Cost-Effective ST3 Options on the Eastside

This is a guest post.

A ST 535 waits to re-enter I-405 (WhenEliseSings/Flickr)

What would Sound Transit do in East King County if it were trying to maximize the effectiveness of the ST3 package? How many transit riders could be served within the constraints of a likely ST3 package?

I’ve borrowed Martin Duke’s calculation of a $2.6 billion “budget” for East King. Martin estimates this from the $15 billion request to the Legislature, converted to $10 billion in 2014 dollars (to align with the corridor study cost methodology). With $800 million committed to completing East Link to Redmond, that leaves $1.8 billion for other projects.

The approach is to calculate cost per rider (using the mid-range of estimates from the corridor studies). The options are ranked and the best are selected, unless they duplicate an already selected option. Many of the options are close substitutes, so it makes sense to select only one. For instance, 405 BRT occupies three of the top six slots, but only the highest ranked of these is selected. I ignore other options which were not reviewed in the corridor studies (such as the bridge to Sand Point).

Cost per rider is a somewhat problematic metric, in that it fails to acknowledge existing ridership. The studies don’t break out incremental ridership estimates. But it won’t affect our ordering of projects unless one project has much more incremental ridership than another. (More ambitious projects may have greater incremental ridership because they represent a larger change versus the status quo, so a total ridership approach does bias the analysis toward smaller projects somewhat).

I’ve also broken out the incremental costs and ridership of 405 “full” options against “phased” options. Viewed separately, the incremental investments for the full build-out do not perform well (highlighted in green in the table).

Within those constraints, it’s possible to get quite a lot of service on the Eastside. About 50,000 riders would be served on four BRT routes (in bold red in table). Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and the 405 corridor would all see local benefits.

The winners are:

  • BRT University District to Redmond via 520. At only $55 million, it’s by far the cheapest option on the table. On the other hand, with so little investment, it’s only modestly superior to today’s express bus service between Redmond and downtown Seattle.
  • BRT University District to Kirkland via 520 and the Eastside Rail Corridor. At only 8,000 riders, it’s still a relative bargain because it costs only $210 million.
  • BRT 405 Phased Build-out with trunk and branch service. The phased build-out is much more cost-effective, and realistic, than the full build-out which assumes a large unfunded investment by WSDOT. The trunk-and-branch service enjoys 20% better ridership than the single-route service with no additional capital costs. However, there are about $20 million per year in increased operating costs to consider, so the single-route phased build-out remains in play.
  • BRT Kirkland to Issaquah via the Eastside Rail Corridor, Bellevue Way, I-90 and via mixed traffic from central Issaquah to the Highlands. This is lower in the rank ordering, but makes the cut because we’re not selecting duplicate services on the same corridors. Service to the Highlands is in mixed traffic. But that is relatively inexpensive for 2,000 additional riders, so it improves the overall cost-effectiveness of this service.

[Read more…]

SDOT Hires Transit Division Director

Nunes-Oeno with CM Bagshaw (Wedgwood Community Council Photo)

Nunes-Ueno (center) with CM Bagshaw in 2012 (Wedgwood Community Council Photo)

Proposition 1’s November passage greatly deepened SDOT’s role in transit service planning, with the new Transit Division being created to oversee the intergovernmental purchase of service hours and also to formalize SDOT’s role in transit improvements more generally.  Yesterday, Mayor Murray and SDOT Director Kubly announced the division’s first Director, Paulo Nunes-Ueno.

Longtime transit and bicycle advocates will recognize Nunes-Ueno, who has been a visible and vocal advocate for smarter transportation policies. The NYU and UW graduate has spent his career primarily overseeing employer programs and policies, first with Metro working as a Commute Trip Reduction Program Manager, and for the last 7 years as Director of Transportation and Sustainability for Seattle Children’s, one of the country’s best employer transportation programs. He was also instrumental in Children’s sponsorship of Pronto Cycleshare.

