Service Change & RFA Elimination Open Thread

Photo by Oran

This is the first weekday after Metro’s massive service change, said to be the largest one since the agency’s inception. On top of all that, there’s the added buzz of the RapidRide lines and potential chaos in the old Ride Free Area.

It’s presumably this afternoon that we really find out what short-term disorder, if any, will arise from the end of the RFA.

Share your experiences here.

 

 

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.




Comments

  1. 26 stopped at the opposite set of stops on third. Not seeing that change on the Site. Anyone known what is up.

    • Are you talking about buses going southbound? That change is due the the 26 being interlined with the 131 now. The 131 was moved from 2nd to 3rd. What’s been throwing me off all weekend is the ASAs are announcing the other “old” stops. Drivers seem a little thrown off by this too.

    • The driver on the 26X this morning made an announcement that the 3rd and Union stop had been changed to 3rd and Seneca. I don’t know if this is just for the 26X or if it applied to other lines as well. As far as I can tell the stops I use haven’t changed.

    • David Seater says:

      The updated stop location are on the Service Change site. Click on “Boarding Locations for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Avenues. The stops for the northbound 26 and 28 haven’t changed, but it looks like the southbound locations did with the new 131/132 interlining.

      • Breadbaker says:

        Another indication of Metro’s desire to make the 26 as unpleasant as it can be. “Interlining” is transit-speak; the service alert should have said “downtown stops are being moved”, since that is far more valuable information than which bus line it is being “interlined” with. In reality, the 26, despite the signs on it to the contrary, does not stop in downtown Seattle; it is suddenly another line and that line no longer is one that stops at the stops opposite where the 26 goes northbound.

      • Does it really matter that much which block you deboard on?

        If the stops where people *board* the 26 had been moved, it would be much bigger news.

      • Breadbaker it was interlined with the 124 previously (and other routes prior to the 124) so most regular riders are used to the number changing as it hits Downtown.

      • John Slyfield says:

        If you are interlined with a west Seattle route that serves the viaduct then that means no access to pioneer square. unfortunate.

  2. This might be a little OT for this topic. I am starting a new job in Kent. I plan to take the 16 from Wallingford at about 6:30am to the 150 that boards at Westlake to arrive at work by 8:30am. Doesn’t seem like the Sounder wpould work well, unfortunately. How early/late are these buses typically at this time of the morning, and will there be any substantial changes to how late thery may be due to the service changes?

    • Bellinghammer says:

      I’m a regular 150 commuter, and mornings southbound on I-5 are pretty reliable. Afternoons are often hell. It balances out. :) If you can do it, I’d recommend taking the 150 in the morning and the 4:57pm Sounder in the afternoon. Oh, and I’d also recommend the 26X over the 16.

    • Morning should be fine.

      Seconded the advice to take the 26X instead of the 16, even if you have to walk a few blocks to get there, and especially in the afternoon, when the 16 can be delayed for half an hour in the Mercer Mess on the worst days.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      The 150 normally leaves downtown on time, however the 16 can be unreliable, and might cause you to miss your downtown connection, but I think you’ll miss the worst of it by traveling at that time of day.

      The return trip on the 16 will be far worse than the morning trip. Find an alternate route to get home from downtown if possible, preferably one that doesn’t go through the Seattle Center loop.

    • You might want to track OBA and see how reliable the 16 is in the mornings. It’s usually not bad southbound. I would agree with the advice of others that the 26X is a better bet in the mornings if you’re anywhere close to it.

      The 16 in the afternoon is like being punished for taking the bus.

    • I have been computing from Seattle to the ass of the world that is Kent for a bit over four years now. I take the 26 or 28 from queen anne and formerly Fremont, catch the sounder and it works brilliantly. But I have a flexible schedule. I am work from home Friday for about the three or four hours I hav, left to get my 40. I would recommend the sounder.

    • John Slyfield says:

      whether you want the 150 depends on your start time. If you work in north Kent like i do than the 150 would be the better choice. If on the other hand you work in south Kent or on east hill you probably want the sounder. 150 reliability sb is good nb not ao much. good luck.

  3. John Bailo says:

    No sympathy for RFA. I live in an area where there are just as many needy people and we don’t have an RFA. Just yesterday I threw my bike on a 168 to go up Kent East Hill after riding the Interurban trail facing a headwind. There were two other bike riders and we filled the rack. Going up a young woman said she had gone to Kent Central Library to use a computer by it was too full. Many people ride buses, bike and walk and don’t have a car. Many are tied into social agencies down in the valley. Where is our RFA?

    The world in Washington state and King County is not just Seattle.

    • You make an excellent point. The original purpose of the RFA was to provide a boost to downtown businesses by making it easier to move around downtown (for shoppers, tourists, office workers, etc.). Other tangible benefits were included such as faster boarding and less rider confusion downtown. Providing social services in the form of free transportation was never part of the reason for establishing or continuing the RFA. Unfortunately this point is being missed in a lot of the rhetoric that I am seeing.

      • +1

        Providing a social service would be better managed by giving that $400k per year to King County’s Human Service Ticket program so the poor have more opportunities to get passes to take them anywhere in the County – not just downtown.

      • +1 w/ Ryan and Velo

    • The RFA was never intended as an aid for poor people. Besides, the people who worked hardest to eliminate it aren’t sympathetic to social justice arguments anyway.

      The RFA meant that buses could pass through downtown faster. Now, the buses are going to get even more bogged down than they already were. I wouldn’t be surprised if eliminating the RFA actually costs Metro money.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        Delays boarding downtown are more than being made up for by more speedy exiting outside the CBD.

      • @Beavis,

        Metro’s numbers showed that savings from eliminating PAYSTTE would be roughly half the operational time cost of eliminating the RFA. I believe those numbers are before adjusting for mitigation strategies.

      • Short term you are probably right but long term it’ll balance out at the minimum and probably save time further out. The key thing that eliminating the RFA does is concentrate most of the delays downtown where, in theory, Metro and Sound Transit can invest to speed things up with PoP, curbside ORCA readers, and random fare inspection.

      • If eliminating the RFA costs KCM in the short term they’ll be forced to fix the boarding problems. There are a number of things that would help. Phasing out paper transfers (the writing has been on the wall for a while now, so it might be coming up on time), off-board payment at high-volume stops for all buses, SF-style back-door ORCA readers, elimination of zones except on long-distance mostly-freeway routes, etc. Whatever they do, it will be more readily applicable to the rest of the system than the RFA was.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        @Brent, I’m not crunching numbers, just reporting observation. Loading is slowed downtown, but unloading is now super fast.

    • John,

      Kent has a free shoppers’ shuttle. You know this.

    • The RFA wasn’t designed just to serve poor people; it was designed to reduce loading times. Poor people used it, of course, because it was there, where they are. Remember also that when the RFA was first instituted Seattle didn’t have the masses of homeless people living and/or receiving services downtown that we do now.

      The reason they’re funding a circulator bus to replace it, which IS designed to serve people using social services, instead of just giving them bus tickets, is because the service providers explicitly said “no”. They don’t want bus tickets. Bus tickets and Orca cards are a major pain in the ass, and much less effective. These people are not idiots; they know how this stuff works.

      The circulator bus is routed to a specific set of service providers — Harborview, DESC, Plymouth, etc. It’s not supposed to be for regular people who just want to get through downtown (though they can’t be refused boarding if they demand it). It’s certainly not designed to get John Bailo up a hill.

      • “when the RFA was first instituted Seattle didn’t have the masses of homeless people”

        The RFA was started in the early 1970s. The massses of homeless people started in the late 1980s when Reagan closed inpatient mental health facilities, cut welfare, and instituted economic policies that made it harder for the working poor to make ends meet. I was one of the University Way “ave rats” in the early 80s, and most of the punks then had homes either in the city or the suburbs. The later generation of punks on the Ave and Broadway in the 90s were mostly homeless, and that was a substantial change. The number of panhandlers also quadrupled or quintupled at that time.

        Also in the early 80s, the police cracked down on the red-light district on 1st Avenue, which effectively dispersed the prostitutes to Pacific Highway and Aurora. But still, the general homeless problem then was significantly less than it is now.

      • Whoa. I significantly mis-guessed your age, Mike.

        Though that would explain the disinterest in mobile computing devices… ;-)

      • It’s certainly not designed to get John Bailo up a hill.

        Look, I’ve gone from the bottom to top and back down again then and everything in between. During the tech boom, I let my car get repossessed (I bought it at a tragically high interest rate, thinking my high hourly wage would let me pay it off in no time. Turn on the TV. 9/11. Yeah…bad decision.)

        And let me say, that I was able to pull myself up from the floor several times because of (a) the low cost of Metro and (b) the King County Public Library system and its resources including computers.

        I am not against low cost or even free public transportation. Even as a Republican, people who pioneered the land at least had flints and brush to start a basic fire. In our artificial world, where a job is the only way to get cash short of the lottery or crime, then there should be some floor services to help people get back into business.

        At the same time, I don’t think that Metro (or the Libraries) as they have been for many decades should bear the brunt of our failed social policies to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill and the chronic drug addict. That is why they had asylums in the countryside. I would bring those back.

      • Nathanael says:

        The “deinstitutionalization” movement was well-meaning, but was essentially hijacked by Reagan, who used it as an excuse to just dump people on the street.

        The “deinstitutionalization” people wanted the people to be moved to *halfway houses*. Reagan did not fund the halfway houses.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      I have always been skeptical of the social-service utility of the RFA. You can walk from one end of it to the other very quickly, so anyone it was helping get around could have simply walked (which is not an option in Kent). That purpose could be served much better with targeted free/reduced cost passes.

      For the same reasons, I’m very skeptical of the figures Metro quotes about it’s lost revenue from the RFA – who on earth are these supposed massive number of riders who are traveling entirely within the tiny RFA, and don’t have a transfer or pass?

      The only real thing it truly did was expedite downtown transfers and keep buses from getting backed up at busy stops.

      • Although, having free service would encourage more people to use the buses downtown in the first place, rather than those getting on for a longer journey outside the downtown, thereby contributing to longer boarding times.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        True, it could induce some extra trips, but I would argue very few. For holders of transfers or monthly passes, those trips remain free. People who do not have either a transfer or a pass are largely people who drive downtown, and it’s safe to assume that most of them are generally averse to stepping on any bus. Their decision to actually drive downtown shows it. If they were willing to use a bus, they would have done it to get downtown in the first place.

        A free streetcar, on the other hand, I could see stimulating a lot of ridership that would not otherwise occur. Few people are averse to using rail transit, no matter how much they dread setting foot on a bus.

    • John Slyfield says:

      the city of Kent subsidizes routes 914 and 916 which serve downtown and east hill. it is free to ride (still!!) and runs Monday through Saturday and does not operate on holidays which metro operates a Sunday schedule.

  4. The RFA was not intended for the poor. It was started and paid for by downtown businesses so people would ride the bus to their stores and buy stuff.

    • Yes, but, very article decrying the removal of RFA uses “the Poor” as its principal argument.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        I have noticed this too, and it bothers me that so many journalists are missing the point.

        Hell, over half the time that I’ve heard a major news report about it, they’ve gotten the name wrong. If they can’t be bothered to get that much right, why should you expect any more research in the rest of the report?

