photo by litlnemo

UPDATE 1:16pm: I’ve received word that Metro is adjusting a Route 36 trip so it connects with the last Link train from the airport at Beacon Hill Station and extends it to downtown. More information when I get it.

UPDATE 3:22pm The last train/bus connection change begins Tuesday, June 14, 2011. Details from Jack Lattemann, Metro service planner:

On weekdays, the inbound/northbound trip on Route 36 leaving 39th Avenue South & South Myrtle Street at 1:04 a.m. is being rescheduled to leave 5 minutes later in order to allow a connection with the last northbound Link train at Beacon Hill Station. Route 36 will be scheduled at the 15th & Beacon timepoint at 1:21 a.m. This should provide about a 7-minute window to make the rail-bus connection. This Route 36 trip will then be extended to continue to 3rd Avenue & Pike Street in downtown Seattle instead of ending at 5th Avenue South & South Jackson Street. Making this change will make early morning weekday inbound service on Route 36 more consistent seven days a week.

The latest issue of Sound Transit’s RIDE newsletter gave a preview of bus and train service changes coming this June. Most of the bus changes are the same as previously anticipated. One new change not seen before is:

Central Link—Night trips that currently end at Mount Baker Station will be extended to Beacon Hill Station

Under the current schedule, this change would affect three nightly trips leaving SeaTac/Airport Station at 12:20 am, 12:35 am, 12:50 am, Monday through Saturday, and at 11:20 pm, 11:35 pm, 11:50 pm on Sunday and holidays. All of these trips leave after the last train to Westlake has departed.

If I remember correctly, when Link opened, trains used to end at Beacon Hill before they changed it to Mount Baker for some reason. I have not received a response to my question from Sound Transit I asked a few days ago. Martin told me “that Beacon Hill had to be cleared and shut down for the night” so someone might get locked in overnight but Mount Baker, as an elevated station, needs to follow a similar procedure so I’m not convinced with that answer.

67 Replies to “More Night Service to Beacon Hill Station from SeaTac”

  1. Note that if you’re heading downtown on the 12:20 or 12:35 you may still be better off deboarding at Mount Baker and taking the 7. In fact, I think the 12:20 connection would take you through the U-District. If you’re on the 12:50, you’re walking :-)

    1. No, no, no. This is an infinite improvement!

      I’ve crunched the possibilities for arriving into SeaTac past midnight many times.

      The last 7 to downtown (weekdays) passes Mount Baker station at 12:41 or 12:42 — and that’s only if the driver diligently waits at each time-point to conform to Metro’s increasingly overpadded evening schedules, which late night drivers are wont not to do.

      Catching this bus off the 12:20 train from SeaTac is anything but guaranteed. And the last two trains leave you completely stranded.

      Beacon Hill, on the other hand, has a 36 to downtown at 12:47, which is a tight-but-reliable catch from that 12:20 train. There’s also a 1:15 that will get you as far as the I.D. (the 7 has no such thing until nearly 2 AM).

      And lets face it. Wouldn’t you rather wait for a cab on — or walk the rest of the way from — Beacon Hill than from Rainier Ave?

      (That said, make sure you locate the address of a nearby business and write it down before you take your trip, as one of Seattle’s most asininely anti-urban regulations prevents calling a cab to a street corner. Seriously. I recently found this out the hard way in a tight-on-time situation in which this anti-city yet again thwarted me. “Buy a car, or be late” this’s city dumbassery once again told me.)

      1. [Written before Oran’s update appeared on my screen. Even better than before.]

        [The taxi restrictions are still asinine.]

      2. Yup, my bad. I got the times wrong on the 7. This is indeed a great improvement then.

      3. That said, make sure you locate the address of a nearby business and write it down before you take your trip, as one of Seattle’s most asininely anti-urban regulations prevents calling a cab to a street corner.

        That’s a Seattle regulation? I always thought the cab companies were just lazy and wanted something they could enter into GPS.

