70 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: PSU Students Take Charge”

  1. Longer station platforms! Most current platforms match the length of the streetcar, so the streetcar can’t open its doors until all the automobiles have cleared away from the lane next to the platform. At stops where there are red lights that can sometimes mean that the streetcar is waiting maybe 5 feet short of where it needs to be, but it has to wait until the light turns green and the traffic ahead clears away before it can get into position to open the doors. Then while the light is green, the passenger leave and board. Then the light turns red and the streetcar is ready to go, but it has to wait for the next green. If the platform had been 5 feet longer, the streetcar would have saved about 90 seconds of waiting time. Multiply that number by the number of stops on the route and you will see a huge potential time savings.

    1. it is a real shame that Metro didn’t plan the SLU and First Hill Streetcars with future expansion in mind. The real beauty of the Skoda/Inekon/Oregon Streetcars is that they are designed to be modular. At a fraction of the capital expenditure required for additional LRVs, the existing ones can be lengthened by adding additional modules.

      However, the short platforms, stub tracks, and maintenance facility tracks will prevent Metro from taking advantage of this built-in expandability.

      1. Just to be clear, Metro has no involvement in either the SLU or First Hill Streetcars, other than being contracted to actually drive the vehicles. Both streetcars are built and owned by the Seattle Dept of Transportation, although the First Hill Streetcar funding comes from Sound Transit.

      2. Sometimes it seems that it’s standard practice for “transit agencies” to ignore future growth, if they can save 15 cents on construction costs…

        E.g., my (probably inaccurate) memory of the Vancouver Canada-line controversy: most platforms only built long enough for two cars, but system already running at capacity soon after opening…. and apparently while expanding to three-car platforms is possible (though not particularly cheap), anything beyond that is in the mega-expensive range. [Three cars?! Talk about low expectations!]

      3. Comment to MB: capacity need not be measure with reference soley to train length. Canada Line / Skytrain capacity (and mobility offered generally) is a function of frequency and train size. The current 3.75 – 4 min headway can be taken down to 100 sec (3 x expansion?) before car length is dealt with. When platforms require lengthing, they have a rail line to haul away the spoil….
        I’m always confused by the focus by some on Link train size; it seems to me that frequency is far more relevant. I ride Link whenever in SEA and the waits are longer than in YVR. The shorter the waits, the more demand you’ll utlimately have for longer trains..

    2. This happens to Sounder at Kent Station!

      The train is just long enough to trigger the crossing gates on both streets — Smith and James — bringing traffic to complete standstill in the whole downtown!

      1. Bailouts,

        Ummm, did you read the post?

        Are you advocating that the Kent Station platform be lengthened? Because that’s what the post is about: lengthening platforms. I would assume, then, you are “for” blocking either Smith or James Street to accomplish that.

        Or did you just see the word “platform” and decide to jump up on it and start blathering?

      2. The topic was lengthening stations.

        I presented a problem.

        A solution is to lengthen the station at one end, so that only one, but not two streets get blocked.

        Is that not reasonable?

    3. Same thing in Portland with its streetcar. On some surface streets it follows with the same traffic signal with regular traffic. There are a few that has a dedicated signal for the streetcar. On a residential street just a 4-way stop

  2. Getting back to how to reduce trip time on the whole Metro bus system using the least capital and maintenance resources…

    I think we did an adequate job collectively explaining why rear-door ORCA readers would solve the problem with all the passengers requesting that the operator change the zone on the front-door reader. Namely, everyone would tap in for the highest zone fare and then tap out to get a rebate based on not having travelled the maximum number of zones for that bus. Cash users would just have to pay the top fare, which would further incentivize them obtaining and/or using ORCA. This is a solution to two problems at once.

    I’m quite curious to hear what the other ORCA reader problems are that require operator intervention. Are the youth ORCA, RRFPs, and Access ORCAs not coded to be recognized by all readers, and charged the appropriate fare? Is there a problem with the peak/off-peak transition that can’t be solved by matching policy to technology?

    At 100 service hours saved a day, rear-door ORCA readers are a solution we can’t afford to not implement. The first year of savings will nearly pay for the $5.5 million capital implementation cost. I’m not sure if those 100 hours includes the 25 net daily service hours eliminating the RFA will cause if we go to straight pay-at-the-front.

    The county council is having three public hearings on the county budget next week. Now is a good time to bring up the cost of not implementing rear-door ORCA technology.

    1. “I’m quite curious to hear what the other ORCA reader problems are that require operator intervention.”

