Metro's Frequent & All-day Eastside Transit Service Map

Metro put together a decent map showing the improved Eastside frequent & all-day transit network, featuring the RapidRide B Line, that will begin service on October 1st. Metro will be distributing these maps as a “pocket guide” to the Eastside transit network. The other side has a frequency chart and list of connections to major destinations on the Eastside, plus park & ride locations and fare information. This is a good initiative from Metro to promote its new and improved service. I hope to see these maps in the hands of as many as possible and that these maps be posted at the Eastside transit centers for all to see.

This map uses a similar color scheme to the Spokane transit map. The RapidRide B Line stands out as the Eastside’s main transit route with a thick and dark red line. Frequent service (every 15 minutes most of the day) routes are a thinner light blue. Other all-day service (every 30 minutes) are an even thinner light green. Peak-only routes are not shown. I printed it on an 8.5 x 14 inch sheet of paper from a monochrome laser printer and was able to read the map, even though the background colors and tiny streets were washed out. The green is a little too light, almost blending into the background.

Unlike Spokane’s schematic map, this is a geographic based map produced from a GIS. Metro wanted to show the underlying street grid which is helpful on the cul-de-sac dominated Eastside where walking to the main roads isn’t as straightforward as it appears. There are different intentions here in the role of each map. Spokane is creating a hierarchy of maps with a simplified system map providing the big picture and the route map providing street block level detail (also compare with Community Transit’s route map). While Metro has done the opposite with a big detailed map and simplified route maps, the one big map is all you need.

I can see Metro taking this style and quickly adapting it to the system map and expect them to produce something similar for Seattle when the C & D lines launch next year. It’s nice to see Metro finally getting maps done right.

Metro doesn’t provide a link to print or download the map but I found the source images for the map and the information tables. Warning: they are very large 2-3 MB image files.

As for my Eastside transit map, I’m still working on it. I’m going for a schematic to see how that’ll work compared to this map.

47 Replies to “Metro’s BIG Little Map of Eastside Transit Service”

  1. As a fairly regular 253 rider, I’ve noticed that when the bus driver gets to around the corner of 156th and 8th, they announce two things, the street, and DSHS. They never call out Crossroads mall; the thing that more people are coming from or going to. Which tells me the mall isn’t on their list of places to call out, but DSHS is. Yet on Metro’s own map, DSHS isn’t listed, but Crossroads mall is. Or rather “Crossroads Bellevue Shopping Center” is. Which should just be shortened to Crossroads Shopping Center. Or better yet, Crossroads mall.

  2. As far as the map goes, I think it’s on the whole, well done, although as Oran indicates, the green is too light and doesn’t provide enough contrast with the background, although maybe it looks better on actual paper than on the computer screen.

    As far as what really matters – the quality of the actual service itself – from what I can see, the big improvements here are in frequency for the most popular routes and span for the less popular routes.

    As to the routings themselves, I’d like to see more buses travel in something approaching a straight line, especially around Eastgate. The circuitousness of the 245 and 271 around Eastgate is especially bad – enough so anyone going from Factoria to anywhere north of Eastgate will be deterred from riding.

    My simple suggestion here is that for serving Eastgate, the existing stop at 142nd Pl and 32nd St. is good enough and it’s not necessary to actually go into the bus bays, except for routes that actually end there and need to turn around. This way, the bus could simply take Parimeter road south, curve west, than turn left on 142nd St.

    As to the effect of this on the quality of connections, the most important connnection at Eastgate is accessing the 554. As 142nd St. is a flat walk to the 554, while the bus bays requires climbing 4 flights of stairs, I would argue that the quality of the connection is actually improved with this change. And there’s nothing to stop metro from improving it further my adding another stop further south on 142nd right at the 554 connection point (I recall from past blog posts that a stop there wouldn’t be ADA accessible because there’s not enough room for the bus to use the left, but to say that because a wheelchair can’t get on or off the bus at a particular point, no one else can either, I think, is just stupid).