        Either way, I have definitely made up addresses out of thin air to get a cab to come. Turns out that, if you’re at 17th and E Pike, “1700 E Pike St” is good enough. :)

      4. Why not use the address of Beacon Hill Station? Does it have its street number displayed?

      5. I direct a cab to my corner all the time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said my full address, just “4th and _____”.

        The only time it has been a problem is when I call the cab company and have them meet me somewhere. Unless that’s what you’re talking about.

      6. Barman, that is what I was talking about.

        Like, “I just missed the bus at the corner of 15th and Leary, and there’s no physical address because there’s just a gigantic pile of manure behind me.” If I’m tight enough on time that I can’t wait for the next bus, then why should I have to waste two minutes crossing the street to find a building entrance with a number on it?

        Aleks, can I really just fudge any address? When you give a real one, the dispatcher will tend to confirm the name of the business with you (“You’re at Neumo’s, correct?”). Will a nonexistent one befuddle their systems?

        A dispatcher did tell me that not allowing dispatches to a street corner was a Seattle regulation, on par with the equally troubling “no hailing a cab” rule.

        I’m sure the city sees such things as protecting both drivers (from sketchy patrons) and consumers (from cabs intercepted by competing customers), but it shows that Seattle sees cabs as little more than a tourist-and-inebriate transport system. Much like Metro, it’s never occurred to them that cabs should permit rapid, short-notice transport to satisfy needs that might arise when not finishing a meeting, standing in the lobby of a hotel, or leaving a restaurant.

        You want to get from anywhere to anywhere? Get a car. It’s all very anti-urban.

      7. I’ve only given them a fake address a few times, but it’s never been a problem. I just tell them it’s a residence, which I think is their code for “not in the GPS”.

        Of course, I totally agree with you that it’s ridiculous that I can’t just give an intersection…

    2. The 1235 connects with the 124 at TIBS with a 5 minute window for downtown. I think that beats the proposed 36 connection to downtown for airport passengers.

      1. The 36 revisions will provide connections to the 12:20 and the 12:50, but not for the 12:35. So that’s good to know about as a resident (two totally unrelated routes are too complicated for visitors).

        But I, for one, would much rather do 27 minutes on the train followed by a 12-minute trolleybus through recognizable urban space (with an easy elevator-based connection) than 2 minutes by train plus 35 minutes through industrial wastelands with no reference points (and a change in an abandoned transit center).

  2. it would seem to be a lot easier to escape a station that is above ground than one hundreds of feet below it.

    regardless, Link needs some Night Owl runs

    1. In the interim, I’d take another 7/49 run 15 minutes later to connect to the 12:50.

    2. 30 minute overnight service is an option they might consider if funding becomes available and demand warrants, according to the 2011 Service Implementation Plan.

      1. I had totally missed that little nugget in the SIP.

        It might make sense after U-Link… Until then it sounds absurdly expensive, as you’ll have to staff the tunnel or terminate at stadium and provide a connecting bus… in which case you may as well just run a bus.

      2. Overnight service is best left to buses. We need some time window for maintenance and cleaning, and it’s not like buses get caught in traffic overnight.

      3. Agreed. Just run the route 97 Link shuttle every 30 minuts.

        Actually, one thing I would like to see is something Valley Metro gets right in Phoenix: having extended hours at normal frequencies on Friday and Saturday, til 2 AM. The 2011 SIP mentions bringing Sunday service up to Saturday levels. That would be good, also. I’d much rather have those two extensions of Link service plus overnight bus service than all-night crappy Link service.

      4. I don’t think light rail infrastructure needs that much maintenance. Bergen, Norway’s light rail line runs every 20-30 minutes overnight Monday-Saturday.

      5. I think it’s just not an effective expenditure of money. Trains scale down badly. Run trains when you’ve got lots of potential customers (Friday and Saturday when the bars close) and run cheaper busses when you’ve got fewer.

      6. If we have to choose between overnight train service and a night-owl bus, I’d rather go with the night-owl bus. Who wants to have to walk a couple miles home from the station during graveyard hours?