As an aside, Nunes-Ueno will now work for the city that once fined him $500/day for the mildest possible form of urbanist civil disobedience, defying city policies by installing a sandbox for his kids in the public planting strip in between the sidewalk and his neighborhood street.

In private conversations with SDOT staff, we have been encouraged by the rigor and thoughtfulness with which they’re approaching the Prop 1 spending, and we are hopeful that Nunes-Ueno will be an adept administrator who enables his staff to do good, and assuredly contentious, work. Prop 1 service hours begin in June 2015.

The city’s media release is after the jump.

[Read more…]

City to Study Monorail ORCA Integration

monorail
Just a week ago, commenter Ricky alerted STB readers to the fact that the 10-year contract for operating the Seattle Center Monorail was coming up for renewal, and being discussed in the City Council’s Parks, Seattle Center, Libraries, and Gender Pay Equity Committee this past Tuesday. Chad recognized the opportunity, and called upon the city council to integrate the monorail into the ORCA fare system, as part of the contract renewal.

City councilmembers found a barrage of emails waiting for them Monday morning, and swung into action. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, one of the committee members, had a lot of questions regarding the future of the monorail for Seattle Center staff at the meeting, including plans for a potential expansion of access to the south terminal across 5th Ave to street level.

On the topic of ORCA integration, Rasmussen said he wanted a plan by the end of the first quarter of 2015 on how such integration can occur, and will introduce amendments to the operating contract to make that happen. He added, “We need to have certainty that [the monorail] will be integrated into the ORCA system.”

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who is not on the committee, made an appearance to ask some pointed questions relating to ORCA integration. He explained the transfer surcharge problem, in which someone who just spent $2.50 on a bus downtown is probably going to choose a free bus transfer to get to the Seattle Center over a ride on the monorail that costs another $2.25.

Committee Chairwoman Jean Godden issued a statement later in the day:

At today’s Committee meeting we took a vote on the legislation authorizing a concession agreement with Seattle Monorail Services. As congestion increases, I support further exploration of how we can better integrate our transit system. I’m intrigued by the amendments Rasmussen is working on related to fare box integration.

Councilmember Rasmussen, who chairs the Council Transportation Committee, had more to say by email later when asked for more specifics:

I would like the ORCA card to be as convenient and universal as possible for the various public transportation modes which includes the Monorail. What I am asking the Seattle Center and the Monorail operator to come back with a plan for the use of the card on the Monorail by the end of the first quarter 2015. What I would expect is that they assess and provide the City Council Transportation Committee with information on what it would take financially and technically for the Monorail to be able to accept the ORCA card in the same manner that all other transit agencies do.

When asked if he would require the monorail to accept PugetPass, UPass, and inter-agency transfers, Rasmussen responded,

I would like the Orca card to be as useful and convenient as possible. The purpose of the three month study period is to understand the challenges and costs of the various options you stated before we give the go ahead. I am working for an integrated, seamless fare system for the region regardless of the public transit agency that is used.

Rasmussen’s proposed amendments to the contract are expected to be ready for the December 15 full council meeting.

Thomas Ditty, General Manager of Seattle Monorail Services, graciously agreed to an interview.

Ditty was not favorable to a contract extension, after an expensive 15-month bid process in which SMS beat out two competitors, due to the possibility that SMS might then not get the contract at the end of that process. But he said, “We will do whatever the City wants.” He called comparisons to other transit systems “apples to pears.” “The monorail is the only transit system in Seattle that makes a profit.” He listed Seattle Center funds that receive money generated from the monorail’s profit.

Ditty gave the number of monthly pass purchasers as roughly 150, annual ridership of over 2 million, annual revenue over $4m, and practical minimum headway of 5-6 minutes.

News Roundup: Losing Less Money

6083200583_31c1fecfbc_z

Late Empire Builders at Spokane (Photo by Loco Steve — Flickr)

 

This is an open thread.

The Human Cost of Efficiency

Atomic Taco/Flickr

Last week the Times reported on the Washington Department of Labor & Industries fining Metro $3,500 for unacceptable work conditions, specifically too much pressure to skip bathroom breaks to stay on schedule.

