Route 542 Map

[UPDATE: ST tells me there’s a typo in the booklet. Info on Routes 578 and 590 revised below.]

The new ST schedule book, effective October 2nd, is out. Changes:

Route 510: Minor schedule adjustments
Route 542: New service operating between Redmond and the University District
Route 550: Minor Saturday schedule adjustments and trips added
Route 556: Trip added to relieve overcrowding
Route 574: Trips eliminated and schedule adjustments to better match ridership
Route 578: New bay assignment at Federal Way Transit Center;
Route 590: Trips eliminated and schedule adjustments to better match ridership
Route 592: Significant schedule adjustments serving DuPont Station.
South Sounder: Minor schedule adjustments

The 542 is peak-only, but it’s a 7-hour peak with 15 minute headways.

36 Replies to “New ST Schedule for Oct. 2”

  1. 542 is also bi-directional at all times that it’s running (within an hour, at least). Basically the same deal as the 540.

    Also, I looked over the 578 schedule and could not find any deleted trips. I found one slight adjustment on a weekday trip; it was 2 minutes earlier at a couple timepoints. Other than that both looked the same.

  2. Nice to see that the 542 doesn’t make the big detour into OTC in the afternoon. I do wish it made the same stops as the 545 at Montlake, though.

    Anyone else notice that the Redmond part of the 545 map is missing in the PDF? Luckily all the stops are still listed. ;)

    1. What do you mean by “the same stops”? If you’re referring to the flyer stop, the Montlake exit is before the flyer stop, so it’s not possible for one bus to serve both…

      1. Yes, I meant the flyer stops (wishful thinking, I know). It’d be an amazing improvement on headways from Montlake OTC if they could somehow share those stops. Still, with OneBusAway it should be too hard to figure out which is coming next and run up or down the stairs.

        It will be interesting to see if it’s faster Westbound to get off a 545 at Montlake and wait for the next 542 to avoid the OTC diversion. My guess is probably not, unless the schedules happen to line up just right.

      2. Wow, so many mistakes in my previous reply. The most egregious: I meant “It will be interesting to see if it’s faster Westbound to get off a 545 at 51st Street and wait for the next 542 to avoid the OTC diversion. My guess is probably not, unless the schedules happen to line up just right.”

      3. If we’re thinking wishfully, I’d rather see all 520 service consolidated at UW station in 2016. That would increase headways by the same amount, and it solves the 44-520 gap, and it makes all these buses accessible to wheelchairs, and it saves everyone from having to wait at one of the least hospitable stops in Seattle.

        Rebuilding Montlake so that the flyer stops were before the exit ramps would take an equal amount of engineering effort, and the outcome would be much worse.

    2. As far as the OTC detour… has anyone considered splitting the difference for all of these routes? Have half of the PM-peak buses (incl. 542/545/566) take the detour, and have the other half skip it?

      This seems like it would be a reasonable compromise for everyone. Microsofties who didn’t want to cross 520 would still get service, albeit less, while riders from farther north who wanted a shorter ride could choose to only take the non-detouring buses. Conversely, people who wanted maximum frequency could go to the freeway stop (or anywhere north of 40th) and take the first bus that came.

      1. Sounds like a good idea, but notice how when one 545 is coming back across 40th from the TC, the next one is at the light headed over to the TC…..if you did every other bus, then you would have 2 545’s at the NE40th freeway station at the same time. Thankfully the 542 and 566(when extended in Feb) won’t do the OTC. You could cut the 545 now from 10minutes from 51st to 40th, down to 1-2minutes. Build a cover for the walkway over to the freeway station so people stay dry in the rain.

        Plus…..word is at Metro (rumor) that Metro(that means ST too) might be leaving the OTC in the near future as Connector expands.

      2. Casey: How can you tell that the 566 will not devaite? I was looking, but I couldn’t see it documented anywhere.

      3. Ah. Thanks, I had looked for that sort of detail in the 2010 Service Implementation Plan, but couldnt find it. Do many documents, so little time.

        Interesting the fall newsletter you linked to also indicates the 542 will serve Redmond Town Center, which I would have thought would mean a different routing than along 85th.

  3. Are they ever going to increase service on the 545. I work in Redmond at night. This means that since I don’t own a car (dont want to at th moment)that I also have to live in Redmond. I can’t fathom why people chose to pay such high rents to live in a city who’s only dining options after 9 are fast food.

  4. The 542 is a great addition. Service from Montlake to Redmond during peak periods is not certainly within the range that you don’t need a schedule for. I’m glad to see ST focusing all service hours in the peak period, rather than spreading it out. However *note* this is only possible because of the montlake flyer stop. Without the stop 545 riders would have a hard tiem transfering on the Seattle side of the bridge.

    1. Sorry, I don’t follow. Can you explain?

      Currently, if you’re travelling from the U-District to Redmond, you’ll probably transfer from the 43/48 to the 545 at Montlake. With the 542, you no longer need to transfer at Montlake at all, so the flyer stops don’t matter.

