Chart by Atomic Taco

Atomic Taco posted this graphic on flickr based on the run cards. Blue is Bellevue to Redmond, Red is Redmond to Bellevue.

It’s no doubt an improvement on what came before, but RapidRide B is certainly quite far from a consistent end-to-end travel time.

74 Replies to “RapidRide B Run Times”

  1. Looking at just one or two aspects of RapidRide and declaring it flawed is shortsighted. (Suggesting it have only three stops is laughable. Criticizing the name is banal). There are so many improvements with RR over a typical Metro route (in this case the route 253), that one should consider all the differences before making a judgement. Some of these improvements are: Free WiFi, camera coaches, automated verbal and visual stop announcements, more frequent service, bigger buses/more seats, off-board payment at most stops, no steps, all are air-conditioned and hybrid powered, real time arrival information at stations, better weather protection and lighting at stations, and traffic signal priority, just to name a few.

    I also compared three trips on RapidRide to three trips on the 253, from the BTC to the RTC, one at mid-morning, one at noon, and one in the late afternoon. The trips on RR took 36, 37, and 42 minutes, and the trips on the 253 took 41, 43, and 48 minutes, respectively. So a savings of around 5 to 6 minutes from end to end.

    1. You touched a nerve by mentioning the air conditioning. I’ve yet to get on an air-conditioned Metro bus where none of the windows were opened, and of course they’re those top-opening windows that are perfectly designed to suck all the conditioned air right out of the coach. Until Metro stops ordering openable windows, or starts requiring periodic announcement to not open windows when the air-conditioning is on, touting any bus or route as air-conditioned is pretty much meaningless.

      1. Or Metro could leave the air conditioning off and the windows open. This isn’t Texas, and I’d rather have fresh air and a breeze when it’s hot outside.

      2. Metro did order buses with un-openable windows for the first batch of the 6800 series. Many people I know hate it because A/C isn’t something we need year round.

      3. If I’m on an air-conditioned bus where all the windows are closed, and homeless person gets on and the bus begins to fill with his fetid scent, I will open a few windows.

      4. Operable windows are best. When it gets above 80 and sunny, you can’t cool a bus down that has been sitting in the yard all day before running through the tunnels where the AC shuts off. Fresh air on a sunny 65-70 degree day is preferable to the loud AC fans.

      5. What exactly is the reason the A/C shuts off in the tunnel? Is it ’cause the power unit has to shut off? Either way I would point out that once the buses stop running in the tunnel, of course, this will not be an issue.

        And, of course, the “fresh air” argument only works if your bus is moving fast enough for there to be any sort of breeze. Ride an old Gillig on the 44/43 route on a 75+ day and with every window open the only time you’ll get any sort of breeze is going down 23rd or Market. The rest of the time you’re just baking.

        I should also point out that we don’t have operable windows on Link or (IIRC) ST Express, and one of the big reasons I find both those services more appealing than Metro is that they’re properly climate-controlled—thanks to windows that can’t be opened.

        Anyway, my two cents.

      6. I wonder how much extra would it cost to have power windows which automatically closed and locked when the A/C turns on.

      7. The A/C is simply not needed on Metro buses save for maybe 3-4 days a year in August and even then it could be tolerable. The A/C systems that have been installed are not effective, they are either all on or not. Too loud, and too cold. Most buses provide the capability to open rooftop emergency hatches in a vent mode that is more than adequate to cool buses on almost any day of the year here.

        I hope Metro does not order any more buses with “non-openable” windows. That is a big mistake.

        And speaking of Link, the A/C blowers inside the trains are blasted loud! Indeed it’s much louder inside the train that outside. I find it funny that the train operators will turn off the A/C when making voice announcements to ensure that people can hear them.

      8. A/C blowers inside the trains are blasted loud!

        Noticed that this weekend; the first time I’ve had an excuse to ride Link. The other thing I noticed is that the signage to Westlake Station is atrocious!! Easy to find where you get on the Monorail or the Duck. Almost impossible to find Link if you aren’t familiar with it already. In fact if you’re from out of town you wouldn’t even know there was and underground light rail system. DOWNTOWN TRANSIT TUNNEL signs on the surface please. Once you’re down there you already know where you are.