        BTW, We do have night-owl 124 and Line A service, but it would feel a lot safer to take if one or the other were converted into a one-seat ride between downtown and the airport. Unless Metro or ST wants to staff TIBS with overnight security, the graveyard layover at TIBS is a frightening prospect.

    3. Normally it makes sense to run a night bus on the rail routes, as SF and London do. In Seattle I’m not quite sure. It would raise the question of whether to adjust the existing night owl routes. Especially the 7 which runs close to Link, but also the 124 and later the 83 and 49.

      1. The only reason the 124 has owl runs is because Link isn’t running. I doubt Georgetown and Boeing Field has any great clamor for owl service.

        When U-Link and the First Hill Streetcar open, the 49 will be rendered mostly redundant during the day. I’m toying with the idea of rerouting the 83 in one direction to follow the 43’s routing (or just Olive to Broadway). I’m a little hesitant about it because I also want the 83 to serve Lake City and it’s cutting its time window (make its entire run between 2:15 and 3:30) a little close as it is.

      2. The 124 has owl runs it inherited from the 174. The 174 used to have one or two owl runs to the airport, then later they were extended to Federal Way.

  3. I’d like to preface my comment with a disclaimer of sorts, that I have little actual knowledge of the inner-workings of a transit system, and that this idea is very back-of-the-napkin. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love any and all feedback that’s available. :)

    I’m thinking that, with the spirit of the above comment, if we ran even one or two night owl routes of all express, commuter-style routes (eg: 522, 594, 422, 358, 372, etc etc etc), we’d improve our transit system as a whole.

    I think we’d see improvements in a couple of ways.

    First, I think we’d enhance our overall revenue. This enhanced revenue would come from those riders who, at this point, are driving, altering their travel plans, or just staying home. I’m not sure about the actual costs, or expected ridership/revenue of this idea, but I could imagine it would be fairly profitable. (I look towards more knowledgeable STBers for constructive criticism on the idea.)

    Too, it encourages an ignored part (the riders who want to leave Downtown Seattle at 3:30am to get to White Center, Woodinville, etc., for example) of the commuting public to explore the idea of transit. I would imagine that a lot of night-shift employees have investigated transit, but were unable to use it because they’d have to wait until 6:00am for the next bus. I’m not sure if this is something we’ll just have to accept, but I have a strong feeling we can do better. :) Even if just a couple more runs are added, we’re saving single-occupant trips, and that much more warming of our earth. (I look towards more knowledgeable STBers for constructive criticism on the idea.)

    Finally, I think it’d help to improve public safety, in some respects. I have a suspicion that if a person, who had a couple drinks, knew that for $2.50 (instead of a $50 cab fare), they could avoid a DUI, they’d take the bus. It keeps our motoring public safe, and impaired drivers off the road. Also, teens who want to spend more time at a friends or the movie theater, could get home a little later, and still be able to get safely home. (I look towards more knowledgeable STBers for constructive criticism on the idea.)

    I hope that these comments are still somewhat relevant to the topic, and I would love to expand my knowledge on this, and get feedback from all the viewpoints I can, haha. :)

    1. We already do that, for basically the reasons you mention, just with some of the urban routes, not suburban routes. Currently, Metro runs the 8x busses in much of the “inner” city, along with Owl runs on the 120, 124, and 7. There’s also a tiny amount of suburban service on the 180 and 280.

      People in the suburbs have cars, and are most unlikely to mess with late-night busses. Someone from Woodinville is not going to walk miles in the middle of the night to get to the 522, they’d be more likely to take a cab or have a friend drive them. People in the city just might use an owl bus if it comes within a 1/4 mile or so of them, and a bus can serve far, far more people that way in the city than a suburb.

      Why they don’t do it on the 358 is something of a mystery to me. You’re absolutely right about that. I’d also like to see all-night bus service serving the Link alignment, eventually, or maybe extending the 124 to the airport when Link doesn’t run. But I don’t think running commuter routes overnight would get us much.