    I recall from past blog posts that there was something about Parimiter road that made it undesirable for buses, something about the pavement not being strong enough to support a bus every 10-minutes pounding on it all day. Even if that’s the case, the sheer number of service hours that could saved is staggering enough to make it cost effective, even if requires shelling out a few hundred thousand dollars to repave the street in a way that buses could use it. 5 minutes per trip * $100 per service hour * 50’ish trips per day per route per direction adds up fast.

    1. Eric,

      What we really need is the Snoqualamie River Road bypass to be built. The cost is five million dollars for one million in annual operations: it is a no brainier. The Perimeter Road would preserve the stop in Campus between the parking garage and central buildings while Snoqualamie River Road would provide buses with a mostly transit only street. In any case the cost to reinforce the concrete is in the few millions, not the few hundred thousands.

      Any stop on 142nd Pl would need to be ADA approved. However the lanes could be reduced in size on the bridge to make stop viable.

      There are solutions for Eastgate, but it requires effort from the reticent College, inertia beholden Metro, and many other stakeholders.

      1. Ah, that’s the post I was looking for! I agree, if we could come up with the money, Martin’s proposal is absolutely the way to go – better than my Parimeter road idea.

        It is absolutely insane that a proposal that costs $5 million up from and saves $1 million per year every year thereafter and improves the experience for riders is not being considered. Not considering things like this only provides more ammunition to trolls like Norman who claim Metro is wasting their tax dollars.

        I guess the real problem here is government bureaucracy – we have one agency that deals with buses and another agency that controls the design and layout of the roads, which cares about cars, but treats buses as an afterthought. Getting Bellevue College to buy off is also likely to be very difficult unless their transit mode share increases significantly – as it is, they would probably argue that the inconvenience to drivers from such a construction project would outweigh the benefits.

      2. As to the $5 million, it should also be noted that Metro has no trouble spending similar amounts of money on parking garages (see Burien TC as an example). I guess this shows what their priority is.

      3. @Eric Ironically very few drivers would be greatly effected. Snoqualamie River Road is currently only used for deliveries and some staff parking. The true problems are that the College doesn’t want to pay for it and impact their deliveries and operations, some people are afraid the condominiums on the West side of the road will be annoyed, there would need to be a significant intersection upgrade at the South end of the road, the road is not very wide, making an intersection there tricky, and Metro and the City of Bellevue are both out of money.

        I personally think this is the first project which should be funded by ST3 or Metro should scrounge some money to pay to make it build-ready and start applying for some federal infrastructure money.

  3. “Hillfair Shopping Center” Metro, take it off your eastside map. The names of tiny shopping centers do not belong on your transit map. It only clutters it up.

    1. Yes, I know I’m being a pedant here, but this inclusion of Hillfair Shopping Center on Metro’s map, which, to the best of my understanding, is a small collection of stores in an office tower next to the BTC, makes me wonder why the Bravern, a much bigger shopping center, isn’t listed on the map at all.

  4. And no Houghton shopping center, which has a PCC and Metropolitan Market? And no nearby Google Kirkland? This map sucks.

    Just kidding…

    But thinking about grocery stores on the map reminded me of one important thing that’s missing, that’s especially related to faster boarding on RapidRide.

    Where can I get and revalue an ORCA card?

    Nothing on the map tells me nor is there a list. At least mention the ORCA machine at Bellevue TC.

    Maybe Metro will list them like on the A Line timetable but why not on this map?

    1. There are still more than enough ORCA VMs at the various non-tunnel light rail stations. How much would it cost to move one to Overlake TC and one to Redmond TC?

