Photo by Wings777
Photo by Wings777

When talking about Link ridership, I’ve said time and time again that monthly ridership totals are basically meaningless.  We won’t have meaningful information till the end of 2010 at the earliest, and preliminary conclusions about the line’s “success” or “failure” can’t be made for at least a decade, when development has had a chance to occur.

But people love the horse race, so for entertainment purposes only, 1,526 people rode Swift on Monday.  That’s compared to a daily SR99 corridor bus ridership of about 4,500.  Ridership probably wasn’t helped by the fact that there are no paper transfers between Swift and regular CT service — it’s ORCA, or pay twice.  Regardless, CT spokesman Martin Munguia says “street teams are reporting more people riding Swift than at the same time yesterday.”

As always, the real test will be what kind of construction occurs in the coming years.  The land use in this corridor is a total disaster — think strip malls behind massive parking lots, all the way up*.  Will Snohomish County residents and developers accept a different principle on which to organize their communities?  Is a BRT line enough to spur that?  We’ll get to find out.

*with apologies to Central Everett, which isn’t like that.

67 Replies to “First Swift Ridership Numbers”

  1. Did CT cut back on previous local and/or express service on the SR-99 corridor, or is SWIFT an additional overlay on top of existing transit services?

    1. CT deleted route 100, which was a peak-period route from Aurora Village to Everett via SR-99. Also, Route 101 from Aurora Village to Mariner P&R was cut back from 15-minute to 20-minute frequency.

      1. In addition, ET is contributing an annual subsidy to Swift. They have totally reconfigured all of their their routes which will take advantage of Swift. They also cut way back on the #9 which was their predecessor to the Swift route.

    2. This will be interesting to compare BRT to Link in about a year. Both will have some good data to work with.
      Swift is projecting a 25% increase in overall Hwy99 corridor ridership within one year, while spending 30mil in capital and having doubled the frequency of buses along the corridor, certainly adding to their operating costs.
      I’m baffled why Swift doesn’t honor transfers from CT local service. Swift stations are a mile apart, requiring a transfer from local 99 buses, or does it just serve a priviledged few within walking distance to a station?

      1. The description is slightly confusing, but Swift does honor Orca transfers, if I understand it correctly, but does not honor paper transfers, which are being phased out.

      2. Well, you and Martin are correct, that ORCA is the way to go (two hours to transfer). My point was that Swift stations are really far apart (12 stops over 17 miles), so many riders on 99 must transfer to swift to gain the advantage of speed along the corridor. Likewise, Swift relies on transfers from east/west routes for some of it’s ridership.
        It still baffles me that CT would not accept current paper transfers during this inaugural period, until they are phased out. They’re trying to do a successful launch, and should have considered it a promo.
        Longer term, new or infrequent riders showing up at a Swift station, are given a choice of ORCA(pass or epurse) or buy a ticket from the TVM’s, which may not be used for a transfer to other buses, unless I missed something.
        Will Swift TVM’s be able to issue an ORCA card?, so I can transfer.
        This whole fare/pass/zone/peak/discount/transfer thing really bugs me in the Puget Sound area. Seems like we go out of our way to make things as complicated as possible!

  2. Considering how easy bus routes can be altered, I have a hard time imagining them being something developers (and renters/owners) would be willing to bank on.

    Didn’t ripping up the tracks and replacing them with buses teach us that?

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against buses in general, I believe they have their place in the transit network, I’m just saying I don’t see them really spurring developement.

    1. What makes this an interesting test is that the stops for SWIFT are developed in such a way that moving or adding a stop would be difficult unless the characteristics of what defines SWIFT is changed. Is it the investment in the zones that would spur development near the stops?

      Time will tell…

      What might be of interest is how many riders did the 101 have on Monday so we can compare overall corridor ridership. We probably won’t be able to tell for a few months at a minimum.

    2. Funny thing is, while in theory buses are “flexible” in reality the routes stay the same for decades or longer (many in Seattle run the same places that streetcars once did). Turns out that buses tend to run on arterial streets, which are no more flexible than rail.

