From Flickr user wolfstad. See a bigger version here. (Via)
Lynx isn’t on here? 11 –> 50 to get between MCO Airport and the Ticket & Transportation Center :)
I’ve witnessed Metro bus drivers be rude to small children, scream at teenagers, ignore passengers, be sarcastic to passengers, be rude to passengers, and more. I wonder if Walt Disney World transit employees also act the same way to their passengers when they are having a bad day.
Major difference – Disney World riders are there because they want to be, Metro riders that cause the most problems are there because they have to be.
Drivers are just humans doing a job. Sometimes the pay is not nearly enough!
On the other hand I’ve seen KC Metro drivers take the extra initiative and be really helpful to passengers. It’s unreasonable to expect everyone to be great. Life doesn’t work that way.
Metro drivers on average are pretty average. Hundreds of them are truly top-notch. Hundreds are truly in the wrong line of work and/or lucky to have a job of any kind. Any similar essentially retail service run with pride or customer service truly in mind would never, ever permit such inconsistence and mediocrity. Metro usually puts its own needs ahead of those of its customers. But, they almost always do get the rider where they’re going, sometimes promptly and often after a ridiculous amount of tolerance and effort on the part of the rider.
Do the Disney places have any “rules of conduct” for visitors? If visitors are drunk or crazy or abusive to the staff, is anything done about warning them or removing them from the park?
Obviously, Metro drivers from behaving in totally inappropriate ways, but I’m not sure that the Disney environments are directly comparable to an urban public environment.
They ship them of to ‘It’s a Small, Small World’, until they can never get the jingle out of there brains, causing societal withdwawl, and eventual death.
In Fall 1993, I had an afternoon run five days a week on the Route 7- a run I liked, with equipment- a 400-series 60′ trolleybus I really liked. But schedule demanded that I drive six hours with a five minute bathroom break- if I was lucky.
After the sixth hour on duty, I started undergoing personality changes like that Scotch doctor in the Robert Louis Stevenson story. I couldn’t believe how badly I was treating the public. I was lucky to make it through an 8-hour day, let alone a whole shakeup, without a gross misconduct charge.
I honestly think that by Federal law- the same kind of mandate as for random drug-testing except a more effective use of public revenue- a full-time transit-driver’s shift should be six hours, with at least a fifteen-minute break at every terminal.
No overtime permitted. And generous vacation time. Would appreciate somebody filling me in on what recovery time is now. A couple of shakeups back, it seemed Metro cut it out of existence. Work performance would be safer if liquor and meth were allowed on duty.
They did. Somthing about a County Audit labeling it Wasteful.
Gotta agree. Some of those A-runs on the 7 were absolutely brutal when I drove between 2000 and 2005, and that was before “wasteful” recovery time was cut. Recovery time appeared on the schedule, but you couldn’t actually get it, because the schedule was laughably unrealistic. The 48 was even worse.
To my riders, I was two different drivers, depending on whether I had work like that (routes 1/36, 5/54, 8, 44, 106, and 150 being other top offenders) or work that was busy but with reasonable schedules and layovers (back when I drove, most 2/13 and 3/4, 15/18/21/22/56, 71/72/73, 169, 194, most late-night runs). On the bad work, I was pushy and sometimes a little brutal, trying to keep somewhat close to the schedule for the sake of both the passengers’ schedules and my own ability to have a snack or a bathroom break. On the good work, I was much more courteous and helpful. The schedule really makes an enormous difference.
I should note that I think you’re nuts for liking the 4000s, though. :)
Perhaps it was because they were at the end of their career when I drove them, but I found driving them to be like driving a stubborn mule, and just as exhausting. High control effort, lots of failure to respond to driver inputs, no give in the suspension. I liked all the other artics in the system better, even the pre-conversion Bredas (which I really didn’t mind at all).
Best practice for private citizens driving cars is to have 15 minute breaks every 2 hours.
Bus drivers should be given something approximating that, just to make sure you guys are *safe to drive*.
Upon seeing the construction for the First Hill Streetcar I wonder whether it is possible to have a similar streetcar that runs on rubber tires. Why is steel-on-steel rail necessary?
You mean an electric trolley bus?
One with a similar capacity to a streetcar, yes.
Rubber tires on a flat road have lots of left-to-right motion.
Steel train wheels are angled so that if the car starts going left or right, it passively rolls back to the center of the tracks where it’s supposed to be.
This is why you can make train cars much longer than buses or trucks. This is why you can make trains much longer than articulated buses. You can just keep lengthening them, and they *don’t fishtail*.
This passive stabilization is the key advantage of steel wheels on steel rails, the one which means that they will *always* be better for high-capacity service.
