Lynnwood Area in Alternative III

Community Transit is set to adopt its February 2012 service cut plan on September 1st. There were three original alternatives on how to cut 20% of the system. Based on public comment, they created a hybrid alternative, which has no Sunday service. Like alternative III, it aggressively restructures local service with emphasis on high-demand corridors and straighter routing. Like alternative I, it preserves the commuter one seat rides from everywhere to Downtown Seattle. There are some changes that appear in neither alternative, listed here.

Of course, you can’t get something for nothing: keeping all those different peak routes means less frequency throughout the system.

56 Replies to “Decision Time for Community Transit”

  1. No Sunday service?! At that point they should just be a commuter service only. What’s the point of local service if it is completely useless on one of the busiest shopping and recreation days of the week?

    1. Actually, Sunday is the weakest across the board for pretty much every transit agency, only late nights are weaker.

      1. Sunday ridership is indeed the lowest at almost every system. This is probably because so few people need to get to work. It is, after all, the Lord’s day, when you really shouldn’t be going anywhere other than church. And churches can offer their own buses, as many already do.

        So it shouldn’t hurt very many people to shut down transit on the Lord’s day.

        While we’re at it, I expect Sunday usage of local roads by personal vehicles is also pretty low. And since none of those drivers really need to be anywhere, really–other than church, of course, and we’ve already taken care of that with church buses–a county-wide ban on street use by personal motor vehicles in SnoCo should be the obvious next step.

        The county and cities will save a lot of money because they won’t have to do nearly as much patrolling on local streets. Drunk driving should decrease significantly, because Saturday drunkards will have to end their dance with demon rum before the streets close, presumably at the stroke of midnight.

        Sunday street closures will also provide a full day when construction crews–presumably heathens, Jews, Muslims, or whatever–can attend to street maintenance needs far more safely than they can when cars are whizzing by.

        I think CT is really on to something here. Praise Jesus!

      2. Ultimately, I think the question is what is the purpose of a transit system. If the goal of the system is to be as profitable as possible, then it’s okay to cut Sunday and late night services.

        On the other hand, if the goal of a government transit service is to provide a basic level of mobility for people who cannot drive, for whatever reason (disability, age, cost, legal), then it is unacceptable to not provide service on an entire day every week, or, for that matter, late at night.

        In my opinion, eliminating service based solely on ridership completely ignores the whole purpose of transit. There are plenty of other levers that can be adjusted before cutting 100% of service (e.g. frequency, route spacing, stop spacing, coach sizes etc…). By not providing service on Sundays, you are explicitly telling the residents that they cannot rely on transit to be able to get them to their destinations. Although the above comment is very tounge-in-cheek, I agree that, functionally, having to Sunday service is equivalent to banning cars on roads on Sundays.

      3. The purpose is to provide the best service within the available funding. The greatest savings comes from a complete shutdown on Sundays. Providing minimal service for a handful of people comes at great expense in overhead. In other words many more people lose important service.

        Does CT have to pay a higher wage on Sundays than weekdays?

      4. Obviously there is available funding since apparently there is enough money to support one-seat rides to Seattle. Providing one-seat rides is not an essential service. Without one-seat rides people can still rely on transit to get to work or the store—it just takes longer. Basically, they have chosen to make life marginally easier for people that happen to be lucky enough to live proximate to a one-seat route, in exchange for nuking all Sunday service.

      5. As I pointed out in comments on previous posts, it may not make much sense, but riders who wrote to CT and went the the hearings overwhelmingly wanted to preserve the one-seat rides. Maybe CT should have shoved Alternative III down their throats anyway, but that would have been incredibly unpopular. Obviously, leadership requires doing unpopular things sometimes, but in this case I don’t think it would have been worth it. The merits of Sunday service aren’t that good — there’s a huge economy in just turning off the lights for a day, and ridership is weak on Sundays, even if CT could afford to run Saturday-level service (which is couldn’t).

        I’d rather keep riders happy and then offer voters the option of decent Sunday service once the legislature figures out what additional taxing authority it’s going to give localities in the next two years.

      6. Mmmm, in looking for data on farebox recovery for Sunday vs weekday I came across this 1994 document, Transit Ridership Efficiency as a Function of Fares. It would seem to make a case from a ridership efficiency perspective for a free or deeply discounted Spartan level of Sunday service. A interesting aside is that Metro has the highest Operating Cost divided by Served Population and scores the worst of all Washington agencies in terms of Ridership Efficiency. Granted this report is presented by Island Transit so it’s not completely unbias in the choosing the defined metrics.

