Link Light Rail

Last year I asked readers for questions about Seattle streetcars and Rapid Ride, and with Link opening in just four short months, I imagine even the most regular reader of this blog still has some Link Light Rail questions. So if you do, leave them in the comments and I’ll get answers from Sound Transit.  I’ll ask the questions Monday morning, so you have until Sunday night to put questions into the comments.

103 Replies to “Your Questions About Link Answered”

  1. a friend asked me the other day …

    when LINK is using multiple vehicle trainsets … what will ST do to prevent crime on the rear cars? on the buses the driver helps prevent crime … but if you are 3 cars back from the train operator … who will protect the public from robbery and the vehicles from vandalism?

    1. The fare inspectors. There will be one (or more?) in each car. The operator won’t be doing anything besides operating the cars. There’s even a sign on the door saying “Don’t disturb the operator.”

  2. You guys have said that link cars hold 200 people. What kind of comfortableness is that? If the train were crammed in like the NYC subway or a train in Japan, how many people would that be?

    1. I actually asked the same thing of someone at Sound Transit a couple of years ago.

      200 per car is at 3 people per square meter. Japan has crush loads of up to 10 people per square meter – 3 is pretty comfortable. Buses today get higher than 3 people per square meter.

  3. What promotional plans does ST have for Light Rail opening? Is there going to be a ride-free period to get people to try out the trains?

    Has ST put any thought into partnering with someone to provide a bike-sharing program at the light rail stations? It seems like this could be very popular and useful in Seattle.

    I’ve seen from pictures that the maps on the trains erroneously show the University Street Station as the connection to Washington State Ferries, whereas the actual best connection is Pioneer Square Station. Is this going to be fixed? (I know it may be a minor issue, but it really bothered me!)

    ST2 provided matching funds for a potential expansion of Tacoma Link. What is the status of the planning on this?

    It may be way too early to think about it, but has ST put had any consideration about when ST3 might be put on the ballot? Are there any light rail projects sure to be on it? Would completing South Link, North Link and/or East Link be necessarily included?

    Would a Seattle streetcar line to Ballard reduce or eliminate the possibility of ST building a Link Light Rail line to Ballard in the near future? Has there been any thought into what lines to Ballard and West Seattle would look like?

    1. Long before ST3, I want to use the same legislative tools the monorail did (getting money from the city council to plan something) to see if we can fund light rail to Ballard or West Seattle earlier. They made a bunch of obvious mistakes, and we don’t have to make those.

      Sound Transit’s going to do a study on at least part of that corridor. I’m curious to know when that study is going to be done.

      1. Yeah, it will probably take ST forever to get around to that line, even though connecting Ballard is probably the most important thing to be done after what is currently being worked on. It would be nice to see Seattle or King County take the lead by building a new transit tunnel (and they could lay the tracks right this time!), but obviously they wouldn’t even think about that until we are in a much better economic climate. But with the viaduct coming down and the car tunnel bypassing Downtown, a new transit tunnel connecting Ballard and West Seattle to Downtown makes so much sense. I really think they should rethink the 99 tunnel with a transit component, which would certainly require the original couplet design rather than one huge tunnel (which seems risky as it is). I know that’s just a pipe dream, but in the end it would probably save a lot of money and certainly make the transportation situation much better.

        I think a streetcar line to Ballard would be a great thing (Westlake Ave and Leary could both really use some TOD), but my biggest fear is that a streetcar will be seen as a “good enough” replacement to Link rather than as a compliment.

  4. So I want to transfer from Link to the 41 to the U.

    What are the general rules for buses and trains sharing the tunnel?

    Are the tube sections divided into blocks, or does the train have to be safely tucked into the stub before any buses can use the tubes?
    If a stuck bus is awaiting a push truck, can any trains still run? Either direction?
    It’s a timing issue. Are the buses expected to ‘platoon’ through the tunnel in groups, say 6 or 8 times an hour, or is it more dynamic than that, using block signals, with first come, first serve — bus or train. It impacts the trip times for buses enering and leaving the CBD.

