Route 99 turning at 1st/Broad
After September, Route 99 will be essentially the only transit on 1st Ave

On May 7th, the King County Council passed the legislative package approving the result of Metro’s fall restructure process, which signalled the end of major routing or service level changes for September. Since then, Metro has been hard at work implementing those changes, and as part of that, making further small changes to the bus network. These “minor administrative changes” are defined to be those that  change bus stop locations by less than half a mile, and result in a change of less than 25% in the cost to provide the route; Metro can make them without public input, and without legislative approval from the King County Council.

Much of the administrative change package is focused on downtown Seattle. Generally, those changes seem excellent: they fix many operational issues I’ve been complaining about for ages, and will make the downtown network much more rational and comprehensible, although it’s hard to illustrate how much so without having a map (you can see the current map here); it will also make a number of routes significantly more reliable through downtown. Outside of downtown, there are some unfortunate changes to service in Magnolia, and some mixed news about Routes 3 and 4 in Queen Anne, both of which I’ll have more to say about in other posts later this week. Other changes outside of downtown seem pretty innocuous.

Downtown highlights and discussion after the jump.

  • Routes 10 and 12 split; no longer through-routed on 1st Ave. Inbound Route 10s on Pine St will turn around on the 2nd Ave turnback wire (where the 43 now turns) and head back out on Pike St without a layover (“live-loop”); similarly, Route 12 will live-loop on Madison and Marion at 1st Ave.
  • Routes 11 and 125 split. The 11 will live-loop on Pine/Pike, just like the 10; this should make it more reliable. It’s not clear whether the vestigial 11 trips on 1st Ave and Jackson St (symbol D on theses timetables) will go away, but I hope they do. The 125 will live-loop downtown just as the 121 does now.
  • Route 14 split; Route 14-South through-routed with Route 1. The 14 split was also specified in the legislative package, but the new through-route was not, although Route 1 was the obvious choice. The current through-route between Route 36 and Route 1 is very awkward, with divergent demand requiring different frequency on the two linked routes. Currently, about half the northbound 36s lay over in Belltown and half continue as Route 1, a pattern that’s confusing for riders while still over-serving Route 1 in the off-peak; the 14-South and 1 marry up much better. The north part of the 14 will become Route 47, and live-loop on Pine/Pike just like the 10 and 11.
  • Northbound Routes 306, 308, 312 and 522 moved from 3rd Ave to 4th Ave. Most suburban routes run southbound on 2nd Ave or 5th Ave and northbound on 4th Ave; these three routes, uniquely, run northbound on 3rd Ave. Shifting them over consolidates them with similar routes, and eliminates a time-wasting turn on Pike St (more on that below).
  • Southbound Routes 113, 121, 122 moved to 2nd Ave. Shifting these viaduct-running expresses to Shorewood and Burien over from 3rd allows them to skip the difficult and slow turn from 3rd Ave onto Columbia, making them more reliable and reducing southbound congestion on 3rd Ave.
  • The other changes in downtown seem minor, mostly moving three commuter routes (212, 217, 301) from the tunnel up to the surface, presumably to mitigate the reduction in tunnel station peak capacity due to the elimination of the Ride Free Area.

Here’s why these changes are great:

  • Right turns (almost) eliminated at 3rd & Pike. One of the current problems for transit northbound on 3rd ave is the Pike St intersection, where buses often have to wait more than one light cycle to make that right turn safely, blocking a lane on 3rd Ave. With these changes, those turns will cease during Monday-Saturday daytimes; in the evenings and Sundays, when the 7 is through-routed with the 49), those turns will continue, but it’s less problematic at those times.
  • All north-south Seattle service consolidated onto 3rd Ave; virtually all suburban service on 2nd, 4th or 5th. After September, every route* on 3rd Ave will be either an all-day service that primarily serves neighborhoods in the city, or an express variant that serves those same neighborhoods while skipping intermediate stops.  Consolidating north-south service like this makes it possibile to devise simpler maps and wayfinding directions for tourists and other casual system riders. The failed attempt to split Route 2 and put it on Madison and Marion with the 12 would, among many other benefits, have done the same for First Hill.
  • Buses will be more reliable, particularly outbound Route 12s, which are almost always late on the weekday due to terrible traffic on southbound 1st Ave. I’m going to take this opportunity to plug my really cheap suggestion to improve the pedestrian connection between the Ferry Terminal Walkway and Route 12, which would work very well with Route 12 live-looping on Madison and Marion.

