109 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Uncomfortable on 2320”

  1. I’ve been meaning to comment about that sign on the side of coach 2320 at the beginning of the vid. It is of some concern that that organization, endhatecrimesaroundtheworld is advertising on out transit fleet. Is this organization for real, (about a traffic accident in Olympia) or is it a front for something/someone else?

    1. That is quite possibly the worse laid out website I have ever seen. They have pages of correspondence, legal documents, their family’s naval service (wtf? relevance?) but no where a breakdown of what exactly their issue is. And I’m not about to go rifle through the ~100 pages of documents to find out.

    2. How cheap is it to advertise on Metro busses that crazy people can put up billboards for their websites?

      1. Is there a practical speed limit for electric buses powered by the grid? Are the BRT buses expected to exceed that practical speed limit?

        I know buses still have to stop every so often when their power poles come off.

      2. I think around here they’re limited to 40 mph. Which is sufficient for operation on arterial streets. The trolleybus BRT line with exclusive right-of-way in Quito, Ecuador has a top speed of 50 mph but actual speeds are much less due to the short stop spacing.

  2. Stupid toe dangler… I hate it when pedestrians stand on the curb with their toes hanging over the curb – especially when they are looking the other way and making a music video.

    Question for you all: Will SDOT repave, or repair, ALL of Jackson when the streetcar is built? When I drive a bus Westbound on Jackson, I like to take the 2nd lane since it’s smoother – if I drive in lane 1 I end up tossing my passengers all over the place unless I drive at a glacial pace. I assume the answer is “Yes” but in this budget climate I’m not so sure.

    1. Probably depends on how much of it they have to dig up for utility work. SDOT repaved the outer lanes of Fairview after installing tracks in the inner lanes, so hopefully they’ll do the same thing on Jackson. They really need to repave the most heavily used bus streets with concrete like they’ve recently done on Stewart and 2nd Avenue. Bellevue Ave. where the 43 and 49 runs comes to mind. Last time I rode the 43 I actually hurt my back pretty severely when we hit a pothole on Bellevue. The horrible suspension on the Bredas combined with poor street maintenance has really led to a decline in service quality on the 43 and 49.

      1. Here is a link to SDOT’s paving plan for the next few years. It looks like by the end of this year Stewart, Olive, Virginia, 2nd, and 4th will all have been repaved, which is great for any bus going through downtown. Also, it looks like next year they’re finally going to get around to repaving 15th Ave NE next to UW, which is sorely overdue. That should help out the 43 and 49.

      2. Oh, you are so correct! 15th Avenue is one of the most sick inducing roads to take any bus along!

      3. Replacing bus lanes with concrete is also important for bicyclists, who usually ride in the same (i.e. the right-most) part of the road/lane as buses. The best example of this I can think of is 10th Ave E, between Boston & Roanoke. It’s wicked bumpy on a 49, but going down that road on a bike, especially if it’s at all wet, is downright scary.

      4. as far as i’m concerned buses and bikes dont mix, bikes dont really want to ride amongst large smoke belching buses constantly pulling towards/away from the curb, and a full bus of passengers dont like inching along stuck behind a cyclist. to me having buses and bikes have to share a lane is very auto-centric… us cars get “our own” lanes, we’re only willing to give up one lane so you “alternate” transport will have to share it.

    2. That’s the dilemma: buses need the roads to be smoother than passenger cars, but the roads with the most buses tend to go downhill faster from all the bus traffic.

      Solution: steel streets for all bus routes. :)

    3. As a cyclist, I support the repaving of Jackson as well. My fat tire city bike handles it well, but when I ride my loaded touring down to the ferries — miserable!

    4. I hate it when pedestrians stand on the curb with their toes hanging over the curb – especially when they are looking the other way and making a music video.

      Yep. “Hanging 10”. They do this a lot at the corner of 1st and Pike, but elsewhere too. Good way to get clipped or whapped by an opening door.

    5. Corollary question: Will the First Hill Street Car run in the outer lanes, and thereby get stuck every time an emergency vehicle or someone else parks in that lane?

      1. Not necessarily, Jason – there are drawings with center platforms and the trains running in the travel lanes. Depending on the route chosen there may not necessarily be an “outer lane” to travel in in some cases as well :)

  3. Has anyone else noticed the “perfect/ less than perfect” Keurig (coffee machine) ads on the sides of Metro Buses. They have a picture a less than ideal bus situation (the one I saw was a shorter woman with her face in a taller guys armpit who was holding on to the hand rail) with the text “less than perfect,” then they have a picture of their coffee machine that says “perfect.”

    I know it’s all about ad revenue… but it seems ridiculous that Metro would allow their advertisers to completely disparage their service on the sides of their own buses.