Transit operators and their union have long griped about inadequate bathroom breaks and the lack of access to toilets…  Some have resorted to adult diapers or urinating in a bottle… maintenance crews replace 60 driver seats per year that have been soaked by urine, according to Local 587 Vice President Neal Safrin…

Desmond said he’ll re-emphasize that the driver rule book allows restroom breaks even when buses are behind schedule.

But he also acknowledges there is self-imposed pressure among transit operators to skip restroom breaks so they avoid being late and upsetting passengers. Beyond that, many drivers feel loyalty to their regular customers and want to make sure they get to work on time.

Longtime readers will recall increased “scheduling efficiencies” as part of the 2009 audit results, which said “that the use of scheduling software could avoid deadhead runs, shorten layovers, and thus save between $12m and $19m a year.” Even at the time, our commenters worried about the effect on driver health.

This sorry episode illustrates that there are many ways to cut a budget. These cuts are often grouped together into “efficiencies,” which has the connotation of cutting waste. And everyone is for reducing waste! But the real effect on riders and other stakeholders varies widely.

There are genuine freebies, like negotiating a better price for buses or eliminating a program that everyone agrees isn’t working. There are false economies, like deferring capital expenditures that would save future operating costs (speed and reliability improvements) or maintenance costs (new buses). And then there are cuts that, while helping to keep buses on the road, also make the system a worse one in more subtle ways. In this particular case, Metro is putting its drivers in normatively awful working conditions, also making buses less reliable. Earlier in the financial crisis, King County cut back on shelter cleaning and customer information. Again, the degradation is hard to quantify but nonetheless real.

It is a genuinely difficult dilemma to trade off bus service hours against these other values. However, we shouldn’t allow standards in these areas to continually ratchet downwards as we accept dirty stops and mistreated drivers as the new normal.

ACTION ALERT: Sand Point Crossing

This is a guest post.

Seattle Subway Logo

This summer Sound Transit kicked off it’s Long Range Plan (LRP) update, and asked for your opinion. As part of the process many people reached out to Sound Transit and asked that a Sand Point Crossing be included. In fact respondents asked for a Sand Point Crossing more than all other new corridors combined. According to section 5.3.2 of the LRP:

The majority of comments related to a new corridor urged Sound Transit to study a new crossing of Lake Washington between Sand Point and Kirkland. In many cases, specific station locations and routes were suggested. In addition, commenters felt that Sound Transit should analyze a floating rail bridge, floating tunnel, and suspension bridge from Sand Point to Kirkland to supplement the analysis in the UW to Kirkland to Redmond portion of the Central and East HCT Corridor Study.

First off, thanks to everyone that took the effort to tell ST what you thought. Secondly, thanks to Mayor Murray and CM O’Brien for listening and submitting the Sand Point Crossing (Corridor 14 – UW to Sand Point to Kirkland to Redmond) for inclusion in the Long Range Plan.

That said, late yesterday afternoon Seattle Subway learned that at this Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting, there will be a move to remove Corridor 14 from the LRP. Unfortunately, after all the work people put in to get Sand Point into the Long Range Plan, it could be removed with no guarantees that it will be studied in the future. In fact Sound Transit’s own Draft EIS explicitly excluded it from further study as part of S.R. 520 corridor studies. The fact that it is the single most asked for corridor and being targeted for removal does not bode well for it’s inclusion in future studies. Thursday isn’t the last chance to save the Sand Point Crossing study, there will a full board meeting on the 18th. However as they will be voting on an already prepared plan at that time, Thursday is our best chance. [Edit] Clarification:  On Thursday 12/4 the Executive Committee will consider amendments to the LRP.  On 12/18 the Board will vote on the amendments.

It is Seattle Subway’s stance that not only does a Sand Point Crossing deserve study, but that people will understandably call into question the entire Long Range Plan outreach process if the most asked for new corridor is removed for political reasons. What is the point of people participating in the process if the board is going to throw out the most asked for consideration?

