Everett Station Terminal, by Oran
"Everett Station Terminal", by Oran

Four of us went up to Lynnwood for the Swift opening ceremony yesterday.  You can see some of the results in the Flickr Pool.

The festivities were very well put together.  First of all, the marketing machine was effective enough to draw perhaps 500 people out.  There were booths offering free hot drinks, cupcakes, and kettle corn.  There were other booths with information and games to distract the kids.  In all, it was a very festive atmosphere.

The speeches didn’t take too long, and the ribbon cutting, including a bizarre synchronized dance, was appropriately lighthearted.  It was nice to board a bus and check out the amenities.  Broadly, the reduced seating makes the bus seem a lot more open.

The frustrating item, however, was that the talking ended around 3pm but the system wasn’t to start running regularly until about 4:30pm.  Three of us had places to be and disappeared before getting a chance to ride.  Luckily, Oran and some Flickr contributors stuck around long enough to ride and get some good photos.  As for the ride itself, I’m sure Oran would stand by his media ride observations from last week.  Select photos by Oran after the jump.

The new-style bike racks were a hit.  Oran took video of the loading process.

The Swift stations are distinctive, even at night.

This kind of thing is nice to see on a bus.

52 Replies to “Swift Opens”

  1. Definitely heading up on Saturday. What’s the best way from Bellevue Transit Center to Aurora Village (too lazy to pull up trip planning)

    1. Depends on what time you go, because I believe 535 runs hourly on weekends.

      But if you’re @ BTC and 535 leaves soon, Take 535 to LynnTC and catch 118 or 130.

      550 to 358 is the long way, but both routes are frequent.

      Or 234 from BTC to Bothell Wy/68th Ave NE in Kenmore, then catch 331 WB on Bothell Way to AVTC. Not sure how the long the transfer will take though since it’s Saturday.

      1. If you do it on a weekday, you could take a straight shot on the 532 from Bellevue to Everett.

      2. 550 to 358 just for the heck of it (Adam and I have our Zunes*). Thanks everyone :) Never been on Aurora before

        *disclaimer: I work for Microsoft, but I paid full price for both of them – and they are both the Zune-120 =)

      3. On the way back make a stop at Aurora and Wynona Ave (by green lake) and have Lunch at Beth’s Cafe… Than walk that 12 egg omlet off by walking around the lake.

    2. I think you could take 534 (? ST Express route 53X…) from BTC to Everett Station, probably wouldn’t take quite as long as transfer to 118 from Lynnwood TC

      1. Seems like that should run more often. Is that one of the routes whose service they are planning to upgrade?

      2. I rode the first afternoon 532 from Everett to Bellevue and I was the only passenger the entire trip (granted, this was a few months ago, and I’m assuming I was going on a reverse flow bus)

    3. 535 leaves btc at :21 after the hour on sat/sun, arrive ltc about :07 , 118 in bay C4 or 130 in C5 leave at :15 after.

    4. I think if you take a 115 or 116 along 200th to Highway 99, then catch a SWIFT bus northbound. You can ride round trip back to 200th and then catch a 115 or 115 back to Lynnwood. That would be best and you get to ride an entire round trip on SWIFT.

  2. Bravo Community Transit! Once again proving they’re the transit agency in the region that can get things done in a cost-effective, timely manner.

    1. Not to de-ride BRT but didn’t we vote on RapidRide back in Nov 2006? I’ll check out Swift sometime next year. Too busy with the steam train currently =)

    2. I agree. Community Transit is a model agency. With that said I think all of us need to be active over the next few years in pushing, applauding and supporting Dow Constantine to do the things that will make Metro a better agency. Metro needs some TLC and it won’t be a painless or easy process but it need to be done.

      1. It’s definitely the best agency of its type (suburban, all bus) I’ve seen anywhere. It has two cool distinctive things it’s working on (Swift and DoubleTall) and it has a great website. Just get rid of the wood paneling in those buses…

      2. It is not like Metro has spiraled out of control, more as though it is lost in its own inertia. Needs plenty of TLC indeed over the next decade. Might even be time (gasp!) to re-design the in-city routes after 70 years…

    3. They seem like an agency of a lot of flash and gimmics to me. The Invero’s, the Dennis Tridents (aka “Double Tall”), now BRT… Especally when Metro’s BRT wont even connect to it until 2013? They also seem to have a somewhat wasteful service pattern, I dont know if they still do but they used to have several routes that directly paralleled sound transit services, and they charged a higher fare for them. Also they seem to have a lot of routes that deviate, than assign diffrent route numbers to the whole lot. Lets not mention that spat with Everett Transit a few years ago which now seems to be overwith.

      1. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having “fancy” buses, especially if it will raise awareness or attract riders.

      2. I wouldn’t mind seeing Metro add some Dennis Tridents to its fleet. I also wouldn’t mind seeing RapidRide be something worthy of the “rapid” in its name and done more like Swift.