“Guided busways” have been tried (with curved concrete “rails” outside the bus wheels), but they’re a lot more expensive than railroad tracks. (Really.)
This ends your lesson on why trains are high-capacity and road vehicles aren’t.
We already have about 150 electric buses…
And where is it written that buses have to have rubber tires? Why can’t buses have steel wheels that run on rails?
If you can have a smoothe ride on steel tracks instead of bumpy, swervy ride on asphalt, why is rubber necessary?
Rubber isn’t necessary. I’m trying to understand why steel-on-steel is preferred to rubber in this case.
In this case, it wouldn’t be center-running if it were on rubber, making it just as slow as the 60.
I’m honestly not a fan of streetcars, and even less so this particular route. But they do have their uses, such as in their own ROW on the waterfront, or in center-running lanes with no other traffic in the way.
Maybe you want to know why Metro couldn’t get left-door buses? Well, they could, for a higher price, but then the capital cost of building all the stops for the length of any line that uses them would be exhorbitant.
Yes, like these two commuters on the Tukwila section.
Aside from the obvious fact that we have that already (the #60 trolleybus), steel on steel provides a much lower coefficient of friction and thus takes a lot less energy to move the vehicle. It also delivers a much smoother ride. And then on top of that there’s rail bias.
The 60 isn’t a trolley.
If you go to rubber tires and human steering, you have to make the vehicle narrower, and meet all sorts of different DOT regulations for size. If you keep it on rails you can fill the entire lane with no error margin, and you can know with certitude exactly what the tightest turn, steepest hill, and biggest breakover will be.
Also the ride is smoother and more comfortable because you don’t have to worry about variances in the pavement. That’s one of the biggest reasons you can get choice riders on rail more easily. As a bonus, you don’t pound the hell out of the pavement, either – you’re supporting it on a structure specifically built to handle the bulky vehicle.
Thanks for the useful replies!
See the picture of the potholes in the Queen Anne article a few days ago. Rubber tires wear down streets which have to be resurfaced. Metal wheels on metal rails don’t wear down nearly as quickly. That’s less maintenance cost, and since asphalt is made from oil, less oil mining. And it’s even less than that because trains are more energy-efficient than buses.
The overall higher energy consumption and poor performance during inclement weather might be problematic for both long-term operational costs and during those rare snow days.
Rubber tires are less rigid than steel wheels. They undergo inelastic deformation as they rotate, converting some energy into heat, which reduces overall efficiency.
Steel wheels are more rigid, and deform much much less, meaning less energy is dissipated.
It’s possible that this is what the original question was asking about.
I don’t think it works on a streetcar; you need the kinds of clearances you get in a dedicated subway to make it work. My memories in Montreal and Paris are that the ride was smooth as silk.
Wow. A lot of useful comments. And I came up with a different one!
Harking back to the post a few weeks ago about the 16 – it was on reroute yesterday afternoon because of the parade and skipped the Center. The reroute was right on Battery from 3rd and then straight onto Aurora (the way the 358 gets on). The folks hitting the Center could still get off at Mercer and use the underpass (I think it may have also been able to stop at Denny but no one requested that stop). My thought as I was riding it was that this should just be the route.
Sometimes this blog defends a route being zig-zaggy and circuitous (B Line), and sometimes it argues against it (route 16). When I ask why the B Line needs to criss-cross the same street five times in four miles, I’m told that service is more important than schedule, but when it comes to the route 16, I’m told that schedule is more important than service.
Does the word ‘context’ mean anything to you?
I think it would be difficult to beat the NB 16 for circuitousness – from Downtown it heads N on 5th N then right on Mercer, S on Dexter, then right on John to get onto Aurora.
I don’t know what the reliability is like on RRB but for the 16 the trip via the Seattle Center along 5th N can take 5 minutes or 20+ minutes depending on what’s going on at the Center and conditions on Mercer. This means it’s really easy for reliability to be shot to hell at this point in the route thereby screwing up service both NB and SB. I think there’s a big difference between a circuitous route that has a fairly reliable schedule and one that is wildly variable.
Have you ridden the 131 lately? Try it out before it gets euthanized on September 29.
Or the 60? I rode it home a couple nights ago, and only because I would have had to wait another half hour for the 132 (assuming it came, which it never did a couple nights earlier, so I ended up taking the accursed 131 after waiting an hour with my thawing groceries). I was the only passenger on the 60. Riders have given up on that route, but Metro will keep it going just to keep the pattern in place until the Bridge opens up sometime in a year or so. And then, ridership might not return, since anyone wanting to get northward will have a straighter ride on the 132, free of the VA knot. Well, the 60 may be the transfer of choice for riders from downtown getting to the VA, but its ridership will continue to dwindle to nothing south of Cleveland High.
