Metro

There’s a lot of dissatisfaction out there with the expected overall quality of RapidRide.  While there are certainly valid criticisms of the system, as with any other, it’s important to remember that RapidRide is a step forward in our region’s transportation infrastructure.

The first and most obvious observation is that RapidRide is not Link, nor does it approach Link’s service level.  The grand total of $87m is being spent on various permanent capital improvements to roadways and stations for all six lines, in addition to $128m for buses that should last a bit over 12 years.  Some of this was covered by the Feds, and RapidRide leverages city-funded road improvements.  To bring headways up to RapidRide standards, Metro has added or will add 100,000 service hours, or about $12.5m in annual costs.  That’s a fraction of the $67m Metro takes in thanks to the Transit Now tax increase, most of which went to conventional bus service.  The $87m would have paid for less than a half-mile of Central Link, which is not a value judgment on either system. It is not a substitute for Link, nor is it intended to be one.  More after the jump.

I’m a rail advocate, which at its core means I favor having high-quality service in a few places over skeletal service everywhere. Applying that principle here, the service quality improvements are a superior investment to buying slightly more trips spread throughout the County.  They will build ridership, make car-independence more attractive, and (hopefully) spur better land use.

There are certainly legitimate gripes.  I certainly wouldn’t have started out with the A line, which will largely duplicate South Link, and would think twice about putting RapidRide routes where there won’t be Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes (like the B line).  I would have appreciated a stronger effort to universalize off-board payment, even if it meant fewer stops.

Those problems shouldn’t obscure the fact that this project creates a foothold for enhanced bus service.  As long as we remember that this is the project’s scope and purpose, rather than rail-lite, we’ll appreciate what a small capital investment has produced for us.

59 Replies to “Editorial: RapidRide is a Step Forward”

  1. This is all well and good, but I can’t get away from the suspicion that the E line is just the 358 with new paint. RapidRide almost seems like the transit equivalent of the Bike Master Plan’s “sharrows” – an inexpensive way to mimic progress, without actually making much of a difference.

    1. It’s the 358 with new paint, bus bulbs, station lighting, and hopefully at least off-board ORCA readers at the station stops. Like Martin said, it will be a step forward. It also just occurred to me that we should probably all leave Metro feedback that we *want* fewer stops!

      It will also be really interesting to see if the strong branding has a large or even modest positive effect on ridership (on any of the lines).

      1. Well, you’ve touch on the big issue here and I can’t believe the usually through Martin failed to mention this in his post. It’s the paint!!! No business, except maybe Lighthouse for the Blind, is going to locate along the route with these hideous wiener mobiles driving back and forth at all hours. Either get Oscar Meyer to cough up the sponsorship $$$ or repaint these things with some scheme that’s not so Dog-Gone-On-It fugugly.

      2. It’s not likely many businesses will locate near the RapidRide (or Swift or many other BRT lines) lines regardless of looks. The paint can be easily blasted off, small stations removed, and the service disappears. It’s not very reassuring knowing that it’s not a heavily invested infrarstructure like light rail. Imagine of ST decided to cut all Sunday Link service to save money. Not only would it never happen, but there’d be HELL to pay if they tried. Nobody seemed to notice the Swift Sunday cuts. So its not too good if you’re a business person depending on the service to be there for a while. Or a person w/o a car relying on transit.

      3. I think it would be more beneficial to introduce an actual 358 express (or “limited”) with a significantly reduced number of stops. I like the idea of differentiated service, but there are tons of opportunities to improve the route (and the system) without waiting for off-board payment or transit signal priority.

      4. AMEN. There should be two bus routes on Aurora–one that stops at all the stops like the 358 does now, and one that is a true express making truly limited stops (I would vote for just somewhere along Queen Anne, 46th, 65th, 85th, 105th, 130th, 145th, 165th, 185th, Shoreline transit center, and Aurora Village). This would not require waiting for 2013 or investing any money.

    2. You’ve just described most of our countries attempts at BRT. “It’s JUST LIKE LIGHT RAIL…except for the part where it’s still a bus.”