Please reach out to the Sound Transit Board and tell them (again!) that you want the Sand Point Crossing to stay in the Long Range Plan! Click here to email the board.

#BlackFridayParking

blackfridayThere’s a fine internet cottage industry taking photos of buses under certain conditions (generally at off-peak times and near the end of a route) to show that they are “empty.”  To flip the script a bit, Strong Towns asked people to photograph the parking lot of their local shopping center or mall during Black Friday — which should be the highest parking demand of the year.

Now obviously there’s no way to verify that these photos are of reasonable dates and times for Black Friday peak demand, local economic conditions may vary, some stores are simply struggling, and there are almost certainly lots elsewhere in the nation that are full. Nevertheless, the minimum sizes of these lots are often mandated by local regulations, resulting in astounding wastes of space most of the time.

ACTION ALERT: Fare Integrate the Seattle Center Monorail

This is a guest post.

The 10 year concession agreement for operation of the Seattle Center Monorail will be discussed at this Tuesday’s meeting of the Seattle City Council Parks, Center, Libraries and Equity Committee. Thanks to commenter Ricky for pointing out this opportunity to comment on monorail operations. The City has already received a Request for Proposal from the current operator, Seattle Monorail Services, which basically continues the status quo.  If you are unable to attend the Council Committee meeting on Tuesday, December 2nd at 9:30 a.m in the Seattle City Council Chambers, you may send comments to the Seattle City Council members on the committee: Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Tom Rasmussen and Kshama Sawant (alternate).

The Seattle Center Monorail is a publicly-owned asset operated for private profit (of which the City receives a cut). The monorail does not accept Orca cards or Puget passes; it is cash only. Due to these fare policies it is generally ignored by local residents and workers. An amendment to the legislation authorizing the concession agreement could require that the private operator install payment readers for Orca cards and accept Puget Passes, similar to the City-owned Seattle Streetcar. As a revenue offset, cash fares could be raised significantly (San Francisco charges a $6 cash fare for cable cars). The Seattle DOT budget could be used to offset any remaining revenue loss due to accepting passes, just as it is used to subsidize streetcar operations. The table below summarizes the dissimilar fare policies of the monorail and the Seattle Streetcar, also owned by the City of Seattle.

Seattle Center Monorail

Seattle Streetcar

Regular Cash Fare

$2.25

$2.50

Youth Cash Fare

$1.00 (age 5 – 12)

$1.25 (age 6 – 17)

Senior/Disabled Cash Fare

$1.00

$0.75

Orca Readers

No

Yes

Accept Puget Pass

No ($45/month pass available)

Yes

The monorail is Seattle’s most underappreciated grade-separated rail asset. It travels between Westlake Center to the Seattle Center grounds in 2 minutes at 10 minute frequencies, all day and evening long. Yet tens of thousands of residents daily ride the myriad of surface buses between downtown and Mercer Street, taking at least 10 and occasionally as much as 30 minutes to traverse this short distance. Why? One big reason is the lack of fare integration. Monorail fare integration is a transit best practice that would greatly improve mobility in the area.

This is a guest post.

North Line Sounders FC Service Cancelled

Mudslides have cancelled special Sounder service from Everett to tomorrow night’s Sounders FC playoff game. Trips from Lakewood will continue as planned.

The transit alternative is the 512 from Everett, although fans from Edmonds and Mukilteo will have to find a way to one of the stops along I-5 without the help of Community Transit.

Monday’s North Sounder trips are also cancelled.

Informed Speculation: What $15 Billion Might Buy

S 200th Link Construction: Gantry

[UPDATE: Chris Karnes points out that small starts grants are capped at $250m in total project size, so Tacoma Link extension is ineligible.]

This month’s board deliberations revealed that Sound Transit’s request to the legislature for more tax revenue would enable an ST3 capital program unlikely to exceed $15 billion in year of expenditure (YOE) dollars, not conincidentally about the size of ST2. What might a package of that size buy for the region?