Since the initial Fall 2012 restructure concept was put forward, I haven’t had many nice things to say about Metro’s handling of the process, as both good and less-good parts of the original proposal have been removed without much regard for merit, but lots of regard for narrowly-focused neighborhood groups who’ve vigorously opposed any changes, often on rather dubious factual bases. Finally, with this administrative package, I have something nice to say: Well done, Metro, for these improvements to downtown! They’re a small step in the right direction.

* There’s a tiny exception — six trips a day on Routes 118X and 119X to or from Vashon Island. Metro has another process in the works for Vashon, and these trips could go away in favor of a contract shuttle service providing Water Taxi connections. Perhaps coincidentally, the King County Ferry district hopes to add enough crew to the Melissa Ann to raise its capacity by September.

109 Replies to “Metro Makes More Changes for the Fall”

  1. Routes 212 and 217 got moved to the surface, but not 218? So someone wanting to go to Eastgate P&R needs to choose between waiting on 2nd Ave. or in the tunnel.

    1. Nothing new there. The I-90 trunk has been split for years. The split will just be a little more even now. (And you’ll notice there are fewer 212 runs and more 218 runs.)

      Of course, Metro could administratively decide to kick the 216 and 218 upstairs, so long as they give ST 180 days’ notice or ST waives the notice. The first rollout of administrative changes had the 218 going upstairs, and the 212 and 217 staying in the tunnel.

      Things might still change between now and September 29…

    2. The idea is to get ALL of the Eastgate riders out of the tunnel. In an earlier post I mentioned the 218 not moving out of the tunnel, The 212/217/301 moving out is in the official service plans that were out when I made that comment, nothing would change until next shake up.

  2. “… it will also make a number of routes significantly more reliable through downtown. Outside of downtown, …”

    That’s some pretty wishful thinking considering the elephant in the September 29 pick living room.

    The effect of having long lines of people fumbling cash and change as they board buses on 3rd Ave during PM peak for the first time in 30 years will be pretty catastrophic without further fare payment system improvements.

    Thankfully, one of the administrative changes not listed in this post is the deployment of “loaders” (Metro employees holding an ORCA reader at rear doors) in the tunnel. That may be one of the most important changes Metro makes to keep buses moving on October 1. I’d like Metro to take it a step further, and deploy loaders on 3rd Ave, at least until it is determined that their effect is minimal.

    From a parochial argumentation, the suburban commuters get their loaders. Seattleites get stuck, literally. Metro may be tight on cash, but a dozen loaders on 3rd Ave, added to the 10 loaders in the tunnel, will probably pay for themselves in operational efficiencies. If not, keep them deployed long enough to determine they aren’t needed.

    In the meantime, a few more cash fumblers will get jealous that the ORCA holders have an express line, and go get an ORCA card.

    1. Glad to hear that loaders will be operating in the tunnel, but would it be cheaper to install stationary ORCA readers near the spots in the tunnel where the rear doors should be positioned when the bus stops?

      1. the issue isn’t the orca readers as they are already there on the platform. the issue is making sure people pay to get on the bus so they don’t have to do the onboard fare inspection deal

      2. But if the readers are right by the spot where the back door is supposed to be, then the riders could tap their card and step on board. Security or fare enforcement people could do spot checks to ensure that nobody is evading payment, but I think that peer pressure would make almost everyone conform.

      3. I wonder if it’s possible to install a row of Orca readers where the ticket gates would normally go.

        Basically as you walk through the station, you’ll see a row of Orca readers on the mezzanine level right before you go down the escalators. They’ll be configured in “lanes” just like ticket gates, so people can queue up. Think ticket gates but without the gates.

        That way, NO ONE can miss the Orca readers, because if you want to take the train or bus, you’ll have to walk through a row of Orca readers first…

      4. Transit loaders have to reset their portable ORCA reader for each bus they are loading — makes a huge difference in revenue allocation between ST and Metro, not to mention ridership data for each route and trip. So it’s not just a matter of riders tapping any old reader.