      1. One thing that makes them more flexible than rail is their ability to operate on side streets for a while while something is obstructing their arterial.

      2. While that may be true, perception is reality. If people don’t believe that (and how much news does a bus route staying the same generate as opposed to one moving), then it doesn’t matter how true it is, their decisions will be based on the faulty information.

    3. All the development since the early 40’s in Bellevue, Queen Anne, Ballard, W. Seattle, Bell Town, U. District, etc. has been along bus routes. There is no rail to those neighborhoods.

      1. To be fair, development loves development and there were already town centers there (built thanks to… streetcars). At least in all of those cases except Bellevue, which is one of the least pedestrian friendly cities I’ve visited.

      2. Then there is no need to put rail to any of those places, since “development loves development” and development has already been going on in large numbers of neighborhoods for decades without rail?

        In other words, in areas where development has already started (no matter why it started), development will continue along bus routes?

      3. And do you think that development in the Seattle Metropolitan Area has been more or less dense since cessation of most rail transit in the region?

      4. Is this a trick question? Virtually all of the high rises downtown were built after the cessation of most rail transit in the region. Likewise all the condos in Bell Town. All buildings put up after the early ’40’s came without any rail serving any neighborhoods.

      5. No it was not a trick question, please reread my post if necessary. I wasn’t talking about any one neighborhood that was already built up, but the Seattle Metropolitan Area. Do you think it as a whole has become more or less dense since the demise of rail and the transition to busing?

        From my understanding, rail isn’t just about making dense denser, but in shepherding new growth to radiate out from the center (increasing density) as opposed to the network node model that the automobile model pushes.

      6. Of course all neighborhoods have become more dense over the years. As population increases in any distince area — as it has everywhere in the “Seattle Metropolitan Area” — density goes up. The population has increased, but the number of square miles in each neighborhood has stayed the same. Unles the boundaries of some neighborhoods have been changed — but that would be an artificial skewing of the statistics.

        I don’t get your question. You don’t think the population of the Seattle Metropolitan Area has increased since the 40’s? Or you think the boundaries have been expanded outwards? Or what? Because the population has increased. So, if the boundaries have remained the same, then, by definition, population density has increased.

      7. Hmm… Guess I am not being clear enough. When I talk about the Metropolitan Area I am talking about the central core (Seattle) and those areas that have strong social and economic ties to the core as measured by commuting and employment. Basically the OMB definition.

        So yes, even if the city limits stay the same the Metropolitan Area’s boundaries can grow as people with strong ties to the core continue to move further and further away from the core.

        With first the developement of the suburbs, and then the exurbs, the population has grown, but the area has grown at an even faster rate meaning lower density overall.

      8. Well, even if that is the case, I consider that meaningless. What is the point of that? You mean if you keep drawing bigger and bigger concentric circles around downtown Seatttle, the density within the larger and larger circles will decrease? Is this some sort of revelation? Is that different from any other city?

        Within any circle you draw around downtown Seattle in 1940, there is greater density now within that same circle than there was in 1940. Don’t you agree? Within any geograhpic area in the Seattle Metropolitan Area, density is greater today than in the 1940’s. Without any rail.

        What is your point, other than that the farther you get away from downtown Seattle, the lower the density, in general. You think this is unusual? Or you disagree with that?

      9. The point is that rail v automobile (bus) causes different patterns of development. Under the old system growth would radiate outward from the center as rail lines were extended. By it’s uniform nature it is more dense.

        With the demise of rail (many times they were bought out by GM) we moved to a more network node system, and developed suburbs then exurbs. While certain areas may become more dense, as a whole the area becomes less dense. If you take a farm or forest in Woodenville and turn it into a suburb that specific area will become more dense, but if most of those people will be commuting into Seattle (tieing it into the Metropolitan Area) the Area as a whole becomes less dense.

        Why is this bad? Pollution? Runoff? Destruction of natural habitat? Dependence on foreign oil? Quality of life? Bedroom communities with no sense of community?

        Where do you want to start?