      1. If the 6 RapidRide lines looked more like SWIFT then I might be more impressed. But then SWIFT implements almost every BRT improvement other than dedicated ROW. Even then it has BAT lanes for almost the entire route.

    3. Jake’s nailed it. The number of stops in the city of Shoreline is absolutely ridiculous! It’s my understanding that the city’s officials are the ones responsible for this “358 with new paint.” Further, Metro is blowing it by adding confusion over whether to pay off or on the bus, something covered in this blog a few days ago, which depends on whether there is an ORCA card reader or not and differs from what Community Transit does with their BRT and truly “swift” Swift line. Evidently, Metro officials aren’t too worried about confusing their riders, after all, they’re the ones with peak and off peak, 1 and two zone, ride free, pay on boarding and pay when exiting, accept and give transfers while nearly nobody else is any more, policies all co-existing throughout their system.

  2. I agree Martin and I welcome the improved service, though my lingering fear is that anytime you introduce a new branded service you have used political capital that opponents can use against you later. RapidRide may represent an incremental improvement, but I can already see the headline for next year…”Rapid Ride Not So Rapid After All”.

    1. This is my worry. That while a half measure in practical terms is better than no measure, in political terms it could sour public opinion for future projects.

  3. I really wish rapidride would stop at the north end of the Aurora bridge near Canlis. Then I’d have a reason to take it (to get home)

    1. Canlis is at the south end of the Aurora Bridge.

      I believe someone else asked for a rapidride stop at the north end of the Aurora Bridge.

      You start putting stops where any individual wants them, and pretty soon you have a “local” bus route.

      1. Yeah that was me. I think it would improve access to Fremont and create some good connectivity between different routes.

  4. Metro gutted the concept of Bus Rapid Transit. They’re running limited service buses. Of course, it’s worth noting that Metro never calls RapidRide BRT anywhere on their site. Perhaps they need to send someone up to Snohomish County to see how almost-BRT is done *right*.

    BRT needs:
    -Offboard payment (!!!)
    -Dedicated stations
    -Somesort of dedicated ROW (HOV, BAT, etc)
    -Fast loading/unloading
    -Buses that copy the look of LRV’s (optional)

    Although, they have one thing the $2 billion Link system doesn’t have: signs that tell me when the next vehicle is coming :-)

    1. At the very least the RapidRide line E should be built to the same standards as SWIFT (including local shadow service).

      1. Well, you’ll be able to compare SWIFT to Rapid Ride E because they will connect at Shoreline’s Aurora Station someday in the future.

    2. I agree with those points but you’ve missed a couple of the most important things in my book:
      – Short headways (>= 15 mins a majority of the time)
      – 24-hour service (Which I know they’re doing for RapidRide A, but I haven’t heard if that’s the case for the others)

      1. The 174 already has 24 hour service. Don’t hold your breath for the other RapidRide lines. That would be too forward-thinking.

      2. “>=” means “greater than or equal to.” Which probably isn’t what you were trying to say, but is actually more accurate. When you claim 15-minute intervals as “frequent” service on a high-demand corridor with no other controls for efficiency or reliability, 25-29 minute waits will happen often.

    3. I think the combination of off-board and on-board payment at different stops along the same routes will further muddy the waters in terms of when riders are expected to pay.

      1. Completely agree. I think trying to do a mixture will make it too confusing.

        The best solution is what many cities with extensive tram systems do. Use proof of payment but only have fare machines on board or by the door (for ORCA). This way regardless of how many stops you have you will always be able to have a proof of payment system. Swift was able to have the fare machines at the stops because there were so few stops, but this won’t be the case with RR.

      2. i like rapid ride’s solution, a farebox onboard the bus plus ORCA onboard and at select stations. While i support installing full service ORCA TVMs and stand alone readers at stations, the price tag is quite cost prohibitive, plus you than need other administrative support (infrastructure, armored car, maintenace etc) to service the equipment, which adds up after a while too. Of course, this equipment should be installed at major stops (Transit Centers, P&Rs, etc.) but for the minor stops on-board would work just as well.

