’t that kind of democracy count?

      Also, to echo some others, the sight of empty buses really kills support for transit overall. Many car drivers will support transit when they perceive that the bus is carrying a lot of people who might otherwise drive and take up more space on the road. It is true that coverage is important politically, but that doesn’t mean just throwing down a bunch of pointless once/hr routes. Metro can be strategic about it.

  2. I’m so glad the 42, 129 which suburban peak idiocy, 162 which is pointless and better served to supplement Kent-Des Moines services through other existing routes and longer than the 150 to Seattle. Frankly, I’m not surprised the peak-only services are severely underperforming. What I would like to see is a total restructuring of service in Kent, Covington, Renton, and Maple Valley. Dart hours also need to be amended. Most of the service is slow, circuitous, and ends early for some routes which makes commuters stay away. After going through Des Moines and Federal Way the other day, I get the feeling it’s the same. The ‘burbs have some very poor allocation of hours and routes. Trim down the routes, extend hours for core routes. I know some commenters aren’t fans of South King County, but I’m not arguing for more hours, but working with what we already have and making it better.

    • I wouldn’t say that commenters aren’t fans of South King, just that a few of us question whether it needs the capacity of rail. I think it goes without saying that South King has lots of current and potential bus ridership, and I’m 100% with you that the same kind of restructures that work in Seattle would work in South King as well.

      • Three specific restructures that would help me would be the 164, 168, 169 for Kent and Covington. The routes are ridiculous. Also, the 143 and 149 drive me insane. They are soooooooo useless because of the hours of service. No one is using them unless they’re *only* going to Renton. What if I want to go to Bellevue or Seattle? Nope, you’ll be left in the dark if you’re gone for most of the day.

      • How specifically would you change the 164, 168, and 169, besides making them more frequent? I’ve been favoring a RapidRide line SeaTac – Kent Station – Benson Rd – Renton – Rainier Beach. One hard part is 104th running parallel to Kent Station rather than going to it. The double U shape that the 168 and 168 do to serve it means that each route goes the opposite direction toward Kent Station, and takes extra time to go around the U. But I’m not sure how to fix it without adding another route.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Arguably, South King has some of the most notably underserved all-day corridors. It wouldn’t hurt if South King did get a few more service hours.

  3. Regarding Route 36 Sunday service: Recently with Metro’s fall schedule changes, the first bus of the day at 0534 was deleted. AH!! This bus was more than half full, sometimes full by the time it reached 12th and Jackson. I have no car, I work weekends, starting at 0630 on First Hill. Due to this deletion, I now must take a taxi. I hope after further review, Metro will realize the need for an early morning bus like the one that left Myrtle and MLK at 0534. Ridership was not the issue, oversight was.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Be sure to submit this to Metro.

    • Brent White says:

      I hope and pray frequency improvements won’t be done at the expense of the earliest and latest runs.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        People I spoke to at Metro actually told me that one of the things they hope to fix (on the WS-Ballard corridor) is the lack of early trips to downtown, particularly on weekends, and the importance of late-night service. I think you’re fairly safe there.

      • Better early-morning service would help Link too. There have been a few times where Link could have gotten me to the airport in time for an early flight, but the 16 started service late enough that I had to either drive or hike over to Aurora to catch the early 358.

  4. Metro would delete the route 99 entirely if it weren’t for it servicing the influential Port of Seattle headquarters at pier 69. Many Port workers rely on the 99 to get to and from King Street Station. Metro should delete the 99 unless the Port pays for peak-service operation.

    And to suggest an easy alternative for people on Alaskan Way who are north of the ferry termial is to simply walk to 3rd avenue bus stops because it’s only four-tenths of a mile is laughable.

    Metro is leaving two very popular downtown corridors, especially during summer, without much bus service.

    This also means senior citizens and disabled people who are on the northern waterfront or at the sculpture park and can’t make the walk up to thrid avenue bus stops now have to call a cab. Why not make Port employees call a cab to catch their Sounder train. They can better afford it.

    • Are you arguing to keep the 99 or delete it? I can’t quite tell.

    • As I keep pointing out, the Art Institute of Seattle (both campuses — probably many of you don’t realize they have multiple buildings!) is also on the 99 route. So is RealNetworks. It’s not just tourists and Port workers that would find a 99 that ran more often rather than less to be useful. It’s a hell of an uphill hike up to the bus routes on 2nd and 3rd from, say, Alaskan and Vine. (Also, at night, some of those stops don’t feel safe.)