  5. Northbound 124 need a way to get to 4th and Michigan to transfer to 131 or 132. I suggest 124 continue on Marginal, turn right on 4th, right on Michigan, continue on Bailey. Customers on Carlton can walk to Marginal or Bailey or wait for the 60.

  6. Transit Rider says:

    Don’t really care about the RFA going away. My wife and I never minded paying to ride the bus. ORCA makes it easy to XFR to other routes within the two hour window. We rode the 40 yesterday, cool route for us as we live in Fremont. It’s a great connection to the SLUT.

    • Ryan on Summit says:

      The 40 almost completely duplicates the SLUT. How is it a connection to it?

      • Mark Dublin says:

        Route 40 Market and Ballard to 9th and Mercer. Espresso at Kakao, 414 Westlake. Streetcar downtown.

        If streetcar is extended to Ballard, could make 40 unnecessary.

        Mark Dublin

      • I think that’s the intention. The 40 prefigures the proposed streetcar in order to build ridership in that corridor. At some point a streetcar may replace it, which will provide more capacity, which will presumably be needed as density and ridership rise over the next several years.

      • I’m all for replacing the 40 with a streetcar, after we build dedicated light rail to Ballard. Not before.

      • You know what I just realized?

        The 40 is embarrassing Metro regarding RapidRide because it’s so fast on Westlake.

        People in Greenwood don’t want the 5 to move off Aurora because it would be so slow on Dexter.

        If it weren’t for SDOT’s idiotic “rapid streetcar” plans, we could kill two birds with one stone by running the 40 on Dexter and the 5 on Westlake.

        (On the other hand, I’m not sure the 40 should be going downtown at all…)

    • The best part of the 40 is the fast connection between downtown Ballard and downtown Fremont via Leary Way — took me ten minutes yesterday. Used to take the 44 then transfer to the 5, which could take half an hour or more sometimes.

  7. Nobody seems to get the “exit toward the rear of the bus” yet. Give it time I suppose.

    • Will Green says:

      I’ve seen a few busses where one or two riders missed the memo, but largely people are exiting via the back, especially in the CBD. It helps that lots of drivers are playing the “Please exit via the rear doors. Thank you!” PSA like candy.

      • Must have been my bus only then. My driver didn’t play that PSA, I’m sure that helps alot.
        I have to change my own habit of sitting near the front of the coach.

      • On Saturday when I took the D downtown for s&g’s no one got off via the back doors until the driver played the automated “Please exit out the rear doors” announcement. I can’t wait until this becomes second nature up here, being a former AC Transit & then CT rider Metro’s back door policy has always irked me.

    • I rode the 28 this morning, got off in Fremont. The other three people who exited the bus there left through the front doors, including one who was sitting right next to the rear door. No announcements were given to encourage people to exit through the rear door.

      I guess the old system (where the rear door often opens on request only, and the request is often denied) has trained us well. Unless you want to “cause trouble,” it has been best to pretend the rear door doesn’t exist. Only a concerted re-education campaign can undo this.

      • Once you get out of downtown, many of the stops only have small concrete pads placed for for the front door, the rear doors open to trees, mud, shrubbery.
        The drivers only line up the front door with the pad, I don”t think they can see where the back door is relative to the outdoors, especially with an articulated bus.

      • I get your point for a lot of stops, but the stop at 34th and Fremont is hardly a small concrete pad placed by the front door. Quite a few people get on there in both directions throughout the day, and it would speed things up if those who were able to exit through the rear were encouraged to do so.

      • Metro needs to reconfigure the rear doors to have Push bars or touch bars, since right now they are setup to be driver controlled and if the driver dosent open them…

    • It will take several days or weeks for people to get used to exiting in back. Those who ride Metro every day will acclimate sooner, but a large percentage of people are occasional riders (except on dedicated commuter routes).

      It also depends on how crowded the bus is. If it’s packed full, people in the front will continue to exit front, as I did this morning on the northbound 71 without thinking about it. I think most of the crowd exited front while a smaller number of people exited rear.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        Outside the CBD I didn’t bother discouraging folks from using the front door to exit except when there were people waiting to enter. At singular stops in the ‘burbs and lesser-boarded stops, it makes sense time-wise to just open all doors and let folks choose. Where there have been passengers queing to enter (Alaska Junction, Market Street, CBD) I’ve been playing the announcement, which has occasionally been ignored anyway.

    • Joseph Singer says:

      I would do it, but if I have to fetch my bicycle attached to the front it’s much better for me to exit through the front door.

    • Exiting at the rear makes no sense at all for those who are sitting way up front, especially seniors and people travelling with small children, strollers, etc. Some common sense must be used here, otherwise it defeats the purpose of faster, more efficient travel–it would take quite some time for those folks sitting up front to work their way to the rear of the bus, especially if the bus is crowded. Disembarking at whatever door is closest to where you sit makes the most sense.

  8. Will drivers begin enforcing pay up front-exit at the rear throughout the network, not just the ex-RFA area? It would seem a good practice, and people better start getting used to it. (Countless other systems worldwide work this way, and people just…know…to do it that way. London is my personal poster child for this.) I fully recognize that change is tough and slow, but there’s no time like the present.

    • Beavis McGee says:

      drivers do not enforce fares.

      • Pete Lorimer says:

        Adam wasn’t talking about fares, just the routine of where to enter, where to exit, and drivers reinforcing this new system. Yes, paying your fare is part of this process, but that isn’t the issue at hand.

      • No – I mean not letting people off the bus in the front to keep the flow moving in the right direction.

      • drivers do not enforce fares.

        As a factual claim, this is false. A few enforce fares with vigor and gusto, many somewhat less so, and others not at all. As a statement about what they *should* be doing, I offer no opinion. As a factual matter, though, you’re simply wrong. I’ve seen it happen many times.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        djw, this may well be, however I think that even the drivers who have been in the habit as acting off the reservation on the fare enforcement issue will be stepping back closer to policy. As one who avoids fare disputes myself, I have been giving occasional reminders to folks with the caveat that it is so that they don’t get in trouble with fare inspectors. I’ve been telling people who pay cash but wave off the paper transfer to “take one anyway – as proof of payment if you encounter a fare inspector”, but that’s about it.

    • John Slyfield says:

      drivers do not enforce doors either unless opening the rear door causes safety issues (i.e. safe place to step off).

  9. 124 Southbound, 6:09 scheduled run from 3rd and Main. Bus showed up at 6:25ish, full of people, nobody knowing which bus they should be taking. Got to work 35 minutes later than scheduled. The bus driver wasn’t sure what roads she was supposed to take, the whole experience was like watching a train wreck.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

    • Bellinghammer says:

      It’s strange to me that the 124 is now interlined with the 24. I don’t think the Tour de Magnolia (24) warrants mid-day artics, but then again, maybe the old 124–>26 didn’t either.

      • There will always be extra artics at mid-day. What matters most for picking a through-route is 1) how well the schedules match up; 2) reliability on both sides; and 3) peak demand. The 24/124 combo works pretty well on all of these counts, and the artics are certainly warranted on the 24 during the peak.

    • Every new pick involves busruption on Saturday and Monday, as operators get used to their route, new vehicle models, etc. Plan for it to be this way for the rest of your stay in the Emerald City.

      Breakdowns that cannot be blamed on PAYB will likely occur in the DSTT this afternoon.

  10. jpsfranks says:

    Got on the new 29 at Queen Anne and Mercer. The driver said he didn’t have any instructions to skip any stops and made them all on the way downtown. The electronic reader board agreed with him and read off several stops. Actually the driver said he wasn’t entirely sure that he was supposed to go down 2nd vs. 3rd and that he had been given conflicting information. He went down 2nd and stopped at randomly chosen stops downtown.

    I chose the 29 over a Rapid Ride D that stopped a minute before that was pretty packed.

    Teething problems I hope.

    • The 29 is weird in that it doesn’t skip any Belltown stops inbound on 2nd, but it’s last stop outbound is 3rd and Virginia. Then next stop after Virginia is 1st Ave N and Mercer. Unlike all the other Ballard Expresses, it doesn’t stop at Bell. That’s a holdover from the 2X.
      I was waiting for the 7:21 run at 2nd and Cedar, but it kept getting later and later, so I walked to 3rd and caught the 14.

    • Beavis McGee says:

      The inbound 29 is supposed to travel down 2nd, but oddly has been assigned stops on 3rd avenue in both North and Southbound directions. Still no explanation from our folks in Training as to why this is, or any corrected cards listing proper color-coded stop info.

  11. Seattleite says:

    Carpooled today. Through http://www.rideshareonline.com Metro is offering incentives to carpool and vanpool (there are also different incentive programs for just alternatives to driving alone in general) so me and a coworker who both usually take public transit are now carpooling every so often to get our name in the drawing.

  12. Lots of people on twitter are reporting that their routes that normally have 60 ft coaches have 40 ft coaches today. Example routes: 56, 33.

    • Are those peak or off-peak? Lots of routes are inconsistent in their capacity. Even the 36.

    • And the 40.

    • I had the opposite experience this morning. I was waiting for the 09:35 32 from Uptown to Fremont at 3rd W and W Mercer, and to my susprise along came a 60 foot New Flyer. It only had 12 people (including me) up until SPU, when 3 more boarded. Hope Metro has enough data over the next few weeks to right-size coaches.

      • I expect that 60-footer was there for the previous trip, which was an inbound 75 arriving at UW at 8:38 a.m. I can easily imagine that one needing a 60-footer.

    • Beavis McGee says:

      The 40 is running 40 foot Gilligs during peak times. My experience so far is that it’s handling capacity of about half to 2/3 full, no SRO’s.

  13. Observations on the 116X trip that leaves the Fauntleroy ferry dock at 6:05…

    There were a few new riders that most likely has previously taken the 54X.

    Still a few seats after leaving West Seattle.

    Signage at the few remaining stops along Fauntleroy between the ferry terminal & Morgan Junction didn’t appear to have been updated to indicate that the 116X (along with the 118X and 119X) serve those stops now.

    Someone appeared to be waiting at a now closed stop.

    Some confusion as to if the route was now pay as you enter or still pay as you leave (it’s still pay as you leave, but the schedule says otherwise).

    The driver (probably out of habit) changed the sign to “118 DROP OFF ONLY” at Royal Broughm.

    None of the reader boards at the Rapid Ride stops I saw were indicating when the next C bus was arriving (one even had the wrong date).

    • Pay as you leave? I thought all routes were supposed to be pay as you enter now.

      • I’m guessing the pay as you leave policy for this route may be due to the bus loading at the end of the dock and not having the bus stay there any longer than necessary to prevent blockage of offloading vehicles from the ferry.

    • Will Green says:

      Vashon Island routes have always been weird because of the Ferry leg, but it should be 100% pay as you enter, now.

    • I continue to be amazed that the buses ride the ferry. This must be rather costly, both for the ferry and for Metro.

      But then, if they can keep the 560 alive with stories of how important it is for West Seattleites going to the airport (unsupported by ridership statistics), while not living in the ST sales tax district, I guess they can get away with anything.

      • West Seattleites going to the airport (unsupported by ridership statistics), while not living in the ST sales tax district

        I don’t believe that is correct.

      • West Seattle is in the taxing district, although Vashon is not.