      3. With wider stop spacing RapidRide could have off-board payment at every station and the lines would be faster. However there would have to be local shadow service on most lines as well. Still I’d rather have something like SWIFT than buses with an ugly Oscar-Mayer paint job.

      4. IMO, most of the problem isnt collecting the fare itself, its people whom do not have the proper fare ready, dont know the proper fare, etc. etc. etc. With ORCA loading at the middle and rear door positions and cash at the front i dont think dwell times would be much concearn.

    4. Mike B said:

      BRT needs:
      -Offboard payment (!!!)
      -Dedicated stations
      -Somesort of dedicated ROW (HOV, BAT, etc)
      -Fast loading/unloading
      -Buses that copy the look of LRV’s (optional)

      No, no, no, no, and no. BRT needs wide stop spacing (>1/2 mile, preferably ~1 mile) and high frequency (<10 minute headways, preferably ~5 minutes). These are the two defining characteristics of Swift and Vancouver's fantastically successful B-Lines. These are also the defining characteristics of Link. They are the defining characteristics of Rapid Transit. If a transit line has both high frequency and wide stop spacing, it is a rapid transit line. If it lacks either or both of these features, it is not rapid transit.

      All the other things you identify are icing, steel wheels and grade separation are just more icing as well. Rapid Ride just barely meets the frequency requirement for rapid transit, but fails miserably on stop spacing. If you don't have wide stop spacing, dedicated ROW is almost useless. With 1/4 mile stop spacing, you cannot exceed 12 mph regardless of traffic or vehicle speed.

      Martin said:

      “I would have appreciated a stronger effort to universalize off-board payment, even if it meant fewer stops.”

      You said it as if having fewer stops is a bad thing, a sacrifice you would be willing to pay to get off-board payment. This is the wrong way to think about these things. Wider stop spacing is an end unto itself, and a far more important end at that.

      The purpose of off-board payment is to decrease the amount of time spent loading and unloading. However, you can have a much bigger impact on the time spend loading and unloading by spacing stops at rapid transit distances. Coincidentally, this also makes it much cheaper to implement off-board payment and all-door boarding for the stops that remain.

      Wide stop spacing also substantially reduces operating costs, both by increasing average speed and thus requiring fewer vehicles to maintain the desired headways and by eliminating the most energy intensive part of transportation: acceleration. If Rapid Ride were to adopt wide stop spacing (1/2 to 1 mile) like Vancouver’s B-Lines, Metro could implement off-board payment and all door boarding at every single stop and provide higher frequencies all within the current $87 million + 100,000 service hour budget.

      Wide stop spacing is the big enabler. Without it, you have nothing. The fact that Rapid Ride does not implement this principle makes it a missed opportunity. The fact that this blog, and so many of the commenters here seem not to recognize the centrality of stop spacing does not bode well for the future of rapid transit in this region.

      1. I agree that wide stop spacing is an important component of BRT. With wide stop spacing, however, you have to provide underlying local service with sufficient frequency to provide access to the BRT stops, and that significantly increases the operating costs of implementing the BRT system.

      2. As you would with Light Rail. However, the service hours necessary for these feeders already in place. One needs only to reconfigure the existing local bus service to integrate with the BRT. As such, this component should not be considered an added cost of BRT or light rail. Politically, this may be a challenge. I didn’t say it would not require political will, but political will comes when transit advocates make it a priority, which is why I mention it here.

      3. If the plan is to keep the existing local service, then yes, I agree it would not be an added cost. In this case, however, Metro had financially planned to discontinue the 174 and replace the service with RapidRide. So by providing underlying local service for the A Line in this case, it would be an added cost.

      4. It’s not just wide stop spacing, its placing the stops in the appropriate areas. Even if that means you have several in closer proximitity to each other at one end or the other of the route. The idea is you funnel traffic from your higest productive stops onto the BRT, leaving the local to pick up the rest.

