I want to take nominations on what people think are the best and worst Metro and Sound Transit Routes.

To me, the 545 is one of the best. It comes every 10 minutes or so during peak hours, is usually on time, has wi-fi on some buses, and actually beats driving in terms of commute length much of the time. The others would be the old 72, but now that it goes through SLU and Eastlake its a whole lot slower, and the 8 which tends to be impressively reliable.

How about worst lines? The 44 is awful. Never on time, and usually travels in packs of two or three. It was actually worse in the days of the old 43 that went all the way from downtown to Ballard through the UD and Wallingford. The 48 can also be a nightmare.

Tell me your opinions!

36 Replies to “Best / Worst Bus Routes?”

  1. Nothing in the current Metro system could be worse than the old 7, although the 358 and the 194 come close. Now that I’ve traded Aurora Ave for Pine St, I’m very fond of the 10/11/12 trifecta.

    I’ve never ridden the ST 522, but some friends of mine have bitched fearsomely about it in the past. I used to be extremely fond of the ST 540 when I lived in Redmond.

    1. ST 522 is way better than the old 307. 30-40 minutes to downtown from Kenmore rather than 90-100. Very frequent service too, especially during peak.

  2. 540 was great when I worked in Kirkland. I also took the 255 there time to time.

    But I used to LOOOOOOOVE the 16 when I lived in Wallingford I could take it to school at NSCC and downtown.

  3. I second the 7! That was the worst. The one time a year I had to take it from the U District to the South End, I always complained was better off taking the 48.

    It was never on time.

  4. I agree that the 7 was horrible. Actually it still is, and now the 49 is also one of the worst routes. Not to say they shouldn’t have split the 7, but it is positively obscene how long it (still) takes to get from Yesler to Broadway.

    The 358 and 194 I couldn’t disagree more about. I used to live near the 358 and it was always very reliable and fast. The 16 stopped right in front of my house, but I never rode it and walked the 5 blocks to the 358 instead. The 194 has been very reliable and fast every time I’ve ridden it, although I wish it was more frequent.

    Anyway, for best routes, I would say nothing beat the 71/72/73 back when the tunnel was open. The only decent transit is the type that never hits a stoplight, and those are the buses that came closest.

    The Sound Transit routes are all pretty reliable and fast, but almost every time I’m on one, I’m going somewhere I’d rather not be going, so it’s hard to say I like any of them.

    For worst… there are so many choices! The 7, 9, 49, and 174 are all pretty bad.

  5. The 7x’s where fabulous when the tunnel was open. Too bad it won’t be back open soon!

    The 7 was always a disaster. It said it would come every 15 minutes, but I always seemed to wait so much longer.. It’s possible that I only remember the times I waited longer, but definitely the 7 was the bus I waited the longest for the most often.

  6. I suspect I’ve ridden every one and two digit route, every 2xx route, and every ST route.

    Honestly, I like the 7. It runs even in the middle of the night – if I go out downtown, I can take it home (I live in the Valley).

    My favorite bus is the 545, though. It could use more regular early-morning service to beat traffic (I noticed this morning that the 6:30 run was full), as a lot of MS commuters can work whatever schedule they please.

    My favorite *service*, though, is the 1507.

  7. Hmm,

    Best routes for me have been 15/18. I definitely prefer 194 to the airport, as it is fast and also now a Transit Now route. I see the 545 all the time, so I see why people like that route. I live in Magnolia, and use the 33 it leaves a lot to be desired. The 24 is where it is at on the Magnolia hill. The 8 is also a favorite of mine just because of one particular driver. He is really cool.
    Now for the worst. 174 takes my cake, I thought at one point I was going to die! Then after that any other slow route that has a lot of factors that effect the speed of the route (ie. severe traffic, Mariners, Seahawks, you name it).

  8. The 28 takes my vote at the moment for worst. I commute on it daily and try to use it on the weekends as well. Two of the last three times I went out for it at my usual stop it was 20+ minutes late. Forced me to drive one day; one more car, ugh! Plus the connection thing is lame (very inconsistent) and the schedule is very limited on weekends.