    1. Oops!,, I meant the 41 to Northgate. Must drink coffee before posting at 4AM.

    2. LRVs and buses are separated by signals. If a bus is boarding at a platform, the LRV will wait in the bore, and vice versa. Could make for some delays northbound at Westlake Station when operators of the LRV have to do a security check on the second car.

  5. One other question.
    Will any tunnel bus routes be moved back to the surface when Link starts running. Which ones?
    As Link trains are added, (more frequency), will other routes get the boot? When is that likely to occur?

    1. They don’t have any plans to move any right now–that’s why the 177, 190, 196, 266, 306, and 312 didn’t come back to the tunnel when it reopened; to make more time for trains. I can’t say anything about the future though.

  6. What’s happening with the orca card? Will it be ready for the July opening? With only four months to go, there is still no much information about how the card will work, such as transfers, etc.

      1. Any chance of moving up the opening by having more funds available earlier? In other words is any of the construction schedule being dictated at this point by finance issues rather than construction staging issues?

        Also assuming a nice funding windfall say from the Federal Government what is the earliest date Link could possibly open all the way to Northgate? Could this be done in time for U-Link opening?

      2. The TBM can only work so fast, throwing more money at it wouldn’t help. As to other parts, yeah, more money could make it open sooner, but where is ST going to get more money?

      3. Exactly. We don’t have more cash. If we got more cash TODAY, we might be able to get Northgate accelerated by a couple of years, but it’s still all this design work to be done.

      4. The assumption is the money would come from the Federal government. By increasing the grant amount for U-link, making funds available sooner, or by granting money for accelerating North Link.

        As I understand it the stimulus money for New Starts hasn’t been handed out yet. In addition I suspect federal transit funding in the next 4 years will be somewhat more generous than it has been in the past 8.

  7. Two questions:

    1 – When Link starts operating does that mean that the downtown bus tunnel will be open during the hours that Link is operating, ie. 20 hours a day? If so, will buses move to street level after hours or will they continue to use the tunnel at night?

    2 -Will the interiors of the windows of LINK be outfitted with a clear window film like MAX cars in portland are to reduce vandalism? I’ve seen enough scratched windows on metro buses to lead me to think this might be something Sound Transit may not have thought of.

    1. Answer to 1 – from Metro about proposed bus changes in SE Seattle

      Link light rail will operate in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel along with Metro bus routes. Beginning in summer 2009, the tunnel will be open later on weekday evenings and on weekends when Link light rail is operating. All Metro tunnel routes will operate in the tunnel instead of on the surface streets during these extended hours. The new tunnel hours will be approximately 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 6 a.m. to 12 midnight on Sundays.

    2. As an operator of the LRVs, I can let you know that the windows do have a film applied to all of the inside windows. In fact the boxes the film came in are being used to cover the floor so the flooring of the LRVs stay clean during testing


      1. Heh. Last year I was on a 194 coming back from the airport, and some punk kid stuck a sticker to the inside window. I made him clean it off.

  8. The seats on trains are placed so that passengers can face forward or backward when riding. Why not place the seats with backs against the windows on both sides of the trains so that more passengers can be accommodated on the trains.

    1. seasfny –

      Do you mean seating like this?

      | |
      | |
      | |
      | |

      Instead of this?
      — —
      — —
      — —

      1. You stare at people’s butt like that. And then there’s less seating meaning that even during low-ridership-times a day many will have to stand.

        Standing room is good, but not all seats should be placed along windows. In my opinion at least.

      2. Yeah, let’s wait until we have four cars and we’re stuffed to the gills. :)

    2. just a note that quite a few people get more car sick when facing to the side…

      I personally would prefer at least one train have just one seat per side facing forward for more standing room.

      1. Parts of each car have the inward facing seats. Just check out the pictures/videos on Flickr and Yahoo. However most of the car has forward/backward facing seats. IIRC, it’s much like the streetcar, where the majority of the seats on either side of the articulation are facing their respective cabs.