    1. Even worse is the one on the back of the bus that reads “Don’t get a DUI or you’ll be riding one of these.” The same law firm also has interior ads that say “Ride the bus out of choice, not necessity,” or something like that.

    2. The problem is that Metro does not exactly control the advertising. It is contracted out to the highest bidder, in this case Titan Worldwide (http://www.titanoutdoor.com/usa/seattle.php), to manage. I’m sure they have rules and regulations for what can and can’t go on the buses, but I would guess that, either out of a need for more revenue or a lack of forethought, “don’t make fun of our buses” didn’t make it to that document.

  4. Iwant to introduce a comment string on how best to improve bus service between Issaquah and Bellevue. Outside of the time frame that the 556 and 555 ST buses take up, service is poor and woefully slow and meandering on the milk run 271. The quickest and actually cheapest way to get to Bellevue from Issaquah is by using the 554 to Mercer Island and then hopping over the road to take the 550 from Seattle to Bellevue. This works out to be cheaper using a one zone ST $1.50 orca transfer than it does to take an off-peak Metro $1.75 fare. My issue with it all, is that it shouldn’t be necessary. ST should be running the 556 and 555 off-peak as well as evenings and weekends.

    My other question is to Brian regarding any current news on the Amtrak Pioneer and the state of affairs for our trains arriving at Vancouver Central Station. Do the Canadians currently have any plans to automate or are we still ways off this?

    1. Only recently have the 555/556 become cost effective. ST is not planning any service expansions–ST2 money is probably all tapped out. Read pages 63-65 here.

    2. From page 102, on the link Tim Posted just above.

      The following list includes additional bus services that are not affordable at this time, but could be considered if additional funds and resources are available to meet future demand based on ridership trends.

      The list had more routes, but here is the 556 info you asked for. Also, I believe the 556 is a growing route and I think it should be a priority for mid-day service, soon.

      Route 556 Improve peak-hour, peak direction frequency to every 15-minutes
      Add midday service every 30-minutes on weekdays

  5. Does anyone know if there are any plans to increase 71/72/73 service on Sundays? Almost every time I’ve ridden these on Sundays they have been packed, and several times have had to skip 41st, Campus Parkway, and all of Eastlake SB, and Convention Place and Eastlake NB. It would be nice to put some extra hours in there to tie us over until U Link.

    1. All they need to do is shift the 66/67 on to the Ave(like the 70s), make them one route, and synchronize them with the 75, 65, 372, 68 or any other bus going into the univ. that would add enough buses on the route to deal with capacity issues.

      1. The 66 and 67 are not similar to the 71/72/73/74. The 66 terminates at the ferry terminal, and the 67 operates through the U-District between Northgate and Lake City (as the 65, save for a few peak hour trips) meaning you get zero capacity to downtown. These are the only two routes that serve 11th and Roosevelt, which is a highly different corridor from University and 15th. Also, the 67 doesn’t run on weekends (but the 65 does).

      2. Route 67 already turns into route 65 when going through the university. It’s also a UW-specific route, and doesn’t run on weekends at all. Route 66 should stay on Roosevelt/11th, since it’s the main north-south bus for the western half of the U District.

      3. Please don’t slow my bus to a crawl by moving it to 15th or University Way. Not to mention there are quite a few people who would lose their bus service if that were done.

      4. You can’t move the 66 to Uviv. Way. It would confuse people. 71-74’s are either all Expresses making no stops between UW and Seattle, or they are ALL locals making all stops. The 66 is different. It is an express making 4 stops between UW and Seattle. Not only do you want to group like routes together, and seperate the others, but you really need service on Roosevelt and 11th through the U-Dist. The Ave and Campus have plenty of buses to Downtown….25,43,49,70,71,72,73,74. Roosevelt and 11th have 66,79, but really only the 66 counts….you gotta serve that corridor.

    2. I don’t know when you’re riding–the only time I’ve seen crush load on the 71/72/73 on weekends is when there’s a sporting event downtown. I also find it hard to believe that all of Eastlake southbound gets skipped–the 70 doesn’t run on Sundays so there’s usually 3 people that get off, and a half dozen at CPS.

      1. The last two months or so. We made a couple stops on Eastlake where people were getting off and the people waiting there managed to squeeze on, but the people waiting at stops where no one was getting off were out of luck.

      2. I rode the 73 this morning. Not crush loaded on Eastlake/Fairview, but it was standing room only, which surprised me for a Sunday morning. (I don’t ride this bus often on the weekends.)

