TransitSleuth tweets: “Hmm, what would increase bus ridership in Seattle? I want to create a top 10 list. :)”
I’ve thought about this a bit so I’ll give 11:
1. More density. Density begets ridership.
2. Bus lanes and signal priority. Slow buses are a frequent complaint.
3. Higher gas prices. Tackle the demand side. See 2008.
4. An end to socialized and/or regulated parking, possibly a higher commercial parking tax. Ditto.
5. A branded frequent-service network. RapidRide is a start.
6. More frequency, particularly East-West. Too many dense places in the city are too far apart by bus.
7. Payment reform. This is also part of speeding things up. More off-board payment would help. Popularizing ORCA through a small fare discount would speed adoption and boarding time. There are couple of ways to get rid of the pay-as-you-leave policy, but the important thing is to introduce the board in front/get off in the back and improve flow on the buses.
8. More presence by transit security.
9. Real-time arrival where possible. GPS is being installed over the next year and will improve the accuracy of onebusaway, but RapidRide is the only part of the system that is planning message boards at stops.
10. Stop consolidation.
11. More standing room on crowded routes.
Notably, only items 6 through 9 require serious outlays of cash. 1, 3, and 4 can actually generate more revenue for government. What’s lacking in most cases, is political will, generally on the part of the King County Council but also the City of Seattle.