23 Replies to “Looking Ahead to 2011”

  1. Not sure if this is an open thread, so I hope this isn’t OT.

    I have some questions about the 2009 performance report:

    Could someone clarify what “Turnback Routing” (TB) and “Shuttle Routing” (SH) are? I assume TB is where the bus doesn’t go to the end of the route, like when 3 turns at First Hill and goes back downtown. But what’s SH? Route 30, for example, has a normal route, plus a TB and an SH route. I guess TB is where it doesn’t go all the way to NOAA, but SH is a mystery to me.

    Whatever these shuttle routes are, they generally suck. Route 1 and 1 SH are at opposite ends of the performance table and there’s only one SH that’s not “Below Minimum.”

    1. Your right on the turnbacks.
      The shuttles are ‘niche’ routes for special reasons, usually associated with taking a deadhead coach, and running a special trip based on requests. A good example was when ‘Group Health??’ relocated adjacent to South Base, from 1st Hill, some of the deadheads finishing their CBC runs are designated to change their signs in downtown, and pickup employees headed that way. I looked up the 30 schedule but didn’t see any shuttles on it, only a B symbol for Late-PM start location from NOAA. Hope that helps.

    2. Mike, I’m pretty sure what you’re describing is actually “CUST” (custom routes) rather than “SH”.

      The shuttles are routes that start somewhere in the middle, rather than at their origin. For example, at night, the 30 used to be a shuttle from the U-District to Sand Point, and the 28 was a shuttle from Fremont to Broadview.

      Metro has been gradually eliminating these shuttles, probably because they aren’t very popular.

      1. Just repeating what someone told me, who used to do the report until retirement. Oh, well.

      2. Confusing isn’t it. Usually custom bus is associated with a partnership with someone else to help pay for it. Boeing, Pill Hill, etc.

        Here’s a listing of all the ‘exceptions’ on just one route – the 7. I refer to them as ‘route mutations’, lurking on the schedule for the unsuspecting transit rider to hear “Gotcha”.

        Timetable Symbols

        B-Continues to Waters Ave S & S Fletcher St.
        C-Bus operates regular route to 4th Ave S & S Jackson St. Continues via 4th Ave S, 4th Ave to University St.
        D-EXPRESS bus leaves 7th Ave & Bell St about 6 minutes earlier and travels via Bell St to 3rd Ave.
        E-RAINIER EXPRESS to downtown Seattle, EXPRESS buses make no stops from Rainier Ave S & S Graham St until 4th Ave S & S Jackson St (island stop) EXCEPT on Rainier Ave S at S Orcas St, S Edmunds St, S Genesee St, S Andover St, S Forest St, S Walker St and I-90; and on S Dearborn St at Corwin Pl S and 5th Ave S.
        To Prentice St EXPRESS buses make no stops from 3rd Ave S & S Main St until Rainier Ave S & S Graham St EXCEPT on S Dearborn St at 6th Ave S and Corwin Pl S; and on Rainier Ave S at I-90, 23rd Ave S, S McClellan St, S Andover St, S Genesee St, S Edmunds St and S Orcas St.
        G-Arrives 4th Ave & Pike St at this time.
        H-This trip does NOT operate on Nov. 11 and 26, Dec. 24, Dec. 27 thru Dec. 31 and Jan. 17.
        J-Continues as Route 83 to University District and Maple Leaf.
        K-To Rainier Ave S & S Henderson St and waits 4 to 26 minutes. For quicker service to downtown, transfer to an earlier inbound Route 7 or see Prentice St Service information for other transfer options at Rainier Beach.
        N-Bus arrives 4th Ave & University St at this time.
        R-Bus leaves at this time. It arrives 4 to 26 minutes earlier.
        X-Board Route 34 Express at this time. No stops between Rainier Ave S & S Genesee and 4th Ave S & S Jackson St EXCEPT on Rainier Ave S at S Andover, S Forest St, S Walker St and I-90; and on S Dearborn St at Corwin Pl S and 5th Ave S.
        §-Estimated time.
        AB-To Metro Base, Airport Way S & S Atlantic St.
        CB-To Metro Base, Airport Way S & S Atlantic St.

      3. Yeah, the routing and scheduling on some of these older routes (3, 4, 7 in particular) leaves much to be desired. I think ideally most routes would just have the the standard route, and optionally an express and MAYBE one turnback/shortened route. Anything more than that is very user-unfriendly and should be a last resort.