      So, no, don’t kill 99 or reduce it. Increase it. Make it a pay route, fine. But we could use some actual damn service on the northern waterfront.

      • Oh, and I would argue that 99 doesn’t get used much now because it doesn’t run often enough or late enough. (Classes at the Art Institute run until about 9:30 or 10.)

  5. Anyone know if the reinvested hours match the cut hours? I wish Metro’s site had more info on the service additions.

    They should be proudly proclaiming the service additions at the top of the page, and then further down list the routes reduced/deleted in order to afford the wonderful service additions listed up top. This page is structured to focus on the lost service, which will maximize opposition since it’s not very clear what we get in exchange for these cuts.

    • One of the things I remember from visiting San Francisco last year was the “Muni Restores Service” posters and automated announcements on all the buses.

      “June 2012 transit reinvestments” is a good start but it’s not immediately visible from Metro’s home page. I have to wait a minute for the images to cycle to the ‘Have a say’ banner. How many people are going to actively click to jump 5 pages to that image?

    • I could be wrong, but the impression I get is that the re-invested hours don’t come close to matching the cut hours. Considering that everyone knew the $20 fee wasn’t enough to save Metro’s budget, this should not be a surprise. I’m extremely glad they’re choosing to cut the useless routes, rather than reduce frequency and span across the board, leaving lots of people stranded.

      • Not everyone knew that, actually. I saw a comment right here on STB that said “I thought that the $20 car tab meant that Metro wouldn’t have to change anything”.

      • Bellevue Resident says:

        @Aleks Everyone who wanted to know knew. It’s just that advocacy groups didn’t make it very apparent and Metro didn’t say the reinvestment would happen anyway if they weren’t specifically asked.

      • Not everyone who rides the bus is a transit advocate, nor should they be. We need to do a better job at communicating our message to people who just don’t care that much.

      • There were a lot of false ideas floating about, like that Metro would delete the 71/72/73. Metro wouldn’t delete its most productive segment unless it went out of business entirely.

  6. Ryan on Summit says:

    Of course the 99 performs poorly. Half-hourly service isn’t good enough for a downtown circulator that shares almost no stops with other buses. I hope that when the RFA is killed there will be room for a free shuttle that can actually drum up some riders and cause tourists to actually know about it.

  7. Brent White says:

    Extending the 180 to Burien…

    West Seattleites have been clamoring for a 1-seat ride to the airport to replace the failed 560 (and some even clamor for bringing back the failed and empty 560).

    Maybe the 180 would work, if it could reach Westwood Village.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      I doubt it. The demographics of most of the West Seattle routes that the 560 serves or served are going to be mostly choice riders, and they’re not going to go for a transfer to a slow route that runs every 30 minutes when they can get an Airport Shuttle to their door for <$20 (I know if I live there, that’s what I’d do). Most of the non-choice riders west of Marginal Way are probably on the 120, which, of course, will make that connection.

      • Besides being cheaper, there is a tremendous advantage of scheduled fixed routes vs. airport shuttles. In particular, when you take transit to or from the airport, you can pretty much know how long its going to take. A trip home from the airport on a private shuttle, however, typically involves a wait of anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and once you start moving, the amount of zig-zagging the van is going to do to serve everyone else’s front door before yours is also completely unknown. The only significant advantage I see of shuttles vs. public transit, unless you live really far from a bus stop, is 24 hour service.

        Door-to-door, including wait time, I generally find public transit to be about equivalent to airport shuttles for travel to most parts of the city, but for a fraction of the price. If I’m willing to use the money the airport shuttle would have costed to take a taxi partway, avoiding a transfer, it gets faster still.

      • I still find it appalling that metro has no local service to the airport drive. The 140 and RR A (atleast southbound) and E should atleast serve it (along with the 156 or whatever that circulator is). I realise it adds a few minutes but i think having strong transit service on the airport drive is importaint for both locals going to and cisitors coming from the airport.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        @Eric:

        Given that off-peak ridership on the WS-SeaTac leg of the 560 was so pathetic that ST was able to overcome considerable political pressure against cutting it, I suggest that your analysis needs to be checked empirically.

      • You are correct in that the 560′s ridership numbers do speak for themselves. What it probably means is that people going to the airport place a high value on being door to door with no transfers and a low value on having a predictable travel time. I disagree with this, but some of that may be explained by the fact that most people carry a lot more luggage when they travel than I do.