      Hypothetically, I guess someone could take the 43/48 to Montlake and then opportunistically take the 542 or 545 depending on which came first, but that would be very difficult. You’d have to wait at the top of the stairs for a 542, but be ready to run down the stairs to the flyer stop if a 545 was coming. Certainly, I don’t think this is a scenario they had in mind when designing the route. :)

    2. Ohh… I think I finally understand.

      Are you saying that it’s only possible for ST to focus all service hours in the peak period because the non-peak period is covered by the flyer stops? And, if the flyer stops were eliminated, then the 542 would have to seriously compromise on frequency to match the 545’s span?

    3. I’m still skeptical about ridership given the lack of advertising/awareness raised on this route. It seems like a ton of trips are being added, but will it draw passengers? How long will it take to draw riders?

      1. A long time ago i heard it takes about ten years for a route to reach its maximum potential, of course of the route is always in a state of flux it will take longer to reach that goal, and usually drive riders away in the short term.

      2. This route is being put into service for when construction starts and there isn’t a freeway station at Montlake….It will have plenty of rides then. For now I wouldn’t be too worried at that……I’m sure people will catch on soon as the bus going by them at Redmond TC, 51st and 40th says “U-District” on it. (And yes, it will have a hyphen in the destination signage. No other route has that.)

      3. Oh and since we are talking about ridership on the 542……even trip this shakeup will be serve with a 40′ coach. So while we wish for awesome ridership and getting more people out of their cars, hopefully it doesn’t do too well the first shakeup that we would have overloads.

    1. Yes it did, and the ridership east of Kirkland wasn’t great. But remember that Redmond-UW commuters would have to ride from Redmond to Kirkland, then Kirkand to S.Kirkland P&R before the bus hit the freeway……it was kind of a slow ride… was faster to ride 545 and tranfer at Montlake
      The 542 will be much quicker from Redmond TC to the UW than the 540 was and will hit Oveklake on the way

      1. Yeah exactly. The 540 past the Kirkland transit center simply isn’t time competitive to Redmond. The NE 85th corridor needs a high level of service to link downtown kirkland and downtown redmond but the 540 wasn’t the solution.

        I actually have a similar problem. I work in totem lake but to take the bus from Seattle involves a 15-30 minute trip on city streets from south kirkland park and ride to NE 124th. The same drive on the freeway takes about 5-10 minutes.

      2. Hahaha….I have the same problem(Well not right now that I’m at East Base but next week back at Central Base)….I live at NE 132nd & 124th Ave NE in Totem Lake so the 255 is the same for me… I try and take the 252 whenever possible and on the weekend I usually just drive cause sitting on the bus for an hour each way when I sit on my own bus for 8-10hrs isn’t cool. Plus, some of the people on here think truncating it at UW when Link opens is a good idea….but thats the point where I throw it out the window and drive everyday.

  5. I don’t see any schedule for Central Link in the new book. Am I just missing it? Or is this an admission by Sound Transit that they have no idea when Central Link trains are actually going to arrive at any station?

    They just give the headways, but no arrival times, like they did in the previous books for 5 different stations. And even the headways just say 7-8 minutes during peak hours, and 10-15 minutes at all other times. Altough it does list the peak hours, it doesn’t even give the breakdown of what hours have 10-minute headways and what hours have 15-minutes headways. The old books had that info, also.

    Anyone have any insight into this? Has ST been getting complaints that Link trains don’t keep to their schedule very well, so ST decided they would not even have a schedule any more?

      1. There are people at Sound Transit who post on this blog. But, I am also curious what other regular posters here think about this, if anything.

        At least they do show a few travel times on the Central Link map. ST is still estimating 38 minutes between Westlake and SeaTac, either direction. I think they told voters it would be about five minutes shorter for that trip, several years ago.

      2. “I think they told voters it would be about five minutes shorter for that trip, several years ago.”

        Sure they did Norman, sure they did.

    1. It may just be a calculation error.

      Well, 30 seconds is for the Beacon Hill station, which was deferred until ST bowed to significant public pressure. The rest may be just a calculation error. Five minutes is a reasonable margin of error for the first line in a region, and with an unprecedented shared rail-bus tunnel. You can’t really know for sure how long it will take until you build it and start running trains, so it’s a chicken and egg problem.

      As for the published schedules, I hope they’re not going to use it as a cover to surreptitiously change the schedules. “10” or “15” minutes makes a difference in whether people make a trip now, wait till the next 10-minute period, or skip the trip. Obvously 15 minutes is much better than 30 minutes, but 10 vs 15 minutes also makes a difference. And it’ll make more of a difference when (not if :) Metro adds east-west feeder service, because it’d be a bummer to wait 15 minutes for a transfer.

    2. The schedule book has not specifics for Link information, but to be fair, if you read closely, it does direct readers to for specifics. This makes the book less useful, but it seems there still is a schedule for Link.

  6. Given that introduction of weekend 578 service is not in ST’s Service Implementation Plan, I wonder why there are still separate 577 and 594 routes. Consolidating the two lines into one would result in a significant increase in connectivity, and save some money, too.

    You may notice that the 577 is much faster getting into downtown. Why is the 594 still forced to do the SODO crawl when the 577 routing has shown the way?

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