        BRT is suppose to be a flexible implementation technology. If you look at vancouver’s implementations, of the 98 and 99 B lines you note that they do mix with traffic, offering a limited stop overlay onto local service. The 98 B line had a private ROW in richmond, that it shared with other routes as well. It was not exclusive for just one route.

        If i put my taxpayer hat on for a minute, if i lived in Everett or Snohomish County, i’d be deeply concearned about the SWIFT implementation. While i havent had the oppertunity to ride it from end to end yet, i was up in south everett on business a while back and drove down the line some. I observed a couple of empty swift buses, and empty swift stations. The riders i did find were waiting for the local shadow service that dident share the same facilities as swift. Also, with an analysis of the schedules, reading that swift runs every ten minutes, and having 15 to 20 minute frequencies for local shadow service also concearns me. In my opinion, if the stops are appropriately placed to serve the majority of the riders in the given corridor, you should not need local shadow service in excess of every thirty minutes or less at certain times of the day. Only when you go to rail with reason for wider stop spacings would this change. Especally given the current economic funding situations, unless swift is being packed to the gills on nearly every trip i’d have a very difficult time saying it was a productive use of available service hours and taxpayer dollars.

      5. Tony,

        Vancouver’s B-Lines, for the most part, DO have dedicated stops. (Though I’m less familiar with the 97 B-Line). The local stops on Broadway (for routes 9 and 17) are usually separated from the 99 stop by a block.
        The B-Lines also have off-board payment of a sort. It’s a proof-of-payment system with 3-door boarding at all times and zero fare enforcement. So while cash and 10-ride ticketbook passengers are technically supposed to pay up front, almost no one ever does unless they want a transfer. Three primary groups ride the B-Lines: student U-Pass holders, regular passholders, and fare evaders.

        The B-Line desperately needs signal priority and right-of-way. It’s comically frustrating to have such rapid boarding only to sit and wait for traffic to clear and signals to change.

      6. I agree that the B-Lines are ripe for some upgrades, including dedicated ROW. In fact, I think the 99 easily justifies conversion to a Skytrain line, but these upgrades come after you have implemented high frequency and wide stop spacing. These are the first critical components of rapid transit, as ridership builds, you also build the political will, and the economic rational for further upgrades.

        Compare the 99 with its current stop spacing running in mixed traffic to a hypothetical bus line running on Broadway with 100% dedicated ROW, but which stopped 4 times as often. If you do the math, and I have, this hypothetical line would travel slower, on average than the 99 does today.

        If you start with stops every 1/4 mile and spend millions to build off-board payment kiosks and fancy shelters at every stop, then deciding 10 years later to actually make it a rapid transit line by taking out 3 out of every 4 stops becomes a political nightmare. You also end up wasting all those resources that you put into the redundant stations.

        Furthermore, it makes upgrading the line to rail rapid transit much harder, because rail rapid transit essentially requires wide stop spacing. As of now, the 99 can be replaced with an extension of the Millennium Line Skytrain placing a station at every one of the current stops. Thus, no one ends up having to change their travel patterns. If the 99 had closer stop spacing, then upgrading it to a Skytrain line would require killing 1/2 to 3/4 of the stops.

        The key is to get people used to the structure and pattern of rapid transit, and to encourage the land use patterns to mold themselves around the pattern of rapid transit, then upgrade the quality of service incrementally as resources allow.

      7. Good point. My phrasing was bad, but I meant “even if spacing were increased beyond the optimum point.”

      8. Tony, I agree with you 100% on the frequency issue (RapidRide’s will be inadequate) and about 99% on the principle you argue re: stop spacing.

        But the most successful/useful rapid transit systems around the world have stop spacing in the 1/2-mile to 3/4-mile range. Full-mile spacing really starts to present a psychological obstacle to potential riders, significantly reduces your walk-shed, and exponentially increases the likelihood of creating a last-mile deterrent (say, for those heading to the Rainier Valley with Central Link’s stop spacing).

        As dramatic an improvement as L.A.’s MetroRapid’s have been, the stop spacing (always >1, sometimes 2 miles) have obligated them to shadow every route with a local. Which strikes me as a waste of resources.