      Paying for more than one person with the same ORCA card.

      1. I have never seen anyone do that … I know that it can be done (I think Oran tried it) … but most people I know simply have their own ORCA cards or they pay by cash

      2. The most common issue I see are underpayments due to a lower pass value or underfunded e-purse.

        Group fares are relatively rare, which is why it takes most of us a bit of time to jog our memory. Frankly, many group fare users are just as confused. They will tap the card before giving us a chance to setup the fare reader which requires a whole bunch of other buttons and menus.

        I feel like RapidRide strikes a good balance of having readers at the curb for heavily used stops. Focusing more fare payment activity off the bus is the direction to go – not rear door payment. Just think about the underpayment scenario I refer to above. If somebody realizes they need to toss in an extra quarter to be legit, and presumably not be subject to a fine, they have to work their way up to the front of the bus to pay me. *That* is going to cause a delay.

        This is all speculation though. My opinion may change after driving RR B for a while.

      3. If you could do a group fare, it would break down probably one of the most serious competitive aspects of car versus mass transit.

        The issue being that having additional passengers in a car adds zero cost to the trip, where as for a family or group, it increases linearly with the number of people.

        What might be possible rather than having multiple people on an ORCA card is for each member to have an ORCA card — but link them together.

        So say if a person, a spouse and a teen get on LINK from the same family, they get a lower rate. ORCA can track the family connections and the simultaneous trip.

      4. Tim,

        No one ever said that we should eliminate this feature.

        The question is, if we install rear-door ORCA readers, how many people will still have to board at the front because they have special payment needs?

        Clearly, it would be unacceptable if everyone who needed a one-zone or discounted fare needed to go to the front. But the former issue is trivially solved by tap-on/tap-off, and the latter issue is already solved with existing ORCA technology.

        Conversely, group fares are so rare that, if every group still needs to board at the front so the driver can handle them specially, it’s not a meaningful problem.

      5. Rear door readers work wonderfully in the cities I’ve seen it (Budapest). MOST people could board at the rear doors and in the case that someone needed to drop in an extra quarter so they wouldn’t get fined it wouldn’t matter since dropping an extra quarter doesn’t register on their ORCA card anyway. I think the ONLY case for front door would be groups and that doesn’t happen a lot and if I were someone who wanted to pay for more than one person I’d probably be asking the driver if I could anyway so I’m already at the front door.

    2. As an RRFP ORCA holder who has used both e-purse and monthly passes:

      Yes, I was correctly charged RRFP Fare on all services. 75 cents on Link and $2.25 on Sounder with tap on/tap off. For zone buses, I just have to remember to tell the operator in county/2 county and I’m charged 75 cents or $1.50 correctly. PT correctly charged me 75 cents for Local Fare. I’m not sure how Metro would would work since I wouldn’t pay zone fare (when I was on Purse, I only rode Metro during off-peak hours)

      1. Perfectly clear and quite logical. Do the other 100 million riders a year have it straight now?

      2. And before I forget: CT also correctly charged me local fare on local service as well as on Swift (Metro had no problems with RapidRide 671 too). Finally, Everett did not charge me at all (as per ET’s RRFP fare-free policy), but I was still tapping with both purse and passes. Ditto with pure fare on the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry.

        About the only snag I had was on Kitsap Transit: the foot ferry to Port Orchard maybe didn’t scan properly? (it was a hand held scanner like the kind used for fare inspections)

        Also, the KT van that connects Port Orchard to Purdy (so I could transfer to PT 100) didn’t have a reader and the driver waved me on after seeing it was RRFP ORCA.

    3. So, you’re going to penalize occasional visitors who use the system and make them pay more?

      1. Why not? If you are any kind of intelligent traveler, you research these things before you go. I’ve ordered pre-loaded transit cards and had them mailed to me before I leave so I don’t have to worry about it once I land. It’s not a penalty to the occasional visitor, it’s a great incentive for those who live in the city.

      2. That’s the biggest obstacle to implementing such a fare policy. It’s not just visitors but those who can’t keep an ORCA for whatever reason. The social justice groups are going to come out against this if it’s perceived as making it more expensive for the poor to use transit.

        The best way to make it less a burden on those who have difficulty obtaining and maintaining an ORCA is to lower the barrier to using ORCA: expand card retail & revalue locations, reduce cost of the card, and introduce a short-term disposable card for visitors. That’s giving the carrot before using the stick.