        I missed a 10 the other day because I was waiting on 2nd between Madison and Marion at a stop that had Route 10 on the sign, and One Bus Away said “2nd & Madison.” Turns out of course, it’s the stop ON Madison before 2nd Ave, and there’s just a tiny handful of peak routes that actually go from 2nd. Now I understand why streetcars draw higher ridership… you can see where the darn thing comes from and goes to :-)

        Vaguely related… why does Metro use Gillig ETBs rather than Breda’s on 3 & 4? Those routes are frequently standing room only during the week. I get why they do it on the 2, there’s an evil turnabout at the Madrona Beach end.

      4. 3 and 4 have some really ‘cruel’ turns on the routes (Madrona turnback wire, RT down the hill to MLK, 9th James to Ninth). Not sure a Breda could consistently make those, given the range of experience of the trolley drivers.

      5. Not sure a Breda could handle the hill either. I know that they are electric and electric has torqe, but I just don’t know how much the Breda’s can take.

      6. A Breda or any artic could never make the turn at the Queen Anne end of the line for the 3, which loops by the radio towers and terminates by a school or a number of other turns in and around the neighborhoods those routes take. As to being SRO, more runs would help, although I think they’re running at 10-15 minute headways during peak times as it is.

      7. I believe the main reason you only ever see the Bredas on the 7, 13, 43/44, and 49 is simply a lack of equipment. Though a number of ETB routes have turns an articulated coach would have problems with.

  2. Part of (the selfish) me is not looking forward to RR B: I’m losing my direct #230 to from home to Microsoft.

    The other, not-so-selfish part is excited to see high-frequency service near my house (but still too far unless I’m using my motor scooter).

    Welcome two-seat rides to work

  3. Quick Tacoma Link question: where exactly is the new Link station going to be relative to the bus stops for 10th & Commerce?

    I’m trying to figure out if it’s going to be any easier to get from rail to bus

    1. Amazing what a communist government can accomplish without having to worry about public willingness to fund services.

      1. Yes, indeed. It’s amazing what a government agency can accomplish when it actually has the ambition to do so.

        You are aware that you work for the big, nasty government, right?

      2. So your comparison of the Chinese government to that of the United States is “ambitious”? Interesting analysis.

        I’m not a member of the “big nasty government” crowd. I’m also not a member of a “why can’t we do it like China does” crowd – because the answer is pretty obvious, and it isn’t “ambition”.

        We *could* do it like China does of course. All it takes is money. Unlike China however the government here gets its power from the people, not the other way around. That’s one of the necessary factors that differentiate “us” from them. The Russians made it into space first as well – but we did it better and longer.

  4. The new link stop will be midblock inbetween 11th and 12th (ped xing) on commerce from what I have seen. Is it just me or has the rapid ride rt a slowed down since its launch? Also why are there no orca readers on the bus platform for it?

    1. Only the RapidRide “stations” have ORCA readers, the stops do not. I haven’t ridden it in a while, but I thought the buses were supposed to be getting priority at intersections now, so it should actually be running faster.

      1. one would think TIB would have the readers… the coach i rode seemed to be going under the speed limit on his trip, they could have cut a few more minutes of the schedule if the guy could have punched it.

  5. Reviewing the What’s Ahead from last year (

    In June, the long-awaited opening of RapidRide Line A, from Federal Way to Tukwila/International Blvd. Station.
    > A bit after June, but better late than never
    Starting today, Metro fares go up a quarter and transfer policies change. By the end of the year the physical PugetPass will have disappeared.
    > Completed
    A Seattle-only rail measure may go to the ballot in November.
    > Didn’t happen
    A major revision to Southwest King County bus service in February, including the end of the 194.
    > Completed
    A USDOT decision on the TIGER grant in February could cut years off the opening of Link’s S. 200th St. Station.
    > Didn’t happen
    The first two rounds of “low-impact reductions” to Metro service occur in February and September.
    > We saw some low impact reductions, offset a bit by efficiency optimizations
    Metro starts installing a new communications system — to include GPS — in the third quarter, with completion in 2011.
    > Not sure on this one, i believe it’s in progress
    Hopefully, next train signs start working at Link stations in January.
    > We have “2-minute” warning signs in the tunnel stations
    The Sound Transit Board makes a final decision on the East Link alignment in March.
    > Might not even have a final decision by this march (ST anticipates mid-2011)
    Route 542, from Redmond to NE 65th St (Seattle) via the U-District, begins October 4th, at 5:45am.
    > Completed, but the first run was actually at 5:30am, WB from Redmond TC :P

  6. the rapidride page says busses move more and stop less.

    the map shows stations and stops. does teh rapidride stop and all teh stations ans stops on the map route???

    i coutn 23 round circles on the red line on the map excluding the two end circles. does/will RRB stop at all of those??

    1. Yes, the bus should stop at all places indicated on the map, but nowhere else. Note the two closely spaced circles at around NE 40th and 148th NE; I expect one of those is a west/north-bound stop, and the other is a south/east-bound stop.

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