        That is the only reason they put the ridiculous original 570 in place, which evolved into the current 560 West Seattle leg.

        http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/about/STDistrictMap07_10.pdf

      • Oh, and Metro is looking at ways to get the buses off the ferry and off of Vashon. You’re right that the service they provide is very expensive, not to mention logistically complicated.

      • I’ve never understood: Do the buses that cross on the ferry have a premium fare attached to them?

        Or is it literally cheaper to use the ferry sitting on a bus than it is to use it on foot? (Because that would be insane.)

      • Beavis McGee says:

        Supposed to charge commuters 2-zone during Peak, but seldom enforced (like the buffer zones in West Seattle and Shoreline) due to confusion and collection issues.

      • That’s still only $1 more than riding the ferry round-trip by your lonesome. And equal to riding the ferry with a bike. And $4 less than taking the ferry on foot to a Metro bus on the Seattle side.

        You live on a remote island. You chose to live on a remote island. You chose that island to live on precisely because it was remote.

        Serving you with ferries is expensive. You shouldn’t get to fare dodge to the ferry.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        d.p., Passengers who take the 118/119 on to the ferry pay for BOTH their bus and ferry fare. Outbound to Vashon, passengers either deboard the bus and buy their ticket at the pedestrian window, or have their ORCA card scanned by a worker on the dock.

      • Uh, no. Going to Vashon, you have to pay the 2-zone bus fare plus the ferry fare, just like everyone else. Coming to Seattle, there is no ferry fare.

        “If a ferry fare is required, the Trip Planner quotes the full adult cash fare including the ferry fare, unless the trip is on Metro Route 118 Express or 119 Express to Vashon Island. These bus routes board the ferry. The Trip Planner shows the bus fare only, but you must also pay the ferry fare. On trips leaving Vashon Island, no ferry fare is required.”

      • Okay, thank god.

        I thought taking the bus was a total ferry-fare dodge.

      • The ferry fare is round-trip, of course, to avoid people being stuck on the island with no money. There is an abstract purpose in having the D serve the ferry terminal: it extends the regional transit connections. It looks better on paper to have a multimodal connection between RapidRide and the ferry because it’s a regional transfer point. Plus there was a strong reason to serve Alaska Junction anyway because it’s West Seattle’s main transfer point and walkable neighborhood.

        So elevating the 120 didn’t really have much of a chance, even if its latent potential ridership was higher than the 54. So given that it had to serve Alaska Junction, the only question was whether to go southwest (to the ferry terminal) or southeast (directly to Westwood Village and White Center). I suppose they chose southwest because it’s an established route, whereas southeast would be an unproven experiment (no existing route went downtown – Alaska Junction – southeast).

    • John Slyfield says:

      routes 116x and 119 (fauntleroy to downtown only) are pay as you leave heading downtown and continue to be pay as you board heading to the ferry terminal (an exception to the rfa). also, routes 200, 914 and 916 continue to be free.

  14. So far, so good. The 49 North benefited from being able to open all three doors at Broadway and Pine.

    I’m still worried about the afternoon.

    • It was really exciting to see the 3-door Bredas using more than a single door at the more-popular Broadway stops. It’s almost like they were designed for such use?

  15. On the D Line all of the off board card readers are out of service, no real time boards working either, also sitting at a lot of red lights, and one bus away does not have arrival information at all. Was all of this expected

    • But the wi if does work

      • WiFi — because only on decidedly not “Rapid” transit will you ever be inclined to pull out your freaking laptop.

      • d.p. +1. Where wifi should be appealing is commuter buses (like the ones that are expresses out to the ‘burbs) where people are on the bus for a long stretch of time, not a bus where supposedly people are getting on/off all up and down the line. I mean seriously, even I can figure THAT out.

      • Plus, you shouldn’t need to be on the damned thing for a long enough stretch of time to make pulling out your computer useful!

        Only in Seattle do people expect to settle in for 30-45 minutes on a “rapid” line!!

        (And the WiFi is pointless if you have a smartphone; it’s no faster than your own 3G/4G service.)

      • If enough people pull out their iDevices, the accompanying reality distortion field will make RapidRide feel just like real BRT. It’s magical!

      • Reality check: Most bus riders are on their smartphones the entire ride, and I’d guess that many of them are accessing data. Free wifi takes a load off your data plan.

      • Most data plans are de facto unlimited. Even the ones with supposed limits take heroic efforts or woebegone media junkiedom to max out.

        Switching to wireless in a coffee shop is one thing; the internet there is hard-wired and tangibly faster than my data plan.

        But why would I bother to re-route my device over the bus’s wireless, when it will be no faster, less reliable, and less secure than the 3G I’m already using?

      • I sometimes blow out my terrible data plan just collecting email headers and updating my stupid apps, all of which seem to require a 20 MB update every other day.

    • I’m hoping the off-board payment will start soon. I’m surprised it’s not being used at the stops where the system is live (Leary, Dravus, 60th, etc.). I think it’ll be a while before all the Lower Queen Anne stops are done, though.

      The real-time information signs that are connected had info yesterday, but none today. Sigh.

      • Will Green says:

        I get the feeling the same issues that plague the B-line are plagueing the D-line. That said, I’m also not seeing any info for the RapidRide lines in OBA’s Active Trips listing, which indicates we aren’t getting any real time data for it (thus the scheduled info). Sending a few emails to see if anyone knows…

      • John Slyfield says:

        checked stops on pacific highway yesterday and no real time data for the A Line either.

      • The ORCA reader at Alaska Junction Eastbound worked for me this afternoon. It was out of service over the weekend.

    • At the end of the ride, my previous 32 minute commute was 51 minutes via Rapid Ride. Not very Rapid at all.

    • I noticed on Saturday that the RapidRide line was coming through as Route 647 or something like that. I didn’t recognize the number, but when I clicked on it it showed the D line routing.

      • Actually, just checking now it looks like it was renamed in the app. Comes up Ad D LINE now.

      • John Slyfield says:

        the d line is internally referenced as route 674 which is probably what you saw.

    • The D Line ORCA reader at 65th St northbound was active and working today…but covered in graffiti already. The southbound reader was still covered in a fabric hood and the real-time display was inactive.

  16. Matt the Engineer says:

    Saw two women at 1st & Marion holding a sign that said “Downtown Circulator Information”.

  17. Mark Dublin says:

    Saturday afternoon after 4:45, LINK Train 3, with a crush load re: ball game, left Westlake southbound seven minutes late, after Metro Route 150 spent several minutes collecting fares and giving passenger information.

    After several off-station stops in the Tunnel due to leader’s farebox, train was nine minutes late into IDS, and seven into Sea-Tac.

    Teething problem? Situation was generally encountered northbound every game night for last three years of joint operations.

    This afternoon, we’ll see if loaders and dispatch control measures will help. But I think the political decision to put accounting for fare revenues ahead of schedule performance is going to damage our service until it’s reversed.

    Does anybody know of any other subway in the world where cash fares are collected by vehicle drivers?

    Mark Dublin

    • The Cleveland Green and Blue lines do. The red line used to before it switched to POP. The payment is PAYE outbound and PAYL inbound (the opposite of metro). The reason is the downtown stop has NYC subway fare barriers for both people boarding and leaving. Downtown (tower city) is where the vast majority of people are going so this system makes sense to me.

      • Mark Dublin says:

        Thanks for reminder, Schuyler. Would agree to let Seattle follow Cleveland’s example on one condition:

        Last time I rode light rail in Cleveland about 20 years ago, the Shaker Heights Station included a deli with corn beef sandwiches about two feet thick.

        ‘Til at least one station includes this: let’s have DSTT imitate Red Line instead.

        Mark Dublin

      • Mark,

        The restaurant is still there :)

        I lived in Shaker Sq. May 2010-May 2011. I ate in the diner all the time.

      • Nathanael says:

        This is historical. Streetcars always used to have fareboxes next to the driver. Motorbuses replicated this. (Before motorbuses, horse-drawn coaches used a different payment procedure, but it sure wasn’t a farebox — I should really look that up.)

        The light rail lines which are the direct descendants of streetcars still used fareboxes. In North America, these are Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Newark, and Toronto.

        A few of these have been replaced with POP (Newark IIRC), some have been augmented with faregates but only in tunnel stations (Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco), some have switched to token or swipecard payment (Boston, probably others).

        However, in all cases, accepting cash fares at a farebox is basically a relic of history. I can’t think of anyone who’s built a *new* station which works that way, except the Cleveland Waterfront Line. (The new stations in Pittsburgh… it’s free to board. So.)

    • The Pittsburgh T has fareboxes that are used at most stations other than a few fare-paid zones. I think the tunnel should be fully fare-paid, otherwise put rear-door ORCA readers onboard and go to a tap-on/tap-off system with all door boarding. Let the system do the calculation!

    • I believe that SF Muni streetcars do as well, when not in the central tunnel.

    • So we’re all agreed that Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco do not collect fares on-board when at actual grade-separated subway stations.

      Boston eliminated its last in-tunnel on-board fare collection when it installed CharlieCard gates at Symphony and Prudential.

      Philadelphia still has on-board collection for the subway-surface trolleys at 19th, 22nd, and (I think) all of the UPenn stations, but not at the interchange stations (13th, 15th, 30th). But no one speaks highly of the subway-surface trolleys.

      • The part about Cleveland isn’t entirely true. All of the stops on the Blue/Green line until Shaker Sq. are grade separated.

      • Fair enough. But I get the sense that those other open-cut stations are terribly located and never busy.

        They don’t have on-board payment at Tower City, the one place in their entire underperforming system where it actually matters.

      • (Wow… the part of East Cleveland between the two E 79th Street stations could be mistaken for a pastoral wonderland if you didn’t know there used to be a city there!)

      • Just so you know, East Cleveland != the east side of Cleveland. East Cleveland is an entirely separate city.

        I’ve always wondered what this blog would be like if it was in Cleveland. No one is talking about upzoning 90% of Cleveland. The reason the Cleveland stations on the blue/green line are never busy is because NO ONE lives near them anymore. The stops in Shaker Heights are plenty busy, as are the University Circle and West Side stops on the Red line.

      • Pittsburgh does collect on-board at grade separated subway and above-ground stations, but no fares are collected in their RFA, called the Golden Triangle. I am surprised they aren’t using proof-of-payment for stations out of the Golden Triangle; then again the Port Authority uses single-door boarding and alighting even for pay when boarding bus trips. Every coach is confined to using the front door only, except for while in the Golden Triangle before 7:00pm.

      • I knew that Pittsburgh light rail was free in the downtown subway, and I knew that Pittsburgh buses had the same asinine RFA/PAYL system as we did, for all of the same asinine reasons, but I didn’t actually realize PAYL applied to the trains.

        So you’re saying that the southbound trains are one-door/PAYL the whole way as well? No wonder their ridership numbers are so terrible!

        As I’ve said before, Pittsburgh is by and large a cesspool of worst practices much like Seattle. And not just because of PAYL. Their much-lauded “BRT pioneerism” is a big “fuck you” to the city itself: the ROWs are suburban-commuter bypasses where most of the buses zip right by the stops in the urban zone, all of which are in useless locations anyway. It’s about as useful as “BRT” as the Montlake freeway station is.

        (Fact remains, though, that they don’t have on-board payment in their tunnel.)