  3. In my opinion the big story here is that Community Transit compromised very little expect in relation to the ROW. This is why “BRT” in the US often doesn’t deliver. It compromises here and there, and before you know it you just have a fancy bus.

    A perfect example is off-board fare payment. This is rarely included (one of the least used components of BRT) in BRT but is always included in LRT, or even streetcar for that matter. Metro’s Rapidride has already made significant compromises and pay as you board in my opinion will be the last straw that will relegate it to the low end of BRT, especially since all of the Rapidride routes will have significantly higher ridership than Swift (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong). Metro really better make the proof-of-payment test work on the A line.

    1. Really, at the end of the day it’s a bus. Things like off-board payment, frequent service, easy to understand ‘lines’ of operation, etc should be implemented on all bus lines. I don’t understand the need for fancy, expensive stations and ridiculous space-age looking buses.

      BRT is what all buses already look like throughout Europe and Asia, and Translink in Vancouver has done a great job as well. It’s too bad that so many US transit agencies have fallen for this BRT thing.

      1. Or god forbid put those fancy parking meters that the SLUT and Swift use AS cheap TVM’s at every bus stop so people can pre-purchase tickets.

        And while they’re at it, make ST get an all-day pass. When I’m at Link’s SODO Station, I can’t get an all-day, all-points ticket w/o using the back-door Sounder ticket trick.

      2. But the problem is that I can’t buy a Westlake-to-Airport ticket period from an intermediate station. I can buy an all-day pass but not a full-fair, point-to-point ticket unless I’m in the DSTT or at Airport/TIBS.

        I can get a SODO-Westlake or SODO-TIBS/Airport ticket, but then I cannot travel the entire line’s length since it is not a full-fare ticket. If I’m at SODO, I want to get a Westlake-TIBS/Airport ticket, but that option does not exist. In Portland, you just press ONE button for that sort of ticket.

      3. I was just riding AC Transit from San Francisco to the East Bay and most of its buses are BRT-like Van Hools. We definitely should make at least all of our currently frequent bus lines like this. I think it’s funny that RapidRide is making a big deal about frequent service on those certain corridors while other corridors still have much higher frequencies and ridership.

      4. Yeah I agree barman. The quality level of BRT in the US is generally equal to that of any local city bus in Europe.

    2. And it’s not always included in streetcar installations. Portland streetcar only has TVMs onboard.

      1. Yes, Actually i like that system a lot better than mounting equipment on the platforms. Less equipment to maintain/get vandalized, plus like the bus your transfer is good for x hours from when you purchase it onboard, instead of buying it at the station and letting fifteen or twenty minutes of it whittle by while you wait for your train.

    3. Muni in SF uses on-board ticket payment, which is one of the reasons the LRT there (and the F/Market streetcar line) is so slow.

  4. What’s this, a transit map that actually labels route ends as North and South? Will wonders never cease.

    Is it good that this route bypasses Alderwood Mall and the Lynnwood TC? Arguably the high-ridership points in this corridor.

    1. They’re not really in that corridor. This bus is supposed to serve the 99 corridor, a good mile and a half from Lynnwood TC.

    2. I think CT should now teach riders how to get to any one of swift stations from I-5 park and ride/transit center.

      I think Marinier Park and Ride is connected with Swift Airport Road Station by CT #101 (everey 20 minutes)

      As of Lynnwood Transit Center, I think CT #118 (every 30 minutes) takes riders to southbound Crossroads station. It will be four blocks for northbound riders (Heron station).

    3. The problem is Snohomish County’s geography and the location of freeway-oriented businesses. Swift was intended to replace the 99/Evergreen route, which had the highest ridership on the system because it has the largest number of walkable destinations, as well as being the main route from King County to Everett. But the old bus took an inordinate amount of time to go from 244th Street (Aurora Village) to 200th Street, much less to Everett, even on a 45 mph highway. Although even that is faster than the other Community Transit buses, which turn and meander to combine several destinations into the smallest number of routes.

  5. Yesterday reminded me of Link opening day in a way….

    When I got off the inaugural train at Westlake, after speeding through all of the Sounders/Chelsea traffic from Tukwila, I transfered to the 56 for the arduously long ride down 1st Ave in game day traffic – all I could think was “if only Link went to West Seattle…”

    Yesterday, I took the shorter of the inaugural Swift trips to Aurora Village, and then transfered to the 358 “express” for the ride downtown. The same feeling came over me – BUILD BRT ON AURORA AVE!

    All and all, a good opening day!

    1. From the Everett Herald:

      The Highway 99 corridor currently averages 4,500 riders a day, according to the agency. It’s estimated that in the first year, total ridership on the corridor, including Swift and other buses, will increase 25 percent, by 1,125 riders to 5,625.

      Within five years, ridership is projected to rise 57 percent above today’s numbers.

      1. San Francisco has 55,000 riders a day on the Geary Blvd routes, without BRT. Fortunately, they are planning BRT for that street eventually. It really deserves a Metro, almost as much as Wilshire in Los Angeles.

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