      5. Existing ORCA FTP’s on station platforms are configured for Link’s fareset, not buses. One won’t work for the other, unless fare’s are harmonized between the system.

        As for the loaders, they won’t necessarily have to reset their PFTPs – I’d imagine that Metro/ST could just use APC data to figure out the split between the 550 and all of Metro’s routes, and use that to split the revenues from loaders.

      6. Existing ORCA FTP’s on station platforms are configured for Link’s fareset, not buses.

        I’d thought this would be a problem but one answer is simply to “tap out”. If you don’t tap out when exiting the bus you get charged the highest rate; just like if you don’t tap out on Link.

      7. If you have to tap out on the bus then people will still have to fight to the front of full buses to exit when they reach their destination. Unless Metro can find the cash/inclination to install rear-door ORCA readers, which would then remove a lot of the need to use readers on the platforms.

    2. Here’s a short training film Metro is using for the new team of Loaders (white gloves), starting in September. The ORCA scan is activated during the process in ‘Batch Mode’.

    3. I’ve seen this used in Stockholm and it worked fairly well. I would like to see Metro make sure that these loaders are in easy to see uniforms and that they announce their intentions to riders. That is my one criticism of this idea. I noticed that people in Stockholm wouldn’t use the back door even when they were there because they were either lazy or didn’t see the loaders.

  3. Will the changes to 118 and 119 mean the elimination of KCMetro buses riding on the Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry?

    1. The process for Vashon is ongoing, so no changes are slated yet. But yes, that could happen. Most 118/119 trips are already shuttles that force a transfer at the ferry terminal, it’s just the two 118X and one 119X trip each direction that load onto the car farry.

    2. A much bigger change for Vashon could be on the horizon … to DART or other “alternative” service. It is on the short list for three areas being considered for a pilot project.

      BTW, While only three buses cross on the ferry in the peak direction, they each have to deadhead on the ferry in the other direction.

    3. Oh, and any buses that circulate on Vashon all day also have to get from their night base to Vashon, unless Metro spills out for a dedicated Vashon base.

      1. The buses that only handle the peak on-island shuttle trips stay on Vashon (the morning operators do coach swaps with the express operators). All other shuttle/evening express buses return to Seattle at end of service.

        There was a recent proposal to have a garage on the island to eliminate the need to send buses to and from the island on a regular basis (the current “garage” is the KCDOT road maintenance yard. I don’t know what the vehicle maintenance/repair capabilities are there).

        IIRC, at one time the off peak and weekend shuttles were contracted out (I think that ended in the mid 90’s).

      2. Can Metro use Vashon Island P&R to store their buses at night when the P&R is otherwise empty?

      3. They’d have to fence off a chunk of the P&R. You can’t just leave a bus sitting around.

        Logistics is one of the many appealing parts of switching to a contract service on Vashon. Metro won’t need to figure any of this stuff out.

  4. Didn’t they just add runs to 218 and now the administrative changes say they will take 2 morning and evening runs away. Hrm…

    I’m curious how “Provide additional [265] trips when Route 255 riders are displaced due to construction” will work? More trips from Houghton P&R in lieu of construction at South Kirk P&R I’m assuming.

    1. Thats because the goal is to kick the Eastgate Riders out of the tunnel and group them all with the 212, 215 and 554 on the surface. The 4 218 trips were to ease overcrowding to/from Eastgate, since the goal is to move Eastgate riders away from the 218, they no longer need those trips.

      1. I understand the idea of moving the 212/217 out to get the Eastgate riders off the 218. Too often, 218’s would be overloaded at IDS, passing up Issq High P/R bound passengers because the bus was too full, many of which on board were just going to Eastgate and could have taken the 212 instead and allowed space on the 218 for the Issq passengers.

        But for this plan to work, I feel that the Eastgate Freeway stop should be removed for the 218, because many of the Eastgate passengers will continue to board the 216/218 in the tunnel because of the quicker travel time through downtown and the 212 will no longer be there to help with the passenger loads, it will be upstairs, being underutilized, in the outbound directions.