      • Nathanael says:

        d.p.: single-door boarding doesn’t matter as much as you might think in Pittsburgh, because the platforms aren’t necessarily long enough to open all the doors.

        Yeah. I know. “Needs work.”

      • Nathanael says:

        Pittsburgh’s BRT is, of course, an unmitigated disaster; they actually paved over two tracks of the Pennsylvania Main Line in order to build one of the busways. Obviously, they didn’t get great results, and now they’re wishing they had train service in that direction…. oh well.

    • When I first arrived in Chicago, the CTA had Train pursers that would sell tokens. They got axed not long after…

      • Maybe I should start running after buses to sell my “congestion” charge “free” Metro tickets :=

  18. My #11 is virtually unchanged. But a colleague on 56/57 had a much longer than scheduled wait in the Admiral district this morning, and even though her bus does not continue beyond downtown (no boarding passengers) ALL passengers were forced to alight from the back door. That’s not appropriate.

    • It’s perfectly appropriate, IMO. It’s a lot more important to be consistent – people don’t want to be thinking about which door to alight through, and allowing exceptions like this would only lead to confusion. Think of all the HOV lanes that become regular lanes at 7pm, yet few single-drivers use them.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        I think that the rule of thumb that will shake out will be alight in the rear at all CBD stops and major stops where people line up to board; all other places/times any door. It makes no sense for example to require everyone to exit through the rear door at the Issaquah Transit Center after an evening commute outbound.

      • I’m with Beavis on this one. People really hate being told what they can’t do. During busy times, unidirectional flow makes a lot of sense, but when it’s quiet, rules like that will just make people hate the bus, and choose to drive so that they can have their “freedom”.

      • For once, I agree with you fully.

        In rule-making and rule-following, there is always a balance to be found between logic and consistency, and much of the time the former needs to trump the latter.

      • If I’m sitting in the front-most seat on the bus, it makes no sense to trundle to the back door.

      • I rode the 545 to Microsoft this morning and, as usual, nearly every one on a packed bus got off at 40th St., a stop where almost no one gets on. Obviously, the people near the front of the bus got off at the front and the people near the back of the bus got off at the back. To do so any other way would have been downright stupid.

    • Now that the 11 isn’t interlined with the 125, I’m hoping that Metro can adjust the frequency on the 10/11 and coordinate them, so that we can have consistent 10-minute service along Pine St all the way to 15th.

      • We actually lost a couple of inbound trips in the AM and a couple of outbound trips in the PM this time round on the #11. Would love to see your suggestion in place.

      • Wouldn’t that deprive 15th of 15-minute service? Or does 15th not warrant service that frequent, even though apparently 19th does?

      • The way to solve it would be to get the 11 to 15-minute service (or alternately to put 10-minute service on the proposed Madison BRT). Madison Park and the 23rd/Madison area both have tremendous untapped bus ridership potential.

        But until we get there, I don’t think it’s worth screwing up the service on 15th, which is much more heavily used than the service on 19th.

      • Morgan,

        The Pike/Pine corridor needs 10-minute service much more than 15th (or certainly 19th) needs 15-minute service.

        And anyway, the 10′s tail really isn’t that long. From 15th and Mercer (the north end of the commercial strip) to 15th and John (where the 8 and 43 stop) is a mere 0.3 miles. In my experience, most people going to the northern part of 15th Ave do in fact take the 10 or the 43, whichever comes first. When I do end up on the 10, ridership north of the John stop is miniscule.

  19. Two wonderful things happened with the 132 Saturday. I actually didn’t take it until Sunday. The 132 now runs roughly half-hourly until the late evening. I didn’t have to stand at a stop for an hour wondering what happened to it, as has happened too often in the past. Riders who would have otherwise caught the 60 north were now waiting patiently for the 132 instead. What little ridership the 60 has between South Park and Georgetown will evaporate.

    Coming home, I didn’t have to hoof it half a mile to 1st Ave from SODO Station, nor count freight train cars while the bus sat with the engine off. The route was faster, and reminded me that if I want to get a Costco membership, I now have a one-seat ride. I realize that those used to catching a bus to/from 1st Ave will be less amused.
    .

    In defense of the lack of connection between the 131/132 and the 124, I have to say: The 124 was previously almost entirely a connector between downtown and jobs, between TIBS and jobs, and a scenic route for those trying to save 50 cents off the cost of the train. None of these markets make a case for a connection by the 1st Ave bridge.

    The only residential area served by the 124 is the west edge of Georgetown. Georgetowners will be happier having the 124 go through Georgetown. If they want to head up 4th Ave, it isn’t that far of a walk to Michigan and W Marginal Way.

    Good bus routes connect between where people live and where they work. The new 124 has much more of that than the old 124 did. (On that score, it would make even more sense to send the 124 up 15th Ave S north of Georgetown so a lot of Beacon Hill would have a one-seat ride to the Boeing corridor.)

    • You must not have ridden for a while.

      There haven’t been any buses on 1st Ave S between Jackson St and S. Lander St for quite some time. For a while they used Edgar Martinez, but the Port trucks regularly back up that route, so they stayed on 4th Ave to S. Lander.

      • He’s talking about 1st Ave S between Lander and East Marginal, which was served by the 132 until Saturday. Now people in that area have to walk either to 4th (to catch the revised 131/132) or to East Marginal (to catch the 121/122, when it runs).

    • I used to occasionally ride the 174 home from airport before Link existed and it was definitely not a scenic route. Nearly all of it is industrial areas and Boeing Field, all full of concrete.

      • I only drove the old 174 maybe 6 or 7 times (all full-time runs) in my driving career. But every time I drove it, I felt profoundly sad by the end of the run. Everyone who rode it was struggling; there was so much desolation in the landscape all along the route; somehow it made me feel defeated from start to finish.

        No other route in the system caused me to have the same emotional experience, not even the ones through equally struggling areas (7, old 42 to Rainier View, old 137 through the White Center projects).

        It really made me think.

  20. Someone in my Facebook feed who is not a transit nerd made a comment to the effect of “Rapid Ride is not rapid.” He rides the D line.

    I am really glad I work from home on Mondays. Hopefully tomorrow won’t suck.

  21. I noticed the 40 doesn’t have any stops on Leary between 15th Ave and 43rd St (near 6th Ave). That’s roughly ¾ mile between stops. Wouldn’t it make sense for a local route to have one additional stop about halfway between these two? An intermediate stop could potentially allow for easier access to Fred Meyer and other businesses along Leary.

    • The problem with that part of Leary is that there are no crosswalks between 8th Ave and 11th Ave, so it’s not a very pedestrian friendly area. Having to cross the street to catch the return bus would be dangerous or involve a long walk out of the way.
      The 61′s final stop is sort of goofy, too. It’s at NW Ballard Way and 11th Ave. It goes up 8th Ave NW but OBA doesn’t show the route stopping at 8th Ave NW and 45th (the 28 stops there). I wonder why.

      • Still, a stop at 11th for access to Fred Meyer and the USPS facility where you sometimes have to go to get held mail wouldn’t kill anyone.

        But can somebody please, please decommission the 45 feet of railway that crosses Leary at 14th (and ends right at the sidewalk) so that every bus doesn’t have to stop for all eternity!?

      • I’m still not sure who made that rule. It’s the antithesis of safety. “I know, I’m going to lose my momentum and cross these tracks really slowly.”

      • I checked.

        The tracks only extend a single block north of the intersection before they are broken again. They attach to nothing. The chance of a runaway freight car coming barreling down 14th is precisely zero.

        This is not an active or even a dormant railway line by any stretch of the imagination. The part that crosses Leary must be decommissioned for the 40 to not become an obstruction and a slog.

      • Not That Will in Seattle says:

        Once or twice my 26 has stopped at the tracks on 35th just east of Stone. Those are even less likely to be in use. :-)

      • Nathanael says:

        Checking Google, I think you’re looking at the spur which goes to the building at the NW corner of 14th and 22nd, with a big “ADD BARDAHL OIL” sign. It connects to the tracks along Shilshole Ave. There are several other disused industrial spurs off of those tracks as well.

        Obviously these have been out of service so long that people have paved over them, built parking on top of them, etc. I do wonder if they’ve been formally “abandoned” (in railroad regulatory parlance) — and also who owns them! They’re probably not city-owned. It would be a research project to figure out how to get them decommissioned.

  22. People on the West Seattle blog seem to be extremely upset with the changes. They’re saying the fact that the C line tries to take over the 54X, 54, and 22 is just ridiculous and there isn’t the capacity.

    Also people seem to be upset about the bus bulbs.

    • Car drivers are always upset about bus bulbs. Tough beans.

      • Ya, srsly. I’m actually upset about the opposite. No RR coach should ever have to pull out and merge back into traffic to make a stop. Universal in-lane stops should be part of the definition of the service.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        However having bus bulbs right at an intersection where vehicls behind can neither pass nor see around; and outside a building housing a large number of semi-ambulatory seniors and people with disabilities is a recipe for more than just a touch of road-rage.

      • Making all other traffic stop and wait behind buses while they load and unload is just stupid beyond belief. What is the point of making all those vehicles sit and idle at one stop after another?

        I predict all bus bulbs will be eliminated from Seattle within a few years. Bus bulbs are just such an unbelievably stupid idea.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        I believe that they make a lot of sense on 2-lane roads.

      • Bus bulbs mean you don’t have that problem like the 44 has on 45th Street where a bus is stuck for a minute at every stop waiting for a place to merge back into traffic. It’s a reliability killer that should be aggressively fought on our highest-ridership routes.

      • Norman, [ad hom] like you never let the bus back into traffic. You’re the reason we need bus bulbs.

        So suck it up.

      • The point is to prevent buses from being delayed by 30 seconds or more at every stop because no one ever allows them to merge into traffic. If you don’t understand this, I can only conclude you’ve never ridden a daytime bus.

      • Besides the bus not having to merge, another big benefit is that those cars that are stuck behind the bus are, well, stuck behind the bus. Meaning, the bus can drive full speed to the next bus stop and not have those extra cars in front of it waiting at a red light. Problem is, on a street like 45th in Wallingford where you already have a level of service F, that can lead to gridlock and the bus can get stuck behind cars that are stuck behind the next bus, especially when loading and unloading wheelchairs and bikes.

        That said, I believe that having new low-floor trolleys with modern wheelchair restraints (like on rapidride) will significantly improve this situation.

      • Another point I’d like to make is that those 60 passengers on that bus SHOULD have priority over that single driver in that car. If the passengers can wait for the bus to load and unload, so can that SOV SOB.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        Quit whining. You’ll make up the lost time at the next red light anyway.

        Without bus bulbs the bus (and the 60-some people on it) spends more time trying to merge back into traffic than actually loading passengers.

      • “Norman, [ad hom] like you never let the bus back into traffic. You’re the reason we need bus bulbs.”

        Norman telecommutes!

      • Jeff Dubrule says:

        It’s possible if you just started having cops pull over & ticket everyone who failed to stop for a bus with it’s left-blinker on, you wouldn’t need those bus-bulbs.

        Of course, we don’t have the will to regularly enforce any driving law other than DUIs and speeding on the freeway (one of the safest places to break the law, really: everyone’s in a crash-resistant cage!). So, I’m glad we have the cement to make it self-enforcing, even (and, honestly, especially) if it makes cars drive bus-speed.