        Still, I don’t think the loss of the 560 for West Seattle->airport trips is that bad because the high frequency of Link makes the transfer pretty easy.

      • Z – prior to Link, buses used to serve the airport drive, but the location of the bus stop was only a couple hundred feet closer relative to where it is now. At it added about 10 minutes of travel time each way for thru-riders and made buses very unpredictable because they had to wait in the lines of all the cars doing pick up and drop off.

        The current configuration is much better.

      • Yes, i remember those days well. The major problem with the street stops, is that they are difficult to access from both directions. The one at Sea-Tac station forces you to pass through the fare control area (will they ticket you if you are just passing through?), the one south of the airport drive is only in the SB direction and theres no signage from the airport to either local bus stop. I think a reasonable comprimise would be to have SB buses loop through the airport while NB ones can make the stop at the LINK station. its too bad the airport cant build something better for northbound buses on the airport drive.

      • If you’re talking about the Link station, I don’t think the mezzanine is fare-controlled, only the platform.

      • The ORCA reader locations give the impression that the mezzanine is fare-controlled, but that’s impossible because the ticket machines are in the mezzanine. It’s an unfortunate problem at all Link stations except the surface ones: the readers are not next to you as you cross into into the POP zone, but are somewhere else. The main problem is the station design: at SeaTac, TIB, Mt Baker, and the DSTT, there’s no space for a POP zone containing all the escalators and elevators and a transfer passage from northbound to southbound. So people have to go out of the POP zone to transfer or reach the ORCA readers.

      • The fare controlled area is demarcated by signs stating “proof of payment is required beyond this point”.

  8. Brent White says:

    The 129 was a wierd route, circling from TIBS into Riverton/Boulevard Park, and back to TIBS. Metro told me that routing the 132 to TIBS would require a major service revision in Boulevard Park. It looks like that is already happening.

  9. Brent White says:

    The 99 reduction bodes ill for the concept of free circulator buses downtown.

    Instead of extra “free”, or better yet “pay what you care”, buses adding to downtown congestion, why not address the problem of high fares head-on and create a low-income ORCA, as it appears the Transit Riders’ Union will advocate?

    I’d be glad to take on a monthly-pass fare increase — perhaps raising them to $10 per .25 of ride value — in order to help fund it.

    We need *something* to keep transit affordable to the poor in order to get rid of free rides completely, eliminate paper transfers, and push through a cash surcharge.

    Of course, I’d want to see the low-income ORCA require the use of loaded ORCA product in order to get the rebate. ;)

    • Ryan on Summit says:

      Ah, but the 99 shouldn’t be for the poor, it should be for very very casual bus riders. At Pike Place, say, going to Pioneer Square. Don’t have any change, don’t have an Orca.

      • I can understand why it’s in the region’s interest to have a downtown circulator for tourists and shoppers, but I don’t see what’s in it for Metro. By any measure, the 99 is one of the least productive routes in the system. If the downtown business association, or the City of Seattle tourism department (is there such a thing), wants to buy a circulator bus, then great! But Metro’s limited budget is best spent elsewhere.

      • If Microsoft is willing to spend money to give its employees service that transit agencies can’t or won’t provide, why can’t retail business do the same?

        I’d rather see the lower-cost disposable ORCA ticket implemented with something like a 1-3 day pass than a redundant downtown circulator bus. The cost to operate such a service for a year or two would likely exceed the one-time cost of implementing a day-pass, which could also bring some revenue to the transit agencies and fewer cash transactions.

      • The money currently going to the RFA will go to service hours of the city’s choosing. I heard it’s enough money for one or two routes.

      • Haven’t people been bemoaning the loss of transit on 1st Ave? People who haven’t been tourists?

    • +1 to a low-income ORCA. They’re the group that most needs it. If you’re disabled and rich, you’ll get a custom-made van and drive everywhere.

      As far as monthly passes go, that wouldn’t quite work. Right now, monthly passes are set at 36x the base fare, which is already extremely high. You’re proposing raising them to 40x, which is so high that almost everyone would switch to e-purse. More realistic would be a general fare increase (which increases the monthly pass cost by proxy).

      But yes, I would happily raise fares by a quarter in exchange for an *easily-available* low-income ORCA. By definition, everyone who will pay the extra fare can afford it. ;)

      • Kitsap Transit does have a reduced fare ORCA card for low income people. KT’s reduced fare is half their adult fare.