      2. So why do Iss. Highlands riders have to choose between waiting on 2nd Ave for the 554 or in the tunnel for the 218?

      3. D.P.-
        They won’t have to. Issaquah Highlands passengers won’t take the 554 during rush hour since it takes about 45-50mins, so most everybody would take the 218.

  5. Some of those neighborhood groups, such as the ones I heard about in West Seattle, complained because service was taken away from their area and they’d have had to go a mile or more to get a bus. In some cases, up large hills. People don’t only use the buses in or near downtown.

    1. The only people who could fit that criteria in West Seattle were the tiny handful of people on Beach drive, who were slated to lose the 37 and 53; they succeeded in keeping eight trips a day on the 37. As you can see from the chart in this post, there are, on average, less than five people on the 37 on Beach Dr south of Carroll St, which is about as far as anyone would walk from the terminus of the 56X:

      Based on the anemic demand, and that there’s only a tiny strip of populated land down there, I don’t think Beach Drive warrants bus service. The right tool for serving Beach Drive commuters is vanpooling or car sharing, and I’ll happily pay for paratransit service for the tiny number of disabled people who live down there.

      1. Vanpooling and carsharing is not the tool for those of us who don’t drive. But, yeah, the few got to keep empty buses at the expense of the many.

  6. One thing King County could do that would help a lot with ORCA adoption is to mail out pre-loaded ORCA cards to people paying the vehicle license fee rather than paper bus tickets. While this might not get a card into the hands of every cash fumbler I’m sure it would increase ORCA adoption at least a little bit. Also King County needs to eliminate paper transfers like CT and ST have done.

    Furthermore the fee for the card should be $2.50 rather than $5 and the fee should be waived if you pre-load more than a certain dollar amount or a puget pass on the card. Passes should be available in 1 day, 7 day, and 30 day increments with a rolling window rather than being tied to a particular month.

    Unfortunately the latter changes would require the approval of all agencies participating in ORCA which might be harder to get than it should.

    1. Even offering the option of getting an ORCA instead of paper tickets would have been nice (and would still be nice). If those ordering the ORCA card were going to use it, I think it would have been worth the extra $2.50 per person ordering the card.

      Regardless of this program, I’d love to see a way for free ticket holders to cash their tickets in at customer service and get a comensurate ORCA load. If they are already downtown at the customer service center, then they are precisely the sort of people we want getting an ORCA.

  7. Metro was probably waiting until right after I leave my downtown job and move from Seattle to eliminate the 3rd/Pike right turn, but I’m happy for the rest of you. It is definitely one of the pound-head-into-streetlight problems with service downtown.

    Buses waiting to turn, combined with the semi-regular rush hour backup at the 3rd/Pike-Pine NB stop (broken bus, lift deployment, person asking operator for directions, police/fire action, etc.) can lead to a complete blockage of NB 3rd, defeating the entire skip-stop operation. Buses waiting to enter the Pike-Pine stop often travel in the left lane between Union and Pike to avoid the turning buses but then can’t enter the Pike-Pine zone because it is full.

    1. I would like to see them get rid of the left turn from NB 3rd to Pine St. Ir’s currently not allowed during rush hour but it’s not unusual to see buses get stuck after rush hour by cars waiting to turn left there.

  8. Will splitting the 10/12 and 11/125 increase service frequencies for any of those routes outside peak hours? I have my eye mainly on Sunday, where ALL downtown-bound 11 trips continue as 125 trips.

    1. The Route 125 will run every 45 minutes on weekday nights and Saturday daytime and not at all on Sundays/Holidays for the September service change.

  9. What’s the status of the 3N/4N service? The ordinance package said that the 3N would be deleted and the service hours rolled into more 4N service, but the administrative changes only reduce 3N service on weekend mornings and evenings. Why wasn’t the 3N extended to SPU to compensate for the loss of most route 17 service to downtown?

    1. SPU & Nickerson will have doubled the service with the 31/32 where you can transfer to Rapid Ride @ 15th Ave W or route 26/28/40 @ 34th/Fremont.

      Route 62 will run reverse peak hour serve direct to/from downtown, (old route 17 between downtown and Ballard Locks. AM outbound, PM rush inbound)

      Route 29 (extended 2X) will operate direct to/from downtown (between Ballard Locks and Downtown via Queen Anne Express, AM inbound, PM rush outbound)

  10. The 99 won’t run on weekends, or midday, leaving the area from 1st ave to Alaskan as a big transit desert. To those proposing a 1st Ave streetcar: why completely ignore these riders NOW?

