Metro’s website has a new tool to find the nearest bus stop to any point. The results page gives you a bunch of nearby stops, with links to more information about the stop and walking directions.

This won’t solve any huge problems, but I’m encouraged by the culture of continual innovation and improvement that a widget like this suggests.

Minor gripe: I’m able to generate some results where the walking directions turn up as “#11080–Walking distance exceeds one mile or is not safe”. If so, why is it coming up at all?

25 Replies to “Closest Stops”

  1. I don’t think that’s such a minor quibble, because there’s a big difference between “we think it’s too far”, which the user should decide for theirself having been told how far it actually is, and “we think it’s dangerous”, which is actually worth warning people about.

  2. Not sure this is a helpful tool yet – I searched for the intersection of Aurora and 85th – the 5 nearby stops were identified, but if I didn’t know where they were already I don’t think this would have been helpful – this is the description of one of the stops, and it’s typical:

    Stop Information for
    N 85th St & Aurora Ave N
    The stop is on the first street at or near the second street or landmark. See below for more details about Tunnel Stations, Bays and Bus Time numbers.

    Direction and Position
    Westbound / Before the cross street or landmark


    Routes serving stop
    MT 355-O, MT 48N-O, MT 82-I

    Fully accessible

    stop is North side, near

    What does “The stop is on the first street at or near the second street or landmark” mean? How about “North side, near”?

    1. I should add that the links to additional information are route maps for each route, which is helpful, but in a world in which Google Maps and One Bus Away do a more helpful and more complete job of presenting info, I’m not sure Metro is adding a lot of value here.

    2. What does “The stop is on the first street at or near the second street or landmark”
      Means it is on 85th st. near Aurora, as opposed to on Aurora near 85th st.
      Stop is north side near means it is on the north side of the street, near the intersection I would guess.

      1. You’re right. “Near” means before you go through the intersection, the corollary is “far” which would be after you pass through the intersection. They really shouldn’t expect people to know this terminology, but now you do.
        I think it would be helpful if they gave a map as well and perhaps step-by-step instructions on a gps device/phone just like drivers get…

      2. I have to say, I’m really not a fan of how Metro names certain bus stops. Some of my “favorites”:

        – Westbound 45th and University Way is named “45th and Brooklyn”.
        – Eastbound Olive and Broadway is named “Olive and Harvard”.
        – The westbound stop on the 44 that is clearly designed to serve Aurora is called “46th and Green Lake Way”. I’ve seen people almost miss their stop because the driver called out “Green Lake Way” and they didn’t know that was what they wanted.

        I’d like to see these two changes:

        – Give adjacent bus stop pairs the same name; and
        – When a bus stop is between an arterial and a minor street, name it after the arterial.

      3. “Westbound 45th and University Way is named “45th and Brooklyn”.”

        That’s because that stop is closer to Brooklyn. Why should it say Univ Way?

      4. That’s because that stop is closer to Brooklyn. Why should it say Univ Way?


        – The stop on the other side of the street says University Way, and it makes more sense to have both stops named the same thing.

        – University Way is a much more important street, and it would be better for people who are riding the bus but don’t know where to get off if the driver called the major street name. (In fact, in my experience, most drivers *do* call the stop as “45th and University Way”, which leads to the converse problem: people who used the trip planner and are waiting to hear “45th and Brooklyn” will miss their stop.)

  3. This has been part of the trip planner for years. You probably didn’t notice it because it’s buried in the planner’s navigation. It works about as well as you can expect from a ten year old application that doesn’t get adequate maintenance, upgrades in technology or any usability improvements.

    1. Yeah seems Martin is slow to notice things. He noticed Metro’s poly lines on Google Maps about 3 years after they were added.

  4. It’s a good applied problem for an advanced computer science class (any CS profs out there?), and a big one too. Beyond the basic framework, the real work comes in developing routing scores and discovering clusters of preferred routes and stops based on a host of possible metrics. It’s a classic optimization problem, and one that Metro could do well to solve with the help of some local university talent.

  5. I’ve used this for years . . not a new tool.

    I’ve been using the One Bus Away app on my Android phone and find it far more useful than any of the Metro tools . . .

    1. For trip planning, OneBusAway isn’t really all that useful. Metro’s Trip Planner does have something Google Transit lacks: data for Community Transit and Pierce Transit.

      1. OBA will have a trip planner based on real-time information in the not so distant future.

  6. Won’t work for me because my closest stop isn’t listed on the Metro website/Goggle maps/or One Bus Away.

    Metro moved the stop about 100 feet and put up a new sign about 4 months ago and the old stop disappeared from cyber space; new stop has yet to appear.

  7. Yeah, I don’t think this is new.

    And I *hate* how it doesn’t link to any map data. If I see that “Ne Ravenna Blvd & Park Rd Ne” is a hyperlink, then I expect that clicking on that link will show me that location. But no, I just get a page of text and no map. shows a map and more when one clicks on an address/intersection. And they’ve had that feature for years.

    The metro kc site is just an embarrassment.

  8. There’s a problem with Metro’s stop numbers. They’re not the same as the stop numbers used by onebusaway. The onebusaway numbers are the ones that Metro’s now using on any of the bus schedule standards that have a number on them such as 3rd Ave between Pike and Pine St., 3rd Ave at Benaroya Hall, Pike St. between 3d and 4th Ave. and likely others. The 4-digit numbers Metro uses for “BUS-TIME” are inaccurate and often times just are wrong.

    1. I don’t think the BUSTIME numbers are “inaccurate or wrong” compared to the ones OBA uses. They’re just different systems, and they’re not meant to be compatible. Metro should clearly have just one numbering system to avoid confusion, but neither of them is “wrong”. At least made the right decision to put the OBA numbers on the new signs rather than the BUSTIME ones. Posting BUSTIME numbers would just cause confusion, since folks already at such a stop would have no use for BUSTIME (since the stop has a schedule) and would likely only need a stop number to use with OBA.

      Hopefully BUSTIME’s days are numbered, especially with the proliferation of trip planners, and with OBA probably adding longer-range arrival times to their system. And hopefully when BUSTIME dies, its separate stop numbering scheme will die too.

      1. That’s the actual stop number also used by OBA. In fact, the instructions for OBA tell you to look there if you don’t know your stop number. The new bus stop signage will have those numbers as well.

Comments are closed.