26 Replies to “Subway!”

  1. Ok, that hurt my ears… But liked (in a morbid fashion) the grimy car and that the doors opened when the train was still moving…

  2. …. and I saw another bus driver downtown who had a smile sign in her bus window, but she wasn’t smiling. I don’t understand what the smile sign is for. Is it to encourage people to smile more? If that’s the case, then why don’t the smile-sign drivers simply smile more themselves to encourage smiling? I think it’s ridiculous to want others to smile more, but you don’t smile very much yourself.

    Another question. Do they want people to smile even when there isn’t a reason to smile? I mean, isn’t no smile at all better than an insincere smile?

    1. It’s ok to smile sometimes, Sam. But they won’t throw you off the bus if you don’t.

      1. You sound like an incurious person, and that’s fine, but I’m not. I like trying to understand things that don’t make sense to me. So I’m trying to figure out why some bus drivers who don’t smile put “smile” signs on their bus.

  3. Transit Life In The Burbs

    Thursday was a bad day for OBA.

    At 3:05pm I walked to 109th and 256nd on Kent East, to get the 168 intending to leave my car behind and do the “Full Transit” down to Benaroya Hall. I got to the stop and brought up OBA. It showed a #168 arriving in 50 minutes, that was 45 minutes late. I had learned not to trust OBA when it comes to late buses, but I checked in periodically to see.

    After a while the bus times didn’t move, but five minutes before the bus was due to arrive according to the fixed schedule (3:20pm) there were three #168 buses on OBA, all with arrival and late times above 30 minutes listed!

    The real bus arrived right on schedule at 3:20pm…luckily OBA also has the printed schedules because the bus sign pole did not.

    The same thing happened while waiting for the 150 at Kent Station to downtown. There was yet another Phantom Bus with an excessively long arrival and delay time, but the real bus showed up right on time!

    Coming back from Benaroya was much different. I had been driving to LINK Tukwila for a while because of the more frequent late night runs of the train, but I noticed they extended the hours of the 169 feeder but that runs up Kent East Hill, so I took the 150 back. Another thing they changed is they’re running the new high roof buses on that route. Those buses have a wonderful smooth ride! Having a smooth ride makes all the difference on a 30 minute+ trip which is why a train is often better than a bus…the old yellow and white articulated buses were like riding in an oil drum over Niagra falls. But these new buses are almost as smooth as riding in a train…and the ceilings are higher which removes some of the closeness of other passengers, making it more relaxing.

    Coming into Kent station, I made the time transfer point with 1 minute to spare and got whisked up the hill. However, I will note that if I had missed that bus, it would have been a one hour wait. Please, Metro, pay attention to these feeder buses and boost the frequency…it makes all the difference for a transit decision!

    Yesterday

    Had to take the bike out with the sunshine, so I moved my home office to a mobile office…sitting out side Starbucks with a latte. Then after hours, I took the bike down the hill to Cal’s American for a burger and cucumber Mojito. I attended a fantastic presentation by a design group that was creating bike trip and permanent trail marking for the Greenways and parks of Kent…beautiful work, and then with the cold, dark and traffic coming on decided to throw the bike on bus for the hill climb. There were two buses scheduled to arrive, a 169, and a 159.

    OBA predicted them to arrive in 11 minutes according to schedule. They arrived about 15 minutes later. Normally I understand that OBA is gigo, but these buses were coming one stop away from Kent Transit Center! Isn’t there a waypoint there for synching up the to the database? What is going on with these numbers?!

    1. the old yellow and white articulated buses were like riding in an oil drum over Niagra falls. But these new buses are almost as smooth as riding in a train

      I’m assuming by high-roof you mean low-floor – the roof height is actually unchanged, so it’s just a matter of perspective.

      The better ride is largely due to a longer wheelbase in the tractor section, but the air suspension on the newer buses does give a much softer ride. You can actually get a nice comfy ride in one of the old high-floor artics, but only if you sit in the right row.

      The most well isolated seats are the ones between the 2 front axles (the closer to equidistant you can get, the better). The second best seats are the ones directly above any of the axles. And the worst seats are the ones at the extreme front and rear of either section.