      1. Metro hasn’t updated its owl network in ages other than to accomodate Link and RR A – the 81, 82, and 83 are still rooted in the days when the city limit was 85th! When even Northgate and Lake City don’t have owl service, the 358 isn’t exactly a high priority (and it’ll likely get owl service anyway when/if it becomes RapidRided)! I’ve been thinking of writing a guest post reconfiguring the owl network for U-Link, North Link, and the Seattle RapidRide routes, probably for when the bus network restructuring for RR C/D is far enough along.

    2. And as far as revenue goes, night busses cost lots of money to run. I think Metro considers night busses “cost-effective” if the farebox revenue covers 20% of their costs, or something like that. Westside night busses are so cost-ineffective, in fact, they’re only slightly better than Eastside busses during the day.

      1. It would be difficult to structure any night owl buses to be cost effective. I think the bigger issue is public safety / people who work late / etc. But it might actually be cheaper to just subsidize taxi fares between the hours of 2 to 4 AM.

    3. I asked the Metro guy at the meetup whether RR B and D would have night owl like the A, but he said Metro’s goal is frequent service until 10pm and anything beyond that was subject to funds availability. It would be cool if all the RRs were 24 hours like the A. That’s one of the biggest differences between Seattle on the one hand and SF/Chicago on the other.

      I don’t think suburban night owls need to be express (594), but there needs to be some service to: (1) the Kent valley for night jobs, (2) eastern Bellevue, (3) Kirkland and Redmond, (4) Pierce County, (5) the glaring gap north of 85th.

      Ironically, the last two Swift buses arrive at Aurora Village after the last 358 has left. Who would have thought that Snohomish County would have better bus service than King County? So don’t leave Everett after 11:20pm or Lynnwood after 11:46pm. (20 minutes later weekdays.)

      1. Ballard needs the RR D well beyond 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Drunken party-goers should ride the bus home, not drive.

      2. Ballard already has the 81, which probably comes closer to most of the bars. The problem is it runs through Ballard clockwise, meaning the drunken party-goers go the long way home.

      3. Mike: Your 2 and 3 sound like you really want RR B, at least, to be 24-hour. I’m curious as to how you’d serve Pierce County, especially without an express and especially with PT’s budget woes.

      4. PT does not have any night owls AFAIK. But the 500 (Federal Way local) still exists and it could have some night runs. Beyond that, the 1 would make the most sense to owlize because that’s the route from the 6th Avenue clubs/bars, and it covers many of the densest parts of the county. But I’m not holding my breath for it to happen.

        Yes, RR B would have solved my problem of walking for over an hour from downtown Bellevue (280) when I lived there. My roommate could use a Kent night owl. I don’t know anybody in particular who’d use a Kirkland/Redmond bus, but it’s a vast area to have no bus service at all. Not everybody on the Eastside is rich or can drive or wants to drive, and some of them can’t choose where they live or work.

      5. So far we haven’t had any RapiRide routes that overlap with the 81-85, but the C, D, and E will. Which raises the question of whether to fold the night owls into RR. On the plus side it would be a simpler schedule and stops. On the minus side, some of the stops on the owls are far or steep from the closest RR stop, especially in the 85.

      6. C duplicates the 85 enough that it’s probably worth it to cut the 85, and make the 120 a full owl route. All you’re losing is the Admiral District.

        D and E I’m more skeptical of. Part of the problem is that they represent a very different paradigm than the night-owl status quo. D effectively “pierces” the 81’s loop and duplicates it south of Leary Way. The 81 never strays more than 1/2 mile from the D’s route, so it might be worth cutting, but expect complaints. The E, however, doesn’t do a good job of duplicating anything; it pierces the 82’s loop, but a good chunk of the 82’s route is on the other side of Green Lake, which isn’t a convenient walk.

        I’d rather re-invent the 81 by having it cross the Fremont Bridge and provide service to the 8th and Greenwood corridors (or just along 3rd Ave NW) and maybe even keep its current service to downtown Ballard, and shift the 82 and 83 east as well – maybe even make the 82 the new duplicate of the 70-series.