      7. Sunday ridership is weak because the buses are less frequent and have a shorter span of service. People would take the bus if it’s running but it isn’t, or they have to wait an hour for it. I always rode the bus to church when I went, and there were not church vans available. I also go shopping and do errands on Sundays, sinful though it may be, and a lot of other people do too. The Costco parking lot is not emptier on Sunday than Saturday, nor other parking lots. So the same demand is there, it’s just that the buses are MIA. Sunday morning may be the quietest time of the week, but not Sunday afternoon or evening.

      8. Snohomish County is not King County. Most people up there have given up on using the bus for local trips because it’s so skeletal even on weekdays. The time when they do want transit is when going to Seattle. CT can’t just fully ignore the wishes of the vast majority of its residents. Metro is different because a large part of its service area is walkable and has lots of avid transit riders and poor people, and even south King and east King are demanding intra-suburban buses. That level of demand just does not exist in Snohomish County yet, and a lot of it is related to the reason people moved there in the first place, to escape King County land prices and taxes.

      9. It isn’t the government’s job to make everyone happy. It’s the government’s job to provide this vital service to its citizens, even if that makes many people mad. Will you piss a lot of people off by removing one-seat rides? Sure, but those people will still be able to complete their commute.

        The government does a lot of things that makes people angry (have you ever heard about anyone talk about how great speed limits are?), but that’s okay because collectively the government can be wiser than the immediate knee-jerk reaction of the majority. One of the essential reasons we have a strong government is to protect the needs of minorities (people unable to drive), sometimes at the expense of the popular opinion of the majority.

      10. Bernie: I really wish that Metro would explore using some form of demand pricing, a la the new 520 tolls, for buses. I’d love to see pricing set at a level that allowed Metro to maintain consistent demand (and thus consistent service) all day! It would do wonders for scheduling efficiency and budgets.

        I think that the money lost from free/cheap service at night and on Sundays would be more than offset by higher fares at peak times. (It’s almost true by definition: if 90% of your customers ride at peak and 10% ride off-peak, then doubling the fare for the first group and eliminating the fare for the second group would increase your revenue by 80%, assuming no change in ridership.)

        Obviously, there are some issues here. How do you know how much the fare will be? What do you do about monthly passes? But I think it wouldn’t be too hard to work something out.

      11. “Sunday ridership is weak because the buses are less frequent and have a shorter span of service.”

        That’s simply false. Ridership on those routes that have the same service levels is significantly less on Sundays. For Link, about 20% less (please don’t suggest the extra 20% all happens after midnight on Saturday). I don’t have numbers, but it’s noticeable on the 7 and 44, and probably others.

        “It isn’t the government’s job to make everyone happy.”

        Correct. It’s the government’s responsibility to balance the many competing needs of its citizens, guided by their input. Public feedback overwhelmingly supported maintaining one-seat rides, and tended to prefer more weekday and Saturday service over over skeletal Sunday service. It’s also a matter of empirical fact that Sunday is the weakest ridership day, and that there is a significant overhead associated with operating Sunday service over six-day service. Under the circumstances, CT’s decision to continue six-day service is perfectly reasonable, even though I wish commuters weren’t as adverse to one-seat rides as they appear to be.

      12. The real benefit in eliminating sunday service is the fact you dont have to provide ADA paratransit to accompany the fixed route service. Roughly half your cost to provide service is going to be the ada paratransit. You could have twice as much service as you have now if you were not required to provide it by law.

      13. Bruce, if that’s true, I’d like to know how the different times of day compare between Saturday and Sunday. As I said, people do go out on Sundays, mainly in the afternoon and evening, and find the bus service an inconvenience. For instance, the 71/72/73X don’t run on Sundays, and the 48 and 550 run at half-frequency. There may be less ridership on Sunday, but I doubt it’s so dramatic as to be half of Saturday’s load. Especially if you compare parts of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) rather than averaging the whole day.

      14. I stand by my earlier claim. When we say “the demand is weaker”, that means that the demand curve is shifted to the left (i.e. there’s a lower quantity demanded at any given price). If we assume that there’s both an inherent and instrumental value in providing a high (and consistent!) level of service 7 days a week, then the correct thing to do is to lower prices on Sunday, paid for by raising prices on weekdays before 7pm.

