Route 41 and 73 Stop Consolidation

Metro has announced it is planning to consolidate stops on the northern end of route 41 and 73 starting April 30th. From Metro’s press release:

Metro is planning to reduce the number of closely spaced bus stops on the Route 41 and 73 corridors, affecting some stops that also serve routes 48, 242, 243, 71, 72, 73, 77, 79, 83, 347, 348, and 373. The changes will help buses move faster and operate on a more reliable schedule, reduce energy consumption and emissions, and reduce Metro’s operating and maintenance costs.

Route 41 has 43 bus stops north of Northgate Transit Center. The plan will remove 12 bus stops, increasing the spacing between stops from about 785 feet to about 1,110 feet.

Route 73 has 85 bus stops north of NE 50th Street, and the plan will remove 33 to increase the average spacing between stops from about 715 feet to 1,180 feet. This total includes 14 of the bus stops on 15th Avenue NE that were closed in February 2010 and are not planned to reopen.

As a result of the changes, about 16 percent of Route 41 riders who board north of Northgate Transit Center and Route 73 riders who board north of NE 50th Street will have to catch their bus at a different stop. When the project is completed, all riders should have a faster, more reliable trip.

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31 Replies to “Route 41 and 73 Stop Consolidation”

  1. As part of my comment, I suggested having a security guard stationed at Northgate TC, with a handheld ORCA reader, to staff the back doors of the 41.

    1. While I was living in Stockholm the transit agency implemented this exact idea during peak periods at major bus-rail transfer locations. It worked fairly well although people were still getting used to it when I left. I think they needed to do a better job making sure riders knew that they could board at the back doors.

      1. If a person in a security outfit is standing there, and people are tapping their cards on a device he is holding, and then getting on board, how could riders not see her/him?

      2. The people weren’t wearing security outfits, they were often wearing big blue SL coats although it is still fairly obvious. Maybe the other issue is that people would line up by the front door, not all doors, so by the time the bus came it would just be more worth it for them to wait and board at the front than walk to the back door. I don’t know. I’m just passing on what I saw.

      3. Thanks for the report, Adam. A piling with a sign “Back Door Express Entry for ORCA users” might do the trick, if Metro has the budget for that. Though, it wouldn’t be very express if the farechecker isn’t standing there waiting.

    2. The guard would have to “catch” at least 7 people per hour that otherwise wouldn’t pay their fare to be somewhat profitable.

      1. The point is to speed unloading. I’ve watched that bus take three or four minutes to unload in the evening at Northgate.

      2. The economics of this are not related to catching people cheating, it is about more economical use of your existing bus/driver resources. On routes like this with incredibly frequent service in the peak periods reducing travel time means that you can probably run a few fewer buses. That translates into fewer buses to drive and staff. If you can work this out to use existing staff and do it at high ridership stops like Northgate TC it could be an easy win.

      3. Security at stations isn’t just about speeding up bus routes. It’s also about making people feel safe at the stations and reducing graffiti cleanup costs. The RapidRide survey showed a sharp distinction between how safe people felt on the bus vs. how unsafe they felt at bus stops. (Reducing wait time also seemed to mitigate the percentage of passengers feeling unsafe.)

        More fare revenue from choice riders impressed with more security presence and shorter travel time means more service.

      4. As far as catching potential non-payers, the guard could stand at open bus doors (which remain open because there are passengers on board) while the operator gets her or his break.

      5. Also, this system can add an incentive for ORCA use: Card users enter more quickly at the back, and can grab choice seats more quickly. Change fumblers have to wait at the front for wheelchairs to get on board, and are more likely to have to stand.

  2. I’ve wondered: Would all these stop consolidations be possible without the positive comments generated by STB, to counter the save-my-stoppers?

  3. I’m a bit unclear on this, there are some stops that are also served by other routes (especially the 71/2/3/4 series) are these stops closing for ALL routes, or just for the 41/73?

    1. They’re closing the stops for all routes. That’s what “affecting” means in the quote.

      1. If that is true then the announcement is unclear.

        The headline is “Metro to increase bus stop spacing for Routes 41 and 73”. People not using those routes would likely not pay attention to the announcement.

  4. Does this mean that the bridge on 15th Ave NE between NE 105th and NE 107th St will open on April 30th?

  5. The signs were posted this morning at my bus stop indicating the move is on Saturday, April 16th! So soon. It seems like only yesterday when they asked for public comments. What I find really sad is that the route is returning to 15th from a lovely reroute on Roosevelt at the top of Maple Leaf hill (3rd highest point in the city), where there are sidewalks for pedestrians to safely walk to and wait at the bus stops. 15th is not a desirable route where you have to risk walking in the street to catch the 73. There are also great pedestrian destinations in restaurants and services along Roosevelt where 15th, north of 85th is strictly residential.

    1. I don’t get how they schedule these things. There are a few stops on the 8/43 that have been scheduled for closing for about 6-9 months now. What gives?

      1. 44 consolidations were also never implemented.

        It still takes between 12 and 20 (!) minutes to cover the single mile eastbound from Ballard Ave to the base of Phinney Ridge.

        Does Metro realize/care how many hours of my life they’ve stolen by delaying the stop removals?

      2. And yes, I realize the “does Metro realize/care” thing was bitchy of me.

        But seriously, what part of “choice riders consider their time valuable and transit systems that appear to disrespect it will never win them over” is so hard for Metro to grasp?

  6. This is the third bus stop “consolidation” in recent years. The distance between stops increases once again, this time averaging 325′ for Rte # 41 and 465′ for Rte # 73.
    This is quite a hardship for people who have difficulty covering distnces, such as those with wheelchairs, walkers, or canes; and especially those with breathing difficulties, such as people with emphysema.
    I don’t know what factors caused this decision, but it seems that not everything was considered.

    1. 325′ is a little longer than a typical city block, so 465′ is over a city block. I think it is perfectly fair to expect someone using transit to walk a block and a half.

      The factors that caused the decision are that having less stops allows a route to operate more efficiently and closer to on time.

      KC Metro does offer Paratransit for those who are unable to walk a block and a half.

    2. It’s a tradeoff, but Metro has been eliminating stops throughout the county for a few years. Not everybody who has difficulty walking is eligible for Access. But on the other hand, we have to make the transit system usable for the 95% of people who can walk. Metro’s new standard of a quarter mile between stops is still less than the European standard of half a mile between stops. (Which means, in Metroland it’s feasable to walk a few stops while waiting for the bus to come, whereas in Germany you would NOT do that or you’d probably miss the bus.)

      We should also expand Access (more inclusive eligibility, shorter prescheduling time) and then the fewer stops won’t be an issue. But that’ll have to wait until Metro is in better budget shape.

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