    1. I watch the 99 run by my apt every night near Cedar. From 7pm on, virtually nobody is riding. I doubt you’ll see the expanded night runs next summer.

      It’s still fairly busy during the mid-day though, so maybe they’ll keep that.

      To me it’s silly to talk about a streetcar on First until the Viaduct is gone and the waterfront redone. Right now there aren’t the pedestrian links to the waterfront to support a streetcar, and the traffic situation in the afternoon would be a nightmare.

      1. In an ideal world I’d love to see a streetcar on the waterfront, First Ave, and a connector line on 4th/5th.

        Of those the 4th/5th connector is probably the most important. The Waterfront line should happen as well since it can tap funding sources the other lines might not be able to (tourism promotion, economic development, construction mitigation, etc.)

        First Ave seems like a good idea for a streetcar, but without exclusive lanes would be an operational nightmare. Given the narrow ROW on First I don’t see exclusive lanes happening for a streetcar line there.

        Western might be an idea to split the difference between the Waterfront and First Ave.

      2. Chris … the solution would be to make 1st ave NB only w/dedicated streetcar lanes on the east or west side of the street … which wouldn’t be the end of the world since 2nd is SB only

      3. I don’t think the low ridership is because the corridor has no potential. I think it’s because the 99 sucks.

      4. I actually didn’t realize it ran as late as it does. It doesn’t run often enough, but I think I’ll start riding it this week anyway since I get out of work very late and waiting up on 3rd at that time of night feels even less safe.

      5. I actually rode the 99 for the first time last night — the 9:48 bus from Alaskan and Clay. It wasn’t crowded, but it had a fair number of people on it — many of whom seemed to be folks who work in the area. I wouldn’t call it “virtually nobody.”

        I hadn’t realized it ran this late. I could have been riding it all summer after work. Takes me straight to the ID-Chinatown station to transfer to Link. Works for me.

    2. The 99 is super useful for cruise passengers and other tourists accessing the waterfront. I hope it comes back on weekends next summer.

      1. No it isn’t useful because by the time you wait half an hour for the bus to show up, you could just walk and arrive at your destination faster. And when the ride free area goes away, a group of 3 tourists traveling together could even ride in a taxi for a less than what the bus would cost.

        Without drastic improvements in frequency, the 99 is little more than a shuttle for the handicapped and those fortuitous enough to happen to see it coming.

    3. 1st Ave is a reliability nightmare. You have to isolate service serving 1st Ave from anything else, which obviously limits its scope. Personally, if there were money to add another 8- (or so) bus route, I’d suggest a straightforward route up and down 1st, running between Seattle Center and Lander Street at 10-minute frequency. Unfortunately, that’s a very expensive proposition.

  11. I understand the logistical reason for eliminating the 10/12 though route on 1st. But from a practical perspective, it really sucks. I refuse (and so do a lot of other people, anticdotally) refuse to wait for buses on 3rd at night. It’s just not safe. I frequently use the stop at 1st and Union. Why can’t Metro put a security guard at stops on 3rd at night like they have in the tunnel?

    Also another commenter mentioned this, but if you’re on the waterfront, walking from there to 3rd is not trivial, especially from University to Yesler.

  12. Boy, that route 47 (rebranded 14N) is not going to get much ridership! At least right now it can serve Cap Hill folks who want to go downtown and folks who want to continue farther. After this split it will be one of the shortest routes in the system, and largely duplicative of the 43. I hate to say it, but it may be time to put that old streetcar route out of its misery for good. Maybe when the light rail station opens that will be enough of a draw to convince people down on Summit and Bellevue to walk up the hill, and they can cancel the bus line.

      1. So? We could take down the trolley wire.

        Instead of sending the 25 to Montlake and through campus, it could continue to serve Laurelhurst via the University Bridge and 45th St until we have the capital to extend the 44’s trolley wire.