  5. Wow, this is by far the best map I’ve seen Metro produce yet. It divides routes into 4 basic frequency classes (rapidride, every 15 mins, all day mostly every 30 mins, peak only), and doesn’t even show peak routes which I love (they just really clutter the map up for no good reason). I think it’s aesthetically pleasing, and I reserve judgment on the green color until I see the map in person. Plus it doesn’t differentiate between ST and Metro, and instead includes ST routes in the same frequency classes as metro routes, which is what riders actually care about!

  6. So, what I’m getting from this map is that there won’t be any service until 6 am. I’ve been following this for years and I don’t remember seeing that mentioned before these past couple weeks. I bought a condo this year in the Crossroads area because service was being eliminated in my neighborhood (I’m disabled) and I work in downtown Seattle. Sure, there are some options at Bellevue Transit Center, Overlake, Eastgate…but it doesn’t help if I can’t get there.

    I mean, I know the buses before 6 aren’t exactly full now, but eliminating all of them does add up to more than just a few people.

    1. Lili, have you looked at the RapidRide B Line schedule? It’s linked to in this article. The first B line bus leaves Redmond TC at 4:21 am, then every half hour until 6 am.

      It’d be nice if the table listed first and last bus departures but there wasn’t any room.

      1. Aha! I had totally missed that. The stops themselves just say 6 am to something pm in huge bold type. Thanks!

      1. Maybe we need an anti-ninja feature, warning us that a new comment has been submitted on a thread before we post to that thread. ;)

      2. It’s not perfect but it meets by definition of “frequent service”, and it can be added to later. And the map certainly works to focus people’s attention on the B and frequent routes. That should influence ridership patterns and live/work patterns, although it will take a few years for the effects to build up.

      3. The lack of nighttime service (after 11:30) is unacceptable in my book. I occasionally work later than that and not being able to rely on transit to get home is a big problem for me. The A line has all-night service, I think that all rapid ride service should be comparable, if not identical.

      4. You’ll still have the 280 to get to at least Bellevue TC, right?

        As far as I know, King Co. is the only place in the Pacific Northwest which currently has 24/7/365 service. TriMet (Portland) canceled theirs in 1986 when the light rail opened; currently only a few routes have short outbound-only runs at about 1:30 AM out of Downtown Portland. Service starts up again with inbound-only runs between 4:30-5 AM or so. (This info isn’t route-specific and off the top of my head since I’m so familiar with TriMet service.)

        Since the comparison between King Co. Metro and Spokane Transit has also been brought up, I’ll also make it clear that Spokane Transit’s new map comes at a time a service elimination is taking place (they’ve publicly stated much of the service they’ve cut over the last couple years will likely never return). Additionally, their service stops running at, IIRC, around 11:30 PM on weekdays, and much earlier on weekends.

      5. The Eastside has the 280. I wish it had half-hourly night owl service too. (Like, er, San Francisco and Chicago and…) But the point is it’s a significant improvement over the existing service. The 230/253 was half-hourly evenings and Sundays, now it’s 15 minutes. The span of hours is approximately the same as it was.

      6. …and it can be added to later.

        I know hope springs eternal, but when has Metro ever added service beyond the initial announced levels for an improvement project?

        (And when have those announced levels, once finalized, ever come close to meeting the expectations set by the vague language used to sell the project? Like how “so frequent you won’t need a schedule!” became “15 minutes can be kind of a long wait but we won’t give you a schedule anyway!”)

        Doesn’t matter how runaway-successful the line turns out to be. Don’t expect anything to be added without a dictate from a higher political force.

      7. “The 280 has only one stop in common with the B Line: Bellevue Transit Center.”

        And Seattle has no night owls north of 85th. And it’s an hour’s walk from Kent night jobs to Grady Way.

      8. We can let Metro know we want night-owl service on the C, D, and E lines so they design the schedule accordingly.

      9. Plus there is a huge gap in service caused by the 280. The last 550 to bellevue is at 11:40pm, and the first 280 is at 2:06, which is a 2hour 25 minute gap if you’re going from Seattle to Bellevue (and you can’t get to Redmond at all because ether is no night service on RRB).