    • The bus bulbs were first installed on University Way, and it significantly improved service there. That and a stop consolidation cut the travel time from 55th to Campus Parkway by half.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re a great idea. I was observing the perception of commenters there. Remember, they still vote on Metro taxes. I’m not really sure of a good way to get them to think they’re a good idea.

    • Beavis McGee says:

      Both legitimate gripes, and why I’m still opposed to this idea of RR replacing, rather than supplementing, existing service. The bus bulbs at Fauntleroy and California – right near a Section 8 building – is just poor design as they block a major intersection in 2 directions.

      • It will be interesting to see how the bus bulb on Queen Anne Ave. N. next to the Kidd Valley works. That appears to be another really stupid idea, and completely unnecessary. If that backs up traffic coming down the Counter Balance that will be seen as another incredibly stupid idea.

      • @Norman. The QA bus bulb makes a lot of sense. It’s the busiest stop on the D Line, has a narrow sidewalk directly in front of businesses, and (anecdotally) has fairly low compliance of yield-to-bus (especially during the AM peak). I’m happy it’s there.

      • Not just low compliance of yield-to-bus, but also a real visibility problem, because much of the traffic refusing to yield is turning right from Mercer onto Queen Anne Ave, and bus drivers attempting to merge back into traffic can’t see those car until the very last second. Between that issue, the narrow sidewalk, and the very high passenger volume, that’s a fantastic location for a bus bulb.

      • John Slyfield says:

        bus bulbs are necessary on rapid ride because many drivers do not yield to buses when re-entering traffic like they are required to. If drivers did yield regularly i doubt we would be having this discussion

    • There isn’t the capacity because it isn’t running often enough.

      The fact is, all those complainers are right — Metro has replaced 6+ buses an hour on the 54/55 with 4 buses an hour on RRC (one-way peak notwithstanding). Likewise in Ballard/Interbay; if you just needed to get to Market St, there was a bus running every 10 minutes that would take you there.

      I would honestly be shocked if there’s another service provider in the entire world which reduced effective frequency as part of rolling out “BRT”.

      • The reduced effective frequency applies in West Seattle, but not in Ballard (except late at night, as d.p. will remind you). In Ballard, if you “just want to get to Market” you can take the 40 as well as RR D, and you now have 8 buses an hour rather than 6. In West Seattle, there is no replacement for the lost capacity from the 55, and based on this morning it looks like that is going to be a big problem. Maybe a bunch of overcrowded West Seattle buses will force Metro to find some cash and add trips to RR C/D.

      • David: That’s all well and good, except that the 40 and D serve opposite stops on 3rd Ave. (Presumably the 40 was grouped with the 26/28, since it’s a time-competitive way to get to Fremont, but not so much to Ballard.) So aside from 3rd and Virginia, there’s no one place you can wait to catch both buses.

      • Aleks:

        The 40 is time-competitive to get to any part of Ballard, just as the 17 always was (because there is so much wrong with the 15/18, and RapidRide is nothing more than the 15).

        If you’re headed to of from central Ballard, the 40 is currently winning the speed competition handily. And it shows up on OneBusAway.

        David L:

        There were always eight buses per hour: six 15/18s + two 17s. The 8 buses we have now are no better coordinated than the 8 we had before.

        To pile on: there were always six per hour in the evening: four 15/18s + two 17s.

        In fact, going by buses per hour, I’m not sure there’s an increase at any time of day or any day of week, at all!!

      • Also — and I do hate to say this, because there’s so much divide-and-conquer around here — but Ballard and West Seattle are not equivalent, and part of RapidRide’s problem is that Metro treats them as if they are.

        Ballard is more populous, in a much more concentrated way. It’s real city, contiguous with and existing in functional relationship with the rest of the city. West Seattle is a suburb, an island, a place that people move to settle down in a way that willfully detaches them from the city.

        Ballard has lots and lots of non-car-owners. West Seattle has almost none.

        Part of cause of the Late Night Service Fuck is no doubt the through-routing, and Metro’s inclination to average out the need and demand between the two ends of the line. Most West Seattleites will only go out late with their cars; a half-hourly lifeline is therefore adequate (if less than ideal).

        But Ballardites do not have cars, or use them less if they have them, and horrible night service is a direct attack on the very car-free living that the city has been trying to encourage here!

      • d.p.: Fair enough. You’re absolutely right about the painful slog through LQA. Regardless, one could easily imagine deciding to take the D or the 40, whichever comes first… except that there are no common stops.

      • Fair enough, d.p. I often forget that the 17 existed despite having spent two shakeups driving it one day a week. I think that’s because for whatever odd reason ridership on it was always much lower than on the 18. Damn near every 18 trip I drove at any time on any day was packed. The 17 was empty except at peak hours.

      • It wasn’t just the 6 buses an hour on the 54 and 55 that were replaced by the C — there were also 2 buses an hour each on the 22 and 56. Metro replaced 10 mid-day buses an hour with 4.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        Agreed – higher frequency would solve many of the complaints.

      • “So aside from 3rd and Virginia, there’s no one place you can wait to catch both buses.”

        Usually, buses move slow enough through downtown that you should be able to wait halfway in between until you see one coming, then move over to the appropriate stop.

      • You can also catch both buses up at Holman & Mary on Crown Hill going southbound. Awesome. (Eye roll.)

  23. FYI, in addition to the block-box painting, SDOT has re-channelized Dexter Av N between Roy and Valley, to provide 2 southbound lanes approaching Mercer. Woo hoo! This should greatly reduce delays to southbound through traffic (i.e. those not turning left at Mercer) especially Routes 26 and 28. Justin’s complaints seem to have worked.

  24. Northbound 71/72/73, 9:10am, Convention Place. Three buses arrived at the same time, with one or two other routes between them. The first two were packed full and did not take any passengers. The third bus had a few seats empty. I got off at Campus Parkway and waited 15 minutes for my transfer (because I’d forgotten its schedule had changed). At least two more 7x came during that time, one almost full and the other less so (a few standees).

    So there may be a few more runs now to handle the college crowd, but I’m not sure. Maybe the buses were just bunched. None of them said “to 65th Street only”, as any relief runs presumably would.

    • Ian Barrere says:

      I was there as well. Ended up getting on to the third one since the first two were so packed. That was after waiting about 20 minutes without a single one.

  25. Someone on the seattle times live chat asked how they are going to be able to get to Magnolia after 10pm – the reply from Metro was basically, sorry we have no money. But that’s not exactly true is it? Route 32 west of Nickerson/15th runs until midnight along a route that is entirely covered by the D line while the 31 ends around 7. Metro could easily (and at no additional cost) restore some lifeline service to Magnolia by switching 32 trips to 31. Although some 32 riders would need to transfer, all 32 passengers would have SOME option, as opposed to Magnolia with no service whatsoever. Beyond that, this would allow Metro to walk the talk on service duplication, rather than adding on a whole new layer of it as they have done here.

    • That might be a last-ditch option. But virtually none of the late-night traffic to Magnolia is coming from the east — it’s all coming from the south. And there is more late-night demand from LQA to Fremont and the U-District. The best solution is not to jerry-rig the 31 and force 32 customers to transfer, it’s to restore the damn late-night trips on either the 24 or the 33.

      • Again, Metro is always going on about reducing duplication and here we have a NEW route that is very duplicative; this essentially prioritizes some passengers having a 1 seat ride even though they have options over an entire neighborhood having some form of access. If this is what we want from our network than so be it, but lets just be honest that sometimes we don’t want to do the hard work of having a network based system that sometimes requires transfers (but then sometimes we do…).Urgh.

      • Is either a 31-> D or a D-> 31 transfer even workable in the first place? IIRC 15th and Emerson/Nickerson is an unholy tangled nightmare for pedestrians with I think no good way to even cross 15th on foot. And that’s in daylight.

      • Yes, it’s workable, because there is a pedestrian passageway under 15th. No, it’s not pretty or fun at all, especially at night, when that passageway is freaking scary.

        Even as Metro is taking continuous baby steps toward building a real frequent service network during the day, we’re a long way from having the service levels or facilities to make it work at night. I don’t think anyone would do a D/31 transfer at night; they’d do things the 1970s way, which is to say they’d go downtown and get on their 26/28/40 or 7x bus as appropriate. Meanwhile, late-night Magnolia riders would not be riding to Fremont just to transfer to the 31. They’d take the D and walk, or just take a cab.

        This is a roundabout way of saying that the 32 night trips serve far more people than 31 night trips would. 31 night trips would also serve far fewer people than the night trips on the 24 or 33 that should be brought back posthaste. They’d be a worst-case solution.

      • A D->31 transfer is absolutely not workable because neither the D nor the 31 are reliable enough for you to be able to make such a transfer without being prepared to sit at a bus stop a minimum of 15-20 minutes. This is true no matter how you attempt to align the schedule – if the connection time is any less than 15-20 minutes, it won’t be reliable.

      • As someone who makes one late night transit trip a week from the Ballard Bridge to west Magnolia (involves walking two miles, up the Magnolia Bridge), -I- wouldn’t do a 31 transfer if the option was out there. The stops are just placed completely wrong for any transferring at all at that intersection.

    • There was a very sensible restructure for Magnolia that rerouted the 24 through Magnolia to Ballard to pick up what is now the 61, but the locals balked.
      So Metro took their ball and went home, in a sense.
      I used to live in Magnolia and used the 24 a lot, there are a number of apartments on Manor/28th Ave W. At night though, the ridership really dropped off after that stop.

      • I bet the 61 is being left hanging for a possible second attempt at that restructure… or alternately for another connection to the east.

      • The 24 does a three-stage zigzag on 28th, 34th, and Viewmont Way. The proposal would have served only 34th. (28th would have gotten a separate peak-only route, and Viewmont Way would have been cut off entirely.) Status quo advocates balked, and got a net loss. So therefore, the cost to serve 28th and Viewmont Way was higher than the reroute would have cost, and the difference was taken out of evening service.

        There is some argument for keeping 28th because there’s a steep hill between 28th and 34th, and people do ride between the two. There’s less argument for keeping Viewmont Way because it’s all expensive view houses who rarely took the existing bus. But there is a second entrance to Discovery Park at the end of the 24, so that attracts a few riders.

      • The 33 was going to take over 28th Ave N heading North, and the usual Gilman, 22nd, and Thorndyke South(toward DT).

        The beauty of this is that commuters would never have to walk up the hill. Those W of 28th could walk down to the 24 on 34th Ave going DT. Those E of 28th could walk down the hill to the 33 on 22nd Ave W.
        Coming home, the 33 would drop everyone off at the top of the hill.

        I think it just was hard for Metro to articulate the benefits before the neighborhood came out in force against it.

        The thing is, when I lived there the number 1 complaint I heard was how hard it was to get to Ballard from Magnolia.

      • Mark Y., I think (and hope) that this is one idea that Metro will try again at some point.

        Usually loops suck, but under the particular circumstances of the 33, the loop is a great idea. And, let’s be honest, there is no need for service whatsoever on Viewmont Way. That part of the 19 and 24 are a luxury service, and the community has much more pressing needs.

        And the 61 is just sitting there being pointless waiting desperately for something to make it useful.