      2. It would still be a terrible route. Come 2016, everybody on Summit Slope is going to take U-Link to the UW. Everybody on Eastlake will take the 70 (as they do now), everyone on Sand Point way will take the 75 (as they do now), and practically nobody in Laurelhurst will ride the bus (as they don’t now).

      3. I have successfully confirmed through experimentation that travel time on the #25 from the U-Village to Montlake is no faster than jogging down the Burke-Gilman trail.

        The 25 is a silly route and there are so many ways its service hours could be re-invested to provide better service on the U-district->downtown corridor. For instance, the service hours of the 25 could be used to operate the 70, along with the 71X/72X/73X later into the evening and on Sundays, alleviating what can sometimes be severe overcrowding on those buses. A crush-loaded 73 under pay-as-you-shove-to-the-exit can easily take an hour+ to get from the ID station to the U district.

      4. 2016 is still 4 years away. Ideally we’d see a huge restructure of bus service that prioritized east-west feeder service to the Link trunk like. In the meantime, the 47 and 25 are absolutely useless, and could be combined into something more useful.

    1. Yes, that’s what I’d likely to see, too. I’m not sure whether Metro would have the stones to make that change, though.

      Looking at the proposed frequencies (30-45 min at all times except peak), and the current run times (9-15 mins each direction), I bet this routes is just being served by a single coach in the off-peak. It is, I suppose, at least cheap to operate.

      1. I hope the 66 will also continue — unlike the 70express routes, it’s the best straightshot from downtown to the Roosevelt/U-District, it does not have to weave its way through the congested Ave. And, also unlike he 70express routes, its routing always remains the same.

      2. What’s wrong with just adding the 70’s unique stops to the 66, so we can have one route instead of two on Eastlake?

      3. The 70 also takes Fairview through South Lake Union, while the 66 stays on Eastlake. The 70 routing has a slightly better walkshed, but the 66 routing is faster, with fewer stoplights and a nice overpass over the Mercer Mess.

        Then, there’s some slight discrepencies downtown, where the 66 stops next to the ferry terminal, but the 70 doesn’t. The occasional long line of cars coming off the ferry is probably a significant source of delay for the 66.

      4. I have to agree with asdf on the 66. It is (possibly) what the 70 series could be if it ran up 15th ave instead of university ave. Also, the 66/67 are generally well used most of the day. Now if we could just get the schedules of the 66 and 67 to complement each other…and have service every 12-15 minutes up roosevelt.

      5. also – although i think its the ferry stop that will prevent this – I wish the 66 was in tunnel (i know, i know capacity…) then i wouldn’t have to hedge bets on whether to stay on third or run down the stairs to grab a 72/73 up to maple leaf…

    2. It was a good route until the 43 started. Why not keep the route and change the 43 to serve Denny with Route 8?

      1. Because the 43, throughrouted with the 44, has reliability issues as is. We don’t want to throw it on the same roadway as the always-late-number-8.

      2. They are already disconnected during the day on weekdays. The 43-44 through routing only happens for morning and evening runs Monday – Saturday (plus a couple extras in the afternoon), and all day on Sunday.

    3. The 14N has been my closest route for seven years, although two years ago I moved closer to the 43 and alternatives. I turned down an apartment at the very end of the 14N because it’s a 30 minute walk to Pine Street or Convention Place. So I’ve seen how the 14 functions over the years, and its impact on people who live around Summit. It’s full peak hours but has little ridership in the evenings. Part of the problem is the 43 northbound leaves a few minutes earlier, and the 14 is usually 5-10 minutes late, so the 43 cannibalizes the 14’s ridership even though it makes people walk further.

      In the past two years Metro has repeatedly tweaked with the evening frequency, from 30 minutes to 60 minutes to 30-45 minutes, and threatened to delete evening service entirely. This is Metro’s usual tactic for reducing a route it might later eliminate (see the 99, and the withdrawn 27 changes).

      There’ll be a Capitol Hill restructuring in 2016, so Metro may be waiting until then to make larger changes to the route.

      Summit riders have more alternatives than people at NE 75th, NE 145th, or Kent, so I can’t say the route is strictly necessary. But parts of Summit are a long walk southward, or a steep walk eastward, to alternate service. Especially when these routes drop to half-hourly in the evening, it becomes a burden to take the bus rather than driving. Especially since you’re walking to those routes to transfer to another route downtown.