    2. they haven’t had Sunday service since june 2010 anyway, ridership was very light when they did and cutting it made the most financial sense. In response to whether they pay higher wage on sundays, no they do not. The drivers that worked sunday had 2 other days off.

    1. Just to clarify, I’d very much like to have Sunday service back, all things being equal, but there was a reason it was cut first. And while there is significant commuting (which, as it’s intra-county, should be all ST, all the time, in my opinion), there’s a lot of intra-county ridership.

      1. Some of the areas where CT provides commute service are outside of ST’s service area. A good case could be made that CT should let ST handle all cross county commute trips in the ST district, but if that were done, then ST would have to shift money from capital investments (light rail to Lynnwood) to current operations. Getting LRT completed sooner is the best way to reduce the operational expenses caused by traffic congestion and associated with Seattle commuters on both CT and ST. At that point, CT will be able to force commuters from North and East Snohomish County to transfer at Lynnwood due to the reliability of the connection and service there. But even then many commuters will not want a connection. Any transfer adds time and vulnerability to a trip. The fact that they make the transit system more efficient operationally matters little to people who pay only a small fraction of the cost of their commute.

    2. Because people place a much higher value on commuting trips (or important errands) than they do on recreational trips.

      This shouldn’t really be a surprise. When budgets are tight, do you cut back on going to work, or grocery store trips, or vacations?

      But, because CT charges the same fare for a trip from Lynnwood to Seattle during rush hour as they do for a short hop to Alderwood Mall on the weekend, fewer people take that trip.

      Raise the prices on commuter fares, and lower the prices on Sundays, and you’ll see things even out pretty quickly.

      1. Aleks,
        There is a difference in fare between a CT commuter ($3.50/$4.50) and a local fare ($1.75)

      2. People have to eat as much as they have to work. The issue is not cutting the number of grocery trips. It’s that for the majority of Snohomish County residents, taking a bus to the supermarket requires a long walk, carefully timed to match the half-hourly or hourly bus, and going to whichever supermarket the bus goes past rather than the one they want. Most people find this unacceptable and drive instead. Going to Alderwood Mall is a similar ordeal, which may take an hour on the bus. But going to Seattle, in contrast, the bus looks more attractive because you save $10 in gas, parking costs, and the aggrevation of driving half an hour in stop-and-go traffic (which could occur at any time on I-5).

      3. Prior to June of 2010 CT operated the same service on Saturdays and Sundays and charged the same fare, but Sunday ridership was about half of Saturday’s. Why? Now, CT is cutting even more service. To restore very minimal Sunday routes at this point would mean cutting Saturday savagely (entirely eliminating some routes) as well as even more weekday routes being brought down from 1/2 hr to 60 min service. There are good strong cases for bringing Sunday service back, but they are philosophical or emotional, not economic. That does not mean they are invalid, just that they arise from different goals.

        Commute fares are carefully tested to balance the need for sufficient revenue with the goal of encouraging transit use as an alternative to more SOV’s using the roads. The cost of subsidizing bus trips is much less than the cost of adding freeway lanes. Unfortunately those funds don’t come from the same pot of money… Local service has an entirely different rationale and purpose. June to June CT actually increased it’s ridership, and made massive improvements in productivity. Some people were hurt by the changes, gas prices probably boosted numbers some, but in general, the changes did what was advertised or better, including the Sunday cut. Whether the next round will or not, remains to be seen… At a certain point the system becomes so unreliable that people shift behavior to something different than using transit. Olympia needs to step up with a more stable funding source.

    1. When you add in the transfer penalty (and transfers can only get worse with the reduction in service hours) it starts to really add up over 10X commute trips per week versus the convenience of an occasional trip on Sunday. Mike Orr is right. There just isn’t a significant transit dependent population in Snohomish County. If you want a car free lifestyle you don’t move there.

      1. That’s not entirely true. A lot of people in SnoCo live car free, the majority are in Everett or South County, but every rural town also has poor people that can’t afford to drive. Everett still has its own system (with Sunday service). In addition, there are many one-car families like mine with Snohomish county workers that depend on transit and cheaper housing to make their budget work. If you work in SnoCo, then living in King with all that wonderful transit won’t help you get to work faster. Mike’s point that the bus is more attractive for commute trips than local is true because CT can’t afford to run frequent service given the low density nature of its territory. They have at least tried to keep some reasonably decent local service in key spots connecting with the regional network and major destinations.