      • personally speaking, I need transit on Viewmont, but I could make do with 19 peak only. The people fighting the changes were iirc the 28th people who were annoyed at their commute lengthening. As someone on the far side of the existing 24 loop, my sympathies are limited…

        There was one guy in particular who was aggressively lobbying 24/33 riders on the bus to call Metro and complain – taking different buses on his commute home so he could hit the most people. He was very upset, had flyers and so on, and may well have directly talked to most of the non-19 commuter ridership.

      • Personally, once the 24 reboot died, I would have had the 17 and 18 keep their numbers and interline them for 15-minute service south of downtown Ballard. Does any part of the 40 north of Market deserve 15-minute service? I know no part of it had service better than 20 minutes (and then only to make the 15/18 10 minutes and provide better-than-30-minute service to downtown Ballard), though I guess it would have been possible to interline the 5-Northgate and 75-west between Greenwood and Northgate TC (unless one of them went through North Seattle CC and the other didn’t), but even then if the RapidRide is ending where it is at the new 28 terminus it might as well continue to Northgate TC itself.

  26. Lack Thereof says:

    Watching OBA’s arrival times for 3rd & Columbia as the afternoon peak begins. Right now everything is leaving the stop 5-10 min late, but looking at at SDOT’s 3rd ave traffic cameras, it doesn’t look like there’s much of a backup yet.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      .. And seemed to stay that way almost every time I checked. Almost no one was on-time or early, but the worst lates were usually only on the order of 15 minutes (most likely delayed before entering downtown).

      So 5 minutes late for southbound surface routes originating downtown was the standard this afternoon. Not an operational disaster, no bus gridlock, but obviously worse than Metro expected, or else they would have padded the schedule more to make up for the delay.

      I wonder how the tunnel fared?

    • Lack Thereof says:

      And at 7 PM we are largely back on schedule

  27. At 3:45pm just saw 2 Rapid Ride C’s bunched at 3rd and Spring. Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come for the evening commute.

    • Just before those two bunched coaches there had been about a 30 minute gap at 3/Spring for S/B C-Line service. No coaches between 1505 and 1535.

    • Bob the bus rider says:

      I have already seen many instances of southbound and northbound C and D buses downtown bunched.

  28. “The massses of homeless people started in the late 1980s when Reagan closed inpatient mental health facilities, cut welfare, and instituted economic policies that made it harder for the working poor to make ends meet”

    It’s inaccurate to put this wholly on Reagan. State mental facilities started to close/shrink back in the late 60′s, with pressure from both sides of the political spectrum. Also there were new classes of anti-psychotics being introduced that were sold as permanent fixes. Entirely new community mental health organizations were started up all over the country to handle the influx. However due to inadequate funding and greater than expected failure rates of the new drugs many people fell through the cracks. A third factor is that in most big cities most all of the traditional SROs were torn down in the name of urban reform, removing the cheap housing stock that people on disability could actually afford.

  29. Stephan J. Cox says:

    A far-reaching consequence of abolishing the Seattle RFA would be that outbound ST express buses can operate one-zone outside of King County with a little less confusion. I only say a “little” less because I’ve almost always run into 590 series drivers who get confused when I try to ride southbound within Pierce County and then try to overcharge me on the fare. But anyway, if it means everyone pays when they get on, the process will be streamlined without the driver having to worry about who needs to pay when they get off.

  30. Meant to ask this earlier, but is there any rhyme or reason which stops get the new style signs? I’ve seen brand new signs in the old style at I-90/Rainier and even on 3rd Ace.

  31. I still don’t think 15-minute headways are frequent enough to do away with the schedule on RR D. Lots of complaints about that in West Seattle.

    • There should be a printed schedule for EVERY route, all day long. It is a disservice and an insult to those of us connecting from or to half-hourly or hourly buses for there NOT to be a printed schedule for Link and all the “Vapid”Ride routes.

      • Adam Bejan Parast says:

        Routes should have schedule unless they come at less than 5 minute headways. Think about it this way, if buses come frequently enough that riders don’t actually look at the schedule there still isn’t any harm done in providing them, but the reverse is certainly not true.

      • Yeah well, you can tell Metro that until you are blue in the face and all you will get is that asinine canned response “Just show up to your closest RapidRide stop and a bus will arrive shortly to take you on your way!”

        Metro appears to have made a firm decision to simply ignore its customers on this.

        Lack of schedules was by far the biggest complaint I’ve heard from people waiting/riding RR both on Saturday and today. Also, the paper timetable now only features a schematic map, so passengers can’t use that to even tell what streets the routes use. BRILLIANT.

      • Bob the bus rider says:

        Has anyone ever heard of a 15 minute daytime headway route – bus or train – without published schedules? Anywhere?

      • John Slyfield says:

        i have seen it…on rapid ride a and rapid ride b. oh yes add central and tacoma link. In los Angeles every route has a published schedule.

      • Bob the bus rider says:

        Central and Tacoma Link don’t count; both have better than 15 minute daytime headways. I’m just wondering if anywhere in the country there exists a daytime 15 minute service without published schedules.

      • WMATA Routes 74 and 90 to name a few that are operated on a headway basis.

    • I still don’t think 15-minute headways are frequent enough to do away with the schedule on RR D. Lots of complaints about that in West Seattle.

      Absolutely correct. And there are lots of buses with 15 minute or less headways that have always had schedules. They make the route less useful than existing routes with similar service and pretend it’s an exciting new innovation. There are many rage-inducing features about rapidride, but for me this is probably the worst.

  32. Lightning says:

    Massive fare evasion–intentionally or not–on the first 18X of the PM commute. Operator opened both doors along Third Avenue–to be fair at some stops pax wanted off–but many entering pax boarded through the back door. Very discouraging. I think we had a novice bus driver. She would NOT leaf-frog on Third, so we were stuck behind mutliple buses when it wasn’t even our stop. We thusly waited at least five minutes at Pike as one bus after another zoomed by in the left lane. With fare evasions, I don’t think this is going to work well….

    • I don’t know about y’all, but I’d rather see massive fare evasion on RR than massive boarding delays.

    • The newbies have to start somewhere, and it’s with peak trippers, since that’s when Metro needs every warm body it has. Hopefully she learns quickly!

    • Breadbaker says:

      No bus driver seemed to be leapfrogging on Third. We were stuck for three lights behind a crush-loaded 358.

      • Don’t the buses stopping at one set of stops leapfrog the buses that stop at the other set of stops?

  33. Breadbaker says:

    Did they make a change to the 26X? It always did not stop at 40th and Ashworth, just up the hill from Stone, starting regular stops at Wallingford. Today, it stopped at Ashworth, and the automated announcement seemed to agree.

    • The stop name was always displayed when I’ve taken the 26X home, but except for one or two times, the driver has skipped it even if a stop was requested beforehand.

  34. Will Green says:

    So, my observations from today:

    Morning
    Not horrible, but a few issues. Some minor delays getting into the tunnel on Link, but that’s not entirely unusual, and it wasn’t longer than one minute. My own inability to leave the house on time meant that I missed my bus, so I got to watch things at 4th Ave S/S Jackson for a bit.
    Loading was slow, but no one tried boarding through the back doors, and only one or two people exited through the front. The biggest crowd occurred when a Sounder arrived, and many of the riders swarmed busses at the stop for a ride closer to the CBD or First Hill. SoundTransit had two staffers at the stop, armed with schedules, logo jackets, and loud voices; every arriving bus accompanied by a cry of, “Pay as you enter! Exit at the back! Have your fare ready!” The ‘attendants’ also worked to spread loads out across multiple busses when possible, which helped keep things moving. Grabbing a moment during a short lull, one noted that, “People are far more prepared than I expected…but loading is still a bit slow.”
    Overall, things were delayed a bit (~5 minutes at my stop), but moved well.

    Minus the delay from missing my bus (again, my fault), I was only held back by 10 minutes or so. Not bad.

    Evening
    …Evening didn’t go as well. My southbound 301 was about 15 minutes late, mostly due to northbound traffic on I-5, which was pretty heavy. Such delays at the start of the route aren’t unusual.
    The tunnel was messy. Not a disaster, but there is clearly a lot of confusion, and short tempers. People seem to have grown accustomed to ‘bad behavior’ by drivers, such as opening doors multiple times in a tunnel station or waiting for runners, and having all that (mostly) stripped away didn’t sit well with some.
    On Loaders: Bus drivers seem to have a hard time seeing them, and often a loader would be in place, but the back door would remain shut. The LCC had a message playing almost constantly telling riders to pay as they enter at the front, or to tap their ORCA card at the back if an attendant was present, but few headed it. People tended to stick in a line, even if there’s a loader with no line 10 feet away, and the announcement was too quiet to hear well most of the time. There are also far too few loaders to be effective, especially as platoons get backed up and more and more busses fill the platform space. Additionally, the loaders seemed to vanish rather quickly once the peak ended, despite the tunnel still being really busy and crowded.
    On Drivers: Aside from the aforementioned issues seeing loaders, many drivers are still failing to follow some tunnel operation protocols, such as not opening a coach’s doors more than once, waiting for runners, or stopping multiple times. At the same time, many drivers (certainly more than ‘usual’) did their best to keep things moving, even if it meant making a few late or entitled (for lack of a less loaded phrase) riders unhappy.
    On Passengers: Many got the memo, and had their fare ready to pay at the front door. That said, it only takes a few to muck things up, and plenty did. One passenger on the 550 managed to board via the back door – said door slammed shut on his backpack, and the cluster of riders behind him planning to do the same looked rather scandalized at being redirected to the front. Even better, the rider who made it in then proceeded to push through to the front of the bus to pay his fare. Another rider on my Link train somehow missed his stop at IDS. As the train pulled away, he shouted, “Wait, hold up!” at the air, and slammed the door button as if either of those would do anything. He proceeded to mutter profanities, and topped it off by kicking the door rather hard as it opened at Stadium station.

    Total delay in the evening: about 30 minutes. I left work half an hour earlier than I normally do, and got home as if I hadn’t.

    • Beavis McGee says:

      I worked as a tunnel loader, and the experience was much as you described. Drivers often didn’t open the rear doors (even if there were passengers wanting off the bus) or worse, closed the rear door while passengers were still loading. We “disappeared” at 6, because that’s.when our assignment ended. Drivers are actually supposed to make second stops if they’re delayed in the rear bay, or the third bus or more in line. As you said, there weren’t enough loaders on the platform. At best, it was ineffective. At worst (especially with drivers closing doors and pulling away as passengers were still loading at the rear door), downright unsafe.

      • Beavis, did you pick the loader assignment, get it off te extra board, or what?

      • So here’s one thing I don’t get about Metro using bus drivers as loaders. The loaders are employed during the peak period, which, by definition, is when the maximum number of buses are operating. Which means all the drivers should already be driving buses. Which means, either the service restructuring is reducing the number of peak-hour drivers need to drive buses or Metro is hiring new employees (and training them to drive buses) just to do loader duty (or to drive buses to free up existing drivers for loader duty)! Which one the two is it?

      • Beavis McGee says:

        Picked.

      • @Beavis,

        If Metro decides to add additional loaders for a longer period, are they required to be operators?

        Is Metro allowed to create a job classification of “loader”, so long as they are in the union?

      • Beavis McGee says:

        @brent, Ihave no idea.