As this exercise involves a lot of guesswork, and is largely designed to illustrate scale and plausibility, I’ll lay out all the underlying assumptions for ease of ridicule at the end of this post. In reality, updated revenue projections, inflation rates, state and federal grants, and the actual sequencing of projects will have a huge impact on what’s actually possible, well beyond what I’m able to compute as an amateur outsider.

All of the long range plan studies are priced in 2014 dollars. I couldn’t get detailed revenue projections from ST, so using simplifying assumptions I’ve translated $15 billion in YOE dollars into $10 billion in 2014 dollars. In addition, ST spokesman Geoff Patrick estimates that existing uncommitted tax authority amounts to about $300m in both Snohomish and Pierce, and $100m for the others.

I’ve broken the combined sums up by subarea as follows: $1.6 billion for Snohomish, $3.1 billion for North King, $1.6 billion for South King, $2.6 billion for East King, and $2.1 billion for Pierce. For the most part, these sums mean that each subarea can afford one big project out of the long range plan.

To be clear, these projects are my guess as to what the board will do given the funds available, not my personal dream sheet in each subarea.

Snohomish County: The bad news is that $1.6 billion is the low-end cost estimate for the relatively cheap I-5 Light Rail option to Everett, with no extension to Everett Community College. Enthusiasts seeking the higher ridership potential of SR99, or County leaders eager to serve job centers at Paine Field, would have to either abandon those dreams, find state or federal grants, or accept something less than getting all the way to Everett in this round. Even advocates for an I-5 alignment would evidently have to accept some project risk or significant quality reductions on the line. Then again, the ability to stamp “Boeing” on something may be the magic trick to get direct transit funding out of Olympia. Mr. Patrick noted that these limitations “have been flagged in the board room.”

[Read more…]

Q3 2014 Sound Transit Quarterly Report

These Quarterly Reports aren’t as special now that Sound Transit has beefed up their monthly reports, but in past pieces there were some graphs I don’t post in monthly report posts. Do people still want me to do these quarterly summaries? Is there any additional information in the reports you’d like me to track and display?

Total Sound Transit boardings increased nearly 10% during Q3 2014, compared to the same period of 2013. Year-to-date boardings totaled almost 24.8 million, on pace to exceed the SIP forecast of 31.1 million Sound Transit boardings for calendar year 2014. Ridership was up on all modes except Tacoma Link and Paratransit.

ST Express bus boardings were up 6.5%, with all but two routes showing increases. Growth in commuter ridership was evident with an 8% increase in average weekday boardings, from 57,934 to 62,549. ST Express service levels have remained consistent with 2013 service levels throughout 2014.

Sounder commuter rail experienced an impressive 13.5% increase in total boardings. Average weekday ridership exceeded 13,000 boardings, a new record, and both lines experienced growth. High ridership on weekend event trains also contributed towards the overall increase.

Tacoma Link light rail boardings declined during the quarter, continuing a trend that started during the fourth quarter of 2012. However, the decline was very small (-0.2%), indicating that the trend may be bottoming out.

Central Link light rail boardings were up 15.3% for the quarter, with weekday ridership averaging 37,242 boardings, an 18% increase compared to Q3 2013.

Q3 2014 route-level and corridor ridership information can be found on page 2; along with Q3 2014 and YTD 2014 service performance on pages 3 and 4, respectively.

Full report here. My charts below the fold.

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Thanksgiving Transit Service Roundup

Seattle Transit Blog wishes our readership a fun and (hopefully!) relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. Transit riders should expect reduced schedules both Thursday and Friday, and each agency is approaching holiday service slightly differently. Here’s the rundown:

  • Thanksgiving Day
    • Metro: Sunday Service
    • Community Transit: No Service
    • Sound Transit: No Sounder Service, ST Express and Link on Sunday service
    • Pierce Transit: Sunday Service
    • King County Water Taxi: No Service
  • Day After Thanksgiving
    • Metro: “Reduced Weekday/No UW” Service
    • Community Transit: Regular local service, reduced commuter service
    • Sound Transit: Special Sounder Service (see below), regular service on ST Express, and Link on Saturday service
    • Pierce Transit: Regular Service
    • King County Water Taxi: No Service

The most interesting wrinkle in holiday service will be the modified Sounder service for Black Friday. There will be 3 trips offered on the South Line, with a rare mid-day trip enabling South King and Pierce residents to attend the Macy’s parade, spend a few hours shopping, and return home at 2:30 or 5:42pm. Those on the North Line will have just a single trip, with a 9 hour window between trips. Everett riders may want to consider taking Sounder one way and Route 512 the other way.