    3. There are no plans currently. I will not pick the 71/72/73’s on Sundays just because of the way it’s done on Sunday. And the 72, and 73 on the north ends only running hourly. They aren’t always full, but at certain times of the day they are packed. Then we run late and we lose our breaks.

      I think rather than increasing service on Sunday, they should just run the 70 between maybe 9am-5pm, maybe a little later, and express the 71-73’s like the rest of the week. I’ve been hoping for theat for a while.

      Also, the 73 is changing next shakeup. Going north, upon arriving at Univ Way/Ravenna Blvd, it will go left. Then use 12th Av to 75th, then Roosevelt, and back to 15th Ave NE at Pinehurst. Same in reverse, except Roosevelt all the way to Ravenna Blvd. This change is due to Bridge work on 15th Ave NE over Thorton Creek and will probably last for about a year. 77 and 373 will also move to Roosevelt and 12th Ave. 77 in additon to using the tunnel, will have some routing changes. S/B will continue on Roosevelt to 65th to enter express lanes. N/B, will use Lake City off-ramp, then loop around back to 75th to access Roosevelt before heading north.

  6. I have a question, maybe one of the drivers here can weigh in. I just started using ORCA this month. Before, if I was boarding behind someone who chose to wait until they were standing in front of the fare box to dig for their change, I could show my pass, get a nod and keep walking. Now, can I just tap on the reader and keep walking? Is the driver gonna be able to tell that my card is valid?

    Also, how annoying is it if I leave my card in the side pocket of my bag and tap the bag?


    1. Lots of folks just leave their ORCAs in their wallets, purses, etc. so long as it’s readable, drivers shouldn’t have a problem.

      As for tapping while someone is in front of you, it’s best to wait. I’m pretty sure that if a transaction has started at the farebox (and the person is standing there fumbling for more change), the ORCA reader won’t do its thing until the farebox transaction is completed. Also, if you manage to tap the reader before the fumbler has started at the farebox, if you have insufficient funds ORCA would expect you to put money in the farebox to complete the fare, which would obviously mess up the attempt by the person already at the farebox to pay.

      Of course, if your driver used to just let you board based on the sight of your pass, there’s no reason s/he wouldn’t just nod you on if you showed your ORCA card. In both instances, assuming you weren’t using a UPASS, the driver has no way of knowing if your card is real/valid beyond what it looks like.

    2. I agree with Jeff – I don’t care if I see the card or not. Assuming the ORCA reader is working, do whatever you need to do to make it beep correctly and I’m good.

    1. I saw some large Amtrak ads near the security queue at SEA when I was checking out Link wayfinding on Dec. 19.

    2. Which just goes to prove that if the TSA was really concerned about what their name is, then we would have screening for trains to. It’s only a matter of time before this easy target is, well, targeted.

      1. Seriously, it is going to be a sad, sad day when somebody blows up a train and suddenly we have to add security screening to every ride we take. But, amazingly, plenty of people could detonate care bombs in rush hour traffic and we’d never see screenings before you could drive onto a freeway.

  7. Andreas,

    the ORCA reader won’t do its thing until the farebox transaction is completed

    False. There is no communication whatsoever betweenn the farebox and the Orca system or driver’s DDU. Completely separate system. Feel free to tap your pass as the person at the farebox fumbles and go right in.

    Yes, some people’s Orca cards are under-fared, and the driver’s DDU will say “Owe +.25” or some such, but the only way that the Orca system knows that it has been paid (or waived) is when the driver hits “OK”. The farebox is a dumb system and doesn’t talk to Orca at all.

    1. Actually “Ok” just makes the message go away. We’re suppose to go into the fare screen and punch one of two buttons to say whether they paid the extra $.25 or not. This system is, shall we say… inconvenient for the driver. Most drivers are not going to fumble around in extra menus just to make sure ORCA has the correct data. I tried for a while, but I’ve pretty much given up.

      1. I’m still a bit unclear as to whether that passenger gets an e-transfer or not. I do go to the extra menu to indicate payment (or not) ’cause I’m a stickler that way, but don’t know if the passenger needs to re-tap to get their e-transfer, whether they got it already, or if they can’t get one at all. I had one passenger who had inadvertently purchased their monthly pass at the old off-peak rate (the “Owe +.25” message) ask me for a paper transfer and I wasn’t sure if she needed one or not.

        According to ATU, we’ll all be participating in a fare-evasion survey by the end of March, so stay tuned for that.

      2. I doubt indicating that they paid their extra $.25 in cash will give them that transfer value. They would have to tap their card again to load that data onto it. Any time the passenger pays extra cash, they are entitled to a paper transfer. On the other hand, if they have an E-Purse from which they pay the extra $.25, that transfer will register on their card for their next trip. Basically, if they give Metro cash on the bus, paper is what they get back.