      7. Personally, I’d like to see the 81/82/85 phased out as RapidRide C/D/E start up, in favor of night owl service on those routes. I’d also like to see the 83 replaced with extra runs on the 49 and the 71 (or one of the 70s), and the 84 replaced with extra runs of the 3 and 11. (Running the 3 would also provide service to Upper QA, which is currently covered by the 82.)

        IMHO, the current owl routes are pretty much useless, because of two major problems. First, because of their circuitous nature, they take way too long to reliably get anywhere. Second, because they run so rarely and have such unusual schedules, most people won’t bother figuring out how they work. By the time they need to use one of those buses, it’ll be late and they’ll be tired and they’ll just take a cab (or drive) instead.

        Compared to the current network, running regular bus routes with extended hours would be a loss of coverage. But it would be a huge increase in legibility (and maybe frequency — shorter routes means more trips for the same cost), and it would mean that the remaining routes would actually be usable. (Every time I’ve been on the 2:15 am 49, it’s been packed.) The 80s just aren’t designed to be useful as anything other than a last resort.

      8. If you ax all the 80-series routes, I’d suggest supporting extra runs on the 16 as well, for reasons I just mentioned. While you’re at it, why not some 41s (or swap out the 72 for the 71)?

        Would you also ax the 280 in favor of late night runs of, say, the 550 (or 255), 271, 560, and 150? (The 280 duplicates surprisingly few routes directly. There’s no all-day Downtown Seattle-Bellevue route on 520, and the 566 just seems odd.)

      9. Oh! I just realized what my real problem with this idea is. Metro would have to pay for maintenance for more buses and salaries for more drivers, so you can’t replace each bus with more than one route without chewing up a boatload of money just paying more people to work the graveyard shift, money shorter routes can’t make up. That might be too much of a “loss in coverage” to be desirable. Maybe you could replace the 83 with more 49 trips, and the 84 with the 3, and accept the loss of Madison Park and anywhere north of 45th and east of Green Lake as acceptable, but that wouldn’t really work for the 280.

      10. Oh! I just realized what my real problem with this idea is. Metro would have to pay for maintenance for more buses and salaries for more drivers, so you can’t replace each bus with more than one route without chewing up a boatload of money just paying more people to work the graveyard shift, money shorter routes can’t make up. That might be too much of a “loss in coverage” to be desirable.

        That’s precisely where I disagree. I’d happily sacrifice lots of coverage (for example, everything in between Aurora and I-5) in favor of higher frequency. Nothing I’m proposing should require any more expense; it just shortens routes, which means that they can run more frequently, which makes them infinitely more useful.

        Anyway, it’s pretty much a one-for-one swap. Two drivers total for RapidRide C/D (interlined) instead of the 81/85; one driver for RapidRide E instead of the 82; one driver for the Link shadow (72 for now, maybe with a diversion at Olive Way or a reroute along Broadway/10th) instead of the 83; one driver for the 3 instead of the 84.

        Maybe you could replace the 83 with more 49 trips, and the 84 with the 3, and accept the loss of Madison Park and anywhere north of 45th and east of Green Lake as acceptable

        That would be my vote, modulo the fact that I’d also add some 72 trips for the sake of Northgate/Lake City. (Note that, between RapidRides D and E and the 72, North Seattle would actually get much *more* coverage than it does now.)

        Note that the distance between 15th NW and Aurora is about 1.5 miles. It’s another 1.5 miles from Aurora to 15th NE. Beyond there, 1.5 miles takes you to 40th NE in the east, and Golden Gardens in the west. Assuming an average RapidRide stop spacing of half a mile, that means that between RR D (the 15), RR E (the 358), and Link (the 72), you could get almost anywhere in North Seattle — even north of 85th! — with at most a mile of walking (3/4 east/west and 1/4 north/south). At night, that’s totally reasonable.

        Would you also ax the 280 in favor of late night runs of, say, the 550 (or 255), 271, 560, and 150? (The 280 duplicates surprisingly few routes directly. There’s no all-day Downtown Seattle-Bellevue route on 520, and the 566 just seems odd.)