      3. We already penalize occasional users. Frequent users get monthly passes; anyone who makes more than 18 round-trips a month on a pass is getting a significant discount.

      4. I think a more effective carrot would be to increase the allotment of free ticket vouchers, and have a policy that the ticket vouchers will be accepted for any bus as long as it covers a one-zone off-peak fare.

        But make sure the ticket vouchers are off the shelf to the public before doing that. (Last I heard, they are going off the shelf January 1, but that was before the Great Ticket Voucher Giveaway compromise was passed.) I’m not terribly concerned if there is an uptick in black market voucher selling, as those doing so are using the money for a higher need (e.g. food), and recipients who then use the voucher are saving the system a few seconds of change fumbling.

        Most of the social justice agencies that complain about the cost of ORCA are in Seattle, and within a one-seat ride of an ORCA TVM, so I don’t think installing TVMs on Mercer Island, Vashon Island, Redmond, etc, will make much of a difference to them. (I’m not arguing against installing them. I’m just saying that is not what is going to help social justice agencies to think outside the box.)

        Still, the biggest barrier to getting poor people to hold onto ORCA once they have it is to give it intrinsic value, which it doesn’t have as long as cash and ORCA fares are identical. The only way out of the catch-22 is to make it worth one’s while to hold onto the ORCA card, by making the fares cheaper either across the board or for a large percentage of trips.

      5. @Joseph Singer,

        We’re already penalizing visitors with slower and less frequent bus service than what they could enjoy for the cost of an extra zero to fifty cents. The visitors at the airport have immediate access to ORCAs, of course, so they aren’t being penalized.

      6. Can’t we just get rid of the paper ticket vouchers altogether and instead let these organizations distribute and add value to ORCA cards directly? And maybe keep the $5 charge per card for the agency, as an incentive for them to not hand them out like candy to folks they know darn well are simply selling them so they can use the money for a “higher need” (which I’m certain is not usually food).

      7. @Andreas,

        Most of the free vouchers are for people who needed to take a bus to get to an appointment, and then need to take the bus home. There are lots of poor people living car-free, and if the free vouchers help enable them to continue to live car-free, the program is a bargain.

        Nobody is going to be able to purchase much weed, drugs, or beer selling vouchers for $2 a pop. The supply of vouchers is actually pretty small. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing the visible winos and druggies on the street as the face of the typical homeless person. They are not.

        The one thing the social service agencies asked for specifically when ORCA was rolled out was to keep ticket vouchers. They did not ask to keep paper transfers, keep cash fares the same as ORCA fares, or keep the Ride Free Area. If continuing to give away vouchers makes them more amenable to other fare payment improvements, then the program is a bargain in that way, too.

      8. Oh, and the agencies are charged $3 per card (the same as private employers), for which they are generally unwilling to pass the cost along to the recipient, for obvious math reasons. If I were running a social service agency, I’d be mad about that, too.

      9. @Brent: If the free vouchers help enable them to continue to live car-free, the program is a bargain. I wasn’t suggesting ending the program, I was suggesting a switch to ORCA-based vouchers. I don’t see how such a switch would change anyone’s ability to live car-free.

        Nobody is going to be able to purchase much weed, drugs, or beer selling vouchers for $2 a pop. You’ve never seen a pan-handler with a crack pipe or a can of Steel Reserve? If quarters and dimes add up, dollars add up faster.

        The supply of vouchers is actually pretty small. Do you have any numbers? A SHARE/WHEEL representative said last year that his group could go through 20,000 tickets in about three weeks. Considering that’s just one organization, it seems we have different ideas of what “pretty small” is. But I will freely admit I have no idea how many tickets Metro gives away, or how much money they spend on their human sources division.

        I’m actually pretty big on the social-justice role of transit, but the voucher system simply strikes me as an unaccountably wasteful way of fulfilling that role. Giving people scrip that they can readily exchange for cash at near parity is not very different from just giving them cash, and these organizations have no way of knowing where that money’s actually going, and Metro has even less of a clue. I’d prefer discounted fare & pass products for low-income folks, free ORCA cards for those in need. Things which are less resalable, and more accountable.

      10. @Andreas,

        I’m a fan of converting from vouchers to ORCA, since I want to see everyone using ORCA. But the time is not yet right (due to Metro’s antiquated fare structure) and the cost to taxpayers may not be worth it.

        Every time an ORCA is given out, used once, and tossed, that’s $2 — the real cost of the card — of taxpayer money gone up in smoke. The voucher coupon is nearly free to print, and the ride comes at essentially zero marginal expense for Metro. So, I’m confused what waste is being cut by ORCAizing vouchers.