      10. Another point is simply to build rail because the people who are already in these highly-developed areas want to ride a train to work.

      11. “If you take a farm or forest in Woodenville and turn it into a suburb that specific area will become more dense, but if most of those people will be commuting into Seattle (tieing it into the Metropolitan Area) the Area as a whole becomes less dense.”

        This is just nonsense. Both areas became more dense. No area became less dense. You just decided to compare the density of Seattle only, to the density of Seattle plus Woodenville combined. You did not compare density of the same area at two different times.

        If you compared the density of Seattle + Woodenville in the 40’s to the density of Seattle + Woodenville today, using the same geographic boundaries in both years, the combined areas are much denser today than they were in the 40’s.

        Why not take the density of King County as a whole? Is King County more dense today, virtually without rail, than it was in the 30’s and early 40’s with lots of streetcars and trains?

        Or not?

        If you don’t want to develop undeveloped areas, and you don’t want people to drive, then make people live within walking distance of where they work. Then they don’t need cars, trains, buses, or bicycles — just sidewalks. We could pass a law that every big tower in Seattle has to be converted so it has just as many living spaces as office spaces, so that they could all house as many people as there are working in each building. Then the only transportation those people would need is elevators — they would not even need to leave their building.

        Make Microsoft build a living space for every office space on its campus. Then they won’t need any “Connector” buses or any other form of transportation. Microsoft workers should all live right on the Microsoft campus.

        Or, give large incentives for telecommuting. That is the least costly, least environmentally destructive way of “commuting” you could ask for.

        But, your idea that the Seattle are is less dense now than it was in the 40’s is laughable.

      12. It appears your inability to grasp the idea of Metropolitan Area is causing our disconnect.

        The core generates most of the economic activity. People come in from outside areas to work there. When that happens in large numbers that area becomes part of it’s Metropolitan Area. In the War/Post War paradigm shift from rail to the road, the Metropolitan Areas of most cities (including Seattle) moved further and further away from the core. (For example compare Brooklyn a ‘Streetcar Suburb’ of NYC with it’s later suburb Levittown) Those areas were much less dense than the edge communities during the rail years. Not only that, instead of being a relatively consistent outgrowth from the center (following rail extensions), we moved to more of a network node type developement with large swaths skipped over.

        This is a bad thing, for the reasons I listed above.

        As to making people work where they live, that isn’t really possible without draconian social engineering, nor is it really necessary. When communities, even commuter communities develop around transit, those people are not dependent on cars, and many will do without. Those people will want to shop, eat, etc within walking distance of their home, which will generate more jobs in that community. It also helps that since not everyone will live directly across from a stop, the streets will be ‘walkable.’ Now of course not everyone will work in their own community, you will still have a large commuting segment, but you will have more community employment than your typical Levittown.

      13. I don’t lack the ability to grasp the concept of “metropolitan area”. I just find it to be nonsense in comparing densities of one time to another. I consider your argument to just be creating a definition which is useful in trying to prove a preconceived notion.

        Seattle is much more dense today than in the 40’s.

        Woodenville is much more dense today than in the 40’s.

        King County is much more dense today than in the 40’s.

        You create some definition that combines a few different areas, then you compare that artificial combination of areas today to some different, smaller area 40 years ago to come up with some figure you wanted to come up with.

        Queen Anne is denser today served only by buses than it was in the 40’s with streetcars.

        Ditto with W. Seattle, Belltown, the U. District, etc. These areas are all as dense as developers can make them given zoning and financial constraints. Streetcars vs buses has no bearing on the density of these neighborhoods.

      14. Another approach.

        Since the beginning of time, cities have pulled people in from the countryside. Before the subsidization of roads and subsidization of home ownership, this meant people moved first to the city itself, then with rise of rail based public transportation to immediately adjacent suburbs connected by rail. Due to the nature of rail (radiating outward, necessary of shopping/recreation being within walking distance, necessity of being close to rail lines) these developements were relatively dense. Not as dense as what would now be called ‘Downtown’ but by today’s standards pretty dense.

