I don’t think anyone who uses Metro or Sound Transit services doesn’t have some kind of complaint about how they run operations or allocate service. Sometimes that’s based on a selfish view that one’s service is needed while someone else’s service is obviously wasteful, but usually there are legitimate principles at stake.

The natural reaction is to assume that the agencies in question are stupid and/or ignorant if they don’t see it your way. However, a good general rule, on any issue, when critiquing the work of professional organizations that if you think it’s simple stupidity you probably don’t understand the forces at work.

There is a lot of change that I’d like to see. But the first step to realizing change is to properly assess the obstacles. The stupidity explanation really doesn’t survive initial contact with most agency planners. In reality, we have to look at the institutional incentives.

For instance, one continuing theme at STB is that there should be better service on key transit arterials even if it means a smaller geographic service area. This idea is not unknown to Metro staff, and its spirit is evident in documents like the Regional Transit Task Force final report. The fundamental obstacle is that you’ll get a much larger crowd of angry voters when you remove service, whatever its merits, than when you elect to not expand other service. And that goes back to a County Council that collectively will not back Metro when a few dozen people organize a complaint.

One way around that dilemma is to throw money at it: provide both the intensive and sprawling routes, and when the next round of cuts comes the interest groups will be more balanced. Of course, more funding is not a plausible course of action at the moment. The last good chance we had to do this was Transit Now, which included a lot for high ridership corridors but also spent significant resources on sending buses to even farther flung exurbs. Metro deserves some amount of credit for upholding RapidRide to the extent they have.

Why was service spread the way it was? The obvious answer is 20/40/40, which for the time being is still in place. Even in its absence, however, it’s arguable that voters wouldn’t have voted for a package perceived as disproportionately benefiting Seattle. Perhaps the true villain is the ability of many voters to see beyond narrow subarea interests. There’s plenty of that going around everywhere in the County.

68 Replies to “Stupidity is not an Explanation”

  1. I think a huge problem is the system is confusing for the uninitiated. When I decided to “go green” it took me hours to figure the best bus to take from where I live (Juanita) to where I work (Redmond).

      1. Yes this is likely a problem for some transit dependent population (the very poor, people who don’t speak english) but for others the tools are about as good as you could expect. It’s not like driving directions are just common knowledge.

  2. Since I have determined that the comment I was going to make was going to be deleted, I am going to preemptively delete it myself. However, I have also determined that this self-deleted comment will also be deleted by someone else.

  3. For Metro, the clear fix is to separate those interests. County-level suburban service is important to those that live in the suburbs. City-level urban service is important to those that live in the city. The two directly conflict in large ways (maintaining a bus fleet vs. trolleys, flat rate being the same for long haul expensive service as a packed 1-mile ride, etc.), and Metro has a clear mandate to favor the county since most of their customers live outside the city. Living in a democracy, that’s the right choice. But everybody’s interests would be better served and conflict would be greatly reduced if we broke Metro into a city-owned branch and a county-owned branch.

    1. I broadly agree. It would make some things harder like route coordination, but I think it’s worth it. I do, however, fear the huge fight over Metro’s existing resources, and I wouldn’t put it past the rest of the county to rob Seattle blind when it came to divvying them up.

      It’s telling too, that RapidRide was implemented in the suburbs first, even though our RR candidate routes perform better.

      1. +1 to both of you.

        It’s most important to achieve service coordination between the Seattle agency and (present and future) Link, which serves has a much more prominent urban-service function than anything else Sound Transit or the hypothetical suburban ex-Metro agency runs.

      2. Looking a little further at where Rapidride got started-
        The A line was a route where BAT lanes were uncontroversial for the most part. Metro thought this would help get the project started and demonstrate what Rapidride was all about. If we look at what has happened in West Seattle, that route has been pushed around quite a bit by business owners who oppose any perceived threat to car drivers getting to their businesses (loss of on street parking, etc.).

        The truth is, we have local governments that are responsive to citizen input but often times that input is selfish and short-sighted. It would be awesome if the pro transit community mobilized against these interests when planning decisions are happening. Be the voice for sane transit decisions against those who think bus stops attract vagrants, on street parking is a right, and so on.

        Know that our local governments value your input just as much (or more) as those who think transit is a nuisance. Next time we hear about a car dealership in West Seattle raising a stink about new BAT lanes, write to tell the city and Metro to add more BAT lanes on that project. Letters, particularly clear, organized ones, have an impact. Lobbying local neighborhood associations to advocate for transit has an impact.

