Route 8 stop closures in red, new stops in green.

Metro is putting another bus on a stop diet. Route 8 is the latest to see some stops removed, after routes 28, 7, 16, 48, and 120 have all had some stops removed in the last handful of years.

The 8 currently services 70 stops, but 18 of those will be removed which will increase the average stop spacing to about 1,080 feet from 940 feet.

“The projected travel time savings is one minute per direction,” said Linda Thielke, a spokeswoman for Metro. “The exact operating cost savings won’t be known until more detailed scheduling work is completed.”

The 8 recently faced a major service change. Last September, to coordinate with Link light rail, the 8 was extended deep into the Rainer Valley and its frequency was boosted to 15-minute service all-day. These major service changes may have affected the route’s reliability, spurring Metro to evaluate removing some stops.

Just 6% of  route 8 riders will have to change their stop. Other bus routes affected by the stop closures include are routes 1, 2, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 27, 36, 43, 81, 84, 106, and 107.

The list of affected stops is available from Metro’s website. Affected riders have until April 30th to comment on the changes, which will go into effect on May 16th.

43 Replies to “Route 8 Stop Consolidation”

  1. Hmm, only 1080 ft, I’d hope for more like 1300. Looks more like they looked at a few trouble spots rather than a full consolidation though I’m sure that’s easier to implement.

    The map also has a “Tell us what you think about Metro Maps BETA” (some sort of ESRI product it looks like). Play around with it! It’s basically identical to Google or Bing maps as far as I can tell.

    1. Wow! This is really heartening to see. Metro is really starting to realize the power of technology in improving communication with the public. Rather than using cryptic stop names and number this interactive map is *exactly* what they need to be doing all the time.

      And yes those are ESRI symbols. They might have used an export tool created by the City of Portland. I used it for some projects and it is very easy to use. Its great too because you can integrate attribute data with HTML.

  2. Several things.

    – These changes should be discussed in terms of travel time and reliability.
    – 1 minute seams very conservative. It seams like they are only counting lost time from deceleration and acceleration and not counting harder to quantify things. For example reducing the number of stops could mean that the bus will be able to better keep up with signal timing so the bus will stop at fewer signals. This is especially important for near side bus stops.
    – It would be nice to see a formal review system set up in which every 5-10 years a route is reviewed from a speed and reliability perspective. Perhaps have a few million dollar to fund the most beneficial project each year. I’m talking cheap stuff like moving a bus stop from far to near side, or curb extension so that buses can stop inline, or the little flashing lights, etc.
    – Streetsblog SF has two videos on this part 1, part 2.

  3. Instead of making changes to the 8, I’d much rather see the 48 go back to its original route but more frequently.

    The 8 is running more and more late, and most people who ride it south of Rainier are using it to get to the Mt. Baker station to transfer anyway.

    I don’t understand the advantage of the 8 being lengthened down the corridor.

    – grumpy mother and two teenagers who ride the 48 and 8 at least 6 times every weekday

    1. If it’s reliability you worry about, than I think that best thing to do would be to make the route south of Mt. Baker a different route altogether.

      1. I agree, the problem is Metro has some routes that are way too long with too many stops. Routes should either be short with closer stops or long with wider stops, if reliability is the goal.

    2. It has never made sense to me to extend the 8 rather than the 48. I think more people are going to the U district than to upper MLK. And for going to Broadway and QA, it’s faster to take Link and a bus from downtown. The 48 should be split and the southern half go all along MLK like it used to, and the 8 retruncated.

      1. The reason why they truncated the 48 was because it was so unreliable, and of course still is, but it seems that its reliability issues have transfered to the 8 as well. They should have the 8 end at Mount Baker, have the 48 go from Loyal Heights to the U District, and have a new 47 go from the U District down 23rd and MLK to Rainier Beach.

    3. Do you really want to go back to the way the 48 used to be? 45 minutes before a 3 bus “bunch” comes? It needed to be shortened. It’s far from perfect now, but there’s been a dramatic improvement.

      South of the Mt. Baker station, it just basically duplicates Link with local service. While it’s true that most people riding it from south of Mt. Baker transfer at Mt. Baker (either to Link, the 7, or the 9) same was true of that section when it was part of the 48. Hell, it seems like the south leg of the 8 could be it’s own route without much trouble.

      As it is now, you may say that the 8 is running more and more late, but it’s still more reliable than the 48. And having the 8 extended down that far is the only reason we got evening service and 15 minute headways on the 8. Without it we’d probably see Metro stranding us back at Group Health again.

      And given the way the CD is served by Metro, we’re damn lucky to have 15 minute headways on the 48 and the 8. They’re never going to bump that up to the same level as, say, the 7.