      1. I think he means he was on one of the new Orions … which do have more headroom inside

      2. I was sitting on the rearmost of the 3 sideways seats facing the rear door. The ride was so smooth the 50 minute trip actually seemed faster!

      3. Does anyone know why the low-floor articulates have such a loud, high-pitched squeak when the bus turns sharply? I ride the #5 and turning a 90-degree turn, like from Fremont Avenue to 43rd Street can be an ear-piercing experience. Its not on all turns, just the sharper turns.

      4. Is that the bus with the less comfortable seats? Medium-firm instead of Metro’s traditional plush seats. I rode one of those Thursday, the 101, when I almost went to Renton for the open house. When I turned around at Intl Dist, another 101 took me back and it also had the new seats.

        It looked like there was greater legroom and standing space with those seats, although I’m not sure if the aisles are actually wider. But it looks like the thinness of the seats translates to more room around them.

    2. “if I had missed that bus, it would have been a one hour wait”

      Stuff like this is why I try to avoid depending on infrequent feeder buses whenever possible. Even a so-called “timed connection”, without a written promise that the feeder bus will wait if the trunk bus is late, is nothing more than an unreliable connection.

      Typically, if I were making a bus trip like this, I would avoid the dependency on the feeder bus by biking to the bus stop. Or, I might make the conscious decision ahead of time that if I miss the feeder bus, I’ll call a cab, rather than wait a whole hour at the bus stop for the next one. A 10% chance of having to pay $15 is an expected cost of $1.50, which I can deal with. A 10% chance of being stranded at a deserted bus stop for a full hour is something a lot harder to deal with.

      Nevertheless, I can see that the possibility of having to resort to calling a cab like this can make transit a very difficult sell for anyone with a car sitting in their driveway.

      1. This is why I can’t rent an apartment out there. The transit sucks, I can’t afford to drive anything bigger than a motorcycle, and my wife flat out doesn’t drive.

    3. Greenways, so both Seattle and Kent are building greenways at the same time. Interesting. If they are the same thing. Do you mean making small streets more bicycle-friendly, or work on the Interurban Trail?

  4. Thank heaven Metro and Sound transit don’t service Loser Town in Pullman. Yuck. I am not sure buses are built yet with a toilet in front of every seat.You know. For puking. Yuck.

    Go Huskies!

  5. Would it be possible to add an infill stop on the monorail in Belltown? That would make the monorail much more useful and provide good transit service to Belltown until a subway can be built there eventually.

  6. Today I walked by the Solana apartments – new, 3-4 story, look very nice, and noticed an Apodment.com sign. Remembering the stories a while back about apodments (basically, tiny but affordable apartments), I looked them up. Indeed, even in our high-rent economy, they’re renting apodments for under $500/mo.

    (of course, in my search for apodments Glenn Roberts comes up near the top of the search with his make-fun-of-the-poor rant about how all structrures should be large single family homes, and anything less is just developers making a profit. we’re supposed to ignore the fact that he sells single family homes for a living.)

  7. The King County Council gave the 42 a one-year reprieve, ignoring testimony from several riders that the route is useless when its frequency is only hourly.

    What’s missing isn’t alternative service for riders of the 42, but more information, in more languages (especially Vietnamese and Tagalog) about how the alternative service already exists, just with a transfer in some cases.

    Other than wasting another year of service hours on the 42, and possibly axing what might have turned out to be a revenue-generating route (the 600, a counter-peak diversion to Tukwila Group Health, subsidized by Group Health), kudos to the county council for axing the emptiest and most redundant of empty, redundant routes.

  8. NYT article, claiming suburbs have turned our build environment into “a leading cause of disability and death in the 21st century”. Article here. PBS series here. (sadly, neither Netflix nor the Seattle Library has a copy – I’ll see if I can still Tivo it)

  9. On the way to work this morning there was a story on KUOW about a bill in the legislature to allow an increase in the gas tax. The twist is that it extends to cities a funding source all counties currently possess (but none have ever used). That is a 3 cent per gallon gas tax can be levied by popular vote. Sorry, don’t have the bill number.

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