This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Just consider this me backseat driving our bus system…
By perhaps the 2nd or 3rd day of snow and only after a painful learning curve, buses in Seattle seem to have settled into a comfortable routine. Sure it’s a routine where half of the buses aren’t running, and most routes are unpredictable in terms of pickup and travel times, but at least the routes have settled down. However, these routes don’t look much like their published adverse weather routes (for example the 13 adverse weather route – had planned on still making it up the hill). And during the first days of snow people were stranded without even knowing which bus stop to wait at or which bus to take.
I humbly submit to the Internet my weather plan for the next snow season.
1. Find the most level, drivable route to serve a neighborhood. One way of doing this is to look at the routes as they exist right now. Now name these routes something easy, like #1S replacing the #1 (S for snow).
2. At the first hint of snow, announce to every media outlet you can that Seattle will be switching to snow routes. This shouldn’t be hard, since news reporters love this sort of thing. And don’t overlook the “first hint of snow” piece of this – buses are no good to anyone if they’re broken down on hills.
3. At every stop list directions to the nearest snow route stop, the snow route number, and a phone number to call if you need assistance (for those that can’t walk down a snow-covered hill).
4. Every non-articulated bus that serves a route that is canceled should now join these snow routes. This is critical, since we need to keep frequency high on these now overloaded routes.
5. 4×4 shuttle buses can ferry people up and down hills where required.
6. I’d have the city send someone around to shovel snow off of at least a few walking routes from each hill.
Yes, this will result in people that live on hills having to do a little more walking in the snow. But I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking an extra 10 minute walk to a reliable and predictable bus beats the current system hands-down.