      • I would support extending the current Metro Access card to low income people as well. Seems like there would be a benefit to everyone in terms of speeding boarding by reducing the number of folks using cash at the fare box.

      • “To receive your reduced fare discount you must pay your fare with a pass or E-purse loaded onto your card. You will not receive a discount by simply showing the card to the operator.” That’s Kitsap’s deal.

        Now, if anyone wants to complain about this very reasonable trade-off, they can spend a night in a tent with the Free Rider(s), for all I care.

        Metro and ST could raise the cash RRFP rate to closer to the full adult fare and not be in violation of the multi-agency contract. I doubt they’ll wish to be that clever.

        At any rate, while Metro is restructuring routes, it might realize significant savings by setting each route to have one fare setting, depending on the time of day, if it proceeds to incentivize e-purse (which is a big if). Now that I know what I’m watching for, I am seeing an uptick on zone fumbling.

  10. It looks like the June 2012 service change falls into the category of “kid’s stuff”. The proposed changes for the fall of that year might be classified as “nuclear winter”. West Seattle Metro service, west of California Avenue, between Lincoln Park and Alki Point are going to be decimated. No service on Beach Drive. Genesee Hill, peak hours only. I hear many people on this blog whine about the long slog (shags LOL) up hills. Try Beach Drive to the nearest bus stop after service is eliminated. I guess the plus side is the bike lanes will now be clearly marked on Beach Drive. And they may re-pave more of that street. Smooth riding for the cars and bikes because there won’t be any buses to damage the roads. Excepting school buses, of course. Yippee.

    ROFL

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      So are you arguing for keeping underutilized buses, or arguing that the 37 was well-used?

    • Bruce, He’s not arguing, he’s trolling.

      But I agree that eliminating bus service entirely on Beach Dr SW is a bad idea. Rod is just trying to opportunistically confuse the 2012 restructures with Prop 1. He should go find a blog of transit haters, for all I care.

      • No, I am not trolling. I am just pointing out a huge area that is for the most part at the bottom of hills that will possibly not have any transit service in the not so distant future. I love and support transit as much as anyone on this blog and have a track record in voting to prove it. The changes to this area will require a walk of at least a mile, up steep hills, in some cases, to the nearest bus stop.

        I guess, Bruce, I am looking for an alternative to decimation. I walked this area with my Prop 1 supporting brother just yesterday afternoon. He sees and agrees with my concerns.

        It is unfortunate, Brent, that because I differ with you on Prop 1 (out of the many I agree with you on), that you choose to direct me to a blog of transit haters, which I have nothing in common with. Disappointing.

      • [ot]

      • And, oh yeah, Prop 1 does not end service on Beach Dr SW. I’d like for you to go find anything to back up your claim that it does.

      • Brent,

        I did not say Prop 1 will kill service to Beach Drive and Genesee Hill. It just does nothig to resurrect it once it is gone. Honestly, though, I could care less if you believe I am a transit supporter, or not. I know I am: as a rider and voter. Prop 1 is the one exception to voting yes on all transit measures in my 60 year lifetime. Another litmus test you may, or may not, find relevent is that I have never voted for any Eyman initiative.

        The regressive nature of Prop 1 is a major factor. The underfunding of infrastructure maintenance is another factor. I think that somethig better will come up that I will GLADLY support. With the progressives on the Seattle City Council, I believe they will come up with something more to my liking. If Prop 1 passes, as I have said before, I will happily pay the additional car tab fees. The passing of this will not send me into a tizzy. Nor will I vote my council members out. I just think that there is a better solution to improving Seattle transportation than this regressive 10 year, 60 dollar tab fee.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Rod, does it also bother you that there is also no service on the similarly situated McGilvra/Lake Washington/Lakeside corridor (except the little bit the 27 serves)?

        I do not see the deletion of the virtually-unused service on Beach Drive to be a “nuclear winter”. Seaview/Shilshole and Beach Drive are the only parts of the city that will go from having some service to no service at all, and this is happening because those potential riders have voted with their feet, namely by putting them on the pedals of their cars.

      • Rod,

        What forms of taxation that the state allows would you support in place of a green car tab (a user fee, really, not truly a tax) with a pool of money set aside to make fares more affordable to poor riders?

      • I am speaking of the total loss of service on Beach Drive and the huge cut in service on Genesee Hill. I am familiar with these because I walk the area daily and live at the top of Genesee Hill.