      2. I live in Snohomish county and I’ve lived without a car for 2 years. I don’t do this because I’m poor, I have a choice. I work in Orange County and fly back and forth. All three of the alternatives will force me to purchase a car and drive, there just isn’t any other option unless I want to start renting a motel at the airport after flying back home. I even checked into renting a car and driving it to the airport since it was cheaper than a taxi but dropping a car off at the airport is very expensive. Shuttle Express will work for me but it’s very uncomfortable and slow. I’ll be car shopping soon.

        To add to the argument concerning one seat rides. The people who choose to take commuters to the city probably have a choice. The people taking the local buses probably don’t. Piss off the first group and you’ve lost riders but piss off the second group and you still have the same number of riders they’re just angry.

        My feeling is though that if you provide decent access to the park and rides early in the morning then let ST take everyone to Seattle. Why is CT even in the commuter bus business?

  2. Another factor to consider is that when transit drops the ball, the primary form of mobility for people who cannot drive, especially the elderly, is for friends and family to drive them around every time they want to go somewhere. Sometimes, this can become a significant burden on such friends and family, who have to build their schedule around the need to chauffeur others around.

    When you think of it this way, anyone with children or elderly parents who don’t drive benefit from having Sunday service there, even those who never ride it directly.

  3. Whenever I read about CT’s dire situation I start thinking the plans for real TOD in Lynnwood must be totally unrealistic. How can you build TOD around a bus system that can’t, due to its funding and mandate, provide much service? You might build some density in, and call it TOD to get federal grants or something.

    I have a question, for anyone that has an opinion: how much worse/better is transit in Snohomish County than on the Eastside (within King County)? Are there specific things that either side does much better than the other? I’m mostly talking about fairly populated areas here, though not necessarily dense ones… areas like Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, the southern half of Bothell, compared to Everett, Lynnwood, Edmonds, the northern half of Bothell…

    1. Big difference is that the eastside has a fairly even peak ridership between young techies commuting to the eastside and finance (plus some techies) commuting into Seattle. And of course the distance is much less to the Eastside and they are adding lanes on both 520 qnd 405. Sorry to sound all uppity getto but Lynwood (and Federal Way) will for the foreseeable future be a poor stepchild to Bellevue and Kirkland. Not only because of the proximity to DT Seattle but because it has no job center basis of it’s own.

    2. I’m not sure about Everett proper since the city operates its own bus service (Everett Transit) but personally coverage is okay along the more populated areas. Hwy 99 has Swift BRT while the combined workhorse routes 115/116 (Edmonds/CC/Alderwood Mall/Mill Creek) and 201/202 (Lynnwood/Alderwood Mall/Everett/Marysville) have approximately a bus every 15 minutes. Most of the other local routes tend to operate with a bus every half hour from 7am-7pm.

    3. You can meet all the everyday necessities of life and then some in downtown Bellevue just by walking. I’m sure Lynnwood is aiming for the same. ST Express exists seven days a week and will be enhanced by Link. Swift exists, and when CT gets some more money they’ll add a second and maybe Swift line. I don’t know which routes they’re thinking of, but to me the most obvious place would be Edmonds – Edmonds CC – Lynnwood TC – Alderwood Mall. There’s 11 years before Link is scheduled to open, and building out Lynnwood may take ten or twenty years. That’s a lot of time to figure out a financial solution.

      Community Transit is like what the Eastside was thirty years ago. Long meandering milk runs, 30 or 60 minute service weekdays, going down to 60 minutes evenings/Saturdays, and a strong emphasis on commuter routes. The exception is Swift, which surpasses Metro in several ways. (1) It’s a frequent, limited-stop route, (2) off-board payment, (3) it runs until 12:30pm — the last Swift arrives at Aurora Village after the last 358 has left. The 101 also deserves honorable mention for being a straight, relatively efficient route.

      1. Not sure which schedules you were looking at Mike but our weekday service is 20 minutes peak, 30 minutes most other times and then some routes (like the 113) drop to 1 hour the last few runs of the night. The swift runs every 10 minutes most of the day until the evening when it drops back to 20 minutes. During the week we have 8 buses per hour on south 99 connecting to Aurora Park and Ride. The 201/202 runs 15 minute service most of the day and drops back to 30 minute service at night.