        Sure, it can be added later, but the whole point of the RR system is that’s the opportunity to rethink the way we do service to make it more reliable and frequent. Completely ignoring the night hours isn’t the way to create a truly usable system.

      10. The 8 has been expanded several times. I don’t remember its stages exactly, but I think initially it was weekdays only to 15th, and nothing beyond that. Then they added Sunday and extended it to Rainier Beach, and added a few 15-minute segments, then expanded the 15-minute segments to all day, then Saturday. Likewise the 48 has been gradually expanded, and the 75, and the 49, and especially the 36.

      11. It’s important to remember here that the bus isn’t just about getting to work and back. Personal trips matter too. Even if nothing’s actually open that late on the Eastside, there’s still Seattle and there’s still late night parties at friend’s houses.

        That being said, as long as there’s taxi services, you aren’t really actually stranded if you’re coming back from something late at night and there’s no bus, so there should be some sort of standard as to a minimum ridership to justify providing buses vs. simply telling everyone to drive or take taxis instead.

        I would argue that one good minimum standard is whether the marginal cost of providing the late night bus service exceeds the amount of money that would be saved if each person that actually rides the bus at that hour were to take a taxi instead. For example, if the average trip is 4 miles (about $15 by taxi) and bus service costs $125 per hour, each hour of service should have a minimum of 8 1/3 riders for the bus service to be justified.

      12. Actually, Mike, the current 15-minute span of the 8 was precisely as it was itemized in the post-TransitNow-passage list of improvements.

        It just took the 4 successive rollouts to get to the stated service level.

        (And even that fell short of the vaguer language in the TransitNow proposal, which implied a far longer span than 7:15 PM.)

        So, no, the 8 never improved beyond the stated expectation.

        RapidRide’s parameters have been laid out. Do not expect them to magically improve.

  7. One additional feature I’d love to see promoted on the map is the one line (RapidRide B) which provides strap-free wheelchair seating. If Metro doesn’t advertise the feature, I’m afraid it won’t end up saving time, as drivers have to stop and go through the spiel about the forward-facing and rear-facing options every time a wheelchair boards. It’s the same problem as the all-door boarding and alighting options that riders don’t use because they aren’t aware they can.

    Pushing the strap-free wheelchair option in the legend gives an additional excuse for differtiating between the B Line and the other 15-minute headway routes.

    In the long run, I hope there can be seemless connectivity among the strap-free routes, and maps showing the connectivity between the trains and all the RapidRide and other routes as retrofit happens. Which reminds me: Are there any plans by ST to modernize the wheelchair features of their buses, especially on the 550?

  8. This is wonderful news. Good job Metro for listening, and beginning a major improvement to the quality of your maps.

    I’d be nice to have it .pdf format, because I like to download these to my phone and the .png doesn’t zoom as well.

  9. The color-coded lines for frequency is a great improvement, but it’s still hard to follow the lines to see where your bus goes. You have to look at all the branches to see where the number is repeated. For instance, it looks like the 255 terminates at 68th street since it’s not mentioned above (it should be next to the 245 near Google. You have to look way far up to Market Street to see “255” again, and then assume it also travels in the unmarked section in between. But people may not even notice the “255” on Market because it’s so far away and on a different line.

    1. The same device could be used as on highway maps: a standard character, such as a diamond, separating multiple numbers within the same square or bubble, when the routes overlap.

  10. They should note the location of stops for express routes, too. Otherwise, riders might have a tough time finding stops for the 255 & 271 (on 520), 550, 545, and 535 (which only has one stop on this map, even though you might think you could connect to it from the 235, 238, 245, or 248 in Kirkland…which isn’t possible, even though there’s a freeway stop at the Houghton P&R that could connect with the 238 and 245).

  11. looks like a small error on the frequency timetable. It shows Route 560 only operating Peak and midday only. No Night or weekend service. I don’t think ST killed off the 560 that much?

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