        However when we moved to the automobile paradigm this process of steady growth from the center slowed and in many cases reversed. Many people moved outside of these areas into much less dense Levittown type suburbs. Not only that, with subsidized automobile transport people already living in communities relatively close to the core now no longer needed to move to the city, they could just drive. Over time outling exurbs became more and tied to the center through commuting patterns. Thus the boundaries of the Metropolitan Area increased and increased but most of the time it was expanding into low dense areas.

      15. Norman, what does all that have to do with the topic at hand, early Swift ridership numbers?

        Look, obviously no one is suggesting development is impossible without rail, but rail has a proven track record of spurring development and density (note what Link is accomplishing on that front despite the recession), and there’s no arguing the metropolitan area would be denser today if rail hadn’t been ripped out in the 1940s. Many are waiting with a good deal of anticipation and varying degrees of optimism to see if Swift can generate density along its service corridor. It might not quite be “true” BRT, but it’s pretty close for this country, and therefore its corridor will serve as an intriguing test lab. Beyond that, I’m not sure what there really is to debate while staying on-topic.

      16. Jason, that’s mostly my fault not Normans. I raised the question of TOD of BRT v Rail, which moved to this tangent.

        Sorry… ;)

      17. “and there’s no arguing the metropolitan area would be denser today if rail hadn’t been ripped out in the 1940s.”

        That is exactly what I am arguing. I don’t think that is correct, at all.

        But, really, I feel that “metropolitan area” is fairly nonsensical. Somebody makes up some definition to create some artificial boundaries that prove a point they want to prove. What determines the boundaries of this “metropolitan area”, anyway? Do 50% or more of Woodenville residents have to work in downtown Seattle to be part of the “metropolitan area” of Seattle? 70%? 10%? Who decides?

        Just out of curiosity, Anc, what is your theory of what the density of “metropolitan Seattle” would be today if airplanes had never been invented?

      18. Hey, I’m no moderator, Anc, and I always enjoy your comments. I just happened to notice that this is starting to read like a Sunday Open Thread.

        Besides, you may have raised the issue of the relative TOD potentials of rail and BRT, but Martin closing his post by asking (albeit probably rhetorically) if BRT is “enough” to spur dense development along the Swift corridor left the door for that conversation wide open. That the thread went sideways from there ain’t really on you.

      19. From Norman’s link a couple of posts above: “Felix Angel Morales, 45, rides buses from his home in Seattle’s Lake City to his job in Everett, a trip of up to three hours each way, depending on the smoothness of the transfers. He estimates Swift will cut an hour or more off the trip each direction.”

        Swift just gave this guy an extra two hours of his life back, every day. That is just awesome. And the kind of the

      20. Sorry, laptop had a brain-fart. Post should have ended “…And the kind of thing that reminds you why you vote for and advocate for improved mass transit.”

      21. He estimates Swift will cut an hour or more off the trip each direction

        Is this primarily because of better headways closing down the layover time or because it’s that much faster going up 99? I’d guess the former since it seems pretty hard to pull a 1/2 hour out off even the worse milk run up 99. It’s also pretty hard to understand why a commute from Lake City to Everett would take three hours. I mean you can get there from Bellevue in 1/2 an hour. My son makes it from the WWU campus in Bellingham back to Bellevue in three hours!

      22. Right, I’m assuming he has multiple transfers on buses that don’t run terribly frequently (if your commute is seriously three hours each way, some of your trip would likely involve non-peak service), so the 20-30 minutes saved on Swift generate a chain reaction in reduced trip time. I don’t know a thing about the buses that would be involved, so chose to just trust the reporting.

      23. Norman, as I posted earlier, the idea of Metropolitan Area isn’t something I made up to try and make a point, it is the definition used by the Government.

        This is b/c ‘city limits’ are merely political boundaries that usually have very little to do with the reality on the ground. Many times people who live outside the boundaries are just a part of the city as those living in it, but for historical, political and yes I’m going there sometimes racist reasons those areas have not been incorporated into the city itself.