    2. Why is it banal to criticize an inaccurate branding name? The time savings with RapidRide is just not enough to call it a rapid transit service. This is not RapidRide, it is FancyBus. They took a frequent bus route and gave it lots of amenities that really the entire frequent network should have. That’s what bothers me–they are spending so much time branding all these amenities specifically for RapidRide, when most of the amenities do not directly relate to travel time but rather are things that should be expanded to most routes in the whole system.

      1. BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit. That’s why Metro, and other agencies use the word. Other agencies like:

        RapidBus in Kelowna, B.C., STO Rapidbus in Gatineau, Quebec, Metro Rapid in L.A., AC Rapid Transit Bus in Oakland, RAPID in Phoenix … and dozens and dozens of other cities around the world that use the word “Rapid” or the abbreviation “BRT” in their transit system’s Bus Rapid Transit service.

  2. Martin: “It’s no doubt an improvement on what came before…”
    Is it? Looks like Bellevue to Radmond is between 30-40 minutes.
    For the non-transit-geek, and going to the Metro web site, the trip planner says 21-25 minutes on MT232. Or the milk run on the MT230 is about 40 minutes (all depending on the time of day)
    Pet Peeve #1. The time tables are horrible to figure out where you’re at and where you’re going. Try finding the timetable points on the map, as shown in the timetable. Major fail. You either have to know where the transit centers are by the street names, or vice versa.
    Pet Peeve @2. The maps are horribly confusing unless cartography was your major. I suspect geography majors could figure it out.
    I know RR-B is trying to do a lot of things for a lot of people, but it’s not a slam dunk that this is an improvement.
    I hope the advertising dept at Metro can make it easy to get folks to use it.

    1. Pet Peeve #3. Using both ST and MT trip planners gives very different results for routes 230, 253, 232.
      Try going from Bellevue TC to Redmond TC, arriving at 8am,12am,5pm on Wed.
      That trip varies from 17 to 49 minutes over the day, with both trip planners giving results that differ by as much as 7 minutes.
      One suggested transferring from the 232 to the 230 to shave a couple of minutes off. Yeah right, give up my seat for a bus on the schedule for a few minutes saved, MAYBE. (or as Dirty Harry used to say, ‘are you feeling lucky punk’)
      Is it any wonder new rides are put-off from trying transit for the first time.

      1. RapidRide is a local route which serves people travelling along the NE 8th, 156th, and 148th corridors between Bellevue and Redmond. The express route between those two endpoints is the 232 during peak hour or the 566 and 545. No one in their right mind would take the 230 or 253 between their endpoints unless they are intentionally avoiding Sound Transit.

      2. You are kinda making my point for me about the disconnect between trip planners and practical guidance for the average citizen.
        For an arrival to Redmond at 8am on 8/24 (Wed) it suggests taking MT230 for a trip time of 38 min. or MT232 taking 36 min.
        RR-B is about 35 min.(from the graph above)
        The best way for that trip is MT232 (from the Metro web site) taking 18 minutes on the schedule, or 17 min on their trip planner.
        Suggesting someone transfer on an ST Ex. bus at Overlake (ST566 > ST 545) for a trip time of 25 min. is silly, as it’s not a realistic option.
        All the above qualifies as PP #3.
        New Pet Peeve #4. Why can’t ST and MT have common names for major transfer points on both schedules, maps and trip planners.
        Try Redmond TC. You have to know it’s really the Redmond P&R on the map. Ugh!

      3. Re: PP#4, The difference between Redmond P&R and Redmond TC is because it changed names a couple years ago when it changed for the TOD project. Presumably it takes some time to get all the materials updated.

