Today marks the first day of service for RapidRide’s A Line. Fares are free for this weekend until Monday when revenue service begins. A small contingent of STB bloggers and readers were able to make it out this morning for a short roundtrip ride on the new line. Though there were only roughly 10-15 of us, our coach had already reached seated capacity on its way out of SeaTac, indicating a fairly smooth transition for 174 riders. Nonetheless, there were still a few passengers who tried to request old 174 stops that have been eliminated by the service change.
Our southbound trip took roughly 47 minutes, considerably longer than the 37 minute long return trip northbound. A number of RapidRide’s special features have not yet been fully activated, particularly the TSP (transit signal priority). Several stations are also not finished, with some lacking ORCA readers, maps, and the real-time variable signs. Inaugural day was not free from operational kinks as well, as there were some instances of bunching and late departures this morning.
One very refreshing feature, however, is RapidRide’s automated stop announcements, something Metro is planning to install in other coaches with its new GPS system. Not all stops were announced, however, and those that mysteriously disappeared were manually overridden by the driver.
We’ll be adding opening day media to the Flickr pool soon. Otherwise, you have until Monday to poach a fare-free ride.