        My vote would be for an interlining between the 550 and RapidRide B (or, if that’s impossible, just running them both and coordinating transfers). I know it sounds weird, but it’s actually simple — it combines two popular routes, and runs them with their normal stops.

        That said, I have less of an objection to retaining the 280 than to the other routes.

        In contrast to the Seattle routes, the 280 serves areas that are 10-20 miles away from the 550. So the argument for continuing to provide that service as a lifeline is, for me, more compelling.

        I’d still prefer to run the 550 and RR B, plus one Renton bus, but I’m not as familiar with South King, so I’m happy to defer that one to people who are more knowledgeable about the area.

    4. “I have a suspicion that if a person, who had a couple drinks, knew that for $2.50 (instead of a $50 cab fare), they could avoid a DUI, they’d take the bus. It keeps our motoring public safe, and impaired drivers off the road.”

      We know this is true from the experience in Europe. London and Glasgow have half-hourly night buses to all neighborhoods and suburbs. Duesseldorf does it on Friday and Saturday nights. I think Koeln does it every night. I visited a friend in Bristol who drives a truck all day and drives for most personal trips, but he takes a bus to the bar in the evening. And Bristol is a small city like Everett.

      1. If we as a community were really serious about the DUI issue, we would use and design our transit systems to mitigate it — in the evening and through closing time (whenever McSchwinn sets that). Especially in and to suburbia.

        But the DUI industry (attorneys, police, cities, media, advertising, interested charities(?), cabbies, etc.) appear to be more interested in capturing, processing, prosecuting, fear mongering and profiting; and the politicians and legislators more intersted in vote mongering via this issue – than stopping the DUI and societal costs before it occurs.

        Transit is a great tool. Perhaps we could get the liquor and beer lobby to spend more on bus advertising to fund it.

      2. Sorry, but I have just been informed that the King County / Metro bus advertising policy forbids Beer, Liqour and Tobacco ads.

        Guess I’ll have to drive. Thanks county council, you’ve got my vote. ;-)

    5. I appreciate all the comments I’ve read thus far, and generally, I could agree with them. I trust that the information I’m gleaning from this is fairly non-biased, and accurate.

      First, I’m getting the impression that night owl buses are relatively expensive to run. I agree, and I think that it’s worth it, honestly. If we can get a couple more people to work, they’re generating more economic activity in their community, and strengthening the economy. (Though, we’re assuming they’ll just drive to work, and produce the same amount of economic activity. It comes down to saving one less car trip, which may or may not be worth the extra expense to people.)

      Second, I’m hearing that this is a current idea, being used in Seattle. I understand that a great portion of the population, and nighttime commuters would be in Seattle, however, it’s King County Metro running the service. It should fundamentally serve King County. I would hope that we could establish some loops like they have in Seattle, which would serve different portions of the county. And, my hope, even inter-county areas at some point. (EG: The route would leave from DT Seattle, hit the Bellevue TC, Kirkland TC, Redmond TC, Woodinville P&R, Bothell P&R, Kenmore P&R, Lake City, and back DT. At least, that’s my half-baked idea, haha.)

      Ideally, I’d hope to have loops with a central “transfer point” in DT Seattle.

      Finally, I’m hearing that those with skin in the DUI game like the status quo. Unfortunately, that might be true, though I am not making any assumptions it is or is not. Either way, we still have to at least consider the benefits of ensuring impaired persons aren’t a danger to others.

      I love the conversation going, and thanks again for all the feedback. :)

      1. King County has a night owl route as your described, except it goes around the south end of the lake (Seattle-Bellevue-Renton-Seattle).

      2. Night owls don’t post any ridership records but they’re an important part in making non-automobile mobility possible. Obviously we can serve only the densest areas and strategic regional loops. But there should at least be skeletal service across the county and to the neighboring counties, without skipping entire cities or having 3-hour gaps. The night owl coverage may have made sense in the 1950s but it has been barely updated since.

      3. BTW, which routes went Seattle-Renton before the tunnel opened and the 101/106/107 were created? I realized I’ve totally forgotten. I think the 142 only went to Skyway?