      2. Actually, that’s not true. On the raised sections near each end, the seats all face away from the operator’s section, and towards the rest of the vehicle. In the middle, the seats are sideways, back to the window, and in the low-floor section between the middle and the ends, there are wheelchair areas and the remainder of seats are split between forward and backwards.

    3. I think it is more important that passengers can get to their destination during rush hour by having more room available than seats available during off-peak hours.

      The side-seating alignment works very well in all other metro cities around world.

      1. It works very well on lines that are 100 years old. Don’t get too much ahead of yourself – we’re not going to have any crowding issues for a very long time.

      2. I hope you are right.

        But I am curious why do you say it works well on lines over 100 years old.

      3. I suspect for a while at least the strategy for dealing with full cars will be to add cars and decrease headways. At some point I’m sure seating will be looked at but probably not until 5 minute headways with 4 car trains is the peak norm. At 800 passengers per train that is one heck of a lot of people.

  9. When ST2 lines (North, South, East) begin to open, how will the different routes be distinguished? Will a “color” scheme like Portland be used? Or Route numbers? or…?

    How is ST identifying Link’s routes internally?

    1. At the U-Link groundbreaking, Mayor Nickels wanted to call it the Purple Line teasing Senator Murray, a Coug.

      1. Holy crap. They should be purple and gold! Both lines run through the U!

      2. And instead of announcing “University of Washington, Husky Stadium” they can just play the UW fight song!

  10. Will the buses that operate in the tunnel on weekdays start operating in the tunnels on weekends since it’ll be open for the Link?

    How will the different Link lines interoperate within the tunnel?

    1. There will be only one link line in the tunnel (well actually two, one going each way).

      1. I’m referring to when we have East Link running. How will that play with the main trunk?

      2. The operating plan when ST2 is completed (2023) is anticipated to have trains on each line running at 7 minute headways during peak and 10 minute headways during off-peak. They’ll probably be scheduled such that you have a combined headway on the trunk of 3.5 minutes peak and 5 minutes off-peak with trains alternating between central and east lines.

    2. I believe once Link in ST2 is built out East trains will operate Northgate to Redmond and N/S trains will operate Lynnwood to Federal Way.

      The system map at the U-link groundbreaking had one line in red and the other in blue so I suspect there will be some form of line designation.

  11. How committed is Sound Transit to sharing the DSTT with buses long-term? Is this arrangement permanent, or more of an experiment? If this arrangement causes too many scheduling problems for LINK, will ST ask Metro to take their buses out of the tunnel?

    1. Permanent! They spent two years retrofitting the tunnel for LINK. And don’t forget, Metro is going to be operating LINK.

      1. Anon, thanks, but I would still like my question posed to Sound Transit for an official response. I’ve actually heard that the sharing of the tunnel won’t be permanent. That this will only last a couple of years, then buses will move out of the tunnel and onto surface streets.

      2. I think the main issue is train headways. The closer the spacing between trains the fewer buses can run in the tunnel. At a certain point the bus capacity is limited enough to no longer have it make sense to run buses in the tunnel anymore.

        I believe the current expectation is that will happen somewhere around the opening of North Link to Northgate. Though at that point it is also likely the 71, 72, 73, and 74 will be truncated to the U-district and the 41 truncated to Northgate.

      3. I’ve asked this of Sound Transit before. When headways get lower than about 5 minutes, there’s no longer safe padding for buses in between, and they go back to the surface. But then you have trains less than every five minutes, so the tunnel’s just carrying a ton more people. :)

    1. As soon as downtown is free of cars. The tunnel provides a ROW (right of way) for busses (and LINK cars) so they don’t get backed up due to traffic lights, pedestrians, other vehicles, etc. And the tunnel wasn’t built as a “band-aid”, it was built as a long term solution.