      4. Mike, I don’t think transferring once is an unrealistic option. What makes the 566 and 545 transfer unrealistic? Especially because the vast majority of people who use routes between Bellevue and Redmond are not going directly between the endpoints, but going places everywhere along the routes (566 from Auburn, 545 to Seattle, B Line to Crossroads, 232 to Duvall, etc)

      5. “The express route between those two endpoints is the 232 during peak hour or the 566 and 545. No one in their right mind would take the 230 or 253 between their endpoints unless they are intentionally avoiding Sound Transit.”

        Except that on weekends, when the 566 isn’t running, there is really no better transit option than taking the 230/253 all the way (possible exception: 233 all the way on Saturdays). The RapidRide B should be a significant improvement over this, especially considering that the headways will be better as well.

      6. Frequency and full-time service also matter to people. If there’s a full-time bus running reasonably frequently, you may prefer to just take it rather than look up the schedules for the part-time expresses and see if any of them are going where you’re going. It also allows you to take the same bus when going between the endpoints as when going to some place in between, so that’s fewer routes to memorize.

  3. 45 minutes Redmond to Bellevue sounds bad, but the route is complex with stops at Overlake.

    Looking at the route map, it has both stops and stations. Anyone know the difference?

  4. I was on NE 8th yesterday and saw someone waiting at one of the RR stops. The, rather nice stops that were built on NE 8th still have the Metro route numbers. Are the buses also stopping at the new, rather ugly RR stops as well?

  5. Stops are just normal no-frills bus stops, and people at stops will pay the driver and get a paper transfer or proof-of-purchase of some sort. Stations are the major stops with fancy shelters and off-board payment. People boarding at stations will be able to enter through all doors. They will have fare enforcement officers do random checks. I’m guessing that it will automatically stop at all stations, which is what Swift does–that way it is more like a rail service where people know it will always stop at each station.

    I really think they should drop the stops and just keep the stations. This would improve running time and would simplify the whole payment issue. The way they are doing it “RapidRide” is not a very good description. They should call it FancyBus instead.

  6. As a rider I appreciate the Rapid Ride stops because they have more weather protection and more seats. In most locations the buses are stopping at the RapidRide stops because the old stops were removed.

    1. None of the stops on NE 8th have been removed. If they tear them up I sure hope they go somewhere else because somebody spent a big pot of money on the fancy architecture.

      1. The old stops were paid for by the City of Bellevue in the 90’s. I’m not sure what fancy architecture you’re talking about, the paintings by school students? And some of them have been torn up, at least the one I use Eastbound on NE 8th and 140th. Eventually they will be torn out, and I don’t believe they will be reused because they would have to cart the cement with the stops.

      2. I’m talking about the ones with the ornate iron work between 116th and 140th. In a couple of locations the new RR stops are almost in the same location. But why did they stick a RR stop at the golf course where there’s absolutely nothing?

    2. There was a stop diet a couple years ago which removed some of the stops. RapidRide will eliminate some stops such as the pair around 126th Ave NE, but currently they’re still being used.

  7. I have to agree.

    The point of RapidRide was to be an express bus service.

    It should be making a very limited number of station-stops and then using the most expedient way between them.

    So, my interpretation would be this bus should only stop at Redmond-Overlake-Bellevue….only 3 stations.

    And it should get on 520 to go from Overlake to Bellevue, not take NE 8th!

    You would simultaneously have a “milk run” bus that does all the local stops or to get people to the main stations.

    1. I don’t think Overlake->DT Bellevue was ever intended to be the primary purpose of RapidRide. We already have the 566 for that, which isn’t going away. The purpose of RapidRide is to serve the neighborhoods in between, while still providing faster and more reliable service than a conventional milk run.

      1. Having frequent service down N.E. 8th will be a good thing because it also will connect to EastLink at 116th and downtown Bellevue. From either of those stations you could probably get to Redmond and Overlake faster than waiting for a 30 minute bus. That’s in addition to getting anywhere else Link takes you.