        In an earlier “blurb” I said that I could understand the loss of 51. I see it go by my house with very few passengers daily. It personally does not bother me because I can and do walk the mile down the steep hill to catch the 56, or walk the one mile to the junction to catch one of the several buses that go downtown, during non-peak hours.

        I agree with what KH says, also. The 51 is a poorly designed one way circular route. If one wants to go from my house to the Alaska Junction, one must go around in a big circle just to reach it. I choose to walk the mile.

        The changes Metro offers in the fall 2012 proposal contain many improvements. I like the idea of the 50 serving SODO Link station, for example. The complete pull-out of service on Beach Drive, that does in fact have SOME density, and the fact they are far away from in length and elevation from close bus stops, is not an improvement. The walk from Beach Drive to my house is approximately a 380 foot gain in altitude in one mile.

        Again, I am not complaining for myself. I love to walk. These changes do not bother me personally. I know there will be some in the Genesee/Beach Drive area that will be bothered immensely.

        How does prop 1 relate to all of this? It really doesn’t. It did not kill the routes and probably won’t bring them back.

      • Rod,

        Prop 1 is the *best* hope of saving at least skeletal service on Beach Dr SW. By investing in infrastructure that reduces bus travel time, Metro has more service hours to use.

        If the money is spent, as you suggest, on repaving roads, then bus service on Beach Dr SW is a goner, as repaving roads is going to do nothing to speed up buses.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Honestly, I really doubt any savings from Prop 1 will end up with Metro restoring service on Beach Drive.

        And again, honestly, if the price of getting this restructure through otherwise-intact is a few peak trips on the 37, or rerouting one of those 77x DART vans to Beach Dr or Erskine Way, I guess I could live with that as a compromise.

        I just don’t think the ridership on the 37 or 53 merit continued service, and there are other parts of the city with similar ridership characteristics that don’t have service.

      • Removing service from an area currently being served (however sparse) is a bigger deal than not serving areas that haven’t had service. People move based on where buses run. Removing service from an area is a form of transit unreliability.

      • And that’s why you’re better off moving to a more built up (denser) area that’s less likely to lose all of its bus service because that’s where the trunk lines are. You get better service, too.

      • Oran: I don’t disagree (that’s why I live in Capitol Hill), but it’s not very reassuring to tell someone, “move to where the service is”. People choose where to live for many reasons. It’s entirely reasonable that someone would choose to live in the cheapest possible neighborhood (i.e. lowest rents or house prices) that still has transit.

        Obviously, we can’t preserve unproductive service just because a few people rely on it. But still, telling people to move is not the best way to build support for transit.

      • Aleks: What else could I say? Get a car? Sorry? I know how it feels to be told to move. I myself live in sprawl-burbia near the Brickyard P&R, the terminal of the 255 along with some of the Eastside’s lower performing routes (236, 238) that pass by my house. All of those services would’ve been chopped had the CRC failed and may still be on the list for changes even with the CRC and future funding. I don’t live here by choice.

        It underscores the need for more affordable transit oriented development.

      • Or I could say nothing at all.

      • I totally agree with your message. We can’t afford transit to everywhere, so the best way for people to support transit is to “vote with their feet”, by choosing to live in neighborhoods where productive transit service is possible.

        I just think we (and I definitely include myself here) should be careful with our language. The routes that we’re deleting have few riders, but those riders do exist. And like you said, not everyone lives in neighborhoods like yours by choice. So I’m hesitant to tell people that their home (or its location) is the problem. From their perspective, Metro’s proposed changes are the problem. If these changes go through, it will be because Metro (and its supporters) do a good job of selling them. That’s all.

    • For those getting on Rob about being a troll, he does have a point. Metro is eliminating service into areas that are long, long walks, to the nearest service (especially Genesee Hill).

      Yes, the 51 has low ridership. But the 51 was a poorly designed route when it was implemented in the community circulator craze of the 1998 service restructure. It has actually LOST ridership annually since 1998. Rather than abandon the neighborhood, Metro should have redone this route years ago.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        And to you, I would pose the same question about McGilvra. Are you similarly upset about the lack of service there? What would you cut to fund service on Genesee Hill, and how should that part of the city be served?

        Also, there will still be peak service to Genesee Hill.

  11. I was under the impression that route 600 was about putting a bus into service that would have otherwise simply been deadheading back to the base. If I’m correct, it would seem that killing it wouldn’t save anything significant, even if it’s almost empty. Is my assumption mistaken?