      3. Yes, squeaky, the Line C has been NIMBYed out of being Rapid. There will still be long stretches without a bus lane. However, one of the slightly open-minded business owners in Luna Park had a lightbulb come on: He asked for a bus stop in his neighborhood. For reasons that would not have occured to him, what he asked for made a lot of sense.

        There is a P&R under the West Seattle Bridge near which the Line C could have a stop. Other buses serve that P&R, too. So, this is a natural transfer point for the Line A, for people trying to get from their residences along the A to other parts of West Seattle. This is essentially the terminal stop for the A at the north end of West Seattle before it expresses downtown, and so would do more for walkshed and rideshed than most of the mid-line stops will.

        Metro should cut a deal with Luna Park and give them a stop (by the P&R) *if* they agree to give up all the parking for one long continuous 24/7 bus lane.

        BTW, I do participate in my neighborhood association, and it makes a world of difference in their outlook.

      4. The A does not go anywhere near West Seattle. Are you thinking of a future Delridge rapidride, which Metro has suggested but not formally proposed?

    2. Back to the Future: A return to the pre-1973 Seattle Transit System and the Metropolitan Transit Corporation for the suburbs…. ;-) And didn’t Vashon Island have its own separate transit system?

      1. Vashon has its own service as well. One or two of its buses still exist in some semblance after all these years. And dont forget some of the longer haul operations that got folded into metro as well, such as Pacific National Line’s Tacoma-Buckley (Via Milton, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn and Emunclaw) which became route 151 for a time, and the Cascade Trailways service to Skykomish from Seattle which ran only on wendsdays i think it was. Of course in the ’70s Metro had the 433 from Seattle to Tacoma via Pacifc Highway (and a short stretch on I-5 from Port of Tacoma Rd) It ran every two hours roughly. RapidRide extension mabye?

      1. Where would it end? Why, at the Bellevue City Limits, of course. Bellevueites would realize quickly that most of the places they want to go are outside the city limits, and would scrap the system.

    3. Yes! Or really take the County out of it all together and turn that level over to Sound Transit. Let ST manage regional networks and let Seattle, Bellevue and any other city that wants to run its own local buses.

  4. Just look at what happens when someone proposes a plan here on STB. The reactions are all over the place and often irrational, emotional and, well, stupid. Imagine what the Metro planners have to go through when it comes to planning service changes.

    I’ve participated for over 20 years in Metro’s citizen comments process, I’ve gone to lots of meetings, read lots of plans and I know that the people at Metro know that their system is far from perfect, but the solutions to the problems are more difficult than they appear to be. Adding more service hours (or deleting service hours) is a very difficult and political process, and it ain’t pretty.

    But I sometimes wonder if the planners really spend much time riding the routes, observing the ridership and talking to the riders and drivers. Do the planners really know where routes break down and where people are going to and coming from? If Metro is planning to make changes to route XYZ, I think the first step should be to have the planning staff go out and spend a day riding route XYZ, so they understand how the existing route works and how it could be improved.

    1. Just my 2 cents worth, but riding a route for a couple of times isn’t very useful. Planners spend a lot of time looking at current data for trends (peak/off-peak, direction of travel, stop by stop ons/offs, screen-line ridership for combining routes, etc). That gives one set of answers.
      Metro is driven by Exec/Council/Mgmt/policy directives, with a ton of conflicting interest to balance. That gives another set of answers.
      Customers want direct, fast, one seat rides to nearly everywhere, with 15 minute service. Another set of answers.
      The auditor driven economies of scheduling give another set.
      Drivers want other priorities.
      Whoever said it ‘aint pretty’ has it right. Most of the time the results are for the better. Others, not so much(71,72,73)
      On a different note, splitting the agency into city/suburban would be a disaster for Seattle, unless they want to significantly increase their taxes to pay for services rendered. The suburbs export a lot of taxes into Seattle service. That would end. Careful what you wish for!

      1. I disagree. We’ve looked at this before, and it’s pretty well split. IIRC we have more service, but more farebox recovery.

      2. True, farebox recovery only pays just over a quarter of costs (well, in Seattle – much less elsewhere in the county). But I believe we also pay in more than our share of taxes. Again, I don’t remember the details and it isn’t worth going through the numbers again.

        In the end, even if you’re right we do lose some county funds, I think Bruce is right. We’ll have control over our own transit destiny.