        Double-check with training but I’m 90% sure on this one.

      3. OK – then here’s a kicker I’ll bet you can’t get your mind around: what happens on Sound Transit buses when that happens – and you have no paper transfer to give them? This is a test, your answer is due February 5th.

    1. Didn’t get a chance, but check out the #nopantsseattle hashtag for the Twitter feed. Some have pics and videos.

    2. I went to Airport and back and saw a lot of them, but didn’t go myself.

      Next year, I think I’ll join them.

    1. Nice. Wasn’t that the streetcar company’s motto, “Always a car in sight”?
      In a related note, I wonder if they might ever change 2nd and 4th back to two-way streets. These streets always seemed a little less lively than 1st and 3rd, and I hear that changing from one-way to two-way does wonders for liveliness.

      1. When were those streets turned into one ways? One way streets tend to be ways to maximize the speed of auto travel, but they sadly come at the expense of pedestrian friendliness.

  8. I found a block within an RPZ near Link that’s unsigned, so you can legally park there all day. I bet it won’t last forever, and I’m not telling where it is… it’s been handy (once)!

    1. Sometimes SDOT leaves some blocks unregulated even if other blocks around it are regulated.

  9. There is possibly nothing that I hate more then the recent overuse of autotune in music. This is awful.

      1. Then again, that’s not autotune in the video above. That’s plain, old fashioned voice boxing. First used popularly by Peter Frampton, and then used extensively by Roger Troutman and Zapp (which this video is mimicking). FWIW.

  10. I have two issues about ORCA that I would like to bring up.

    First why is it called an ORCA card. ORCA stands for One Regional CARD for All. When you say ORCA card you are saying One Regional CARD for All CARD. Maybe a better term would be to call it “transit ORCA”. Just a thought.

    Second, we really need more places to fill our cards. Yes I know it can be done on-line. On-line is not always an option. Why not let Bartell Drugs do it.

    1. Apparently you can get ORCA cards at the Bartell’s on 3rd Ave downtown, so it must be a matter of buying ORCA readers for each store. The Metro retail outlet has info on where you can buy passes and ticket books, including which particular places have ORCA cards. It looks like there are a couple other random grocery stores with ORCA as well, in Burien, South Seattle, and Vashon Island.

    2. You can also add value to your ORCA at Sound Transit ticket vending machines in the bus tunnel, at Link stations and at Sounder stations. They’re also going to be installing some ticket vending machines at some of the other transit centers, like Bellevue and Federal Way.

      I’ve also heard that they’re working on expanding the number of retail locations, like Bartell’s, that you’ll be able to buy and load ORCAs at.

    3. “When you say ORCA card you are saying One Regional CARD for All CARD.”

      “You can also add value to your ORCA at Sound Transit ticket vending machines”

      The latter one sounds like you can add value to your whale.

  11. I did not know that. Most of my information comes from drivers. I need better information brokers. I keep getting bad info. I was told by a couple of driver that you could get ORCAs of Sound Transit buses instead of transfers. This was before January 1st.

  12. I was told that Sound transit would give out paper cards that work like ORCA. They would be good for 2 hours. They would look like Link tickets. That is what I was told.

  13. Major challenges for buses to/from Wehttp://www.westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=26606#more-26606st Seattle coming this spring…

    In May, when SDOT permanently closes the westbound South Spokane Street Viaduct on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge from First Avenue South, there may be a reroute near that on-ramp for buses traveling between the SODO area and West Seattle. Information about that will be available this spring on Metro Online: http://www.kingcounty.gov/metro.

    Buses will take the lower bridge? Will they route over 1st Ave S bridge? In any case, delays for bus riders will likely be significant since there will be no way to access the West Seattle bridge except for from I-5 or 99 South (entrance 1st and Columbia).

    1. I have to add one thing – Metro says the re-routes will be added to their website which is great (if it was more user friendly even better). HOWEVER this could be a major thing and it would be nice if they somehow notified residents, informed the media or something in addition to just putting it on their website.

      1. That would’ve been SDOT’s job to communicate the reroutes, not Metro’s. It works the same in any construction project. I got a notice last year from SDOT about the University Bridge being closed for a couple weekends overnight. Anyway, just bookmark this URL:


        And sign up for alerts while you’re there.

      2. I would understand if this reroute was just a couple days long, but this is YEARS long. It will effect ALL the bus routes to West Seattle in a major way. Some coordination between SDOT, WSDOT and Metro (and Sound Transit!) would be a good thing for commuters no? This is exactly what is lacking in our transit options.

    1. Absolutely… I usually read the site on my phone on the train while it’s above ground.

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