      1. Gah, just read this, on the proposed Link fares:

        The other 50 percent of customers using cash for fare payment would have incentive to ride buses in the ride-free zone, reducing Link ridership. To counter the inherent incentive, the Board could amend the existing Sound Transit Fare Policy and defer charging Link fares in the DSTT until the time buses no longer utilize the DSTT (assumed to be 2016 with the opening of University Link).

        I hate the idea of the tunnel being void of buses. There are places that Link will never go, and it’s damned convenient to transfer inside the tunnel–especially during the 7 months of winter.

      2. I’m lost. It sounds like the concern is that people who are only traveling in the free ride zone are going to have an inventive to use the free bus instead of paying to ride link a few blocks. Yeah, so? I’m missing something here.

        I do hate the thought of losing the convenience of the “bus” tunnel. Especially since they’re finally opening it up at night. Why on earth did they ever close it at 7PM anyway? I’d much rather see a second down town Seattle transit tunnel than the deep pocket viaduct.

    1. That would be a different line. The old long range plan shows a Burien-Tukwila-Renton-Bellevue-Kirkland-Bothell-etc line, and we’ll get that eventually, but a spur wouldn’t make sense.

      We run Link at every 7.5 minutes to start. If you sent every other train to Burien, that’s a train every 15 minutes from downtown to the airport. That sucks.

      1. Also, the ST2 plan will study a Downtown-West Seattle-Burien line, so there’s a chance of us getting Link to Burien through that corridor. That will be faster anyways.

  12. Does anyone know if their will be emergency alarms/panic buttons on the individual cars? Scenario: A business traveller gets on at Seatac late at night to go to a downtown hotel. His Link car is empty. Around MLK and Henderson about a dozen 74 Hoover Crips enters his car. When thing inevitably take a turn for the worse for this lone traveler, how many emergency buttons will each individual car have, and where will the call be routed to? A transit control center, or straight to the police station?

    1. The PEI (Passenger Emergency Intercom) system has intercom boxes located near each door on the LRV. They allow communications only to the LRV operator, who then can contact the control center for additional help.

  13. Ok, sorry, you can delete my last comment. I was being a troll. Bad habit. But my first tunnel comment was legit!

    1. Actually, although I might have not included the vignette, I think that’s a good question.

      1. Joni answered it at the meetup. When trains run more often than about 5 minutes, they’ll get the tunnel exclusively.

  14. How will trains going to the Eastside and Trains going to the airport be marked differently in the tunnel? Will there be an announcement like BART has?
    “Five car train to pittsburg-bay point arrive in 4 minutes.”

    1. Also, there are the arrival boards in stations. I imagine:

      Pioneer Square Station 7:20 AM
      East Overlake TC 5 mins
      Central SeaTac/Airport 10 mins
      East Overlake TC 15 mins

      1. Are there plans for those display boards to be used as Arrival Boards like in Portland? I was under the impression they’re for emergency notification only (required for places like this to accommodate deaf/hard-of-hearing passengers)

      2. Though I haven’t seen proof, I’ve always imagined them to operate like the display boards at the S.L.U.T. stations: “Train arriving in 1 min & 16 mins”

      3. I hope so. What kind of metro rail system would not have such a thing? My question is are they going to have tunnel bus arrival times included with the train times? Cell reception is very poor in the tunnels meaning I cannot use MyBus down there.

        Speaking of which, are there any plans to provide cellular phone service in the transit tunnel?

      4. This evening along the SoDo busway, Stadium station was showing “Downtown Seattle Tunnel” and the time on the VMSes, and SODO Station was showing “Please stand back from the platform” (or something like that, I forget the exact verbage) with full height letters scrolling across the signs.

        I’ll run that cell question by a source of mine, but I can say from previous knowledge that it’s highly doubtful. I’ll explain the basics, but beware, this is going to get very nerdy.