        For Saturday service all of the 20 minute service drops to 30 minutes and 60 minute service starts one run earlier.

        The meandering lines connect places in between. If you were to look at the 120, or the 113/112 or the 115/116 you’d think that people were taking 2 hr bus rides but that isn’t true. Usually you’ll board one of these buses halfway through and use it to connect to a P-R to transfer. Not many people are utilizing a one seat ride between the Mukilteo ferry docks and Mountlake Terrace.

      2. I was specifically thinking of Lynnwood TC to Edmonds CC, returning to either Lynnwood TC or Aurora Village, on Saturdays. The 110/113 combined serve that trip via two different streets 15-minutes weekdays and 30-minutes Saturdays, but that means the tails of each route are hourly, or hence an Edmonds-Lynnwood trip (which only the 110 does).

        Going south from Edmonds CC to Aurora Village, the “meandering” route may be the 118. (CT’s route maps links are broken right now.) It’s slower than the 101 for no apparent reason. It also reminds me of a route that looks like it’s gone now, but was like the 118 in its southern part. I would come from north Seattle for church (on Sundays!), and there were two routes from Aurora Village to 176th. One on 99, and the other like the 118 but going to north Lynnwood rather than Lynnwood TC. The 99 route was faster but stopped several blocks away. The other route took much longer but stopped right at the corner of the church. I think the other route took a whole hour but I may be remembering wrong. Still, it zigzagged back and forth like the 118 does.

      3. Maybe things have changed but there are 5 routes from EdCC to Lynnwood Transit Center now and they’re all fairly direct. And the 118 takes 16 minutes to get from EdCC to Aurora Village P-R which isn’t really that much. It takes the 101 about 12 minutes to go from 200th to Aurora Village and it takes me about 6 minutes to walk to the bus stop from EdCC. The 130 would be a great example of a bus that takes the long way between two places not far from each other.

      4. Oh and a driver told me the 118 has to zig zag because of a noise complaint. Now they have to go over a block and drive down a pothole filled street to satisfy one home owner.

    4. The legend on the map above tells the story. How many green lines (local service) are there in comparison to the other three color coded service categories (commuter, commuter feeder to S. King, commuter feeder to E. King)?
      How many routes does Metro operate from anywhere into Lynnwood or Everett?
      Snohomish is still largely a bedroom community for Seattle and now Bellevue. That’s where most riders want to go with their bus hours subsidized by local taxes.
      Mandating some other social agenda for CT will probably get you run out of town on a rail, and I’m not talking about Link or Sounder.

      1. “How many lines?” and “How many routes?” are largely irrelevant questions when one is trying to determine the level and quality of transit service.

    5. The reason I asked this is that I live in Seattle, work in Snohomish County, and get there most days by transit. I probably would not choose to commute across Lake Washington in either direction, because cross-bridge commute times are incredibly unreliable by any mode except biking along I-90, which is never very pleasant. But then the overall consensus here seems to be that the Eastside transit picture isn’t as bad as Snohomish County. So I was just sort of curious what other people thought.

      To argue against myself… a cross-lake commute probably isn’t nearly as bad from Montlake or Cap Hill as it is from the U District, which is where I was living last time I made comparisons. I chose to live in the U District specifically so I could get to the 511, and planned subsequent moves around that. So of course I came to the conclusion that it was easier to get to Snohomish County — someone that had chosen a residence based on Eastside buses would have found the opposite! The 511 is probably better than any cross-lake service, but what are you going to do once you get to Lynnwood? Probably catch another bus, but this time an infrequent and slow one (you’re just a little too far from Swift; if they create the 196 route you’ll be within a quarter-mile of it, so maybe you could walk there).

      Both Snohomish County and the Eastside have the problem that the important nodes to serve really aren’t located so they can be served with a few direct core routes. That’s probably a bit inevitable given their densities. Snohomish is probably even more difficult than the Eastside, though. Everett has a nice walkable core and pretty decent transit service, but it doesn’t have Bellevue’s convenient location relative to other nodes. Lynnwood is conveniently located for south-county transit service but isn’t dense or very walkable and isn’t an employment center. Canyon Park has jobs but is aggressively unwalkable and isolated from transit centers by distance, hills, and to some degree the county line. On the smaller scale, Swift is just a little too far from Lynnwood TC to walk there, and the proposed 196 route misses Lynnwood TC by a scant quarter-mile.