  8. This is pretty clear confirmation that RapidRide is a flawed concept. They really need to drop the stops and keep the stations. If they did that, they would have stops only about once a mile and it could actually increase speed. Plus with completely off-board payment, dwell times would be very short. Swift has a 10-second dwell time on average at every stop, whereas one group of cash-paying folks could really slow down RapidRide. I’m also surprised they weren’t able to get any lane priority for this line. Is there no street wide enough to do BAT lanes, or is it just politically difficult?

      1. Then why have them at all? BRT should stop about once per mile, with an underlying infrequent local to catch the few people unwilling to walk a half mile or less.

      2. They should make a rule so ADA passengers can request stops anywhere in between normal bus stops.

        Problem solved. Everyone else can use their damn legs.

      3. First, how do you know if someone is an ADA passenger? As a rule, challenging someone on their ADA status is not a good idea, so in practice, this means that you’ll be letting everyone off wherever they want.

        Second, what about boarding?

        Third, even if you assume that everyone is honest and that there’s a magical solution to the boarding problem, a mile is still a *really* long distance between stops for non-grade-separated transit. The best information I currently have regarding stop spacing and walkshed is that able-bodied people will generally be willing to walk up to 1/4 mile for standard local service, and that goes up to about 1/2 mile for “perfect” rapid transit (i.e. fully grade-separated, infinitely frequent).

        When you take into account taxicab geometry, and the fact that RapidRide is much closer in service quality to a local bus than to Link (let alone the NYC subway or something comparable), a 1-mile stop spacing means that lots of people who live *along the line* will not use it — let alone people who live on a side street.

        Half-mile spacing is the standard on many successful urban metro systems. If we think that we can get away with wider spacing on a *bus*, we’re kidding ourselves.

      4. Oh, and another thing: Paired limited/local service only works when you have [a] super-frequent service, and [b] passing lanes or some other form of grade separation. If there is no chance that a limited-service bus will ever overtake a local — whether because of congestion or because there just aren’t enough buses — then there’s no reason for someone who’s on a local to ever switch to the limited; it could only make their commute longer. Thus, by having the limited service, all you’re doing is annoying a few people whose stop gets skipped.

      5. “The best information I currently have regarding stop spacing and walkshed is that able-bodied people will generally be willing to walk up to 1/4 mile for standard local service, and that goes up to about 1/2 mile for “perfect” rapid transit (i.e. fully grade-separated, infinitely frequent).”

        The problem of mile-long walks to a bus stop can be solved with a wonderful device called a kick-scooter. With a scooter, one can “walk” comfortably at 10 mph on smooth, flat pavement, which means a bus stop one mile away is reachable in as little as six minutes. And unlike a bike, you can fold it and carry it on, which means you don’t have to worry about rack capacity. My commute to work each day begins with a 2-mile, 12-minute scooter ride to a bus stop, after which the bus ride is all freeway, followed by a 1/2 mile, 2-minute scooter ride to the office. I’ve occasionally jogged the 2 miles (~15-20 minutes), or walked it (~30 minutes), but I have never done the 2-seat, roundabout milk-run-bus option, which Google transit estimates at about 25-30 minutes.

      6. Metro’s standard is now 1/4 mile, and the stop diets have been removing the ones closer together. Some European countries have a spacing of 1/2 mile, but people here are nowhere near ready to accept that, plus Metro doesn’t have the frequency to make it practical. If you have a limited-stop bus with 1/2 or 1-mile spacing, you need a local bus too. Metro is not willing to have two levels of service on the same street, so RapidRide has to do both, which is why there are stops between the stations.

      7. I just tried out a computer simulation on the effect of random delays on wait time. The model I used was, starting at the time in which a bus is scheduled to arrive at a stop, the bus has a probably ‘p’ of arriving each minute thereafter until the bus actually arrives. The simulation then proceeds to calculate an estimated wait time for a user arriving at a stop at a random time under these assumptions. Parameters to the model included the scheduled headway (‘h’) and the probability value (‘p’).

