Map by Oran, of course
Map by Oran, of course

Stories we didn’t have time to get to or didn’t have anything to say about are below.  There are so many that another installment is coming soon:

35 Replies to “Long News Roundup (I)”

  1. Metro and Sound Transit really need to develop and publish neighborhood maps like these (or better yet, hire Oran). With Metro’s insane number of routes compared to other systems, preferring one-seat rides over frequent arterial service, it can be overwhelming to keep routes and connections in mind all at once.

    1. Yes please! Oran, get yourself hired!
      But I don’t think we have that few frequent arterial service routes… We have quite a few routes that come every 10 minutes or less for most of the day, or that combine with other routes for much of the day for 10 minute frequencies.

      1. Seriously, Oran — that map is awesome. If we raised, say, $100 to cover costs, would you be able to post laminated versions of your maps in the main shelters in Ballard?

  2. Can someone tell me what the standard is for Metro buses being “late”?

    If buses are one minute late, are they officially “late”? If they are five minutes late, are they officially “late”? How many minutes leeway is there from the time in the schedule to the time the bus acutally shows up before a bus is officially considered “late”, according to King County’s official statistics?

    1. I think it’s 12 minutes before the driver has to call in and say “I’m really late”.

      1. Actually, it doesn’t matter how late we are on a certain trip. We only call if we are so late that we are leaving our next trip 10 or more minutes beyond the recovery time. “Recovery Time” is what most people think of as break time or layover time, but they call it recovery time because it’s designed for the coach to recover from being late to allow for on-time departure of the next trip. But we all know that doesn’t always happen. In training, we were told that transit operators & agricultural workers were the only jobs without required breaks, not sure if that really true, but the union does allow us to have 5 minutes no matter how late we are, for bathroom breaks and to eat something. Also, sometimes it gets to the point where weather, or an accident somewhere or a sporting event can really screw up a large number of buses, the cooridnator, as some of you may have heard during an All-Call, will say something along the lines of, “I know many of you are late, I will not be taking any more late calls at this time. Please hold all calls to breakdowns and emergencies only” Then they will say “Trippers(short rush hour pieces of work) and A-runs (Full time work off by 8pm) to run it late and put in for your Overtime. Relief runs (full time night pieces of work off after 8pm) I will get back to you after 7 or 7:30 (when things calm down) and try to get you back on schedule.”
        So thats how Metro handles late buses.

      2. An addendum – at least in trolley land, if you’re late enough that your follower has caught up to you (meaning the next scheduled bus same route is now on your tail), a bus may blank its signs and stop picking up passengers (continuuing to do so only makes 2 buses late, with the follower winding up empty *and* late) until it catches up. A coordinator may also have a run turn around mid-route to get back on schedule for the next leg of the run. I’ve had a couple of scenarios where there were not 2, but 3 buses of the same route all running together because of game-day traffic or some such.

      3. “Brezonick, Carri ✆ to me show details Jul 14

        Mr. Morgan,

        I apologize it has taken some time for me to track down the information that you are looking for. The 66 averages 6 to 8 minutes late at your stop in the morning. In speaking with the base, there is no single reason that explains this. Unfortunately, a combination of factors will cause a bus to run late at this rate. As you may know, Metro does not consider a bus late until 10 minutes has expired.

        Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

        Have a great week.

        Carri L. Brezonick
        Customer Information Office
        Metro Transit”

      1. So, five minutes is the standard. Thanks for that information.

        Is every stop on each route considererd separately? For example, say the #15 from Ballard to downtown in the am peak hour is right on time for its fist few stops, then a couple minutes late to the next few, then later and later as it travels on its route. Then the last 5 stops before it reaches its last stop downtown it is more than 5 minutes late to each one. So, if there are 20 stops on some route, and the bus is less than 5 minutes late to 15 of them, and more than 5 minutes late on the last 5, that bus was 75% “on time”?

        Or do they only count each route as one full route, and the only stop that matters is the last stop? So, if the bus completes its entire route without being more than 5 minutes late at its last stop it is 100% “on time”, but if it gets to the last stop more than 5 minutes late, it is 100% “late”, for that trip?

        Anyone know how this is calculated? Each stop on its own? Or each entire route is either on time, or late?

        By the way, is the standard the same for LINK light rail? What does ST calculate is the percentage of LINK trains that are “late”, and how does ST calculate that?

      2. Realistically, we are not trained to keep on schedule, except for pulling out of our terminal on time. The mantra is “There’s a million reasons to be late, but none to be early”. I’ve never heard of anybody receiving a “PR” for being late although I suppose it can happen in extreme cases.

        Metro rams “Safety, Service, Schedule” down our throats. I happen to believe that Schedule is part of Service, but that’s just me. Frankly, if you’re running for my bus and I’m 4 or 5 minutes behind, you’re out of luck. I’ve got 40-50 people back there who were on time who want to get somewhere and may have a connection they are trying to make. I only drive during rush hour so the next bus is probably no more than 10 minutes away. Don’t take it personally, ok?

      3. Charles,

        Is every stop on each route considererd separately

        Not each stop, but time points – listed on your printed timetable, the timetable at the stop, with additional time points listed on the driver’s run card.

        There’s a couple of good articles on scheduling in the July and August News Review, both written by actual schedulers. Doesn’t really address the lateness issue – but does give an insight into the complexities of time scheduling.