      I have ridden the 14 a number of times from Summit to east Jackson or Mt Baker, so that interlining does have some advantages. It makes up for the spotty service on lower Broadway. The First Hill Streetcar will provide an alternative to Jackson when it opens.

      I was amused to discover that from Mt Baker station to Summit in the evening, it’s quicker to take Link and walk 20 minutes from Westlake Station than to take the 14 or 8.

      1. It is an extremely steep walk to the east. I’m quite able-bodied and have nearly bit it a few times on those sidewalks in the winter.

    4. I take it you have never been on the 14 during peak hours. That bus gets packed!

      The trick for Capitol Hill busses is and always has been to transfer into the tunnel at westlake. Buses running in the tunnel beat the pants off the surface street buses.

    5. As a current rider of the 14N, I think that the live loop will reduce the ridership of the peak ridership southbound in the AM- a lot of time it’s folks going to their offices in Pioneer Square or South downtown, and also to King St. Station. I know that it takes me to my office on 3rd and Madison when I feel too lazy to walk. For me the live loop will just make me walk unless it’s pouring.

      I’ll miss it, but most people can walk the few minutes to the 43. It’s also empty after about 8pm.

      If I had a crystal ball, I’d say that the 14N is heading for the chopping block eventually, and this is a way to slowly kill it.

  13. The Pike Street wire is going to get crowded with routes 10, 11, 43 and 47, so I can see why they’re live-looping all routes except the 43. Correct me if I am wrong, but will Route 47 be a trolley route, or will it be eternally dieselized?

    1. Should be trolley. The route is not changing from the current 14N except for the live-loop.

  14. This is almost like salt in the wound. It demonstrates that Metro GETS IT, it just the County Council cocking everything up.

    How do we go about depoliticizing Metro?

    1. Privatize it? Short of that I don’t believe it’s possible. A county council would simply fire and appoint a new puppet if it didn’t suit their political agenda. The only practical way to force efficiency is by cutting to the bone and then fighting the good fight to keep only routes that meet an agreed upon set of metrics as funding is restored. While still difficult it’s much easier to deny new wasteful spending than it is to cut off an “entitlement”.

    2. There are a ton of really smart people at Metro, who really do get it, really do care, are riders themselves, and are as frustrated as we are at how difficult it is to get things done.

      Honestly, the best way to depoliticize Metro, in my opinion, is to take them out from under the county entirely and place them either directly under Sound Trasit, or making it into seperate agency via a Transit Benefits District. Not only would this free it from the council’s political games, but also a lot of rules and regulations the County has to abide by that a seperate agency wouldn’t. If anything, it’d help reduce the beurocracy and let Metro innovate and change as the Seattle Metropolitan area does.

      1. Had not thought about a TBD for Metro. Would have to be County-wide, no?

        +1 on the people at Metro, indeed.

      2. Not necessarily. Remember, Metro wasn’t county wide until the late 70s when Olympia passed legislation making all Metropolitan Municipalities (of which Metro was the only one) congruent with the county they’re in. At first it only covered the urban areas of the county, much like Sound Transit is now. Given how little service goes to rural areas, I’d imagine they wouldn’t mind the lower tax rate. Plus, limiting Metro to more urban areas would improve the odds of passing tax increases, etc., much like redefining Pierce Transit’s boundaries has.

        Moving Metro under Sound Transit would have a similar effect, with the added efficiencies of have the agency that operates the vast majority of ST’s service becoming a part of ST itself. It’d also set us on the right path of consolidating the myriad transit agencies we have in the area into a more manageable, accountable, and logical structure.

      3. Replacing the current organizational structure with a PTBA would result in politicization of service. You would either have a larger board or areas without representation. As it stands now all areas within the county have some form of representation. At present, the main obstacle to service being provided is a lack of demand for service. If there was demand for service to the rural areas of East King County that currently lack service, then the County Council would find a way to provide service to those areas.

    1. Why does the 522 enter downtown through Union St. while all the other commuter buses use Stewart? Is there a reason for the 522 to be treated differently here?

      I personally like Union better myself, as it gets into the core of downtown quickly and avoids the awful traffic signal at Stewart & Denny, which can often take several cycles to get through.