        Some interesting findings with a ‘p’ value of 0.133 (expected delay of about 6-7 minutes):
        – With headways of 10 minutes, the expected wait time is about 7.5 minutes, equivalent to 15 minute headways with no delays
        – With headways of 15 minutes, the expected wait time is about 10 minutes, equivalent to 20 minute headways with no delays
        – In order to get expected wait times down to 5 minutes, the scheduled headway must be reduced to about 6 minutes. In order words, you need 2/3 more buses to get a 5 minute expected wait times than you would if you could ensure that everything always runs on time.

        Assuming my model is to be believable (it seems consistent with my personal experience), I think the biggest take-away from this is the importance that any transit line that runs frequently has to be very reliable. If anything, my model tends to underestimate the importance of reliability, as it doesn’t factor in random delays on the bus once it comes, cascading delays due to missed connections to infrequent services, or the “bunching” effect (a bus falling behind schedule means more people getting on at every stop which causes the bus to fall further and further behind schedule until it gets passed by an identical bus behind it).

      8. Mike,

        Not sure if you’re responding to me, but in case it’s unclear, I’m mostly agreeing with you. My disagreement is with the assertion that 1-mile spacing is adequate for all able-bodied people, which it’s clearly not (see my earlier posts).

        Either way, I think there are very few corridors in Seattle for which dual service makes sense. That said, 15th W and Aurora are two of them, potentially. But still, frequencies would have to be much higher for it to make sense. When the best you can get all day is 10 minutes, you’re better off with a single bus.

      9. This whole conversation baffles me. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk a half-mile, which is about the max that someone would have to walk with mile-spacing. As long as the bus comes every 10 minutes, most people will be willing to walk that far. How far someone is willing to walk has to do with frequency, not with grade separation. People don’t want to walk a long ways, only to have to wait a long time, so high frequency is what matters. And what is a good way to increase frequency without spending more money? Wider stop spacing! More runs can be made with each bus, plus people get where they are going faster. I think a frequent route can absolutely get by with half-mile spacing with no underlying local, but it has to be a 5-10 minute headway service. Mile-spacing needs an underlying local, but it doesn’t need to run nearly as often. Someone made a good point that you need to be able to pass buses, which can be tricky, but true BRT uses BAT lanes or bus-only lanes, so that shouldn’t be a problem if the agency would just commit to BRT standards.

        In general, there seem to be a lot of assumptions that transit planners use regarding stop spacing that don’t really have any evidence behind them. You never know if wider stop spacing leads to a drop in ridership or an increase in ridership until you try. We need to keep in mind that transit does compete with the car for many trips, so if wider spacing (which leads to higher speed, reliability, and frequency) loses a few people unwilling to walk that far but gains a bunch of people who switch to transit, that is a net benefit. Some people will lose out, but that is generally due to the personal choice to not walk 10-15 minutes (which is also good for you, BTW). Truly mobility-challenged people are better served by paratransit, and cities can do their part by encouraging senior housing near major transit corridors.

      10. Also, Mike, you said this: “Metro is not willing to have two levels of service on the same street.”

        That’s not true. The 18 runs on the same route as the 15x and 18x for quite a ways, and the 9x and the 7 and the 7x run on the same street. It is commonplace at transit agencies to run limited and locals on the same route. Metro has made the decision not to do so with RapidRide, but I fail to see any reason for it. You do need a wide enough street for the buses to pass each other, which is sometimes challenging on 15th Ave W, but it certainly can be done.

      11. To make it clear, I would favor mile-spacing for BRT and light rail, half-mile for the frequent network, and quarter-mile for local service. Currently it’s more like an eighth-mile or less for almost everything (every 2 blocks, usually) and quarter-mile for the few routes where Metro has implemented a stop consolidation. We have a long way to go.

      12. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk a half-mile, which is about the max that someone would have to walk with mile-spacing.

        Like Bernie said, that’s only true if you live precisely on the route. If you live on 8th NW, then it’s half a mile just to *get* to 15th, plus up to another half-mile to get to a stop. Do you really think people are going to walk 20 minutes for RapidRide?

        As long as the bus comes every 10 minutes, most people will be willing to walk that far.