Thanksgiving Sounder

News Roundup: Traffic Violence

Photo courtesy Puyallup Police Department

Photo courtesy Puyallup Police Department

This is an open thread.

Metro Launches TVM Trial

[UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: According to Metro’s press release, the machine will accept cash, debit and credit cards, but cannot make change. So it is useful to riders without exact change and also in possession of one of these cards. I made the change in the text below as well.]

Metro is finally taking the first concrete step since ORCA of moving towards a cashless system, or at least one where the most congested bus stops don’t aggravate delays by allowing riders to pay cash on board.

Back in August, the Transit Fares Report announced this experiment:

We are installing a ticket vending machine on the Macy’s block in downtown Seattle to test market response and operating cost of this approach to off-board fare payment, to help determine if it can be a cost-effective way to speed buses through downtown Seattle.

Spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok added:

We want to know more about how the machine itself performs, its durability in this busy location, and how transit customers may use it.  We are eager to get feedback from people during the pilot to determine if and/or how we might want to expand this type of TVM in the future. We want to know how this might compare to other approaches to reduce cash payment on board and whether they might be a good fit for future Third Ave. improvements.

Metro estimates that 10% of riders at this stop pay with cash.

By all means, Metro should learn all it can about deployment of these machines. These trials are an important step toward a faster system, as widespread deployment downtown would help buses in that corridor. On RapidRide especially, universal off-board payment and all-door boarding are plausible goals and would be transformative.

It would be nice, however, if there were stronger incentives to use the machine instead of pay cash. As it stands, the machine is great for riders that don’t have change and do have a credit or debit card. Otherwise, users must use an unfamiliar device to obtain fare media with in practice a smaller transfer window than a paper transfer. A ticket machine with a small discount would be a much more effective means of determining “if it can be a cost-effective way to speed buses.”

Sounder to Sounders Playoff Match Nov. 30

Sounders FC Sounder Train

Photo from Sound Transit’s Flickr page

ALERT: North Sounder train service to the November 30 conference semifinal match has been cancelled due to a mudslide.

Sound Transit will provide South Sounder train service to the decisive second leg of the Western Conference Finals being played by Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy Sunday, Nov. 30th at 6 p.m. The train takes off Trains take off from Lakewood at 3:45 and Everett at 4:15, with South Sounder getting to Century Link Field a little before 5 p.m. and North Sounder 5:15. Riders from the southend will need to hustle to  Occidental Park if they want to participate in the March to the Match, but unfortunately northend riders will have to catch ST Express 512, meaning finding their own way to the bus stops, since Community Transit doesn’t run on Sundays cannot make it. The return train takes off Return trains take off 35 minutes after the final whistle.

From Lakewood to Seattle

Lakewood


S. Tacoma


Tacoma


Puyallup


Sumner


Auburn


Kent


Tukwila


Seattle


3:45PM


3:50


3:59


4:11


4:16


4:24


4:31


4:38


4:58PM


From Everett to Seattle

Everett


Mukilteo


Edmonds


Seattle


4:15PM


4:26


4:41


5:14PM

As of publication time, tickets remain available for the match.

For fans visiting from LA, take Link Light Rail from SeaTac/Airport Station (at the northeast corner of the airport’s parking lot) to International District / Chinatown Station. Be sure to buy a ticket at one of the ORCA vending machines in the station, as Link is a proof-of-payment ride with fare inspectors.

As is the tradition on STB, smack talk is off-topic, unless it is in favor of the home side.