        In hyper-sprawly Chicago, you usually need to connect from your El train to a bus. But having reasonable stop spacing on the El allows for frequent perpendicular bus connections; there’s no need for buses that shadow the trains.

        And you don’t see buses chasing the U-Bahn around.

        Metro has often forced the false choice between super-local and super-express. Stops every other block, or zero stops from Denny to Ballard. And no in-between.

        Obviously the 5-block stop spacings (a minority) on Aurora RapidRide are too close. But I think the default 10-block spacing (1/2-mile) is just about right… if they fix all of the other stuff that is wrong with the line.

        (Also, before you underestimate the effect that Seattleites’ habitually lethargic on-board payment habits have on dwell times, I urge you to try out the downtown transit tunnel, northbound, after 7:00 PM.)

        You don’t need local buses to double the

      9. “the most successful/useful rapid transit systems around the world have stop spacing in the 1/2-mile to 3/4-mile range.”

        I think 3/4 miles is perfectly viable, potentially dropping to 1/2 mile in certain locations depending on the land use patterns. This is about what Skytrain is. It also depends on the land use patterns in question. Stop spacing closer to the high end of the spectrum is more appropriate in suburban areas, while slightly closer stops (but not closer that 1/2 mile) are more appropriate for urban areas.

        “As dramatic an improvement as L.A.’s MetroRapid’s have been, the stop spacing (always >1, sometimes 2 miles) have obligated them to shadow every route with a local. Which strikes me as a waste of resources.”

        Vancouver shadows their B-Lines with local-stop service as well. It depends on just how rapid you want to make your line. You are correct that if you want to avoid “shadowing” with a local, you need to be looking at 1/2 to 3/4 mile stop spacing, which in my book still qualifies as rapid transit. The added speed advantage of increasing stop spacing drops off after about 3/4 mile if you are running in mixed traffic, and it drops off after about 1 mile if you have at-grade with dedicated ROW, but when you start getting into grade-separated transit, moving stops closer to 2 miles makes a huge difference. In those situations, the speed gap is enough to justify a layered system with a local shadowing the rapid line.

        I agree that we should add a few additional stops to the Rainier Valley. Given that it runs at grade and the land use patterns that are desired in those communities, a slightly slower service with closer stops is in order. Central Link in the Rainier Valley is straddling the fence. Its stops are too close together and its speeds too slow (due to at-grade configuration) to be a good high speed, high capacity regional trunk line, but its stops are too far apart to be a good intermediate capacity rapid transit line.

        I would actually like to see us build a fully grade separated bypass through SODO that connects up to Central Link at Boeing Access Road, and then add 4 or 5 additional stops to the Rainier Valley line to better serve the local needs and the land use patterns we’re trying to foster.

        “I think the default 10-block spacing (1/2-mile) is just about right… if they fix all of the other stuff that is wrong with the line.”

        1/2 mile could work on Aurora, especially because that line benefits from basically being a pure express between Fremont and Downtown. The current plan proposes 22 stops from Shoreline to Green Lake, which is about 1/4 mile spacing, but only 4 stops between Green Lake and Downtown (1 mile spacing). Given the land use patters, I think the stops for the southern portion are just about right as a good chuck of the space covered is essentially limited access highway. Even with this express component, however, the tight stop spacing on the northern half of the route pushes the average to about 0.38, which is too close, especially for a route that is 10 miles long. Cutting the stop spacing to 1/2 mile north of Green Lake and maintaining the proposed 1-mile spacing south of Green Lake would yield 15 total stops on a 10 mile route for a route average of 0.67, which would be acceptable, though I would prefer to see them a bit farther.

        Each stop adds a minimum of 45 seconds to the trip time (under the best of circumstances) due to acceleration and dwell time. In reality, each stop probably adds at least 60 seconds. A route with 16 stops (vs the proposed 26) would cut travel times by about 28%. This is not only good for the rider, it is good for the agency. Cutting travel time by 28% also cuts operating expenses by 28%, which allows you to increase frequency while maintaining exactly the same number of vehicles and the same operating budget. Whacking 4 more stops (3/4 mile spacing north of Green Lake) would push the travel time savings to about 36%, potentially more if I’m underestimating the dwell time. 1-mile stop spacing the whole way would save 40%.