        The hundreds of thousands of dollars the City of Seattle and Metro each “spend” on the vouchers doesn’t really go up in smoke. Rather, it is a de facto transfer from the social service budget to the transit budget. We transit advocates shouldn’t look this gift horse too deeply in the mouth. The real cost of the program is administration, which is much cheaper just handing out vouchers than with creating a multi-agency database to track who has been given ORCAs.

        Bring in the privacy issues, and we’re turning social service agencies into a lobby to erase all the useful ORCA planning data.

        So, I can find a figure for how much Metro and Seattle are “spending” on the program, but the actual cost to taxpayers is far less.

        And if someone is smoking weed with money from selling vouchers, someone else who needs a bus ride is getting one, still at essentially zero marginal cost to the taxpayers.

      11. @Brent: The idea behind ORCAizing the vouchers is precisely that ORCA costs many, many times more than a paper voucher. I’d hope that if the vouchers were on ORCA, the cards wouldn’t simply get tossed, because the organizations giving them out would make it plain to their clients that they have to hold on to them, because the organizations can’t afford to repeatedly replace them. As it is, if someone comes into SHARE and says they need two bus tickets, SHARE just gives ’em two tickets and has no way of knowing whether that person actually uses them, if they sell them, if they throw them away. So if they come back the next day and ask for two more, and two more the day after that, etc, SHARE just keeps handing them out. And Metro keeps selling SHARE discounted tickets.

        If, instead, the person comes in with their ORCA card and asks to have two vouchers added each day, SHARE can be reasonably sure the person is actually using it for the bus, since there’s no way to sell the vouchers off the card. And if that person came in every day and said they lost their ORCA card and they need another, plus two new vouchers, it would be clear that that person is abusing the system. With ORCA way we have a way of knowing it, and SHARE has a reason to stop it, because they can’t afford not to.

        I would actually be fine with Metro handling ORCA distribution, instead of service agencies, which would seem to fix any special privacy issues (or, at least, make them no greater for social services clients than for the general public). Metro should give ORCAs away for free or sell them at cost to low-income folks, but still charge $5 for replacement (maybe with one or two freebies per year to allow for legitimate losses). If the $5 fee really is the legitimate hurdle to low-income adoption that everyone says it is, then it should be a significant disincentive to lose (or “lose”) the card.

        It’s easy to think that nothing is really being bought or sold through the vouchers, ’cause it’s just Metro selling and in the end Metro buying. But there is an actual product in there, with actual cost, and Metro is in fact selling it at a discount to these organizations. And they have no way of knowing how much of that money they’re actually getting back. Especially in the case of selling vouchers, I think it’s wrong to say the cost to taxpayers is marginal. The person who bought that voucher would otherwise have been made to pay a full fare; instead they’re only giving the county back the discounted fare that the voucher was originally sold to the organization for. The difference is revenue lost for the county. And if the person selling the voucher is indeed using the money to buy drugs, taxpayers are probably going to wind up paying even more as a consequence.

      12. @Andreas,

        I share your enthusiasm for getting people to hold onto ORCA. I can’t blame the social service agencies for the fact that *Metro* and the *King County Council* do not share our enthusiasm. A viable ORCA program for the poor starts from the top down, and gets sabotaged from the top down.

        Still, as I laid out, the program is much more expensive to administer in the way you describe. The agencies have told Metro that, very loudly and clearly.

        Given the choice among getting a surcharge on cash fares, ending use of RRFPs as a flash pass to pay with cash, ending the RFA, ending PAYSTTE, adding rear-door readers, requiring off-board payment in the DSTT, implementing distance-based or express fares for express routes, ending paper transfers, having a fare inspector force that could randomly jump onto any bus throughout the system any time day or night, and keeping free voucher recipients from selling their vouchers, I will fight any of the former battles before taking up the last one. If we take up the last one and win it, we will solidify a lobby against most of the former battles. And the return from winning all the former battles is a win for taxpayers. Winning that last battle will merely balloon the cost of that program to taxpayers, unless we have the patience to get the former battles won first.

        Besides, if Metro learns to use ORCA data for most of its planning needs, all these vouchers will have less and less impact on how service is deployed. Once it goes to ORCA, where and when free ticket recipients ride will be harder to track so that it doesn’t affect service deployment.