      • If you have an operator that cannot operate a bus due to some sort of disability (e.g. crutches) they could easily stand on the platform and tap cards.

      • Beavis McGee says:

        Someone on crutches is going to have a hard time moving around the platform, not to mention standing for 3 hours. Are you serious?

    • Adam Bejan Parast says:

      Thanks for the report.

  35. I rode Rapid Ride D today from Market/15th to Lower Queen Anne “Uptown” around 6pm with a bicycle. A few observations:

    1. Bus bulb at Mercer and QA Avenue was unmarked and they had the stop down the street for non-Rapid Ride routes, which was confusing.
    2. I asked the driver the procedure for bikes, whether I should go through the front door, etc., and he said “I don’t know – whatever you want is fine”.
    3. It was surprisingly crowded for the hour/direction.
    4. It was not noticeably faster than a normal bus.
    5. The onboard announcements didn’t work – they called the wrong stop

    I’m thinking that once there is an ORCA card reader for all door boarding this may get marginally faster. The bus is nice, because it’s new. My main thought was, if I were a regular rider of this route, and I had to walk further for the minimal gains of this bus, I would think it wasn’t really an improvement.

    I hope they manage to fix some of the issues and get this sped up, otherwise Rapid Ride might have a bit of a PR problem.

    • With the Thomas Street overpass completed, I would guess that simply riding a bike all the way down the Elliot Bay trail would be faster than waiting for a “rapid” ride to carry your bike on.

    • Thoughts on your trip:
      1-At QA/Mercer, all buses (incl. RR) should only be stopping at the temporary stop down the block. I’m hoping that the stop will move back to the new bulb in the next couple days since all the underground and concrete work is done. (The new stop was unmarked because it’s supposed to be closed.)
      4-It’s not faster because the transit signal priority isn’t working yet and only two stops have off-board payment working today (65th northbound and 60th southbound). Once more stops have off-board payment working (especially in Lower Queen Anne) it should be a couple minutes faster.

    • Do RR coaches have bike racks? Well there’s your problem.

      The way RR should work is with level boarding and bikes go INSIDE the bus. Like a train.

    • Brad and Andrew:

      Metro service manager David Hull admitted this afternoon that Brad’s stop at 15th & Market won’t have off-board payment (or real-time info) for another YEAR!

      Yes, really.

      Here’s where I posted the quote: http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/10/01/service-change-rfa-elimination-open-thread/#comment-253947

      So that’s a thing we now know…

      • I rode RR D at 5:45 from 3rd and Pike to 15th and Market. I have been disappointed with Metro’s implementation of Rapid Ride in general (stop spacing, frequency, lack of schedule, creating a new branding for a service that is not faster than an existing express bus… etc) but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find the ride took just under half and hour, which is usually about what I count on for a 28 express from 3rd and marion to NW 8th and Market. I’m not a regular 15 or 15 express rider, and I wish (for my convenience) that it shared all of the 28/28x stops, but if the travel time is consistent it would certainly be much more appealing than any other local service currently offered by Metro(perhaps with the exception of the 44).

      • >20 minutes to travel 5 miles on a “rapid transit” service is an abomination.

      • I guess I didn’t really reply to what I meant to. But yeah, I guess my expectations were so low that I was actually pleasantly surprised it wasn’t worse.

  36. Beavis McGee says:

    Another tunnel issue that came up-a passenger boarded an outbound 218 at West lake and was charged 3.00 (2 zone peak). He got off at IDS. He wanted to know how much he’d be charged if he boarded LINK and road to Beacon Hill. I had no idea. Nor do I know if or how anyone who boards a 2 zone preset gets that money back in a practical way if they only go 1 zone.

    • He had an active transfer at a face value of $3.00. That means he could have used Link all the way to the airport and not gotten charged a single extra cent.

      • Also, the Link fare from downtown to Beacon Hill is $2.00 even, i.e. less than any possible adult fare on Metro.

        So it would be to his advantage to know that he saves money by never setting foot on Metro for that particular trip.

  37. So, for various reasons I ended up taking/causing a lot of bus trips this weekend.

    Saturday:
    Afternoon 8 from Capitol Hill to Seattle Center: couple minutes late but that’s good because I otherwise wouldn’t have caught it.
    Took a 24 from along Elliot/15th. 10-15 minutes late. Was waiting at a RapidRide stop for 25 minutes – only saw 1 D at the very end.

    Sunday:
    Visitors came by bus from Ballard, Greenwood, and Capitol Hill to Magnolia using the 24 early afternoon on 2 different 24 trips, one of which was 15 minutes late. In my experience it’s normal that every other 24 is hideously late – usually I blame the 131/132 thing but that shouldn’t be an issue anymore, right? The Ballardites did a time-padded D->24 transfer (allowing for possible bridge issues) that worked fine – they reported 3 Ds in 20 minutes waiting for the 24.

    Monday:
    Commute on the 19. Morning seemed pretty normal, other than the 60-footer and the new route. Right on time at the stop, around 5 minutes late arriving. 3rd is a different rider experience than 4th, but that mostly showed up in the afternoon. Definitely dirtier and more pee-scented. Homeless guy tried to sell a bus ticket for $1.50. New driver on the 19 – helped out a blind man trying to find the D in Pioneer Square by giving him a ride. Different/larger? crowd on the bus now – more people hopping the 19 to transfer later on or just asking what this strange new bus is. I think 3rd is slower than 4th, though various factors weren’t helping. Arrived maybe 8 minutes late, by my estimate?

    And someone else I know did 24->Link midday Mon with no apparent difficulties.

    • When I lived in Magnolia, those weekend 24′s were always very unreliable. I too thought it was the 131/132′s. Weird. I spent an awful lot of time waiting for that dang bus.

    • This is why Metro just revised the 131/132, both to change their routing and to break them in half at Burien. Hopefully the 26/28 riders that now have the 131/132 on the other end will have fewer issues.

    • Because 3rd has been the spine for so long a lot of people who are just moving around downtown go there because that’s where the most routes are. I would be surprised if you did *not* see more folks on the 19 and 24 now they are on 3rd.

  38. I saw lot of little freshman mistakes today, most having to do with the shake-up, and a few having to do with the payment system change.

    One 120 driver tried to turn into a lane that was full of parked cars. Once he realized it was a parking lane, he had to do a lot of maneuvering to get back into the driving lane, with the intersection blocked. Nearly all the seats on that bus were occupied when it left Westwood Village, and it got just a little more packed as it approached downtown. The majority of riders got off at 3rd & Pine. This was around 2 pm in the afternoon.

    One of the deboarding tunnel buses pulled all the way forward … to the light rail stop post, blocking the 71 behind it.

    It wasn’t clear whether platooning was actually happening.

    Passengers snuck in the rear door unless Metro or ST employees were standing there. The fare evaders I saw were mostly white, looked like they had a clear command of English, and seemed content to get away with it.

    The ORCA Boarding Assistants were too few, too unnoticed by both drivers and passengers, and too quiet.

    But the proof in the pudding is speed getting through downtown. I took train rides the length of the tunnel about three times during peak, and none of them were more than a minute slower than normal. I rode the 21 southbound along 3rd Ave at 5:45 from Lenora, and it took only 14 minutes to get to Lander. In other words, the buses may have been late, but they were generally not slow.

    There was a long queue at the Westlake Metro Customer Shop, presumably to get ORCAs. There were no lines at the TVMs, but they all now feature big round “ORCA” blue medalions. Perhaps “ORCA sold here” would get longer lines.

    The new tunnel bay signs are dark and hard to read from afar. I hope they are temporary versions.

    There are lots of little things to fix, and freshman training issues that will subside in a day or two. But, all in all, it looked to me like Metro did a bang-up job today!

  39. Brendan M. says:

    I had an odd experience trying to catch a northbound 5 at 3rd & Bell (in front of the Moda Apartments) after dark. I was standing in a well-lit area of the RapidRide shelter when I saw a 5, so I raised my hand as the bus approached. The bus slowed down and pulled past me to the front of the bus zone, so I did my usual speedwalk toward the open front door… And then the bus closed its door and pulled away. I banged my hand against the side of the bus, to no avail.

  40. I noticed the mega-stop at Lenora(?) and 3rd southbound, combining all the buses headed into downtown from Belltown.

    What are all the other super-secret sweet spots to wait for any bus, so you don’t have to guess which one will come first?

  41. One serious piece of capital infrastructure is still missing: a southbound/westbound stop at Lander & 3rd for all the buses headed across the West Seattle Bridge from SODO.

  42. My comment is about route #5.

    I love how it now does not go to Northgate. I never thought it should, since I rode it in the early 80′s as a teenager. Now, coming to work, I can park my car north of 105th and get a bus every 15 minutes. But, the problem of Shoreline Community College still exists. That problem is that the bus is still stuck in all the traffic leaving the college when classes get out. This morning, I caught the bus at 130th and Greenwood and as always, the bus was 10 minutes late. I wish there was a way that the route could get priority over the cars in the College area, or better yet, have an exclusive exit from the College.

  43. Garrison Bromwell says:

    Morning – to Fremont/Ballard via 40 – 5 minutes late but fast ride, bust not crowded (40′) bus.

    Early afternoon – 40 from 1st Ave NW and 36 to downtown Ballard. On time, fast ride.

    Walked to 15th and Market to take the D line METRO FAIL BIG TIME Wait time was 20 – 25 minutes, bus arrived packed to the gills (HS kids from Ballard Hi), driver simply told everyone get on the back doors (fare payment = not…no ORCA reader at the stop). Slow ride to Queen Ann — one other D skipped past us at at stop. Off at Queen Ann to take 8 to Broadway — 3 D buses at the Queen Ann stop at the same time. Not a good start. 8 driver very professional, played the back door tune before every requested stop, reminded boarding passengers to have their fares ready next time and not delay everyone on the bus digging for their ORCA card, ride up Denny was fast (no traffic).

  44. On my return to SE Seattle this evening, I transfered from Link at SODO to my route 50. I was surprised when the driver asked for assistance in confirming the route through the VA Hospital loop. In chatting with him he said the route “checkout” consisted of a bus with many drivers on it shooting the * and not really paying close attention to route details. I also recall that the RR-C I was on earlier in the day, the driver was asking for route direction confirmation. Passengers thought he was more or less joking.

    It is clear that KCMetro really cut corners in preparing for this service change. It is really unprofessional that the drivers that are driving these new routes haven’t been scrutinized to make sure they’re not going to get lost. While it engenders a sense of community that passengers can assist the drivers in finding their way. It’s really not professional.

    Yesterday, when I also took the route 50 from SODO, it was more than 15 minutes late arriving at SODO and I was not pleased to have to wait in a desolate area “alone”. The driver was not particularly in a hurry to make up time and on a couple of occasions for several minutes seemed to have stopped the bus as if he was early or something. At one point I called out to ask why were we stopped. I can only surmise that he was consulting a map…

    • Given that there are other buses on Lander that don’t yet have a stop, at least one direction, would it help reduce the appearance and actuality of desolation to have multiple buses serving that stop? … meaning more riders waiting there?

    • The SODO connection between Link and 50 is just broken – it’s a terrible place to wait and there’s almost nowhere that connection will actually take you that you couldn’t do better another way.