        “before you underestimate the effect that Seattleites’ habitually lethargic on-board payment habits have on dwell times, I urge you to try out the downtown transit tunnel, northbound, after 7:00 PM.”

        I agree. I’ve been spending too much time in Vancouver. However, as I mentioned, wide stop spacing is the key to making off-board payment at every stop feasible. The longer the dwell time, the more significant the impact of stop consolidation.

      10. Your points are well-reasoned and well-articulated.

        A couple of addenda:

        “In those situations, the speed gap is enough to justify a layered system with a local shadowing the rapid line.”

        I understand L.A.’s rationale for extreme stop spacing shadowed by locals: the city is so extensive that it’s not uncommon for a rider to be heading 12 miles down the same arterial. But it only works because they wind up running buses as frequently as every 3 minutes on the Rapids and every 3 minutes on the locals (with anticipated heavy bunching — in reality, you wait 10 minutes and then 6 buses show up at once).

        For trips within Seattle proper, people rarely travel more than 3-6 miles. Excessive stop spacing will never save enough time at those distances to justify running dual services — pre-payment and signal priority would certainly save more. And at the (inadequate) frequencies proposed for RapidRide, the express and the local would never be close enough to work in concert.

        “But when you start getting into grade-separated transit, moving stops closer to 2 miles makes a huge difference.”

        I think that if a corridor is dense enough to have a high-frequency transit line running through it, it’s worth the effort to put the whole corridor in that line’s walkshed. The only exception should be when the line traverses a land-use dead zone (low-scale industrial, for example, or geological obstacle), and even those exceptions should be judged conservatively.

        I’ve heard too many people defend Link’s stop placement by saying that potential users at intermediate points in Ranier Valley “can just transfer to a bus.” And so the #7 remains packed, Link is underperforming, and many keep choosing to drive for trips that in an alternate universe (or an alternate city) would be obvious rail-only journeys.

        That said, your analysis of upper-Aurora stop distance and expected trip time is spot-on. I only wish 45-60 seconds were not considered an acceptable dwell time. BRT-cheerleaders love talking about Curitiba and Bogotá; does anybody think minute-long dwell times would be acceptable there?

      11. I think it all comes down to cost. Metro probably sees the usefulness of Swift’s express+local system, but didn’t have enough money to implement it. They had to eliminate the local route to get RapidRide’s frequency.

    5. RE: Mike B. / “Of course, it’s worth noting that Metro never calls RapidRide BRT anywhere on their site.”

      Indeed they do:

      “King County Metro Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit System”

      “RapidRide is an arterial bus rapid transit system…”

      “BRT corridors/roadway improvements, $40.9 million”

      From http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/NewsCenter/NewsReleases/2009/May/nr050409_RRfactsheet.aspx

      I agree with you about Metro taking a look at Swift… I’m looking forward to new buses and realtime arrival information, but I would prefer stops spaced further apart with the same amenities at every stop as opposed to what Metro is doing.

  5. Good post. But I am still disappointed because I think that streets like Aurora are perfect for a rail-lite BRT line. If done well (a big if) I don’t think it would divert funding for rail but increase people’s willingness to fund transit.

  6. Put an orca reader on the back door and allow all doors to open / close. Enforce the fares! Save time and be happy. It’s crazy that this has not already been done. Prague has ruined me….

  7. “The grand total of $87m is being spent on various permanent capital improvements to roadways and stations for all six lines, in addition to $128m for buses that should last a bit over 12 years. ”

    How many miles of rapidride routes are there for the 6 lines in total?

    How many new buses are they buying for that $128 million?

    What is total ridership on all six rapidride routes expected to be?

    I agree with the criticisms of rapidride features (or, more accurately, lack thereof). I think SWIFT is a good system, and rapidride should be just like SWIFT. Why it apparently is not going to have many of SWIFT’s features is beyond me. They can’t be that expensive. And I include things like onboard bicyle racks and non-tie-down wheelchair accomodations, because bikes and wheelchairs can really slow down buses.

