Photo by Oran

At one time Metro’s RapidRide A line was to open in February 2010.  With the Metro budget crisis, RapidRide disappeared from the announced February changes, and Metro said opening would likely be around the summer or fall service change.

Last September the Executive’s proposed budget (pdf, page 33) referenced a starting date of June 12, which we took as firm.  As it turns out, it wasn’t; when I asked for a starting date and time to use for our countdown clock, spokesperson Rochelle Ogershok told me

While a firm start date hasn’t been determined yet, the A-Line will be launched on or around our fall service change, which this year is Oct. 4.

So it appears we’ll have to wait 9 more months to see King County’s take on BRT.

36 Replies to “RapidRide A: October Opening?”

  1. I really hope they’re able to do it ON the service change so we don’t have a repeat of the 194 providing duplicate service for half a shakeup.

    1. Yes and no. Off-board fare payment will be an option, but not all stops will have TVMs so you will be able to purchase a ticket from the driver.

      Last time I checked there were going to be fare inspectors.

  2. I was wondering why the countdown was for U-Link when the RapidRide lines are more immediate. I look forward to seeing the new countdown once you have a firm date.

  3. I would suspect that with the numbers in on LINK and a new bill favoring rail, it wouldn’t look too good if RapidRide turned out to be the success that it might.

    1. They’ve stripped most of the positives away from RapidRide. It’s really not going to offer much.

  4. Off-topic, but somewhat related. SDOT has some new info on the electric trolley bus network on their website, including a survey. It looks like they are trying to counter the forces in King County who would like to see the network dismantled.

    You can find links to the survey and an “Electric Trolley Bus Fact Sheet” on SDOT’s homepage; http://www.seattle.gov/Transportation/

    1. Sounded like Dow Constantine was strongly against cutting trolley service, so I think we’re okay.

      1. To sell the modern electric trolleybus. The ones we have are so last generation.

        I actually rode that bus on that route. They represent the state-of-the-art of trolleybuses in North America. Metro must replace the Bredas with these. Three doors, low-floor, passive wheelchair restraint system, streamlined seating arrangement for better circulation (fewer seats, more standing room), off-wire capability. Sounds like Swift? Yeah but this isn’t BRT, it’s just what a city bus should be.

      2. That’s the one with the hard uncomfortable seats?

        Well, they aren’t that bad, but one thing I like about Metro is the soft comfortable seats, which I’ve never seen on any other bus system. Some systems have semi-hard seats like Link; others have plastic seats with a small cushion like McDonalds.

      3. They were the semi-hard seats like those on Link, Swift, and CT’s new buses but the fabric was softer, kind of like some of the ST Express buses.

        I appreciate the high back and cushioned seats on Metro’s buses but the one thing I don’t like is that the vinyl cover is too slippery, especially when wet. When the driver slams on the brakes my bottom slips off. That was somewhat solved in the latest hybrids.

    2. I hope this puts to rest any crazy conspiracy theories that the city is plotting to eliminate the ETB system, which was always bogus. (Not that I have any inside information)

      1. No, I fear the opposite.

        Metro must replace the Bredas with these. Three doors, low-floor, passive wheelchair restraint system, streamlined seating arrangement for better circulation (fewer seats, more standing room), off-wire capability. Sounds like Swift? Yeah but this isn’t BRT, it’s just what a city bus should be.

        There is zero presentation of the off wire capability of an ETB it Seattle. It’s still put forth as an argument against. The KC Metro presentation of “what a city bus should be” is a long long way from this.

      2. They brought in artics from somewhere in Germany while deciding on whether or not to add the type to the fleet (they did, of course)–this was sometime in ’72 or ’73 as I rode it as a young boy with my grandfather (a superintendent at Seattle Transit and then Metro until his death in ’74). I remember it pretty vividly as it still had signage and the like in German. This was on the route now known as the 71–may have been called the 7-Wedgwood or something similar then.

      3. Oran, it’s never been the City that’s plotting, or alleged to be plotting, against ETBs, its King County Metro we’re worried about

      4. exactly. Metro sees the wire and the repair crews as an expense, not an asset; the City will have to fight like crazy to keep the trolleys.

      5. I think it’s important to be careful about treating Metro as a monolith in this case. I’ve heard rumors that Metro GM Kevin Desmond is not so into the trolleys, but I know for a fact that sentiment doesn’t go very deep into the organization.

        And I should emphasize that what I heard is a secondhand rumor.

      6. Dow Constantine said that he supports keeping the trolleybuses, and so have many city leaders. I really don’t think they are going to be eliminated.

      7. And let’s also have the suburbs pay for their own empty buses… These are all high ridership routes, many of them packed or at least SRO most of the day. It’s ridiculous to suggest that just because they don’t go to other parts of the county means that Metro shouldn’t pay for them.

      8. Metro is looking at its bottom line, and will push elimination of the trolleys for some of the same reasons that some folks on this blog oppose merging ST and King County Metro – the fear that funds for preferred service will be (and indeed is being) focused disproportionately on one form of transit.

        Metro isn’t the bad guy for looking at eliminating trolleys if it saves them money that can be used elsewhere in the system – particularly those areas that are screaming about very real service reductions or that have been historically underserved.

        If Seattle really wants to save the trolleys, then let them adopt them in the same vein as they have the Lake Union Streetcar. The City can fund 100% of the cost of running them, brand them as a Seattle product, and not only keep them – but expand them – free of the threat of the Metro guillotine hanging over them.

  5. That’s disappointing. Did Rochelle give the reason(s) for further delays, when you asked the follow-up question?

    1. Rochelle would say that technically there’s no further delay, because they never announced a June date.

      Anyhow, Metro is obviously scraping for every service hour to get through the biennium with only minimal service cuts. They’re probably trying to put as little as possible into RapidRide in 2010 while still meeting their commitment to start it up this year.

  6. Too bad. I was hoping the bid for electrical installations being 46% less than budgeted was a good sign. I guess not good enough. I’m guessing the other lines will be equally late.

    But really, is the public acutely aware that Rapid Ride is coming? My guess is no.

    1. I wonder if they’ll make that October target. They haven’t begun constructing the stations. It took about ten months to build all the Swift stations, from foundation to finishing touches. RapidRide A has a similar amount of stations but they aren’t Swift-quality stations.

      I would guess that there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the first RapidRide station sometime in the spring or summer.

      And then a few months before opening when they have a firm date then they’ll ramp up the marketing, like Swift or Link.

  7. Metro has never said they wish to get rid of the trolleys, that is rumor. They do present challenges, among them is that only five cities in North America use them now so parts and buses are more expensive to procure.

    It was the council’s transit audit that called for their elimination.

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