        An example of this would be where my parents lived when I was born. Lanett Alabama and West Point Georgia are the heart of what is called ‘The Valley.’ Politically the two are separated not just by city boundaries but by state boundaries. However the two are basically the same unit, as historically most people in Lanett worked in the textile mills in West Point (have you heard of Westpoint Stevens?) The two are so connected socially and economically that Lanett uses both ‘Georgia Time’ (Eastern Time zone, only section of the state that is not Central) AND even the Georgia Area Code so calls across the boundary were not long distance (but calls to other cities in the actual state it was located in WERE long distance calls). That’s pretty much the definition of political boundaries being of little relevance when discussing areas so interdependent.

        As time has gone Seattle has both colonized and incorporated more land mass into it’s Metropolitan Area. Due to this it has become less dense over time, even if the city itself has become more dense and even the areas it was absorbing have become more dense before. But b/c those areas absorbed are less dense than the ‘old’ city and Metro area, the Metropolitan Area as a whole has become less dense. Is this the part you are hanging up and need me to better explain?

      24. If anyone was wondering, the principle cities of the Seattle Metro Area are:


        (Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas defined by the Office of Management and Budget, November 2008)

        Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
        Internet Release Date: August 2009

        42660 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area
        42660 Seattle, WA 53 63000
        42660 Tacoma, WA 53 70000
        42660 Bellevue, WA 53 05210
        42660 Everett, WA 53 22640
        42660 Kent, WA 53 35415
        42660 Renton, WA 53 57745

      25. I think the bus routes went to where the development was occurring, not the other way around. And we have a large enough density of bus routes in Seattle that you can’t really escape being next to a bus route.

      26. Yes, the thought that developers followed bus routes on the Eastside is laughable. The only place that happened was the infill on NE 8th Street and 156th in Crossroads. There were few other bus routes, and development went up willy-nilly without regard to them. There was no such thing as planned density near bus stops, so most stops were next to single-family houses and very few people lived close to a stop. Most streets are cul-de-sacs and most apartment complexes are fenced with one entrance, so you have to walk the long way around to get to a bus stop. This is one reason why transit is so ineffective on the Eastside.

      27. I have been up and down that corridor more times than I care to count. There are innumerable strip malls and other shopping opportunities along Highway 99. There are also ALOT of appartments along Everegreen and Hwy 99. As I recall, the most dense locations of appartments are in the Casino Road area as well as between 216th and 236th Streets. They aren’t as visible since they are behind the shopping malls.

  3. How is ridership on SWIFT being counted? Do the buses have automatic counters above the doors, like LINK trains? Or are they counting actual fares paid?

    To my knowledge, ST has never published any numbers for actual fares paid to ride on LINK trains.

    It would be nice to be able to compare paid fares to paid fares on SWIFT vs LINK, or estimates from automatic counters to estimates from automatic counters on SWIFT vs LINK, but I suspect that is not the case.

    Not accepting paper transfers on SWIFT is a huge mistake, and large barrier to ridership, in my opinion. Even LINK has taken paper transfers up to now. I have never paid to ride LINK, but I have ridden it dozens of times for free, with a METRO paper transfer.

    1. Using your paper transfers on LINK will end in January when everyone has to use ORCA to transfer inbetween agencies.

  4. Thanks Martin, et al for the good info. For us King County folks, we don’t always catch the details from outlying areas.

  5. Former NARP president Jack Martin once said something to the effect that no one will build just because you have built a new bus stop… As much as i like buses and think they are an efficent way of transportation, i also think this BRT business is a bunch of flash and show for federal money. Clean, safe stops are nice, but people really want frequency and reilability of service. You could do a whole lot more for that without spending a lot of money on fancy gimmics such as the DE60As and stations with high platforms.

    1. It’s hardly just “fancy gimmics”. The design of the whole system is for optimal speed. The off-bus payment system, 3 door buses, quick-load bike racks, and self-restraint system for wheelchair riders will improve the speed of the bus line. As far as BRT driving development, well… We’ve got a great laboratory here with Link light rail, Swift, and soon Metro’s BRT light: RapidRide. It’ll be interesting to watch going forward.

