Microsoft is adding new routes throughout the Eastside and other suburbs, and cutting service a bit for the Ballard Route. I’ve only taken the Connector a few times, and I have mixed feelings about it. The buses are nice and comfortable, not very crowded and have wi-fi. But the reservation system is cumbersome, the buses are rarely on time, and I always seem to fall asleep on them.
Have any of you taken the Connector? What are your feelings about it, whether you’ve taken it or not?
10 Replies to “MS Connector Growing Some, Shrinking a Bit”
I’d be interested to hear replies on this also; I take ST from Issaquah and occasionally hear a conversation about the Connector where folks will say ST provides more reliable service and faster travel times.
I’ve taken the connector several times, and I find that my Metro/ST commute serves me better. It’s less the travel time and more the effort of going and signing up for a bus, rather than just leaving when I want to leave.
That’s how I feel. For me the connector and the bus are essentially the same in terms of time, but I can leave for the bus whenever I want to, and I just find the reservation system too inconvenient.
Plus the connector is always late. Always.
I’m not a MS employee, but the new Mt. Baker connector opens up some interesting possibilities for commuting from Tukwila and S. Seattle via LINK and the Connector.
It would sure beat going downtown and slogging it out on 520.
I only wonder if Connector cannibalizes other services that would benefit people that don’t work at Microsoft. (Didn’t I hear that Microsoft helps fund the 545? What’s the incentive of continuing to do that if they have their own private fleet?)
I’d be surprised if Microsoft funds the 545. At least, back in 2004 when I was still working there and working on trying to get the 545 to run via Capitol Hill, the corporate folks designated with making commuting easier (presumably the ones who’d control funding the 545) were not remotely eager to help. As I recall, they generally seemed surprised anyone cared about buses.
My wife is an MS employee and the Connector is a good transit option she uses occasionally depending on her schedule and the weather (actually faster to bike in during rush hour). From our neighborhood east of Mill Creek, there is no good Community Transit/ST option to get to Redmond that doesn’t involve three transfers and 2+ hours, so driving 10 minutes to the Connector stop @ I5/164th St and having wi-fi all the way to work beats fighting the 405 slog. It is always on time leaving in the morning, but usually a few minutes late getting back. She too finds the reservation system somewhat annoying, but can see on high capacity routes where it makes sense. She’s tried to make a last minute switch to get on a bus to Queen Anne in the evening to meet me for dinner or an event, but twice so far that has not worked out because all but the last bus (after 7pm) were booked solid. I guess if you use a route with high ridership, it is nice to know you have a seat saved for you when you want to go home. Anyway, I think it’s really cool that MS offers this service for their employees – it’s a nice option to have and maybe with some constructive feedback they can improve it to be more flexible and work for more people.
This service is a slap in the face to anyone living on the Eastside, desperate for new/expanded service.
Those Cottage Lake, Duvall, Redmond Ridge connector routes absolutely cannibalize from what would otherwise be viable Metro routes.
And don’t get me started on who gets to ride connector. If you are a coder on the payroll, you can ride connector. But the person cleaning your toilet or tidying up the conference room can just ride the sporadic Metro, thank you.
It’s transit segregation, pure and simple.
I have never taken the connector, it is just far less convenient than Metro. It doesn’t even run to my new neighborhood now.
I take the Connector pretty much every day to work from Wedgwood and love it. The routes always depart on-time and they only arrive late when traffic is really bad (and I’m pretty sure Metro bus routes are just as impacted by that).
As far as cannibalizing Metro routes go, if you consider me forgoing an hour and forty minute commute by Metro from my house to work (which I will never take) for a 40 minute Connector ride – then yeah, I guess it’s cannibalizing. (And if you want to talk about late arriving buses – when I used to take Metro from Wedgwood to my old job downtown, that Metro bus was always late.)
And finally, the great thing about the Connector is that it’s got wi-fi. My trips on the Connector are far more productive because of that then they would be on Metro buses.
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