    However, I think just the increase in capacity, and the 10-minute headways during peak hours are a significant improvement. We could make a significant increase in bus ridership in our area by just adding more buses and decreasing headways on the most-popular routes, and that is a large part of what rapdiride is accomplishing.

    [hijacking]

      1. I think the “HCT” service on SR-520 in ST2 is pretty close to BRT–probably closer than RapidRide. The problem is that SoundTransit apparently doesn’t have the political clout and/or will to really take authority of the transit lanes on a state highway in the way they have for the dedicated Link ROW on MLK and I-90, and I think this has everything to do with the fact the transit lane is just paint.

        This is probably also true of Metro and SR-99.

    1. “Why it apparently is not going to have many of SWIFT’s features is beyond me.”

      Swift’s main feature is a shadow local bus, which is what allows Swift to have LR-like stop spacing. The local bus costs as much as a Swift bus to run, so it doubles the cost of the route.

      1. I’m just curious, I’ve never ridden Swift, does the shadow bus get in the way of the Swift buses in the BAT lanes? Or does Swift have to pass them often?

      2. Yes, the regular CT buses do hold up SWIFT, and that’s not all. I’ve ridden three times; twice north, once south, each time the entire line. On two of the trips the SWIFT bus had to pull out of the right lane to pass CT buses loading/unloading at their stops. Another thing I noticed is the SWIFT buses spend a lot of their time riding the center lane between stations, supposedly to avoid rear-ending the vehicles that suddenly move into right lane to turn at intersections or into the driveways along SR.99. Inside the Everett limits I don’t believe there are any BAT lanes because in a couple places vehicles were parked in the right lane forcing the SWIFT bus to move out. And as for signal priority, if it exists they don’t use it.

  8. I’m excited for the B line! It couldn’t be better placed in terms of where my parents live in Bellevue.

    In other news, did anyone notice that the Option E Overlake Village station for East Link was approved? I’m interested in hearing people’s opinions about this.

  9. It’ll help, some, BUT: I think the big mistake was using the term “Rapid” in the name. We don’t want to dilute the concept of true “rapid transit”, whatever the mode. I think, when it turns out not to be very “rapid”, it will erode public support for REAL rapid transit.

  10. I don’t get why the A, C, and F Lines don’t interconnect, Sure A, and F connect to Link to go downtown, but why not drag the C line a little farther into Burien or to TIB? It seems like connecting the lines together like that would be a really good way to build a system rather than these lines that go from one place to another with no connection to the others(obviously an exaggeration, but hopefully you understand what I am saying). I think it is really nice that F-Line is starting to break the hub-spokes system, but why not continue that break and connect C-line south? (Hub and spokes is a waste of time…)
    Maybe there are ways I don’t know about, but it just seems incomplete to me.

    1. I think they were seen as a replacement for existing lines rather than as a chance to connect them all together as you suggest. Perhaps that’s something we can push for later, but it would require additional funding.

  11. Don’t you take issue with the number of stops?

    For all lines, the number of stops seems way too high to actually be “rapid”

  12. I contacted Metro about a Kent-Southcenter-Seattle express bus and got a friendly response…said they would put the idea into committee.

    If you really want rail service, then these express bus lines act as “real world” experiments in what works for express hauling, so you should be promoting express bus service as a precursor to more lines.

    I’d love to see a LINK route that goes all the way from Seattle through Renton and then up the ridge of Kent East Hill then down Kent-Kangley to Covington.

    With superwide avenues like Benson/104th and Kent-Kangley, adding a light rail line could easily be part and parcel of a project to implement a road diet and turn some of that lane-age over to bicycles and pedestrians…a real opportunity to create a grand South King Boulevard before it’s too late…

  13. Metro’s plan for E-Line Aurora RapidRide includes fewer than 10% added service hours on the route…too bad…might be enough to get 15-minute evening service for a couple hours but that’s about it. It’s mostly about passenger amenities.

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