Starting this week, Metro will add four new C Line trips in the evening peak, two of which start today, the other two starting next Monday. Three of the added trips won’t be through-routed with the D Line, which will help avoid reliability issues coming through Lower Queen Anne into downtown. According to Metro, the trip adds, which are funded by a contingency reserve, are meant to help alleviate evening service gaps caused by such poor inbound D Line reliability:
Traffic in downtown Seattle poses a daily challenge for bus schedules on the best of days. Metro schedules its RapidRide buses for 10-minute service during the peak commutes – even higher at 8-9 minutes during the highest ridership times about 7- 8:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. But traffic, events and other factors can cause buses to be delayed. Buses might bunch up and arrive together when riders are expecting more frequent service.
Analysis of recent transit travel times shows intervals longer than 10 minutes between buses during the evening commute. Inserting additional bus trips is expected to help fill those gaps in arrival times, [Metro GM Kevin] Desmond said.
C Line ridership may very well be Metro’s most pleasant post-service change surprise and a good indication that the the West Seattle restructure is working well. Operationally, however, route performance continues to suffer thanks to things like on-board payment and downtown congestion, to which fixes would unfortunately be illegal recipients of Metro’s contingency of service hours.