      1. As to BRT driving development, it is worth noting that Rapid Ride seems to have much to do with Harbor Properties plans to build in the West Seattle Triangle (can’t recall if this was already mentioned in a news roundup). They’re even planning to put a real-time info kiosk in the lobby of one of their properties. One development is obviously a far cry from the impact Link is having, but still…

      2. Yeah, it was an eye opener to me to see how much CT was willing to “give up” seats in order to facilitate quick load/unload cycles. Maybe it’s wrong but I equate BRT with something a “muscle bus” on an open road. Swift seems more like “surface subway.”

      3. Just trying to get a concept of what the idea is behind the Swift and RapidRide service. I think of BRT as something that goes fast, like in a dedicated ROW or unrestricted HOV lane. I guess that’s because of the word “Rapid” in the name. It makes me think of something that’s a service which would at some point lend it’s self to light rail or commuter rail as a capcity limit is reached with buses. If you’re going a long distance (not many stops) then “rapid” boarding isn’t that big a deal. If you’re going a short distance you don’t really need to go very fast. With Swift they’re making a big deal out of the boarding and pretty severely cutting back on seating (a long ride you’d put a premium on having a seat). So Swift seems geared toward relatively frequent stops and relatively short hops. Hence, more like something you’d expect of an inner city subway system. I’m not saying any of this is correct. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how Swift and RapidRide are different than a regular bus and different from just an express bus.

      4. The idea is that the bus can mix in and out of PROW and in-traffic, such as EmX and the former 99 B-Line in vancouver BC which employed an extensive section of dedicated ROW in richmond (2 lanes in the middle of the street with side platforms). The Stops were more or less conventional bus stops, and the buses conventional D60LFs. The buses in their later years were very beat up from the load, another area where rail cars have an advantage over buses.

        The thing i dont like the most about these new “BRT” lines, if that the line is customized for the equipment. In Eugene’s case, you have the drivers side doors, something that is only found elsewhere in boston. SWIFT has the floor level platforms with gap fillers instead of the conventional ramp, which might make using conventional equipment intresting. And in reality this all means you have to have a dedicated fleet of equipment, which tends to get beat up a lot more and wear out sooner. Also, especally in Eugene’s case if more than your spare ratio is out of service at one time for any reason you start missing trips as you cannot assign the first coach you see in the yard to the service. Which that alone defeats some of the inhearant flexiblity of the system.

      5. Bernie,
        Interesting comparison. Though most of what I’ve seen around the country touted as BRT tends to mostly be urban arterial service rather than HOV express buses. While rapid loading isn’t as essential with HOV express service it does lend itself well to off-board payment, real-time information displays, or even fancy bus stops due to the limited number of stops.

        While Swift has more stops than some HOV express buses it still has fairly wide stop spacing more like I’d expect with a rail line. Even with wide stop spacing, keeping station dwell times down is important as it does begin to add up. Each minute you cut off of the average station dwell time will save 14 minutes on the end to end time for the Swift line.

      6. Off board payment would certainly help with typical ST Express buses where there are the vast majority of people loading at the start of the run and maybe one or two transfer points. Those places tend to be P&R lots and used by a lot of routes so you get a high return on investment at those locations. Lots of comfortable seating (as opposed to extra doors or low floor), the overhead storage and maybe even wi-fi on longer routes. Sort of “commuter train” on rubber tires. Swift has station spacing averaging just over a mile apart (a good deal closer than Link) resulting in a lot greater benefit from the quick load/unload trade offs. I’d guess only a small fraction ride end to end and the people that do get on early are the ones that will get seats. If you’re only going a few miles then standing and being close to a door might be preferable to bothering to find a seat. I’m not so sure about the inside bike thing. If racks are left down it takes all of about 2 seconds to rack a bike. It is nice to have bikes allowed inside though. Once you wheel on you’re going even if all the designated rack slots are taken. The real time info might be obsoleted by cell phone technology by the time it’s implemented. I’m still having a hard time figuring out how RapidRide sets it’s self apart from just being more frequent buses with no set schedule. Other than the Oscar Meyer paint job :=

      7. The on-board product from ST Express is good. Though the seat comfort and usefulness of the luggage racks varies depending on the coach model and operating agency (the Gilligs and the MCIs are the best in my experience). I’d like to see wi-fi on more routes but it isn’t a deal breaker (3G networks make this a bit moot anyway).