  4. Here is the actual footage of them clearing the Beacon Hill Station for the night:

  5. Actually, the late-night one-seat bus ride from the airport to downtown is already available. (, albeit a bit more expensive than a Link ticket.

    I’m not convinced running a parallel service during these times is really an efficient use of limited funds. Personally, if I got off a plane at 2 AM, I don’t think I would ever ride transit home no matter how good the bus service was to downtown because I would be stuck downtown waiting for a bus to get home that comes every hour or two with a bunch of drunk people. Considering that this is a once-in-several-years situation, even spending $60 to ride home in a taxi is really not than much in the scheme of things.

    1. I could agree with that comment. I think if it’s a once-in-a-couple years thing, $60 isn’t all that much.

      However, I’d like to clarify my comment further. (No disrespect intended towards Eric’s comment.) I’m envisioning being able to stay in any metropolitan area in the county, until 1:30am or later. Then, being able to catch an hourly bus back downtown, to catch another hourly bus back home.

      This would provide certain benefits, I’d think. It’d allow businesses to reach out to a larger number of consumers, make our roads safer, and allow alternative lifestyles (those who are active or need to commute at night) access to acceptable public transit.

      I hope that I’m not implying that we’re going to pack these buses with drunks, or have them filled to the gills with riders. I’m just suggesting something that I think should be looked into.

      I appreciate your comment, Eric. :)

      1. I’d like to see Seattle night owl service evolve into something like the Bay Area’s. 30 min night service in the city and hourly service to the suburbs, all tied together with timed transfers.

        In the near future this is not possible with the budget shortfall but long term, this should be the goal. The more trips enabled by transit, the less need to own/use a car.

      2. Bingo, Oran. This is more or less the idea I’m chasing for the Seattle, and by extension, King/Pierce/Snohomish area. :)

    2. *back home, or the closest metropolitan area to my home.

      (I’m defining any metropolitan area as any area qualitatively big enough to justify significant transit facilities, like a transit center, or Park & Ride. Very, very loose definition to be applied loosely.)

    3. Eric, I don’t think airport workers who have to ride the bus to or from work in the middle of the night will want to pay for a private shuttle every night.

  6. I think most of Metro’s improvements for late night bus service should go to towards either high ridership routes or routes that feed into the airport or other areas where there is clear demand. For example, the 180 has a run at 3:22 AM leaving Kent Station for only the Airport Station, arriving at 3:42 AM. This allows early bird airport workers to get to place to place. Yet, I don’t think you’ll see any major growth in late night service – most people just don’t trust the bus late at night, especially considering some of the interlining that happens and how easy it is to fall asleep and wake up 10 miles away from where you’re supposed to get off and be stuck in an unfamiliar place in the middle of the night. There are a couple buses where this could be a problem. 24 for example turns into the 132 or the 131. You start off in Discovery Park and could potentially wind up in Des Moines. Then, the bus has to deadhead all the way back to base. Another example is with the 150 that turns into the 180. You fall asleep at the wrong point and you’re supposed to get off in Kent, and instead you wake up in Auburn! That happened to me once and I was lucky I had my bike; just rode along the Interurban Bike trail along with the other rare insomniacs of the night. With the hodge-podge network of late night buses the way it is now, I just don’t see Metro going further than route optimization in the near future.

    1. Ha, it doesn’t have to be a night owl. I remember being gently woken up many times by the driver in Redmond after riding the bus home from UW in the afternoon. It’s a good thing the route didn’t end in Duvall!!

  7. Why don’t these trips terminate at SODO? Seriously. I realize it involves a small reversal, but seriously.

    1. Why bother? SODO and Stadium have paltry ridership other than Metro bus drivers and during game days, Stadium is walkable from the 36, and the nearest switch (IIRC) is immediately south of Stadium, so it’s not just a brief jaunt. You’re looking at 15-20 minutes of extra time per train, and I can’t imagine Link’s cost per revenue hour is less than $200. Add in the extra cost of keeping the base open for another 15 minutes and you’re looking at spending $500 per night for maybe one or two people at the very most. Doesn’t make sense.

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