      Where exactly were you trying to go? I’ll bet there was an alternative option that would have worked better.

      • For 50 riders east of MLK, Columbia City Station and Othello Station are clearly better.

        For riders close to 15th, Link+60 is probably better.

        For riders close to Beacon Ave, the 36, or Link+36, is probably better. For riders between Beacon Ave and MLK, there is also the option of getting off at Columbia City Station and heading west, which might end up being faster, depending on the timing, because of the VA loop. Or, take the 36 to Columbian, and then transfer to the 50.

        For riders heading to most anywhere in West Seattle, Yes, there are duplicate ways to get to every destination during peak.

        For morning commuters, though, riding in on the 50, and transfering at SODO Station, involves very little wait, since there is a river of buses going by SODO Station.

      • I was well aware that I had multiple choices to transfer to the 50 but I chose SODO because OneBusAway indicated I’d have the shortest wait at that station.

        I’m appreciative that the route 50 exists because it provides service to my neighborhood and keeps me from having to schlep up a hill with significant grade and elevation. I’m appreciative that it comes more frequently and that it also is in service much later in the evening than its predecessor route (39).

        I’ll most likely give up SODO as a connection point after dark.

      • Assuming you’re headed somewhere east of Columbia City station, even if OBA claims a shorter wait for the 50 at SODO, travel time between the two stations is faster on Link than on the bus (no detour into the VA hospital). Also, once you get to Columbia City station, you then have the option of consulting OneBusAway to decide whether to wait for the 50 or just walk. Make the connection at SODO and you’re committed to wait for the bus no matter what.

    • GuyOnBeaconHill says:

      Many of the drivers are just as confused as the riders. I was waiting at 15th & Leary for a northbound RR. When the RR arrived an elderly, vision impaired rider got off needing to get to downtown Ballard. The driver told him to wait at the stop and transfer to the 29 or 62. It was 1100am–the 29 and 62 are peak hour only–he would have had a 4 hour wait for the next 62! The driver didn’t know that the 40 was now the new connection (replacing the 18) for downtown Ballard.

      • I had a driver today at 3rd and Cedar tell a passenger to go to 2nd to catch the 131/132. I had to catch him and tell him to ride to Bell St. and catch it there.
        The driver eventually figured it out when a 131 was directly in front of him!
        If we had a system map at virtually every stop, most people wouldn’t have to rely on the driver for information.

      • Or if drivers had system maps of their own to scan.

  45. Oh my god! OH MY GOD! Oh my god!!

    It just gets worse and worse:

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/09/coming-monday-share-how-bus-changes-are-affecting-you/?cmpid=2628

    Update on 15th & Market RapidRide stop – the real time information sign and ORCA card reader was not installed due to site conditions. The stop will move north of the intersection with completion of the Market Street Landing development in 2013. At that time, those facilities will be provided.
    by David Hull, Metro Service… 12:21 PM

    FFFFFUUUUUCCCCKKKKKK YYYYOOOOOUUUUUU!!!!!!!!

    • From your perspective they really botched this up huh?

      This is really an insult to call this BRT. The feds should ask for their $ back. Plus, RapidRide was a really dumb name. People on the SeaTimes blog are like dude, the 15X is so much more rapid than RR. WELL NO CRAP. RR is a local bus.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        The feds already have pointed to RapidRide as an example of “BRT done right” and “rail on wheels”.
        ;.;

      • As I’ve said before, FTA administrator Peter Rogoff will be demanding his money back… just as soon as he returns from meeting with those Nigerian Princes about the irresistible investment opportunity they have for him.

      • The feds now have two levels of BRT. RapidRide is in the lower level.

    • I can almost give them a pass if construction at that site means they cannot move the stop. With money tight, the argument could be made that putting the RTIS and Orca readers there only to move them in a year isn’t worth the cost. I’m not sure I agree, but I get the reasoning.

      What I don’t get are all the other stops that don’t have this problem. Why is 3rd and Bell not working, why is 1st and Denny and QA Ave N and Mercer still under construction, etc?

      None of these stops have mitigating circumstances that I can see, and yet they’re not done or operational yet. I don’t really see any excuse for it.

      I think there was a ton of heartache over the end of the RFA, but that seemed fairly smooth to me(granted I don’t use the tunnel). The RR rollout was not nearly as smooth as it should have been.

      I have to say that the drivers I encountered were all very helpful, there was plenty of staff around on 3rd to answer all the questions, and I even saw a SPD officer controlling the crosswalk at 3rd and Columbia (hooray!).

      • Bullpucky. This is THE stop for Ballard.

        This is where all of the demand for off-board payment will be.

        This is where all of the central Ballardites who Metro expects to be walking great distances to RapidRide will be looking for their real-time info.

        The stop is on the correct corner — far side of the intersection, and closer to the 44 stop that people are most likely to use for cross-connections.

        Metro shouldn’t need for some fancy new building to come online so that they can run cords out its fucking window. They need their payment system to work wherever it happens to be!

        What kind of Halfwit Variety Hour are we watching here?

      • Usually I find d.p.’s rhetoric overheated. But I completely agree here. We worked for years to get that nearside stop moved farside (it used to be by Denny’s). It’s completely idiotic to move it back, especially because it’s apparently too expensive to run 200 feet of wire.

      • There’s got to be some reason they decided to move it to the less than ideal near side of the intersection. I wonder if they got a freebie from the developer and that’s why they decided to move it? Pretty dumb reason.

        They’ve built the stations like they’re living paycheck to paycheck, so maybe they had to. But this is just like the lack of stations downtown. No transparency, just an “oh by the way” tucked into an online chat.

        Sad.

      • [ad hom]

        Because “incompetent” is about the only possible explanation for using a communications system for your readers and info boards that cannot go anywhere they’re actually needed, and “asshole” is the only explanation for not mentioning a one-year delay in implementation until three days after the service goes live.

        The city has streetlights on every corner. If you can’t figure out a way to source your power from them and route your data wirelessly, then you have no business working on this kind of project.

      • Nathanael says:

        If you can get traffic lights across an intersection, you can get the necessary wiring for a bus stop across the intersection.

  46. anonymousguy says:

    I’m disappointed that the 120 is the sole survivor of the routes from White Center. 22, 23, 54, and 125 were all consolidated into stops that originate out of Westwood Village instead.

    • The 113 provides peak express service that includes White Center. The 60, 128, and 560 also serve White Center. Frankly, White Center was not one of the most inviting places to transfer.

    • The 23 was absorbed into the 131, and now stops at 9th and Roxbury, just a few blocks away.

    • Oh, and the 125 still stops at White Center on its way to Westwood.

      • Nope. The 125 heads over at Barton and terminates at Westwood.

      • So it does. Yet another route map mistake. The route map labels Barton as “Henderson.”

        Still, Barton and 16th is a trivial walk from White Center.

  47. One more observation from yesterday: Cash-and-change fumbling added about 3-4 seconds for the typical boarder, and will hopefully be mitigated by people getting ORCA, which seems to be happening in droves at the Westlake Metro Customer Shop, as well as by ORCA users bypassing them through the rear door.

    The biggest slowdowns in the tunnel were the ramps and securement/desecurement. There is nothing we can do about that, except maybe to make the train free for RRFP holders in the tunnel, as well as accelerating the implementation of passive restraint technology.

    The biggest slowdowns on 3rd Ave were the lifts, and securement/desecurement. The replacement trolley fleet can’t come soon enough, but hopefully not so soon that it can’t be retrofit for passive restraint.

    Still, Metro is undertaking a big listening exercise for mobility device users. This could be the next huge step forward. As it was, getting across downtown was just as brisk as ever, with rare exceptions yesterday.

    • Unfortunately, “listening exercise” is Metro code for “asking people to double down on their fear of change so that we can do as little improvement work as possible”.

  48. This post is very stupid, so bear with me.

    So you have the 40. Stopping on 3rd Ave. along with the Fremont buses. Because, the theory goes, it’s a time-competitive way to get from downtown to Fremont, but not Ballard.

    Except that the 26 and 28 are, by schedule, 4 whole minutes faster from 3rd Ave. to Fremont in the outbound peak (apparently the 26 and 28 are faster south of Mercer by enough that the 40 can’t catch up north of Mercer)! And accounts here suggest the 40 is handily beating RR D to the part of Ballard they both go to, and the D Line doesn’t go to “real Ballard” anyway. So.

    Shouldn’t the real Ballard RR line run up Dexter through Fremont, then down Leary to “real Ballard”, then end shortly afterward? And if the network is like it is today, shouldn’t the 40 stop with the Ballard routes because (a) Ballard needs the capacity more (b) it’s more time-competitive to Ballard somehow (c) Ballard needs the capacity more (d) it might embarrass KCM/SDOT into fixing RR D (I admit this last one is a stretch)?

    OK, that’s all.

    • The 40′s only problem is the slog through SLU. A bit (well, more than a bit) of signal priority would fix that issue. And then it would be a good candidate for some sort of HCT treatment (or for replacement with a streetcar, if the city is to be believed).

      I think putting the 40 onto Dexter at that point would slow it down, because there are far more riders along Dexter than Westlake.

      • The whole damn point is that Dexter has more riders than Westlake. With off-board payment boarding is fast anyway. Why would you move a high-capacity transit system away from riders (or even potential riders)?

        Of course you wouldn’t put the 40 on Dexter without restructuring the network around it as Ye Olde Downtown-Ballard Route. To me, the 5 and 40 become the “strong lines” with all-day (and some night) demand that naturally belong on Dexter, and the 26 and 28 probably belong on Aurora since their tails are basically commuter. Which leaves the 16 to provide coverage on Westlake… but hasn’t the 16 suffered enough? SRSLY OUT NOW.

    • Also (e) Ballard needs the capacity more.

      • And (f) Ballard needs the capacity more. I live in Fremont, as it happens.

      • Well, I’ll be seeing more of you then. Ballard-Fremont connectivity is about the only tangible improvement to be found in the mess Metro has made of this restructure.

  49. To my surprise after today I will be using the eastbound VA Hospital loop stop on the 50 route once a week. There is a nice (gravel) path between the hospital and the golf course that will be my best route to Beacon Avenue, the Jefferson Community Center for pilates class and maybe a little putting practice on the side. Unfortunately, that stop needs some work to let the bus avoid the car traffic and valet parking service at the hospital entrance. On the westbound return there was a new style bus sign with no bus numbers on it on the northwest corner of Lander and SODO busway. The 50 driver stopped there but she complained it’s dangerous because of the RR tracks. Maybe they need to eliminate some of the hide-and-ride parking spaces. So far from Alki the morning eastbound 50>LINK or 150 connection looks faster to downtown from WS than the eastbound C line which I see stuck in traffic on the Hwy 99 entrance ramp while we have a bus lane to the 1st Avenue off ramp.

  50. Apparently Day 2 is not going very well with West Seattle.
    A review of the morning commute on the West Seattle Blog tells of riders passed by overfilled busses, busses not using the “Bus Only” lane on the bridge, complaints of under capacity – busses removed are more than RR replaced, RR not RR at all; etc;, etc.
    Also complaints that equipment for the RR is not suitable for packed standing riders.
    Yeah, I know about NYC subways, but this is Seattle, and an overnight into what for most is chaos, is only going to bring out their autos as blowback.

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