        I do agree that most of the major transit centers and P&R lots would benefit from off-board payment stations and real-time information displays. Ideally the TVM machines would be capable of dispensing and loading ORCA cards like the Link and Sounder TVMs. Also perhaps sprucing up the shelters and wayfinding to Swift/Link standards.

        I’ve made no secret that I wish the RapidRide product was more like Swift. The fancy stations and on-board bike racks aren’t strictly necessary but the key BRT features are. Stop spacing should be no closer than 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile outside heavily built up areas. Off board payment and real-time info displays should be installed wherever possible (if a stop doesn’t doesn’t have enough riders to justify off-board payment it probably shouldn’t be a stop). Buses should have signal priority, queue jump, and some form of transit lane wherever possible. Service frequency should be no less than every 10 minutes peak and every 15 or 20 off-peak.

  6. How is this Swift Bus any better than a regular bus? The Swift-bus takes the same roads as the regular buses. Buses do not decrease traffic… buses are basically taking commuters from one vehicle, to another.

    It shocks me that there are still ignoramuses who believe buses are more efficient than rail…

    Don’t you recognize that Metropolitan Seattle could have a total population of 8 to 10-million by 2050. We need to invest in an underground subway!!!

    1. I’ve seen a cool poster by Metro or Sound Transit where they show just the passengers in cars, bikes, buses, and rail all spread out on the street. The car passengers obviously spread out the most, and the bus passengers are super clumped together. As you’d expect, rail is most dense/clumped and bikes are somewhere between cars and buses. Maybe someone knows the link to an image of that poster.

      1. I have that poster at home. They (forgot who) invited people to volunteer for the photo shoot on a Sunday morning on 2nd Avenue.

        I’ll get a photo of that up when I’m home.

    2. I rode the Swift yesterday heading south and it is a huge improvement in average speed over the regular buses on this route. Before, stopping every block or two used to be so painfully slow. The doors of Swift are clearly wide enough for passengers to enter and exit at the same time and only need to be open about 10 seconds. It’s nice not having passengers asking about fares as they are boarding and fumbling for the correct amount. Unfortunately there was no stop close to my office’s cross street so it doubled my walk to about 1.5 miles. I wasn’t willing to wait 15 minutes for the next local bus after getting off Swift.

  7. “Buses do not decrease traffic… buses are basically taking commuters from one vehicle, to another.”

    So, if you take 50 commuters who drive alone, out of their 50 individual cars on one street, and put those 50 commuters into one bus, thus replacing 50 cars with one bus, that does not decrease traffic? Really? One bus is as much “traffic” as 50 cars?

    Fifty cars, each 15 feet long, driving at 30 mph, with 45 feet between each car, end-to-end, take up a section of road about 3,000 feet long. One articulated bus is 60 feet long. Include the 45 feet between the bus and the car behind it, and you get 105 feet per bus.

    So, 50 cars take 3,000 feet of road, and one bus takes 105 feet of road (at 30 mph), but putting people in buses instead of individual cars, does not decrease traffic?

    Interesting theory.

  8. I rode SWIFT for the first time today. I live in Seattle, so I thought I would take a leisurely bus ride up North to Everett. Loved the frequency of it, really enjoyed Everett Station with its links to Amtrak and all the other busses in the area. The only thing I thought silly though, was when we were coming back/going South to Aurora Village at about 4:30pm. So many stoplights getting out of Everett Station and still had to stop at many stoplights on the way down. Hopefully someday soon, they’ll have a designated BUS ONLY lane and that can cut even more time off of the trip. When Metro gets its act together with BRT, I sure hope they have designated BUS ONLY lanes on Aurora Avenue.

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