      3. I also want to see what happens when the RFA is abolished. I’m convinced many of the urban routes will see significant farebox gains.

      4. You think people will pay $2 to go a mile? Whenever I have to pay cash, I weigh whether the distance is long enough to justify the price, and Stewart to Jackson doesn’t in my book.

        My prediction: most intra-downtown riders in the no-longer-free area will have passes or transfers, and those who don’t will walk.

    2. From my interactions with planners I have very impressed with their knowledge. I certainly agree with your suggestion though. I have worked on several projects where we had a lot of data, but until I went out and observed everything in person I couldn’t fully understand what was really happening.

      As an aside I hope that STB can help to provided a stabilizing, technical and far sighted voice in support of changes that planners know need to happen but aren’t necessarily popular, at least with a subsection of riders.

    3. One other note, then I’ll shut up (promise), but Metro runs a lot of service from the suburbs to Seattle CBD. Who should pay?
      Most commuter routes that end in Seattle are paid entirely by the sub-area they came from, unless the route has a Seattle local service component attached. The logic is that suburban riders going to work are willing to pay all of the cost, because jobs in the city pay more(not sure if that’s true anymore)and housing is cheaper in the burbs (very true).
      But where would Seattle be if not for all the workers that flood the CBD each day. Maybe the employers and high rent office building owners who benefit from a much larger labor pool should bear half the cost, or even all the costs.
      Who is benefiting the most? Workers or CBD businesses. It gets to be a real problem when the agencies are split in two.

      1. You’re putting incentives in the wrong direction if you tax businesses (or worse – only downtown businesses). Businesses have no control over where their employees live, and therefore there’d be no feedback loop built into the tax. But if you choose to live far from work and someone has to pay to drive you in, it should be the worker. Taxes pay for services, but are best used as incentives – we want a far commute with expensive transit service to be priced correctly.

  5. Thank you Martin. I’ve been waiting for this post for some time. I get tired of comments which broadly paint our transit agencies as completely incompetent and the resulting service the worst possible. This is not the case, and it is not constructive.

    Having met some of the folks at Metro and knowing people who work at ST, I know them to be hard-working and passionate about their jobs. They too get frustrated at not being able to implement the transit system they want. Calling them stupid usually implies ignorance on the part of the accuser of the constraints to which ST & Metro are subject. Do things get overlooked occasionally? Do the agencies make mistakes? Undoubtedly. Who doesn’t. It doesn’t mean they are incompetent.

    1. Agreed. I generally assume that bad policies are a result of politics and bureaucracy at the top rather than incompetence at the bottom.

    2. Very true. I would almost expect more mistakes as the population and demands increase and the budgets decrease. Less workers to handle more work. A lot of people want instant gratification and will complain if they cant get what they want when they want it. I still support King County Metro and Sound Transit. People in Seattle have it good when it comes to public transportation. I live in Port Orchard and am under the rule of Kitsap Transit. Their system has some major shortfalls. I usually have to end up driving to the ferry dock and paying for parking in order to get to/from Seattle because the service in Kitsap County is non-frequent and starts late and ends early. I can count on there (almost always) being at least two trips an hour during most of the day in Seattle. I appreciate the system that King County Metro and Sound Transit have in place.

      1. I would almost expect more mistakes as the population and demands increase ………

        realtive to successes??

    3. I wholly accept responsibility for my role in the demonization and name-calling, as directed toward the agencies or their employees. Usually it results from extreme and cumulative frustration. But I’m sorry nonetheless.

      But as for my strong words about “the resulting service,” I am not sorry. It is about as bad as it could be in a medium-density city of this size. It does make some very basic trips so laborious and unpleasant that it might actually alter your social behavior and activity choices. It has stolen hours, days, and weeks of my life away — in 30-minute blocks — since I moved here.

      Equivocating about that (“oh, it’s not that bad”) condones the reticence to make the necessary bold and sweeping changes. And while I don’t ascribe to Metro any nefarious intent, they have shown more such reticence than, say, Translink or TriMet. We must be a strong and unwavering choice for bold action, because the minor fixes just aren’t cutting it!

  6. “Perhaps the true villain is the ability of many voters to see beyond narrow subarea interests.” — why should voters be expected to set aside their subarea needs in favor of a better overall system? If I only get hourly service where I am, I’m not going to vote for 10 minute service in some other part of the county. Yes, it is selfish, but I don’t think it’s unjustified.