  3. I love Oran’s maps, but I would prefer SF Muni-style full system maps at bus shelters. Within a subway or light rail system tube-style maps are fine, as there are only a select number of stops & transfer points. But when destinations and transfer locations are as myriad as they are on buses, or for when you’re leaving a rail system to go to the street, I think a full street grid is critical to allow folks to really use the system well to get around the city.

    1. The purpose of this map is to easily visualize where do bus routes from downtown Ballard go. Full system maps suffer from information overload. Just look at Metro’s system map, which doesn’t show all the streets, and try figuring out where the bus from your stop is going. SF Muni can get away with a decent system map because SF isn’t that big. It doesn’t scale well to an area of the entire county although I think it’s possible to create a decent city of Seattle Transit Map with all the streets detailed while maintaining clarity of transit services.

      Those are two conflicting goals of designing transit maps. You want a detailed map to know exactly where to go and where you are. Yet you also want a map that’s easy to follow transit routes.

      1. I want a huge (computer) screen at Westlake letting users zoom in and out and select lines for schedules and plan trips from Westlake to where they’re going.

        Just the novelty would get people interested in learning about their routes.

      2. Have you ever seen the (crude) multi-touch MyBus map display? It’s a huge map showing the approximate locations of every tracked bus in King County. It’s made from a projector, some sensors and a PC. A design studio in Pioneer Square set it up one day and people liked it. I have a video of it somewhere.

      3. I would like to see that video. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’d like to have installed in Westlake (and perhaps in ID, Airport, etc).

      4. It is a BS idea. A Ben Schiendelman idea of course! Providing a fun and interactive way for people to explore what their transit system has to offer is a good idea. This could be an evolution of an online interactive map that uses OneBusAway as the engine. A projector, PC and a few sensors don’t cost much. The software could be developed as a volunteer open-source effort like OBA.

      5. What a GRRRRREAT idea, Ben – there could even be a 4 sided one toward the east end of the mezzanine at the crossing where the stairs come up from the tracks under 5th and Pine.

      6. I think your map would work great for the back side of one of those pole-mounted two- or three-schedule mounts, or as a pole-mounted map generally. Inside shelters, though, where there’s all that space to work with, it seems like a waste to not give more information. Information overload is a legitimate worry, but with larger maps people can select what information they need and sort of block out the superfluous stuff. With a tube-style map, though, there’s no way to gain extra information beyond the very minimal data that’s presented.

        It just comes down to what’s not available on a tube-style map, and wondering how a rider would otherwise get that information if they’re already on the streets. How would I get to Magnolia, Phinney Ridge, the zoo or Green Lake from Downtown Ballard? These sorts of things drivers rarely know or have the time to help passengers figure out. Other passengers might not be around or also not know, and the customer service line is rarely available or helpful. Yet with a map, they’re very quick and easy to figure out.

        (And I didn’t mean to suggest a full Metro map should be in each shelter, I was thinking more of just Seattle. You couldn’t fit all of Seattle on a Muni-size map, but you could fit about half.)

      7. It is possible to put in several connecting routes as I have for the 48 but not too many. Adding in Magnolia and Phinney connecting routes would make the map sufficient for 95% of all travel purposes while keeping its legibility. And that’s enough. This doesn’t have to be the only map at the shelter.

        I would also add an index. I have an index on my Capitol Hill map but not this one.

        Some people wouldn’t look at a map that seems too complex because they get confused. I see people who ask the driver how to get somewhere even though that stop has the full system map with an destinations index AND the Downtown Seattle map. If it takes too long to figure out, people won’t read it.

        Take a look at what information is shown at Paris bus stop and a London bus stop.

        Anyway, I’m now going to design a complete Seattle Transit Map to complement the spider map.

      8. I think posting these at the major bus stops in major urban centers or even smaller urban villages would be great. I think your idea might have some merit, but it would have to be so big for everyone to actually be able to see where every route goes that its not worth it.

  4. USA Today has an article, Housing bust halts growing suburbs. “The recession and housing collapse have halted four decades of double-digit growth for nearly half of the nation’s biggest rapidly expanding suburbs…. Fifteen are likely to end the decade with less than a 10% gain in population, largely because of recent losses. Among them: Bellevue, Wash.”

    A linked article from July discusses how urban villages are becoming the mode of construction in the ‘burbs: Suburbs get urban makeover. Its impact may actually be less noticeable in Pugetopolis because the densification of downtown Bellevue/Burien/Kent/etc seems like a natural outgrowth of our northwest culture (liberal/environmentalist), whereas it’s a strong change of direction for places like Atlanta and Texas.

    1. I’m not sure where the author came up with his figures for Bellevue. Growth from 2000 to 2008 was 13%. School in the Bellevue School District was flat from 2006-07 to 2007-08 but is up almost 3% for the current year. And so far no signs that say “Will the last person in Bellevue please turn out the lights ;-)

    2. Unsure why Bellevue would be listed in the first article as a stalling boomburg. I think Bellevue ran out of land to sprawl out and is naturally transitioning to a more urban city – downtown Bellevue and Bel-Red developments etc.

  5. Wishing for a much faster all-day route between Ballard and the U-District, via Leary, Fremont and Northlake. Extending the 75 from Ballard to the U-District, thus making the 75 a circular route, is one way this could be done.

    1. One way to do it would be a route from downtown Ballard to the U-District along the route of the 46 express.

      1. Continuing the 75 along the 46 route would in fact eliminate the need for the 46 and give those living in North Ballard much faster access to the UDistrict.

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