      1. To argue against myself… a cross-lake commute probably isn’t nearly as bad from Montlake or Cap Hill as it is from the U District, which is where I was living last time I made comparisons.

        Not anymore! The 542, plus extra frequency on the 271, means that the U-District is the second best place to live for an easy commute to and from the Eastside. Capitol Hill actually sucks for Eastside commutes unless you work at Microsoft (which is admittedly most people), but then again, just about everywhere has a good commute to MS because of the Connector.

      2. As usual going north and south is great, going east and west is horrid. I live in Mukilteo and used to work in Canyon Park. Driving it took me 13 minutes, by transit I could do it in 1 hr if I played aggressively with schedules. I actually had a spreadsheet with “best routes based on time of day” otherwise I’d be on the bus for 90 minutes to 2 hrs. It’s very hard to justify taking the bus with numbers like those.

        The 510/511/512 are actually very good but one problem a lot of people have is they drive to the Park and Ride. I have a student that spends 30 minutes a day trying to find a P-R with empty spaces who doesn’t have local service near her home.

        CT is known for having buses that come very close to something but don’t connect. The 190 bus is great half the day and non-existant the other half and will be cut no matter which proposal is chosen. The 113/119 combo could take up the slack but they run the 119 BEHIND the college instead of in front of it. It takes too long to make your way across the golf course to get to class for it to be practical. All they have to do is sync the schedules at 148th and Beverly Park road and run the 119 in front of the college.

  4. I think the problem with framing the issue as a choice between efficiency and providing basic mobility is a false choice. Is it really the purpose of mass transit to devalue one type of customer (commuter for example) and to favor another type of customer (low income for example)? Service to Seattle takes people to the highest concentration of employers in the region. The ability to access those jobs is as important to the working poor, if not more, than to white collar workers. It is definitely more important to more working poor in Snohomish county to have those types of peak hour, weekday trips than it is to have hourly service out to Gold Bar on Sundays. The ridership numbers bear this out.
    Explicitly declaring mass transit to be a service aimed at the poor and disabled frames the service as a kind of welfare. Voters don’t vote to support welfare. They vote for services they find useful. Putting out service that gets the most people in seats is the best way to ensure that basic mobility is available to the most people.
    The idea that Sound Transit could take all the Snohomish County riders at this point is not realistic. There just isn’t enough capacity on the Sound Transit buses to absorb the Community Transit riders. Maybe when light rail is in place it will be a different story.

  5. I’m not saying CT should keep all its commuter routes, or cut other service for Sundays. I’m just pointing out factors that explain why CT is the way it is. The 4xx routes go back to at least 1980 when Metro ran them and Sound Transit didn’t exist. So there has been a long tradition that half of CT’s routes are commuter routes to downtown or UW. The only large employer in Snoho is Boeing, with a plant in Everett and offices in Lynnwood. Second-level employers are the navy, colleges, and hospitals. So there’s not nearly the job concentration of Kent or Bellevue, and I don’t know of any hi-tech firms that would draw workers from outside the county. So the remaining employers are local retail and the obligatory government and schools. That means there’s a large number of Seattle commuters in Snoho, compared to the Eastside or south King. They’re going to downtown, UW, or north Seattle, which all happen to be in a straight line on the express buses. They also go to Seattle for entertainment that’s not available in the north end. (There’s also a small but increasing number of entertainment trips to Lynnwood and Everett.)

    In my ideal world, Link to Everett would exist now, and all the CT/ST express buses would be replaced by feeders to Link, crosstown intra-Snoho service, doubling the frequency across the board, and restoring Sunday service. That’s even before one considers the emerging and potential TOD in downtown Lynnwood and at Swift stations. But all this will take a decade or two. In the meantime, Snoho residents really, really want commuter buses. There’s a tradeoff between forcing a smart grid and following your constituents’ (taxpayers) democratic wishes. CT is already making improvements with Swift and the potential Swift lines. So it may be that the commuter routes will have to remain for a few years longer.

  6. Crazy. Each bus hauling all the way from downtown, mostly empty, to then drive around neighborhood streets and turn around and drive back completely empty. How inefficient. If I were bus czar, I’d put most hours in local service branching from the transit centers. Use ST’s 511/512/513 to lug people back and forth to Seattle, then provide frequent local service to get them the rest of the way home. Your buses will be in constant use (little deadheading required), you’ll have enough service hours for some basic Sunday runs, and if people don’t like the 2-seat service they can park-and-ride.