        King County has one very large radio system in which there are 14,000 users share. In the early 90s and before, various agencies each had their own frequencies. After a while there were no more frequencies to give out, so it was determined that something must be done. The solution was to implement a trunked radio system. This operates on the theory that not all users will be talking at the same time. All of these agencies now share a pool of frequencies, and they are assigned on the fly as needed. Since no particular group is assigned any frequency, users are assigned what’s called a talkgroup. This is nothing more than a unique number that the radios look for. An example is Seattle Fire’s dispatch “channel” which is talkgroup 1744. When a user presses down the push to talk button (known as keying the mic) their radio sends a signal to the controller, which has a list of which frequencies are in use. It finds an unused one, and sends the channel number to the user’s radio. It also tells all the radios listening to that talkgroup to switch to that frequency. Now I’ll try to bring this back to transit.
        Inside the DSTT there are two intellirepeaters. They carry (radio) traffic for the security guards, transit PD, and anyone else that normally uses this trunked radio system. If Seattle PD or Seattle were to respond to an incident inside the tunnel, their radios would work just like normal, even though the tunnel cuts off all signals from the ‘outside world’–because their radio system is being repeated inside the tunnel. This is good. The signal is heard throughout the tunnel because there are special cables installed, sometimes known as “leaky coax”. These cables are have intentionally poor shielding so that the radio signals will radiate off of them. This isn’t the most efficient way of providing radio communications, but it works great in tunnels.

        This massive trunked system operates in the 800 MHz band. Older flavors of cell phones also operate in the 800 range, albeit they use different blocks. Other flavors for cell phones can operate in 900 MHz or 1900 MHz or others–I don’t really know, I don’t care about monitoring cell phones.

        So–the answer comes down to one word: interference. Cell phones can wreak havoc to public safety radios. If you don’t believe me, do a search on Nextell inserting an “h” between the t and e.
        The radio system in the tunnel is there to protect life and property. Do we really want to risk our lives just so we can listen to five iterations of “like, oh my god!”. No. Public safety comes first. If someone suddenly has a heart attack on the platform, I’d rather they be able to call dispatch and get a Medic unit started than to be able to send text messages while I’m waiting in the tunnel.

        Stupid analogies aside–adding cell reception might cause interference to the mission critical radio systems, and it might not. There’s no way to tell without spending a few thousand to a few million, and frankly, it’s a very low priority for the city and county radio shops and cell providers.

        Oh and did I mention LINK has 8 or so channels of their own? You can even listen to them outside of the tunnel, provided you’ve got some sort of receiver (like a scanner) that’ll do Motorola trunking.

      5. What I also wanted to mention is that the leaky coax is specially tuned to the frequencies that are going to be used, in this case the non-SMR portions of the 800 MHz band. You couldn’t shove cell signals on there without a huge RF mess, which would make the Seattle radio techs very, very upset.

      6. Ah, nerdy but understandable. I could care less about being able to chat on my mobile in the tunnel. All I want is realtime arrival info for buses in the tunnel and if they can provide it on the reader boards then all is fine with me.

  15. When will Sound Transit hire the Fare Impectors jobs for Link Light Rail?? Also 2nd guestion, will Sound Transit have volunteers for the opening weekend?? IF SO where do I sign up!!!! I have the days counting down as of today March 6th. Sound Transit will open Link in 118 DAYS!!!!!

    1. You might want to sign up for the Sound Transit Jobs mailing list. They just sent out an e-mail today about a few Senior positions. Previously I have seen postings for Tacoma Link operators, so I’d imagine you’ll see other things just like that too.

    2. King County Metro is operating Link, so I would imagine Metro would be hiring the fare inspectors.

  16. Sorta off-topic, but on a related note, the tunnel is supposed to be open approximately 21 hours a day, 7 days a week by the time LINK starts operating. Will the full-time tunnel hours go into effect at the start of Metro’s SUMMER shake-up or FALL/WINTER shake-up? Or will Metro publish revised Summer timetables when LINK debuts?

    1. Hm that’s a good question. I wonder if they’ll revise it for the June shakeup and then have trains testing in the tunnel while people are there waiting for the bus.
      And it’ll be open 20 hours a day, 5am-1am.