    • It probally has to do with the way the service hours are accounted for. More than likely revenue service hours and deadhead hours are diffrent pots of money.

  12. In these tight economic times i’d like to see the regional transit agencies work more closely together to eliminate and improve service on the borders of their areas. For example, PT’s route 62 and metro’s 182 closely parallel each other. Would it be too hard to setup a joint thing like the 497 where PT, Auburn, metro and ST all participate in its operation. Similar thing could be done here where PT pays for an extension to 45th and nassau. Also, an extension of the 186/907 to Buckley, if they remain in the PT service area (http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/11/05/1893402/transit-boundary-lines-may-be.html) and if not i’m sure you could get rural mobility grants to cover the cost, it would be minimal since buckley is literally five minutes away from emunclaw. In a bigger pipe dream it would be nice to see the “A” extended to tacoma, or atleast some trips on it. I’m sure you could get uncle sam to pay for some of it as well, some trips on the 181, particularly at peak times extended to taocma, and on the metro/ST front a merger of the 197 and 586, this would give riders a way back to Federal Way and Downtown tacoma mid-day. Although apparantly this line is slated for elimination when U-LINK opens (which i think is somewhat foolish).

    • My observation from walking by 586 buses in the Montlake area just before getting on the freeway is that, even during peak hours, they are less than half full. Considering the cost of operating such a long route, especially considering that every trip requires some 30+ miles of deadheading, I think the case for it existing at all today is questionable. The only justification for it, in my opinion, is the 30+ minutes saved by avoiding the already overcrowded buses going from the U-district to downtown on weekday afternoons. In 2016, Link will have plenty of capacity and by getting from the U-district to downtown in 8 minutes, the travel time advantage of the 586 will largely go away. With the high peak frequency of Seattle->Tacoma buses, plus the Sounder trains, the transfer shouldn’t add a significant amount of time either.

      • When i used to see them board in the mornings at TDS they were always SRO or crush loaded. Of course this was a few years back.

  13. Let us not forget that Metro’s performance standards require Downtown and University District routes to be about twice as productive as suburban routes – somewhat arbitrary. So a route like the 79 significantly outperforms suburban routes, but is still judged “underperforming”. Hmm…

    • chrismealy says:

      I’m a 79 rider. What standard are they using for it? It’s pretty much full every day.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Where do you get on/off?

        When I see 79′s downtown they’re always empty. It’s possible that part of the route is good, and part is crap, and the part that’s not crap is duplicative. I’d have to see the stop-level data to be sure.

      • and when?

  14. I’ll make the same suggestion with ACRS that I made with the VA: If they are concerned they have clients who really can’t handle a 2-seat ride or walk a couple blocks, give them an accessible van which one of their staffers can use to go pick up mobility-challenged clients.

  15. Now I get it. After reading the back and forth between Oran and Aleks, I can see why they climb all over my sorry ass for not supporting this particular 60 dollar , 10 year, tab fee. Heck, they don’t have any skin in the game. I have voted for every transit project in my entire voting life. Yet, these clowns are so ready to jump my butt for voting no on this one regressive tax. I get it. I get it.

    I love transit. Don’t particularly need it at this point in my life, but I almost always vote yes. Sound transit. Yes. Always. Yet, here you have aleks and oran with no cars , no small single-family residence on a small Seattle city lot, criticizing me. Yeah, me. One who damn near always votes for transit. To heck with you clowns.

    You too, Brent. Telling me to find a “blog of transit haters”. Pathetic.

    • Rod, read my response to Aleks. None of what you said about me is true. I live in a single family home with two cars in suburbia. I’d rather live in urban Seattle but it’s sure better than being homeless.

    • Rod,

      Please cite one single sentence in any of my posts that could be taken as criticism of you. Just one. That’s all I ask.

      In general, I make a point of responding to people’s questions and ideas, rather than their tone. But when someone attacks me by name for something I didn’t say, forgive me if it tries my patience.

    • Rod,

      I appreciate your acknowledgement that I’ve spoken up for service on Beach Dr SW.

  16. I noticed that the 158 and 159 runs are not well-timed for Sounder connections. Doing so would help prevent new overcrowding on those buses caused by elimination of the 162. Indeed, I hope there will be a 158 and 159 corresponding to each Sounder run (which would mean reinstating four express runs, at least in the short run). Maybe it will turn out that only one bus per Sounder is all that is needed to express for those wanting a 1-seat ride to north downtown.

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