    1. This would make sense, Stephen, if all voters were transit riders. Problem is that many (most) voters in the ‘burbs are not transit riders, and likely will never become transit riders, but nonetheless look carefully at where the subsidies go, and then get exercised when their area doesn’t get its “fair share”. And of course they are oblivious to the stupidity of running mostly-empty buses around their area simply to chew up money and achieve something they believe is equity.

      I keep waiting for the day when police and fire services are distributed based on where the property tax revenues are collected from. Oh, wait a minute, we couldn’t do that because that would be really stupid….

    2. It is in their indirect interest, if they thought a little bit about it. If Seattle’s bus service were gutted, lots of people here would suddenly start driving and suburbanites commuting and coming to shop on the weekend would then discover what expensive parking really meant.

      One of the reasons I think transit should be at least partly funded by sales tax is that people who pass through benefit from it — not just residents.

  7. Hear, hear! As a former employee of a government transportation department, this post is music to my ears. Hopefully, some of those who are quick to lob the “stupid” label at everything they disagree with will read it and think twice before doing so again.

    I frequently dealt with citizens demanding we fix what they considered an acute safety hazard, but, from a big-picture standpoint, was a fairly minor (or nonexistent) situation. To summarize, we said, “No” a lot. This is not because governmental institutions don’t care about people’s lives and want to keep all the money for themselves and refuse to spend any of it. It’s because we have limited resources, and somewhere, across the city or state, there’s something else that, if not fixed, will have much more severe consequences than, say, not repaving your neighborhood crosswalk.

    To reiterate what Brett said, most people at these and other agencies do care about the impact their jobs have, and work really hard. But money, time, political obstacles, and money are all limiting factors.

    Also, I agree with Yair about the problem of a confusing system impeding would-be new users, but my reasons for that are similarly long-winded and will be saved for another comment.

  8. One factor the exacerbates the planning efficiencies in King County transit service is that we have two separate agencies, with their own boards, policies, revenue sources, and planners. While I think the agencies make an attempt at coordination, the result often falls short – likely due to the fact that each agency’s institutional incentives differ. It would be preferable if there were a single planning process which encompassed both agencies. While some of ST’s service is inter-county (which of course would benefit from deeper coordination with PT, CT & ET), much ST service is wholly within King County and the planning really out to be as a single process with MT.

    If an agency reacts to institutional incentives, and

    1. Boy I wish there were an edit function

      One factor THAT exacerbates

      planning really OUGHT to be as a single process

      And delete the fragment

    2. One factor the exacerbates the planning efficiencies in King County transit service is that we have two separate agencies, with their own boards, policies, revenue sources, and planners……

      many dont like central planning.

  9. Those are very lofty sentiments, however, even the most naive fool can see that transit is both transportation and social engineering.

    Why, for example, was the initial LINK built at street level through one of the worst neighborhoods in Puget Sound (no offense guys, but crime, poverty, and so on…).

    Clearly there was an intent of some that went far and away beyond moving people from A to B.

    Bigger questions are why was light rail technology chosen when the Puget Sound population density is more attuned to RapidRide buses.

    Other questions are why are cars treated as non-existent (no parking lots) when it seems like the majority prefer transit that is like a giant parking lot shuttle (even LINK and Sounder are used most often as cheap parking lot ticket to sports games).

    The list goes on and on…I would love to think that at some “professional level” it’s all squares of the the hypotenuse and value free judgments…but the visible evidence points to just the opposite…and we haven’t even discussed whose pockets are getting lined…or fleeced!

    1. I must have missed the part where Martin claimed there’s no social engineering in transit. Everything the government does is social engineering. And most everything that corporations do is social engineering. So what? We want people to put thought into our systems. You want an uncontrolled free-for-all mess of a system, go live in India*.

      As for your questions, we’ve gone over those ad-naseum. You believe in a car-filled sprawlsville. We get that. But your elected officials don’t. Get over it.

      * yes, the goverment tries to engineer it’s society there as well, they just are overwhelmed by the population

      1. You believe in a car-filled sprawlsville……..

        do they? or are they lying??

        i dont have a problem with cars. just sometimes a problem with safer altetnate means of transport.

      2. Well, that’s great that you admit its social engineering, but the OP was a paegn to how Transportation Engineers are professionals who “know better” and are above all that. Now you’re saying that they have their own agenda (pretty much what I said).

        I don’t think you can have it both ways…if you admit that transit is a politically based activity, you can’t insulate the Planners and Engineers from the catcalls and public calls for transparency.