    1. When the Mountlake Terrace freeway stop opened most (or maybe all?) of the downtown commuter routes that operated from there were essentially converted to 511/513 feeders. Mountlake Terrace riders saw benefits from this — an increase in downtown commute-hour service, a huge increase in northward mobility, all-day and weekend service, etc. In order to accommodate the increased forward-peak demand, though, the frequency of the 511 had to be roughly doubled on weekdays. I’m not sure if total bus-miles were reduced (they may have actually increased), or total ridership increased significantly yet (though there’s certainly potential for some growth going forward because the overall network is stronger).

      As a reverse-commuter, I’d love your plan — more frequency bumps for the all-day 511 could mean I’d never have to let a bus go by because it had no bike rack space left! I’m just not sure it’s necessarily a big money saver in the short term.

      1. Why transferring is good for you. Short version: decreased number of lines = increased frequency = reduced average travel time.

        In your example, I’d guess either bus hours weren’t significantly reduced or service significantly improved. The old system likely had a lot of half-empty buses running downtown. If they had to increase the number of 511 buses to meet demand, this means each bus was filled to capacity. That’s near proof of an efficiency improvement.

      2. @Matt: I get why transferring is good for you. It certainly was great for Mountlake Terrace, which, because it caused 511 frequencies to double, is my favorite bus stop that I’ve never used (one day I’ll use it just to say I did).

        I just think that commuter buses through Lynnwood are pretty well-utilized, and so while pushing all the express service onto ST routes would improve service in most cases for most people, it might not allow for many cost savings.

      3. The 113 bus nearly does the same route from Mukilteo Ferry dock to (near) Ash way as the commuters 417 (Mukilteo to Seattle) and 880/885 (Mukilteo to U district). Swamp Creek P-R is only useful for commuters so if the 113 took the 119 route to Ash Way then jumped back west to Alderwood Mall Parkway and continued on to the Mall it would allow commuters from Mukilteo/Harborpoint area to take the 511/512 to Seattle and we could axe the 417 and 880/885. Pushing the 417/880/885 commuters onto the 113 would mean more frequency and service hours for that bus. The 119 could continue it’s current route and bring commuters from south of 148 to Ash Way.

        I think the 511 should start at Mariner P-R though because then the South Everett area could be connected at Mariner via ET buses as well as the 101/105/106 passengers. Everyone from the Alderwood Mall to south of 148th and across to Murphey’s corner would have access to the 511 downtown which would also knock out the 810 (McCollum to U district) the 855 (U district to North Lynnwood), 860 (Mariner to U-district), 401 (N Lynnwood to Seattle), 410 (Mariner to Seattle),413 (Swamp Creek to Seattle), 414 (McCullum to Seattle) and 415 (N Lynnwood to Seattle).

        If you were to time in the 200/202 you could get rid of the 421 and 821 as well.

        What you’d end up having with these small changes is Commuters from Edmonds and the outer regions (Gold Bar, Camano etc.). You’d go from 35 commuters to 13. With all these commuters feeding into the 511 you’d have to bump service at commute times. Maybe even leaving every 5-10 minutes. What’s even more important is that once you have directed all your commuters to the backbone you can replace it with a train. 200 buses a day go from Lynnwood to Seattle (and 200 return). Another 60 go from Marysville to Lynnwood partly overlapping the 511.

      4. “When the Mountlake Terrace freeway stop opened most (or maybe all?) of the downtown commuter routes that operated from there were essentially converted to 511/513 feeders.”

        Really? Yaay. So it shows that Community Transit is forward-thinking and is willing to break up some commuter routes at least sometimes.

  7. I find the discussion about Sunday service interesting because the Utah Transit Authority went through a similar discussion as part of their service restructuring for their light rail expansion. There are two issues I hope have been considered as part of the discussion. First, I hope CT has done their Title VI analysis to evaluate the impact of elimination of service on low income/minority populations. Second, I hope CT also did some additional outreach to the Sunday riders to get their feelings about it and not just rely on public meetings and/or Internet surveys. If these things are done and all segments of the community agree to it then by all means, eliminate Sunday service.

    BTW, the initial proposal at UTA was changed because of public opposition. Staff went back and looked at the numbers and realized people were right, there was decent ridership so they backed off the proposal.

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