  9. Anonymous 28 rider, have you used the KCM online Transit Tracker before? If not, you should try that I prefer the map method and it gives you a location of where your bus is. One caveat though, it is an estimation, so plan a little ahead. And the bus has to register with the sensors or something like that? It is pretty effective for me.

  10. By far, the Springer Bus of the 174 is the most entertaining in the bad way. Growing up in Tukwila and working in Seattle, it gave itself a special place in my heart.

    On the same note, the 150 always was a favorite. Mostly because I’d hop on right before the freeway and it was just a few minutes before it was in the tunnel.

    However, after moving inner-city, I rarely take those routes anymore. So one of my favorite sets are the Queen Anne routes. 1, 2, 3, 4, 13. There’s always one coming, and they’re pretty much the same route through most of the popular paths.

    Don’t get me started on the 54. That guy is ALWAYS late. Even later at the worst times.

  11. Most of the routes I take are pretty reliable in the morning, but terminally late in the afternoon. Trying to catch a 54 or 55 to West Seattle between 5:15 and 6:30 involves a lot of waiting, as the busses are often 15+ minutes late, and invariably stack up so that if you miss one, you’ve missed the other.

    I also find the south-bound 15 & 18 (aka the 22) to be chronically late when I trying to get downtown from Denny & 1st. Where are those busses getting slowed down? The Ballard Bridge?

  12. I like the tag-team bus routes the most — routes where you can have more than one option if you’re savvy and know the way to play the game.

    Favorites include the random 43/48 combo that I can take to get up or down the back of Capitol Hill (though sometimes I hate missing the bus while I’m stuck on the wrong side of the street).

    I love 10/12 because I can take a bus from practically my front door to downtown and back again.

    I hate these buses the most:

    Nothing sucks more than watching them swoosh by when you’ve just missed your bus.

  13. Yeah the “terminal” or “ryerson” buses are the worst.

    Best bus: Elliot Bay water taxi

  14. Worst Bus routes: 174. A very, very s-l-o-w ride to/from the airport, with some of the most colorful miscreants in the Puget Sound area. Also, anything going to West Seattle seems to be reliably late, no matter when you try to take it.

    Best Bus route: 10, 14. Going to downtown from the Hill it is reliable and fast.

  15. The 66 is pretty reliable downtown, but it sucks going to Northgate.

    The 8 is always pretty awesome.

    The 26 is kind of unreliable but 174 is definitely the worst. I have missed flights because of that bus.

  16. The important note taken here is when going to/from the airport always take the 194 unless you have to take the 174.

  17. Of all the bus routes I’ve ridden, I have to say the 49 is WORST. It’s never on time and it’s always crowded. Don’t get me started on the aroma either. In theory, it’s a great route (if it could run consistently). In reality though, it’s always my last resort.

  18. I’m not a fan of the 545 — too crowded, boring crowd, stuck in traffic on 520… just an overall suburban feel. I try to take the 540 whenever possible even though it’s a little out of my way.

  19. The 14 is great going into town, terrible coming out. It’s always jam-packed, full of people with personal cleanliness issues, and late. The trifecta.

    I’d ride the 27 instead, but it runs only slightly more frequently than the bulls in Pamplona.

  20. I have to agree that the 174 bites the big one. The 1/2/3/4, no matter how many of them choke 3rd Ave, are always full during peak times.

    I live on the Eastside, and I love the 550. There’s really no faster way to zip over to Bellevue from Seattle, except that I wish it would skip Mercer Island, at least on some trips. Most of the Bellevue-Redmond routes are terrible, especially since there is NO weekend service on the Express routes, so you have to take a local route, which takes 45 minutes to go from one town to the other.

    But my all-time least favorite route is the 240. I HATE that it takes an hour to get from Downtown Bellevue to Downtown Renton, and pack your dramamine because the ride is bumpy with a lot of twists and turns, and not in a fun way.