        I find it hard to believe that almost anyone would not see that.

      3. John, the planners and engineers can certainly do their work apolitically. The issue I think you’re skirting around is that the instructions and specifications given to the planners and engineers may already politically biased.

        Planners can say, “We need a line that serves points X, Y, and Z.” They they must get funding for the project. It’s likely that whoever provides the funding (ultimately County government) will reply, “I will give you 2/3 of the funding you asked for, and the line must also serves points A and B. I don’t care that they’re not convenient to your original plan, and that it requires scaling back service significantly.” The planners and engineers must then implement the new system, not the one that met the original needs.

        The staff implementing and operating the transit system have to work within the political framework our government has provided.

    2. “why was light rail technology chosen when the Puget Sound population density is more attuned to RapidRide buses.”

      Why don’t you back up that assertion with some data? There’s plenty of congestion on city streets. There’s plenty of potential rail ridership currently on buses (for the system we will have, not the system we have now).

      “LINK and Sounder are used most often as cheap parking lot ticket to sports games”

      There isn’t a sporting event in the city five days a week. But there are commuters trying to get to their jobs. The sporting events bump up the usage, but they’re not the main drivers of the patronage of light rail.

      1. See my comment above. Even so, J.B. should get out of Kent and side the 7x busses in the evening once in a while.

      2. Congestion on Seattle streets is 90 percent the problem of not having built enough highways coupled with too high density in relation to the rest of the region.

      3. Yes, 90%. How mathematically unassailable.

        Your meticulous calculation is in no way refuted by the fact that low-density Kent experiences a total clusterfuck of congestion on its few arterials, while downtown Seattle’s parallel thoroughfare’s are relatively unclogged (with the exception of highway-access routes and rare 1-lane bottlenecks).

      4. Didn’t mean to undermine your point with my sarcasm-fest, AW, though Seattle’s traffic congestion does owe a lot more to the suburban-style differentiation between arterials and side-streets than to an inherent overload of traffic within the city.

        The infrequently-discussed secret of urban planning is that most modern American traffic woes result the limited points of access between city and suburbs. Within a well-built city, there exist so many potential route-permutations for in-city trips that few of them ever reach a gridlock tipping-point.

        Boston’s traffic infamy, for example, is essentially limited to its handful of highways and quasi-highways. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get around the city itself — the grid is irregular and designed by colonial cows, but there are many, many through-paths.

        One example: ever notice how traffic from an 18,000-person event at Key Arena takes 30-45 minutes to clear out. In spite of having only 2 eastbound exit routes (Mercer and Denny), the grid of LQA and the many access points in other directions allows the traffic to disperse in a surprising well- (and self-) regulated manner.

        That same 18,000-person event at the White River Amphitheater, which in a pinnacle of suburban-style planning has a single exit route, takes 3.5 hours to clear.

        So it is the case that suburbs experience higher incidence of traffic congestion than cities, though for the exact opposite of Bailo’s claim: it’s not about total demand or relative demand but about the failure of merger-based planning to which his neck of the woods is inextricably bound.

      5. (Implied corollary: Seattle’s intra-city, inter-neighborhood congestion is more the result of its similarly suburban discouragement of through-gridding and insistence on funneling all traffic — including the added traffic from new dense construction — onto a limited set of “arterials.”)

      6. (And lest my above 3 comments cause any confusion: building 5 more highways for Bailo would do nothing to dissipate his traffic. Building the entire region densely, with through-gridded and transit-friendly streets, would.)

      7. Topography makes through-gridding difficult for Seattle, though.

        This isn’t as big a deal as people think it is. Once North Link is completed, for example, it would be very straightforward to restructure bus service into a grid. You have one bus (the 30/46) that goes from UW Station to Ballard via Pacific/34th/Leary; another bus (the 44) that goes from Ballard to U-Village/Children’s/Sand Point via Market/46th/45th; a third (the 48/71) that goes from Ballard to Ravenna/Sand Point via 85th/65th.

        Every one of these routes would cross a Link station, *and* a RapidRide D station, and two would also cross a RapidRide E station. So you could get just about anywhere in the city with only a single transfer. At worst, you might have to do bus-Link-bus, but with high enough frequencies, there’s nothing wrong with that.