      13. Get rid of paper transfers and drop the cost of the ORCA as low as possible. Maybe ORCA vending machines would allow less overhead. Then make sure people can put money on them. If a tourist comes in from out of town, drops $10 on it and uses $5 it’s free money. You could even say the ORCA card is free with a $10 e-purse.

    4. I can’t imagine there’s any issue with peak vs non-peak. When you tap out, the system just checks whether it was peak or non-peak when you started, and gives you the appropriate rebate.

    5. We’ve listed some ORCA transactions that are either not issues or easily solvable with the installation of rear-door readers and a zone-rebate-on-tap-off policy.

      What are the issues that Metro says makes the installation of rear-door readers “infeasible”?

    6. Velo,

      Did you check out Aleks’ math from the previous post on this topic?: ca. 1470 back doors and ca. 9590 bus stops?

      If we were to add ORCA readers to complement the front-door readers systemwide, the cost to do so at the back doors is ca. $5.5 million. The cost to do so at all stops is ca. $40 million. Maintenance would also be a lot cheaper with all the additional readers securely inside the buses.

      The number of requests for operators to reset the reader for a 1-zone fare will skyrocket when the RFA is gone, if we don’t have a two-tap system in place. Off-board readers will still leave all the requests occuring at the front door, with a platoon of buses right behind being held up, or creating a mountainload of fare disputes involving a $128 fine.

      1. All the more reason to have a flat fare structure. The reason this doesn’t come up in other cities is they have different routes for the suburbs. You either take an express bus which costs extra, or you take rapid transit to the city limits and transfer to a suburban bus. But there’s no way Metro’s going to truncate all routes at 145th and Roxbury and turn the suburban segments into expresses. And if it did, it would adversely impact people who live a short distance outside the city and travel a short distance inside the city, without going downtown. The two-zone fare is already gone off-peak and on Sound Transit. Get rid of it peak-hour, and slap a surcharge on the peak-only expresses. (Maybe renumber them to 6xx or 7xx.)

      2. I don’t think ST wants to take the revenue hit from dropping the 510 series and 590 series buses down to $2.50 all day and all weekend.

        Nor does pay-as-you-board-at-the-front really cut it for the Central Business District after October 2012. The inability to pay off-board or at both doors would cause some serious bus traffic jams.

        Uniformed off-board fare-expediters might be a good transition until Metro, ST, and CT decide whether to go with off-board or backdoor readers.

        ST, at least, has the luxury of experimenting with its fare structure in ways that Metro can’t or won’t. Distance-based fares make more sense for ST than they do for Metro since all ST routes are expresses or BRTs. $3.50 for going from Federal Way to Tacoma, while going from Seattle to Federal Way is only $2.50, is a seriously ugly unfairness. Charging more for getting between Seattle and Federal Way via Link and the 574 than via the 577 is another perverse incentive than needs to go away by the time 200th St Station opens.

      3. The reason this doesn’t come up in other cities is they have different routes for the suburbs.

        So do we. But the suburban routes are *cheaper*. Like Brent said, the max ST Express bus fare is cheaper than the max Link fare.

        Also, for what it’s worth, lots of cities *do* have multiple zones for suburban expresses. Boston, for example, distinguishes between “inner express” and “outer express”.

        I would be perfectly happy charging a single fare (no zones) for all local service, so long as all the peak-only expresses (ST included) switched to distance-based fares.

      4. @Aleks,

        Minor correction:
        The intra-county ST fare is 25 cents cheaper than the maximum Link fare. The inter-county fare is 75 cents more expensive than the maximum Link fare.

      5. When fares are within 25 cents of each other they need to be merged. Off peak/on peak difference of 25 cents? Is it really worth the confusion? Figure out how much revenue is gathered on peak and off peak and find a price. Two zones is harder to deal with. I also wonder about Link. The cost to go 2 stops isn’t THAT much cheaper than going all the way to the airport. One price would make it simple. This works everywhere else. I don’t remember ever having to pay more or less in a Subway system unless that particular line is going somewhere a long way away (ie. London Heathrow or the RER in Paris). All other trips are the same price all day long.

        Make it simple… Consistency plus convenience builds ridership.

      6. “I don’t think ST wants to take the revenue hit from dropping the 510 series and 590 series buses down to $2.50 all day and all weekend.”

        I wasn’t talking about ST’s inter-county fare. Metro doesn’t have to worry about that.

        “So do we [have different routes for the suburbs]”

        Tell that to the 5, 358, 120, 345, 346, 347, and 348. These all have riders going a short distance across the city boundary without going downtown.

