Two interesting opportunities for the public to comment this week:

  • Sound Transit is holding a public hearing on Ride Free Area elimination. It’s at Union Station this Thursday from 12:30 to 1pm. The stated purpose of this meeting is to receive comment from the public.
  • The Puget Sound Regional Council is doling out $2.3m in federal funds, for operating subsidies to Community Transit as well as transit facility construction in Kitsap County. The deadline to submit comments is May 31st, but May 24th is the deadline to get your comment in the agenda packet.

11 Replies to “Two Deadlines”

  1. How strange would it be if ST didn’t end the RFA? I suppose the public hearing is a formality.

    1. There are other issues besides just whether to keep the RFA. For instance, will ST switch to an “exit at rear doors always” policy? If Metro does that, it’ll be hard for ST not to. That would collide with CT’s policy which it imposes on CT-operated ST routes. I was riding southbound on the 511 from Mountlake Terrace, and the driver wouldn’t let people off at 175th or 145th by the back door, but did allow it at Denny Way. I asked the driver why, and she said it’s “still in revenue service” north of downtown, and she got reprimanded for letting people off via the back door there. I said that Metro now lets people leave via the back door now except downtown, but she said. “It’s the policy in Snohomish County so we have to follow it in King County to be consistent.”

      1. Thanks for bringing this up, Mike. This is exactly the kind of crap that the region’s whole ridership needs to get the maddest about. The tunnel farebox problem is just a subset of it.

        When Sound Transit was in front of the voters pleading for its life, one of its most persuasive claims was that a positive vote would give us an integrated regional transit system. That was going on twenty years ago.

        So I don’t want to hear the name of any county mentioned in connection with public transit, especially on service carrying Sound Transit’s own colors.Motorists don’t need to know where the county line is. Neither should transit passengers.

        For the record, fact I’m a resident of King County is an administrative matter. I live in Ballard, and City of Seattle is a good geographic reference. But my working life takes place in a region including Olympia to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Vancouver BC to the north and the Cascade Crest to the east.

        On May 21, 2012, it’s long past time that region had a transit system.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Wait, CT’s policy is to never use the back door except in downtown Seattle? That doesn’t make sense.

        Given that CT contracts out all of their ST service to First Transit anyway, it seems like RFA and enter-front exit-rear policies would be pretty easy to change without affecting their own service.

      3. If you’re riding on one of those big long Metro articulated busses, there’s quite a long stretch in the middle of the bus where there’s nothing to hold on to. If I’m sitting in the front of the bus, I don’t want to have to walk to the rear exit while the bus is still moving. I’m happy to walk to the front of the bus while it’s moving and exit there when it stops. Or I’m happy to sit and wait until the bus stops and then I’ll walk to the rear exit. But I’m NOT happy to walk around on the bus where there’s nothing to hold on to.

  2. Matt the Engineer – I agree. What good does it do Sound Transit to endure yet another public drubbing about this? Unless maybe they’re reconsidering their decision? Probably not, but hope springs eternal.

    1. The public hearing is scheduled for thirty minutes. I don’t think they are expecting much of a public drubbing, especially when Metro is seen as leading the decision.

  3. Eliminating the ORCA fee would take agreement between Metro and ST. Coming to that agreement would probably be a wildly popular decision among human service advocates. I know of no interest group (outside some within the agencies who may not comprehend why this should be revenue positive) that would oppose such a move.

    I’d also like to see ST raise their cash fares up to the next dollar-bill amounts and lower their e-fares by a penny as mitigation. That one penny might reduce card waste, but it also has legal meaning if a federal court has to answer the question of whether ST provided mitigation for creating differential fares.

    Just for good measure, I’d also like ST to help fund the circulators, with the understanding that if a court throws out the fare differential, ST is removed from its obligation to help fund the circulators.

    1. Why should ST fund the circulators? None of its Seattle routes are designed to be local. ST honored the RFA simply to avoid confusing riders. (“Why do I have to pay on this bus but not that bus? Why is this bus to Issaquah pay on entry but the other one is pay on exit? Oh, I can’t ride free on this bus? I’ll step off now then, thanks.”) If ST subsidizes the circulators, that’s money ST can’t spend on other North King priorities like the Brooklyn or Capitol Hill station plazas.

      1. Subsidizing the circulators would be mitigation for creating the cash fare differential, not for eliminating the RFA. We have to give human service agencies an incentive to not try to legally block a sane fare system.

  4. Large turnout by transit-knowledgeable riding public would be good at this meeting, since elected representatives of all relevant agencies should be there. Systemwide geographic representation would be good too, since proposed changes will affect riders regionwide.

    Message that elected officials need to hear to their faces is that people paying for transit service,and whose own employment is impaired and often endangered by being late, are not going to tolerate the service delays that will result from using bus fareboxes in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

    Also message that excuses over the inflexibility of our fare system don’t wash. If present fare collection system can’t help getting in the way of the buses and trains, we need to find one that doesn’t. Desperate times, desperate measures.

    Mark Dublin

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