      1. The 8 is doing much the same thing, delays that are getting buses bunched. And it seems to only be getting worse. I appreciate that Metro is trying to do something about it by removing stops, but the real issue is that the heavy loads at school times and use of shorter buses (I often hear the stories of the buses being overcrowded and skipping stops) during those times have lead to massive delays.

        It would be awesome if we had a zippy route that went from Mt. Baker to Rainier Beach. But if they ran it every 30 minutes (which I suspect would happen), it’d be relatively useless.

      2. Every 30 minutes would be like the old 42. I never understood the purpose of that route, when the nearby 7 was more frequent and a trolleybus to boot.

        In any case, every 30 minutes is not what rail shadow service should do. That’s the single biggest way to decrease ridership. People won’t take a train if they have to wait 30 minutes for a bus transfer.

  4. We do criticize our agencies quite a bit, but on this I can commend metro. We’ve got around to doing it before MUNI. Any time we do something before and/or better than MUNI, we should be proud.

  5. As a respected transportation analyst, I’ve determined that the 8 is a poorly designed route. After running the numbers, I’ve concluded that the Queen Anne to Cap Hill portion of it needs to be separated from the rest of it.

    1. I agree. I usually drive when going to Capital Hill from LQA, because it’s more reliable in the afternoon. Also I’ve been seeing 2 and 3 buses stacked up at the Uptown end.

    2. The 8 and 14 have gotten kind of silly if you think about riding them end-to-end. There are now three ways to get from Summit to Mt Baker station, and two of them are bus extensions. So you can take the 14 to Westlake and transfer to Link, walk to Westlake and transfer to Link, take the 14 all the way, or take the 8. Walking a mile to Link is faster than either of the bus alternatives. And when the Capitol Hill station opens it will cut the walk time to less than ten minutes. So I think those bus routes can be adjusted a bit. :)

      1. A majority of low number downtown routes operate like this. They are not intended to have people ride them from end to end, rather this is done because it improves the operation efficiency. Also for the new 8 route I think you can make a very good case for it improving connections of the CD to areas north of downtown.

        Its good to have a resilient network structure but bad to have a redundant structure.

      2. When the 8 was originally created, it was for expressly that purpose – to give folks in the CD a way to get to QA and Cap Hill without having to go downtown and transfer. That’s why the neighborhood folks gave up service hours on other routes to have the 8 created in the first place.

      3. Well, the 8 was created because there was a crying need for a bus on Denny Way — as is shown by how it filled up immediately. The upper MLK segment doesn’t seem to be used much, but it does open up the CD which has little bus service. But the lower MLK service should be attached to another route.

      4. No, the 8 was created to directly connect the connect the two largest, densest urban centers in the region to each other without a transfer downtown. The original route 8 ran from Queen Anne Ave at Mercer St to 15th Ave E and John St on Capitol Hill. The extension to the CD came later. If that segment of route 8 were detached and pushed to 10-minute frequency with 2000-ft stop spacing it would be the most successful Rapid Ride line in the region.

  6. I wish they’d do the same to route 17. Near the beginning/end of the route along 32nd in ballard there’s a bus stop nearly every block – it’s a little ridiculous. It’s where most commuters on the bus get on/off so it has to stop at almost every one of them. It takes almost as long to get from Market st to 85th and 32nd as it does to get from downtown to market on the express.

  7. So, on Queen Anne Ave N they are removing two stops and adding a new one at Thomas St. Will this stop be used only by the #8? Or will the 1, 2, 13, 15, & 18 stop there as well?

    1. That’ll change for all routes on Queen Anne Ave N. It’s waiting until 2011 because it’s part of the RapidRide D implementation.

      1. How do you know that? Are you involved in Rapidride? If so could you get me an answer on when the A line will start running?

      2. I was just at the RapidRide “open bus” down at Westlake center and they said RapidRide A will start in October of this year.

      3. Wait there was an openhouse? Would have been nice if someone at Metro had let us know.

      4. I think they just had a coach parked there for Earth Day. They had a poster display and some informational handouts. I didn’t know about it until I saw pictures of it on someone else’s blog, then I ran down there on my lunch break.

    2. They’ve done this before in the U-district. Combine two stops to the street between them.

      I commented to Metro that the QA-Capitol Hill consolidations look good, but they should also take out a stop or two between Broadway and Summit. There are stops almost every block there.

      1. yea … it just wasn’t clear whether or not the change for the 8 was affecting ALL QA Ave N routes or just the 8

      2. Yeah, oddly enough they already have “Bus stop closure” signs up describing this(all the routes are moving) at the stops… and also saying on the “Bus stop closure” sign that this doesn’t actually take effect till 2011… Seems like an informational sign rather than a full-fledged stop-closure sign would make sense this far out.