  21. The 545 is a nightmare as far as I’m concerned because it always gets stuck at the 405 interchange going west bound and the west highrise going east bound.

  22. I think I was confusing the 194 with the 174. Whoops!

    As for the 358, it’s pretty quick and pretty reliable, but it’s also packed with toddlers and homeless people — I’ve never gotten sick as often as I did when I was commuting on the 358. Once in a while I would walk over to Greenwood and take the 5 instead. It’s slow, but… quiet! And without the everpresent stench! It’s like it’s ridden by people who wash!

    1. Tbe 358 sucks major a**. It’s always late in the morning, unless you’re riding it at the butt crack of dawn or later in the evening. I could catch the 7:15 358, but no, I have to catch the earlier one and miss a half hour of sleep to get to work on time. IF the earlier one actually comes on time and doesn’t have the population of a small country on it.

  23. I like the 43/48 combo as well, cept I’d rather take 48 over 43 any day of the week (since it drops me right in front of my place, and it usually doesn’t reek of urine as much as the 43 does).
    Loved the 70’s in the tunnel days.

    Worst? The 70 never came on time for me when I lived in Eastlake.

  24. I nominate the 111 out of the Renton Highlands. We’re always given the jacked up, vandalized stinky buses for our route. Too many riders have no manners and the bus drivers never do anything about them. Not to mention there aren’t enough on the evening commute and people are always left standing for 30 minutes until we hit our first stop

  25. The only redeeming factor that the 358 has is that you rarely have to wait more than 8 minutes for it during peak times. Other than that, it will take some creative thinking to come up with anything positive to say about it.

  26. least favorite route? the 5 (aka turns into the 54/55). NEVER even close to on time and even during peak hours have had to wait over 30 minutes for a bus that is supposed to run every 10.

    the 3/4 combo up the hill has the craziest of the crazies.

    now living in capitol hill, i <3 the 12! the 10 and 11 are ok too, but the 12 is my favorite. on time, quick, and runs frequently during peak hours. loves it!

  27. The 41 during rush hours is the best! It comes every 4 minutes or so.

    I used to take the 8 every day and I don’t miss it at all. Always late, always over-crowded.

  28. I like the 54 and 54X coming out of downtown.

    The worst for me is the 11 out of Capitol Hill in the afternoons and evenings. The smell, the crowded-ness, the scariness, the crackheads…ugh.

  29. There is nothing worse than the 174. Seriously. Even the slowest 7 or 49 is better than taking the 174.

    I like the 14 out of downtown up to Capitol Hill, when you can catch it. The 25 is nice, but slow.

  30. The 10 is probably the most reliable bus in city although the route is short and only really goes to 15th ave

    THE 8 is the worst bus ever. Always waitin for the 8, always late, always packed, always stuck in the horrendus traffic on Denny Way….wtf is up with the 8

  31. I like the 218 in the morning, but HATE the fact that the route stops at the Eastgate freeway station on the way home in the evening. The 218 is just packed / standing room only on the commute home and generally 1/2 of the passengers get off at the Eastgate station. The exit process for these people takes forever as the people who are getting off must navigate a bus with people going on to Issaquah. The 212 and 550 routes are express routes directly to Eastgate and are more frequent. The Eastgate passengers should take these routes that are designed for them. Please Metro – either increase the frequency of the 218 or skip the Eastgate station altogether. Make the Eastgate passengers take the express bus designed for them. Thank you.

  32. In my experience, the 358 is the worst. Yes, it comes often, but only at times NOT posted on the schedules, and they usually come in pairs. It usually has a high concentration of homeless and/or drunk people, and smells terrible. At night, the floors are sticky with beer, and the bus is usually all drunks, hobos, and gangsters playing music loud.
    The 44 is bad, too, but not nearly as bad as the 358. It’s crowded, and in my experience, is mostly populated by the old, squeaky, bouncy brown buses. Ick. It smells Prtty bad, too.

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