      7. “$3.50 for going from Federal Way to Tacoma, while going from Seattle to Federal Way is only $2.50, is a seriously ugly unfairness.”

        PT 500 goes from Federal Way to Tacoma if you want a lower fare. I agree the county-boundary is unfair for people living in Federal Way and Bothell, but we have to put the zone boundaries somewhere, and county boundaries are easiest to remember, make sense to people, and affect the least number of short-distance trips. (I think there are fewer people going Federal Way-Tacoma or Bothell-Lynnwood, than west Seattle-White Center or north Seattle-Shoreline.)

      8. So it’s clear, here’s what I’m advocating:

        – All transit services that primarily serve King County should have the same basic fare structure, regardless of branding.

        – All of the all-day services in King/Snohomish/Pierce Counties (including Metro/CT/PT local buses, SDOT streetcars, ST Express all-day buses, and Link) within the urban growth boundary (i.e. the ST district) should have a fare that does not vary with distance.

        – Peak-only routes — including one-way express variants of regular routes (like the 15X/18X), but not including all-day routes that just happen to be express (like the 66/70-series/545) — should charge a substantial premium.

        – Long-distance routes, including peak-only routes (if applicable), should charge a distance-based fare. A long-distance route is defined as a route which travels outside the urban growth boundary, or which travels into an area that is not served by an all-day bus route.

        This is consistent with how Boston and New York, at least, handle fares. In both cities, there is a single, fixed fare for urban trips. (In NYC, it’s consistent across modes; in Boston, it’s slightly cheaper for buses, but it’s the same basic idea.) Express buses cost extra (about double). And long-distance routes (including MBTA commuter rail and outer-suburban buses, Metro-North, LIRR, and all NJ Transit routes) use distance-based fares.

    1. But Eyman doesn’t trust the legislature with the tool of market-based congestion pricing. He’s not just a hypocrite. He’s a big liar!

  3. Is there a list somewhere of specific projects that Prop 1 will accomplish if it passes? My understanding is that they’ve decided on what percentage of the funds will go to transit vs. bike vs. pedestrian improvements, but I’m yet to see a list of specific projects (e.g. sidewalk on xxx block, bus queue jump at xxx intersection). I think a specific list of projects would significantly help the campaign, as people would be able to point to something it would do in their neighborhood that they would benefit from.

    1. Well you’ll see one big one on this blog, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday :-)

  4. I would like to get support for this idea being applied in King County as well.

    I would definitely support an additional $60 if it were used for Greenways and independent or low trafficked bike/pedestrian lanes:

    Seattle plans side-street pathways for cyclists

    SEATTLE (AP) — New pathways for cyclists and pedestrians could be one result from Seattle’s proposed new $60 annual car tab fee.

    The plan is to outfit a network of residential roads with speed bumps, landscaped curbs and narrower spaces for cars to give cyclists and pedestrians priority.

    Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Seattle-plans-side-street-pathways-for-cyclists-2198106.php#ixzz1ZefFeHcU

  5. Getting back to Portland: It’s great to see young people taking an active interest in improving transit operations- possibly the best thing about having the line go right through the middle of the PLU campus.

    It’ll be even better if North LINK tubes under UW have the same effect.

    It was also heartening to see the Tri-Met controller look so eager to work with the young advisers. However, I wonder how willingly Tri-Met management in general responds and encourages suggestions by the people who drive those streetcars every day?

    Along the same line, I wonder how enthusiastically the transit union local down there shows the amount of active eagerness to improve the system- though that may be connected to the answer to the previous question.

    Maybe most effective agents for positive change will be students who also drive and supervise transit. Been known to happen.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Elimination of the Ride Free Area (RFA) from Jackson and Battery Streets and in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel starting in October 2012. The RFA, started in 1973 to encourage retail development in the downtown Seattle business core, has become a money loser for King County. The elimination of the RFA is expected to generate $2.2 million in revenue for Metro.


  6. I recently made a video about Los Angeles’ TAP Card for a contest sponsored by farecard vendor Cubic Transportation Services. If you like, check it out on YouTube, but more importantly, if you are attending APTA EXPO this week, go over to the Cubic Transportation Systems booth and vote for my video. You could help a fellow Seattle-based (I’m in LA for college) transit enthusiast win a good prize. Thanks!

    1. They make $400,000 a year on PoP so it would be easy to justify rolling it out everywhere if we had ORCA readers either on the platform or on the buses. You could pay 10 people at the average American salary to just patrol buses just with what they get now.

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