At Slog, Charles Mudede wrote about a film writer who couldn’t get around on bus fast enough to see the movies at SIFF. Fact is, buses aren’t good enough. They take too long to get between population centers here. Yesterday, I took the bus from Kirkland to the city (I woke up at a friend’s house after my birthday party). I was lucky there to have walked up to the stop at the same time the bus came, since I would have had to have waited 30 minutes for the next 255 that was actually a very good experience. I read the Sunday paper and enjoyed the ride. Later, I needed to go to Fremont, and I waited at 3rd and Olive for a 26 or a 5 for so long that I ended up just getting on the 358 and walking from 46th and Aurora down to Fremont. The entire trip took me 50 minutes including the wait (25 of those 50) and the walk (15 of the 50).

That won’t get people out of their cars. Buses here are only good if you are commuting on a regular schedule, otherwise, you might as well walk. If we want people to quit driving, or to move people who don’t, can’t or won’t drive around reliably, we need something more than buses.

8 Replies to “Buses Aren’t Good Enough”

  1. I haven’t had this problem before, certainly I can’t say that having light rail would solve all the problems, perhaps increasing bus service is something that is more reasonable to look at in this situation. It isn’t a bus versus light rail problem that I read about here. It is the infrequency of buses. I do hear often that Kirkland is a bad spot for transit. I haven’t heard of anything like this getting to Fremont (in fact opposite) and I take this route often. Just because light rail exhists in a city doesn’t mean that you can go to everything using only light rail. Multi modal transportation is key in this situation. Perhaps the 500 new buses we ordered will ease this problem?

  2. I have never had problems getting to Kirkland everytime I have gone as well. In fact I would say they are probably more on time?

  3. Frequency is a problem. Normally, I take the 358, which is generally pretty good, but I’ve started taking my son to a daycare in Ballard 2 days a week, so I’m taking the 15 in and it boggles my mind that the bus runs 20 minute headways during the morning commute. I try to allow enough time to catch the 8am, but if I get hung up at the daycare, as has happens, it sucks to have to wait 20 minutes. And by the time the BRT service changes actually happen, he’ll probably be in another day care (if he hasn’t already graduated from high school yet–he’s 7 months now).

  4. twenty minute headways are no good. It should be like 10~15 to get people to really want to ride the bus.

  5. I agree, so where can we get higher frequency? We have buses, certainly, as we just ordered 500 more. I pick up the 15/18 route at Dravus, and so when I hear those routes mentioned I always associate them as fast routes, but that is because they come to me pretty much spaced apart. I get them about 10 minutes apart if not better. Is it drivers? Is there a lack? Is it funding? No money? We just paid for Transit Now, that should help especially as they implement the service. which will give people an assurance that buses aren’t so bad.

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