      8. d.p.’s point was about the road grid. North Seattle accommodates such grids fairly easily, Green Lake notwithstanding, and I could spew for hours on how to restructure bus service to fit that (admittedly still somewhat arterial-based) grid, especially once North Link opens. But try to install a through grid across Lake Union or connecting Seattle’s hills, or straight across to West Seattle. Even if you started from scratch and could rip out I-5, 99, and I-90, you’d find it wasn’t particularly practical and you’d still be funnelling a lot of traffic down the sides of Lake Union, and you probably couldn’t rip out the West Seattle Bridge and the role it plays. Seattle does pretty well given the circumstances; the main problem areas are Southeast Seattle (Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley), SoDo, and maybe northern Capitol Hill where Interlaken Park, Volunteer Park, and the Arboretum break up the grid. And of course I-5 and I-90 create massive grid interruptions as well, though the grid is almost completely connected between downtown and First Hill.

      9. Ah, Morgan, but note that there are few such geographic obstacles at the city’s north and south borders, where some of the worst traffic pinch-points exist.

        Sure, the Duwamish exits down south. But it’s ex-tidal surroundings are quite flat. Chicago has had little problem gridding over its 3 winding rives.

        No, the obstructions we have at our city’s exits — the industrial zones, the anachronistic Boeing airport, and above all the many, many “residential streets” that just don’t go through — these are all obstructions of choice!

  10. Could King County Metro be set up to minimize political interference? Why must the County Council directly approve route changes or service levels?

    King County Metro could be arranged as a Public transportation Benefit Area, with its own Board, elected or appointed. The Director would be accountable to the County Council, but given authority to operate the transit system as it sees fit. If the County Council or Exceutive don’t like the direction of Metro, they can replace the Director. Otherwise, Metro would be run on a professional basis to maximize acheivement of objectives set by the County, such as ridership, farebox recovery, or social equity.

    1. For the first 30 years of Metro’s life, Metro was an independent organization with minimal political interference. It had an appointed board and two primary functions: sewage treatment and county-wide transit. I thought those were Metro’s best years and that it was well-run.

      Then in the early 1990’s there was a legal challenge to the structure. I don’t remember exactly who was behind the challenge – it was an ACLU lawsuit saying that the structure was unconstitutional because it wasn’t accountable to voters, but there are all kinds of gov’t entities with appointed boards, so I’m not clear on what was different. But it got everyone who was every unhappy with something Metro did – from rural areas who thought they had gotten short shrift to others who didn’t like the siting of treatment facilities. I believe that at the same time there was a proposal to expand the size of the King County Council, so politicians who had ambitions to get elected to an expanded council were supportive.

      It was after Metro became part of King County that we got the infamous 20-40-40 policy, and that councilmembers got involved with every proposal to modify or reduce any bus service.

      Here are a couple of articles that I found that discuss some of Metro’s history and the merger:
      http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=7813
      http://www.seattlepi.com/archives/1989/8901040758.asp

    2. As long as someone is accountable to the County Council, the politics will never go away.

      King County Metro used to be a separate agency from the county made of a federated board of elected officials (similar to Community Transit, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit). I think it was in 1995, it was declared illegal and Metro was forced to merge with the county government. The basis of the lawsuit that declared it illegal was the unequal representation on the King County Metro board.

  11. I just want to see improvements to Trip Planner. I rarely use the Planner since I have pretty good knowledge of the routes I typically take and their connections, etc. But I was fiddling with it earlier to figure out how to get to/from an area I never go to.

    – For some reason the Itineraries it gives me for one situation totally ignores a certain connection. I’ve tried all the variations (best walking, fewest transfer, etc.) and have altered the times, etc. but I can’t get that best Itinerary to show up. If I use trip planner twice (once for each route segment), then it shows that the connection/transfer/trip is indeed possible. So it makes me wonder if trip planner fails to give the best route for other people in certain situations.

    – When clicking on an intersection in the Itinerary results, the page it goes to should *show the intersection on a map*. This is how the PDX trip planner/system has worked for years. Instead, ours is totally unless at times. I clicked on “Sodo Busway & S Holgate St” on my trip planner results to get more info on that intersection as I wasn’t totally certain where that was. That only gives me this page: http://tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/cgi-bin/stop_info.pl?Id=2249&resptype=U – it’s a page that gives me zero information on where that intersection actually is. Gee, thanks. Luckily, popping that into google maps does bring up an area (which I assume is the correct location).

    1. For the first trip – let them know. I’ve had interactions with whoever keeps the thing updated, and if you can give them specifics they’ll make changes if possible.

      Doesn’t solve the second issue, I know, but I’d let them know about that as well.

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