        In general, there seem to be a lot of assumptions that transit planners use regarding stop spacing that don’t really have any evidence behind them.

        I’m not seeing any evidence for your claims either.

        For mine, I can cite the fact that 40% of urban trips are less than two miles, but 90% of those trips are made by car. And I can cite endless articles by Jarrett Walker, which in turn refer to the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual.

        How far someone is willing to walk has to do with frequency, not with grade separation. People don’t want to walk a long ways, only to have to wait a long time, so high frequency is what matters.

        That’s a gross oversimplification. How far someone is willing to walk depends on a lot of different factors. There’s the total travel time, which means that you have to factor in both frequency and speed (and grade separation can make a *huge* difference in speed). There’s also perceived discomfort. For many people, riding on a fast-moving vehicle is better than riding on a slow-moving one or one caught in traffic, and many people prefer riding on any vehicle at all to waiting at a stop/station. And many people prefer to wait at stations with amenities, as elevated/underground stops often have, rather than at a cold, exposed station, or (even worse) a street-level stop without even a shelter.

        And then there’s the walk itself. Some people walk slow; some people walk fast. Some have safe, level roads; others have to walk along pedestrian-hostile arterials, or through poorly-lit industrial zones, or over steep hills. Some people like the exercise, and some people have joint pain. I’m happy to walk half a mile rather than wait 10 minutes for a bus, but my girlfriend would rather take the bus one stop if it means avoiding a hill.

        As Jarrett says, there’s nothing useful you can do by drawing this many distinctions, and so transit planners approximate. Thus, most local-stop services use spacing of about 1/4 mile (400m), while frequent rapid services use a spacing of about 1/2-3/4 mile (1000m).

        Truly mobility-challenged people are better served by paratransit, and cities can do their part by encouraging senior housing near major transit corridors.

        While we’re talking about being baffled, what is it with people thinking that paratransit is the answer to everything? I understand the motivation — design a system for the 99% case, and have a workaround for the other 1% — but it’s simply not the case that 99% of people will be served by mile spacing. As Bernie and I have pointed out, mile-spaced stops with mile-spaced routes means that someone might have to walk a full mile to the closest stop. If you look at the Human Transit article, you’ll see that, even in low-density Calgary, less than 5% of the population walks more than 700m (less than half a mile) to the bus. In practice, people who don’t live close to these stops *won’t use the service*.

        It’s not a matter of “try it and see”. It’s been tried and seen. A mile is further than most people would walk to a stop on a system as good as the NYC subway. It’s *way* further than most people would walk to RapidRide.

        That’s not true. The 18 runs on the same route as the 15x and 18x for quite a ways, and the 9x and the 7 and the 7x run on the same street. It is commonplace at transit agencies to run limited and locals on the same route.

        The 18X isn’t a limited, it’s an express. That’s a hugely important difference. If I’m in Ballard and trying to get downtown, of course I’ll wait for the 18X. Wait three minutes longer, skip the slog through LQA, and save 10-15 minutes? Totally.

        But running two services on the *exact same street*? That’s insane. You say it’s commonplace, but I’m not aware of many agencies that do this, and I’m not aware of any where it’s actually a good idea.

        If you don’t believe me, ask someone who rides the 2X or the 7X. :) I’ve heard many, many complaints about those routes, and not much positive feedback.

        You do need a wide enough street for the buses to pass each other, which is sometimes challenging on 15th Ave W, but it certainly can be done.

        15th Ave W is the third busiest (and widest) N-S street in North Seattle — and I’m counting I-5. If you can’t pass on 15th, you can’t pass anywhere. (And, FWIW, I think that’s true — 15th, Aurora, and I-5 are the only roads in North Seattle for which overlapping service could possibly make sense.)

      13. Ummm Eric, you do realize that flat surfaces in Seattle are few and far between right? Especially going East/West to catch North/South buses or light rail. People’s ability to walk a mile varies and even so because it may not be a permanent or chronic impairment that would qualify it as an ADA class. Not everyone that lives in Seattle is a limber, twenty-something. If you’re in that age group, you’re going to learn that aging happens even to the most healthy of people.