      3. Actually they did already remove a couple stops in that stretch as part of the pedestrian improvements for light rail construction.

      4. Actually sorry, this was the right thread… I was referring to the stretch between Broadway and Summit

  8. And I wish Metro would do this for route 2 which seems to have stops every 200 feet.
    Around my stop in Madrona there are at least 6 straight blocks with stops. The bus generally runs late during commuter hours, and a little stop consolidation would definitely help.

    1. They consolidated two of the 2 stops a few years ago at the other end on Upper QA. I recall there was a stop on the corner of QA & Galer, then one in front of Trader Joe’s a block away. They simply removed the one on the corner and let people walk an extra block. I’d say they could probably get rid of at least one more of their stops but that’s my stop and therefore a very important one :-)

    2. True that! In fact on one block- Howell/Olive on 34th, there are actually two stops! when I inquired to Metro about this, I got a pat form reply that had nothing to do with my question.

      Meanwhile, both stops now have brand-new signs, so it’s clear there’ll be no consolodation.

      Two stops on the same block is ridiculous, especially when stops are being removed from poorer routes.

  9. How bout do this for the 48 between about Aloha and Jackson? There’s stretches where it stops about every 300 or 400 feet, if that.

    1. My “favorite” is the southbound stretch from John to Madison. One stop at John, another stop at Safeway on the Madison side, and yet another at the south end of Safeway.

  10. Any attempt to move stop spacing closer to the 1200-to-2000-ft range (which I consider optimal for local transit) is a good thing. Unfortunately, this consolidation does not go far enough.

    The real cause of route 8’s reliability challenges is simply that it is too long. It is impossible to maintain a reliable schedule with a local transit route as long as the 8. The excessive route length also undermines any effort to increase frequency to 10 minutes between Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. Route 8 should terminate at the Mt. Baker Station at the farthest.

  11. End the 8, 27, and 48 at Mount Baker P&R. Have a new route shadow Link from Mount Baker Station to Rainier Beach Station, then continue down MLK, cross I-5, and terminate at a 124 connection, so Rainier Valley denizens can access the Boeing corridor faster, and 101 riders have a transfer bus stop to the south end of Link.

    Maybe even continue this route to the bus base (which ironically has no bus stops anywhere near it), Allentown (which currently has no bus service), and eventually TIBS.

    The employees of Ford Motor Company once complained that they weren’t paid enough to afford the cars they were building. Now, Metro and ST employees can’t even get a bus ride to the buses they drive.

  12. yawn… First of all, none of the buses in Central Area have any connections to the I-90 transfer point where all the Eastside buses stop. Route 4 terminates 3-4 blocks north of the Mount Baker Station. None of the buses in Capitol Hill/Central area go to the Eastside. All the buses from the area that operate south of I-90 terminate in Rainier Beach as it was back in 1973, when there was nothing meaningful outside of the city’s boundaries. Therefore, none reach any south end shopping/business centers like Renton or Southcenter. Route 8 also makes a funky detour via 23rd between Yesler and Jackson, as if it is a school bus or a senior shuttle.
    Looking at a bus route map of the Central/Capitol Hill area, makes me think that everyone who lives along these routes only wants to travel to Rainier Valley and downtown, and nowhere else in the region! That just can’t be true. Not in 2010. last time I checked, Rainier Valley is a no man’s land and riding a slug like #3 or #2 west to downtown just to transfer and go back east on an Eastside bound bus, looking at your house 10 minutes later, makes no sense.

    Here is the problem. I had a pleasure to witness Metro’s outreach/open house things… It’s nothing but disabled, seniors, mentally disabled, and everyone else who has no interest in regional commuting. Instead of providing these demographics with information about the Access program, Metro outreaches to these groups for regional transit planning??? Why?! Last time I was at an open house, it was so pathetic I left. When I tried telling people that there is a program designed to provide them with a door to door service, with fares between 50 cents and a $1, they thought i was making it up. My disabled father uses Access now, but Metro never bothered to tell him about it for as long as he lives here. Instead they are flooding him with invitations to comment on regional routes. Of course he will say that he wants a stop at every corner and on every street at every food bank and all the social service sites, and that he can care less about going to shopping, employment, or business centers.

    The point I am trying to make here is that Metro’s planning process is really outdated and their political correctness turns the system into a dysfunctional hell that can only cater to the oblivious or as a last resort. Somehow the former riders are more important than the demand…

    PS. Adam P, hey! CEP2007

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