  17. Are there places to stuff a large suitcase or steamer trunk (hopefully with a seat nearby) so I can take LINK to Sea-Tac or towards Pier 66 for the start of my Round-the-World tour?

    Do I have to take my precious snowflakes out of their dual-all-terrain stroller and fold it up (the carriage) when I ride on LINK?

    Will we be able to run the Melbourne/Benson Line Trams through the Transit tunnel on weekends to supplement the LINK trains so that they (the Waterfront Trolleys) don’t continue to rot thanks to Mimi Gates’ asnine (don’t-touch-the-)sculpture park?

    1. As I recall, the waterfront streetcars run on the same voltage as the Seattle streetcars and the Tacoma LINK, which is 750 VDC. The Central LINK cars run double that, at 1500 VDC, so the 2 can not be run on the same OCS. In fact, if Central LINK ever gets extended all the way to Tacoma (ST3) it will either have to be kept seperate from the Tacoma LINK system, or the Tacoma line will need to be retrofitted to run the Kinki-Shiro cars. At which point I would guess the Skoda cars would probably be sold to Seattle for their expanding streetcar system.

      1. Central LINK won’t replace Tacoma Link … the Southern Terminus for Central LINK will be the Tacoma Dome where you can transfer to Tacoma LINK

      2. I don’t believe this is necessarily true. Tacoma Link was designed to be convertible to Central Link. Sure, it’s possible that Central Link will stop at the Tacoma Dome, but this would be a big disadvantage to Downtown Tacoma, as people from the suburbs would have to transfer to get to Downtown locations. You can be sure that the City of Tacoma will advocate for Central Link continuing on the Tacoma Link line. Also, one of the proposed expansions of Tacoma Link is to go east to Fife, which would be working on the South Link line from the other end.

      3. Perhaps Tacoma Link could be converted to work with Central Link, but I read somewhere that there are a curve or two which would need to be re-worked for the turning radius of the Central Link trains. Then there’s the length of the trains vs the stations.

      4. I’m hoping that they’ll keep Tacoma Link but change it to the Tacoma Streetcar and then have Central Link continue underground in downtown Tacoma, stopping much less often than Tacoma Link. I actually have a Link loop concept worked out for the Tacoma area in which after Central Link gets to the Tacoma Dome it will go through Downtown Tacoma, then turn south going through UPS, TCC, and University Place. Then I would have it turn east and go through Lakewood before turning back north and stopping at the Tacoma Mall before getting back to the Tacoma Dome.
        You can see the map of this here:,-122.46254&spn=0.129591,0.30899&z=12

    2. Running the waterfront streetcars in the tunnel just feels out of place to me. Also, in addition to voltage conversion, the trolley poles on the trams would have to be replaced with a modern pantograph, like Portland’s heritage trolley.

      1. I tend to agree with “feeling out of place.” The only areas they might LOOK good would be along MLK, and possibly SODO. Might they also be physically too tall to run through the tubes?


      2. Oh and they’re also high floor cars built for high platforms. You’ll need to provide steps or lifts to access them which makes it even more impractical.

    3. On the suitcase – yeah, there’s quite a bit of room. Have you ridden the SLUT? It’s big.

    4. Thanks all for the replies. My post was of course written with some embellishments but I am actually interested in the suitcase issue and the stroller issue.

      (I had forgetten about the Voltage issue for LINK LRV vs. Melbourne W2. It’s a pity those masterpieces can’t run somewhere; let’s not forget about them please)

      But back to serious discussion: On the 194 bus, it has been my experience that the only place for a suitcase is either on a seat (or in the legroom between seats, if the suite case is narrow enough) or in the area created by folding up the seats near the front of the bus; an area that is of course intended for mobility-impaired passengers. When the New Flyer low-floor buses showed up I had hoped that the space on top of the wheel wells would be left alone to offer a storage area, but of course they have been taken over by the extra electronics (and surveillance?) boxes both behind the driver and over the right wheel.

      Not having space for people to place their bags, even if it means they will have to stand over them, is a serious mistake and can impede the flow of passengers off and on the trains; at least ST went with Low Floor cars!