  15. The 306 and 312 are identical through Kenmore. Is the 312 being moved from 3rd to 4th as well?

    1. This is the RapidRide C and D restructure, not the Capitol Hill restructure that’ll happen in four years. These Capitol Hill changes are mainly to address delays on 3rd Avenue.

      1. Still, I’d expect that disconnecting the through-routing for all of these routes would classify as more than “no routing change.” Otherwise why include them in the online info at all? Someone had to type that up, and it would have been much more accurate to just put the change that’s being made. As it is the documents imply that you will still be able to ride the 10/12 on 1st Ave, or continue on the 11 down 3rd as a 125 to West Seattle.

  16. How many remember that the #7 and the #49 were once the #7 route? I still think of the #49 as the #7. I thought they were separated due to the fact that they could not run as a through route in a timely and efficient manner. Has something changed?

    I too have been watching for administrative action regarding “Unfortunately the Neighborhood Information Sheet for Capitol Hill and the Summary of changes adopted by the Council on Metro’s service change site still say there are no changes to the 10, 11, and 12.” These are pretty big changes for some neighborhoods and am not sure administrative action was a good way to resolve these. Are they happening?

    1. The administrative actions look a lot more thoughtful to me than the sausage that made it through the county council. When people who show up at neighborhood meetings become more powerful than elected officials, something is out of balance.

    2. As far as I know the 7 and 49 aren’t changing, they will still be separate routes most of the time. They only through-route on evenings and Sundays according to the schedule, when they are supposedly able to operate more reliably.

      I’m looking forward to the changes on the 10, 11, and 12, and the reliability they’ll bring. I just wish it could be communicated more consistently and accurately by Metro.

    3. The 7 and the 49 still cannot run as a through route in a timely and efficient manner. In the evenings and on Sundays, Metro does it anyway (and never stopped doing it).

      Metro preserves a lot of through routes that cannot run in a timely and efficient manner, solely on the basis of inertia and resistance to change.

      I can think of another through route that Metro has retained, even though it cannot run in a timely and efficient manner. Want to guess which? Here’s a hint: I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 3.

  17. Someone above mentioned the use of “Loaders” along with the video of loaders pushing people into the Japanese trains to get the doors closed….

    Well, I have learned that Metro will be assigning Metro operators to tunnel stations during PM peak hours and possibly more times of the day(TBD) to help speed up the process of loading coaches by placing them at the rear door with portable ORCA scanners and allowing passengers to board the rear door upon scanning their ORCA passes.

    I don’t have any other details about this yet, but sounds like this is whats going to happen.

      1. Perhaps inadvertently this will let Metro, later, apply for grants to fund rear door ORCA readers by demonstrating how much operating money they’ll save by not needed loaders anymore.

        It’s certainly a welcome fix in the interim, will be interesting to see how it works out.

  18. One question I have that I haven’t seen answered yet is what will happen to the through-routes on the following routes:

    40 (revised 18)

    The lack of any mention in the admin. changes document makes me think the 40 will still be through-routed with the 21, and the 5 will now just terminate downtown. But the 40/21 would be a hellaciously long route that would face many reliability issues. I’m inclined to think it would work better to through-route the 5 with the 21. As long as the 5 is, it’s shorter and hits fewer chronic delay spots than the 40.

    1. Route 40 is a stand alone route between NTC and laying over on 6th ave S in front of Central Base.

      Route 5 local (all trips going to/from Shoreline @ 15min service) will be through routed with 21 local (being upgraded to 15min service and terminating at Westwood Village)

      1. Thanks, Casey. Very good news. All the other changes you listed are in the admin. changes document. Not sure why they left the 5/21 through-route out.

    2. Also, on the topic of through routing….
      5 with 21
      24 with 124
      26/28 with 131/132
      27 with 33
      31/32 with 65/75
      67 with 68
      RR C Line with RR D Line
      and not exactly through routed but….
      61 Sh with 17X/18X’s and 62 with 29Ex’s

      1. That brings up another mystery… why never any consideration of expanded span of service on the 68? It’s one of the two most productive U-District routes when it is actually running, and serves a lot of otherwise unserved territory. Every time I ride it it is packed.

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