Save the Restructures!

This is a guest post.

3rd and Pine

Metro’s now-defunct cut proposals included some restructures that are worth implementing on their own merits. They aren’t scheduled because the County Council never approved them, but at the same time the council didn’t reject them specifically — it just rejected the cuts as a whole. So Metro could still propose the restructures again. It should go ahead with the good changes, while leaving the bad ones in the dustbin.

Here are the cut proposals again:  Feb 2015 revision 2 (10 MB), original proposals (25 MB). Both are ZIP files containing PDFs. (These aren’t the entire cuts, just the routes I downloaded at the time.)

Very Good Restructures:

Queen Anne. The strongest of all, Route 2N is consolidated into the 13, and 4N is consolidated into 3N. Both 13 and 3N terminate at Seattle Pacific University. This gives two frequent routes on upper Queen Anne Avenue, the center of the urban village. It fixes the schizophrenic pattern of two half-hourly routes six blocks apart, and two routes that go downtown on opposite sides of the street. The losers would be those near 6th Ave W, but they would have a flat six-minute walk to the 13, and they’d still have the 29 peak hours. Metro has tried to do this change twice now, the first time in 2012, so Metro thinks it’s a strong alternative.

Central District and First Hill. The 4S would be consolidated into the 3S, and the 2S would move to Madison from Seneca. The 4S is redundant with other routes on the same street and nearby, and is slower than those other routes. The 3S serves an otherwise-unserved part of the Central District, so it’s a good route to make frequent. Moving the 2 to Madison would, along with the 12, give full-time frequent service on Madison. I’m not wedded on Madison vs Seneca, but I want both routes on the same street to make the corridor more usable. Metro has also tried to do this change twice now.

[Read more…]

This is a guest post.

Pierce Transit Introduces New Day Pass

Pierce Transit #248

On Monday, December 8th, Pierce Transit’s new fareboxes will “go live” on all Pierce Transit buses, bringing an end to Pierce Transit’s intra-agency paper transfers and introducing a new Pierce Transit All-Day Pass.

Customers who currently pay their fare with cash or a ticket, and who need more than one Pierce Transit bus to reach their destination, will have three options as of December 8th:

(1) Pay a cash fare or use a ticket on each bus they board;
(2) Purchase a Pierce Transit All-Day Pass, good for unlimited rides on Pierce Transit buses for a single service day; or,
(3) Use an ORCA card, loaded with fare product, for an automatic two-hour transfer credit.

Ticket books are no longer sold to the general public.

Pierce Transit cash fares remain the same. Cash fares for a single trip on one Pierce Transit bus remain at $2.00 for adult riders, $.75 for youth (ages 6-18), and $.75 for seniors or individuals with disabilities who show a valid Regional Reduced Fare Permit.

The all-day pass costs $5.00 for adults, $2.50 for youth (ages 6-18), and $2.50 for seniors and persons with disabilities who show a valid Regional Reduced Fare Permit. The all-day pass replaces the Weekend All-Day Pass, and may be purchased seven days a week when boarding Pierce Transit local buses or loaded onto an ORCA card at any ORCA vending machine or retailer that sells ORCA in Pierce County. The all-day pass is not valid on paratransit or other agencies’ services.

The current weekend all-day pass that is going away costs twice the single-ride fare.

The all-day pass allows a rider to pay once and ride an unlimited number of rides on Pierce Transit local buses until the end of the service day. All-day passes on ORCA cards will be activated once tapped on a Pierce Transit bus, and will automatically expire at the end of the service day. All-day passes purchased on a bus will have an expiration date and time imprinted on the back of the pass by the farebox.

Customers may pick up a free ORCA card at the Pierce Transit Bus Shop at 505 East 25th Street, Tacoma, now through December 12th.

Customers can check out the new fareboxes, get information about all-day passes and ride free on all Pierce Transit local service from the beginning of the service day on December 6th until the end of the service day on December 7th. Regular fares resume at the beginning of the service day on December 8th.