Something I learned at the meet-up yesterday: you can board a bus whose board says “Terminal”, “East Base” or “Atlantic Base” bus if you wave the bus down. It is still up to the driver, but the drive can accept passengers. However, a bus marked “Not in Service” will not stop.

Interesting. I guess next time I’m on my way to Tukwila, I’ll look for “Atlantic Base” buses.

10 Replies to ““Terminal” vs “Not in Service””

  1. I sometimes use this to get from 15th Ave NE down to the UWMC since several drivers of routes that terminate at the hospital in the morning (48X, 167, etc) switch to “Terminal” to avoid confusing people. I didn’t know it was policy, though.

  2. Yah busses are supposed to stop if they say return to base and you wave them down… but I’ve had very little luck getting bus drivers to stop.

  3. You would be better off jumping on a bus marked South Base if you were headed to Tukwilla, but unless you were going to South Base, or the group health facility across the street its a long walk to anything very interesting.

  4. Indeed. Any cyclist traveling across the 520 knows this well. :) In fact, one bus driver told me that they are required to pick you up if you wave because they are state workers and they are still on the clock if they’ve got their foot on the pedal.

  5. I’ve never seen anyone besides transit workers do that, and I would expect that unless you have business at that barn, it’s not really useful. Do they stop wherever you want?

    As for stopping when you wave them down, I’d love it if the express buses downtown would do that, especially when they leave the timepoint three minutes early and buzz by me as I’m walking to the stop.

    1. I know that late at night Metro will stop pretty much anywhere along the route with some notice so that people can have a shorter walk home (i.e., not worried about walking lonely streets and getting mugged or worse). It’s probably a similar thing for a bus heading back to base.

      I’d probably be too shy to actually flag a whole bus down, though :(

    2. Based on what I know about Metro policy, and policies of most transit agencies, they’d have to drop you off along the way enroute back to the base. There is a very strict policy against bringing non-employees back to the base. For example, if an out-of-service bus has a sleeper they need removed they are instructed NOT to have said passenger removed at the base, but instead to hold at their terminal, or a stop somewhere en route back.

      I have a police scanner and as a transit geek, listen ot Metro operations quite often. I’ve heard this type of thing take place many many many times.

  6. “To Terminal” signage means the bus is finishing one route and heading to the begining of another route.

    “Base” signage means the bus is headed to the base.

    The public may ride the bus when it’s on a deadhead route, but the passenger must tell the driver where he/she is going. But it is still to the discretion of the driver for safety reasons.

    “Out of Service” signage is used when there is either a mechanical defect or a service worker driving the bus. The public cannot ride when this sign is up.

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