    1. takes about 10 minutes to walk a half-mile, which is about the max that someone would have to walk with mile-spacing.

      Only if they live right on the line and that’s certainly not the case along NE 8th. In fact there’s very little along NE 8th itself and never will be. The only clusters of any density at all are at 124th and 140th. All future development is slated for Bel-Red along the NE 15th/16th corridor.

      Half-mile spacing is the standard on many successful urban metro systems.

      Bellevue between DT and Crossroads isn’t urban. If fact large swaths are greenbelt. It seems like some of the stops (like 132nd) are just arbitrarily included to meet this 1/2 mile mantra instead of just putting stops where they’ll get used. A one size fits all approach may work fine in a homogeneous “urban” environment but the development patterns along the RR B route are anything but. The jog to serve Overlake P&R (aka Overlake “Village”) is silly; thank god they straightened out Link. And I’m not convinced on the 148th routing at least as far as the portion north of 51st. Seems like it would make more sense to either stay on 156th and get on 520 at NE 51st or if they use 148th take Old Redmond Rd. into DT Redmond. It has as much or more ridership potential and avoids rush hour delay crossing Redmond Way (NE 85th) and Willows Rd.

      1. There’s a significant gradient on NE 8th between 124th NE and 140th NE. If the 132nd stop weren’t there, and someone from the valley wanted to catch the bus, they’d have significant elevation gain in addition to the 1/2 mile walk. It might take more than ten minutes.

      2. Old Red Road doesn’t go to DT Redmond, you either have to cross towards the Town Center or go on 85th. The 148th alignment–which was decided years ago–is more consistent in travel time.

      3. Crossing to Town Center and coming in on Leary would hit the major employment, retail and dense residential. That area has grown immensely in the last 10-20 years. Willows Road business park, not so much. Coming in on Redmond Way would be a nightmare because of the one way couplet (which I’ve heard Redmond wants to undo). But, to put the rapid back in RapidRide 520 with all it’s new lanes and flyover ramps would be the way to go. It would I’d guess take 5-10 minutes off the run time. It couldpick up Bear Creek P&R, take Avondale Way into DT serving all the apartments/condos on the east side of Redmond but a Town Center stop could be difficult.

      4. The 148th alignment–which was decided years ago–is more consistent in travel time.

        Our offices used to be on 148th just south of 51st. Many an afternoon that road is a parking lot. It would literally be faster to walk the section between NE 40th and Old Redmond Rd. Crossing Redmond Way is often two cycles of the light. A “Station” at NE 87th? A stop on 154th when all the condos and City Hall complex is on the other side of the Slough?? Why another stop on 85th that’s only two blocks from the Transit Center??? And really bizarre is three stops within a 1/2 mile stretch north of Redmond Town Center! I could see one between the TC and the NE 51st Station which would be less than 3/8 mile spacing.

      5. three stops within a 1/2 mile stretch north of Redmond Town Center!

        Oops, that should have read Redmond Transit Center.

      6. Bellevue between DT and Crossroads isn’t urban. If fact large swaths are greenbelt. It seems like some of the stops (like 132nd) are just arbitrarily included to meet this 1/2 mile mantra instead of just putting stops where they’ll get used.

        That’s true today, but my understanding is that RapidRide B is being built largely to coincide with planned development along the line. If that’s not true, and there are really stops in huge greenbelt areas for which there is no planned development (or even development potential), then that’s just stupid… but it also makes me wonder if they shouldn’t have picked a different routing.

      7. It’s not true. The development along NE 8th east of Wilburton is pretty much all there will ever be. As apartments age it’s likely they will be replaced with medium to high end units that are less dense. The development is being channeled along the Link corridor. RR in Bellevue is primarily to serve the Crossroads community. When Link comes on line I’d like to see the terminus at Eastgate instead of DT Bellevue since it’s a fairly short hop from Crossroads to Overlake P&R (and the lot will finally be utilized! Although a land swap for property closer to the Station might be better.