      As for strollers, again this can vary by mode, and from agency to agency, around the USA. It is a gray area: are infants who cannot yet walk entitled to ADA-like protections?

      What is ST’s policy about children riding on rail vehicles while sitting in a stroller? I know that the LINK cars have “Space for four wheelchairs, strollers and two bicycles” but is it well signed and which of these three vehicle-types has priority? Do children have to be removed from the stroller and does it have to be folded up, if it can fold up?

      1. Bicycles have their own area separate from wheelchairs so you can place your luggage there. Bikes are hung so there will be some space left even if it’s occupied by a bike.

      2. I’m not sure what the policy will be on strollers, but I know that the area for wheelchairs/strollers has fold-up seats that are spring-loaded so that they’re always up when no one is sitting on them, but people can push them down and sit on the seats when there are no wheelchairs or strollers there.

  18. If you’re thinking of the overhead storage bins that Sound Transit has on most of its busses, well, the LINK cars do not have anything like that. The interior is pretty open. This is the best picture I can find on Flickr right now:

    Of course there’s always the method that is popular on the 194–stand with your luggage in the rear door. That way you get to jump on and off the bus at every stop. Not only is it a great way to get some exercise, but you also get to live on the edge–will the operator boot you off for boarding on the back outside the ride free area? Will the operator accidentally shut the doors before you can climb back aboard? Fun times!

  19. I am chiefly interested in security for Link both on the trains and on and around the line itself including the stations. I am anxious that the line doesn’t become a taggers’ paradise. I saw graffiti as I passed the new protection walls at the base of the Tukwila Station. We need to keep on top of this as I am sure it will be a recurring problem once the line is open and judging by how it has been so far with tagging at the SODO stations.

    1. I agree. Keeping Link facilities clean and attractive is very important, both in deterring undesirable elements (those who seek to bully and intimidate other passengers) and to creating the perception (and reality) that Link is safe for middle class people to ride (because they have other options). This is not the image one gets from some Metro buses that have back windows scratched all to hell. It sends the message that punks can operate with impunity on the buses.

      I would be curious to know what percentage of trains will have fare inspectors and just generally what measures Sound Transit is planning to implement to keep the system safe and attractive.

      1. But it’s good to know that those who do beat and rob passengers will be dealt with harshly, like the teenagers who beat that first-time MAX rider last June, breaking her nose, giving her a concussion, then robbing her.

        They all have been given probation. What an outrage.

        About the graffiti, it’s going to happen, and happen a lot, I suspect. Much of it will be gang related, as Link cuts through many different rival gangs’ territory. I just hope ST is prepared to remove it quickly. But if teenagers know they can get probation for robbery and assault, they probably aren’t too worried about the punishment for tagging a train.

      2. Well Seattle and King County isn’t Portland, so no telling how a similar incident would be handled up here.

        Sounds like the victim didn’t want to deal with the stress of a trial and wanted the prosecutor to go easy on her attackers because “they had a rough childhood”.

        Not much you can do if the victim doesn’t want to testify. Probation isn’t a bad outcome in that instance. Often prosecutors have to drop all charges because the victim doesn’t want to go to trial.

        As for graffiti, the best method of dealing with it is good security around stations and car storage areas along with cleaning it up right away. Sadly those who tag really aren’t really deterred by the consequences of getting caught.

        Given how proud most ST people seem about Link I suspect any vandalism will be repaired as quickly as possible for quite some time.

      3. It doesn’t take too many stories like that Portland MAX one before many people decide it’s not the right time to give up their car.

        Will they have cameras on board to identify those who do vandalize trains? If so, I’d sure like to see the perpetrators prosecuted and made to do community service.

      4. Yes, they have cameras aboard. I think there are at least 2 per car, probably a lot more. All the stations have cameras, and a lot of them. I haven’t seen any specifics, but if they’re anything like the cameras Metro has on their coaches then they can store 2+ days before wiping out the old stuff.

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