      8. wonder if they shouldn’t have picked a different routing.

        There is no other route from Crossroads to DT. The only other east/west connections to 156th are Bel-Red and Lake Hills (well 12th/Bel-Red/NE 20th but that’s still Overlake not Crossroads.

      9. There are plenty of neighborhoods and even dense apartment and condo communities off of N.E. 8th or streets that intersect N.E. 8TH. It may not be apparent but they’re there. (hint, peek behind the sound barriers)

        Also, having frequent service to crossroads from downtown Bellevue is going to be a boon, both to crossroads and to downtown. Lots of “kids” e.g. young teens can get to crossroads from their homes and with RapidRide, they’ll be able to get to Lincoln Square. Not having to be taxi’d by mom and dad will be serious freedom enhancement. Conversely, those that dwell in downtown Bellevue can get to crossroads for a less pretentious experience without having to breakout the car and deal with traffic.

      10. The only apartment density (if you can even call it that) is at 124th and 140th. For most of it you’re peaking behind trees at greenbelt. Pull up the satellite image on Goggle. Really there’s very little east of 120th anywhere in Bellevue (except I-90/Factoria) until you get to 148th. It is a big boon for Crossroads which is affordable housing central. The areas closer to DT are going to get replaced with much more expensive units as Bel-Red transforms from blue collar to blue blood.

  9. It’s hard to say what RapidRide was originally intended as. The initial marketing said it would be like Swift. Swift is a limited-stop service (meaning it stops once a mile; as opposed to an express which has long nonstop segments). A limited bus has a local bus companion, which for Swift is CT 101. Then Metro said the local bus would be eliminated, and stops added to RapidRide to make up for it. I don’t know if Metro changed its mind when it realized it couldn’t afford the local buses, or if this was Metro’s intention all along, in which case the initial marketing was either sloppy or misleading. But in any case, that’s what RapidRide is now: stations a bit close than Swift stations, and some extra stops between the stations.

    Still, RapidRide is a step forward, and is something we can improve upon later. The current combined schedule of the 230/253 is 15 minutes weekdays and Saturdays until 7pm, and 30 minutes evenings and Sundays. If they can at least get 15 minutes until 10pm seven days a week, that’ll be an improvement.

    1. It’s an improvement, but it ultimately hurts the branding concept if people realize that the time savings isn’t that great because of all the stops. It is also confusing to have off-board payment at some stops, and on-board payment at others. They’re trying to do too much with one bus line. I really think Swift is a better model to follow, and hopefully Metro can transition to a similar system in the future.

      1. I don’t think dwell times at stops are going to be that big of a deal. I think a bigger factor is going to be how long you have to spend standing at the bus stop to catch a ride. As any regular transit rider should be painfully aware of, there is a huge difference between a 15-minute headway route that consistently arrives at every stop right on schedule so you average wait is really 7.5 minutes vs. a 15-minute headway route that will arrive at each stop some random number between 0 and 15 minutes late.

        Traffic signal priority (or lack thereof), as well as general traffic congestion on 156th will determine how much of a problem this becomes, in practice.

      2. The high number of stops directly translates to reduced reliability, that should be obvious. Each stop represents an opportunity for delay, and if the stop involves having to pull out of traffic and then merge back in, it can get really bad.

  10. Someone ought to sue Metro for calling it “RapidRide”. Not to go all libertarian, but if it were a private operation, it would be guilty of false advertising. ‘Cos it ain’t rapid. Frequent, perhaps. Rapid, no way.

    And where are those traffic-light-changers? Wasn’t that supposed to be the clincher that would make RapidRide so much better than other options? They still don’t seem to be installed.

    Aside from having to stop nearly every other block, it doesn’t help that the buses refuse to go the speed limit.

    1. Also, Rapid Ride buses has very little in way of right of way options. They use the same streets and highways as the cars and are subject to their problems of bumper to bumper traffic. The Rapid Ride buses appear to me to be gussied up express buses. Expanded right of way pathways will make them true Rapid Ride buses.

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