The 60 was created to get South Park and Burien’s Hispanic ridership to ethnically similar neighborhoods on Beacon Hill, but really mostly just to El Centro de la Raza. Unless the VA knot goes away, I’ll take the 132 plus Link to go to El Centro, should I ever have a reason to.
I honestly think the 60 should get cut off after 7 pm now, as it is extremely non-productive after that. I love having it available after downtown traffic-clogging events, but I will wait for the 132 instead once it goes to half-hourly. (And it better go to half-hourly in the evening, as an hourly run will no longer have enough capacity once the 131 goes away and its number gets reused for the 23.)
I’m thankful Metro could end or add evening runs administratively.
Part of the 60 population is SCCC and harborview on the north end of the route; that used to be pretty busy…
To be fair a lot of people on this blog think the diversion into Overlake village is a bad idea.
They can just as easily orient transit in Overlake village towards 148th (given they haven’t built it yet) and thus prevent the time-consuming diversion. Besides, they will get a whole light rail station in a few year, so you cant really make the argument residents there will be underserved by transit because they have to walk a little further to 148th for the bline. I honestly don’t know what happened that had Metro change its mind on that but it’s a real punishment for people that actually want the bline to be a rapid route.
The 60 is still busy in stretches north of Beacon Hill Station, though it is nearly duplicative with the 36 between BHS and Little Saigon.
With the FHSC not routed to serve Harborview well, I suspect the 60 is sticking around.
I tried out the 17 from the Westlake Whole Foods to Ballard before it gets (mostly) euthanized. It showed up at the stop almost 15 minutes late and took more than a half hour to get to Ballard once it finally did come.
Next time I make this trip, I look forward to walking a few blocks and trying out the D-line instead.
Overlake Village was built decades ago. It continues to be a bad idea. Although I here there are development plans in the works for what was starting to look a Super Fund site.
asdf, I can’t find anything on Metro’s fall service change page about the new Route 40’s route through downtown, but it looks like it’s got the current routing of the 17 all the way down Westlake. So there will still be a bus from Whole Foods to Ballard, but it will travel via Fremont and it will continue on to Northgate.
Metro does anything they can do serve Overlake Village because they love the idea of transit oriented development being successful. In fact, Overlake Village is anything but successful. It’s Section 8 housing in an inconvenient location.
Overlake Village even advertises that they are within walking distance of Microsoft. That’s an odd thing to mention, given that their income restrictions are half what Microsoft pays as a base salary.
I often see cars with Microsoft parking permits pulling out of their parking lot. (Note: these people could be custodial or cafeteria staff, but I think I have heard that they don’t get parking permits.) It makes me think that Overlake Village is filled with people who are lying about their incomes to get cheap housing.
But hey, as long as it can be used as an example of TOD, everything’s good.
The 60 also has the only connection from South Park to West Seattle. The utility of that connection will be considerably enhanced in September when the 60 is extended the few blocks to Westwood Village.
I think the ridership will come back when the bridge reopens. I drove the 60 from time to time (for whatever reason I got a lot of vacation work on it). There was never enormous ridership between South Park and Beacon Hill, but there was some, and it was consistent. Once the route is reasonable, I think people will prefer the 60 to a 132/Link transfer.
The part of the 60 between Beacon Hill and Harborview is often standing-room-only.
The 60 is a crosstown route, which we’re generally trying to encourage. It has been extended repeatedly because why wouldn’t you want to have an alternative way to get between West Seattle, Beacon Hill, and Capitol Hill without going through downtown traffic? I looked at an apartment on 15th south of Spokane Street somewhere, and the 60 was the closest bus; the 36 was a 20-minute walk away. So there are areas where the 60 is the primary bus route. At the same time, I find it excruciatingly slow between the Broadway Market area and Jackson, and likewise slow from Beacon Hill to West Seattle… slow enough to make me wonder if it’s really better than transferring downtown.
ap, they could be temps working at low wages for a temp agency, subcontracted to Microsoft. This is a standard abusive technique among US corporations particularly in the tech industry. And the temps usually do get parking permits.
When first looking at the map, I thought it was Seattle after ST4, with multiple tunnels at the bottom, U-dist upper right and Ballard in the upper left.
I hope Ben and Mr.Disney (Allen and Gates) can sort all this out for me.
Had the chance to ride the dieselized route 70 the other day. While work around the Mercer mess finally looks to be shaping up, I noticed that construction also involved buzzing down many trees around the Fairview area.
Is that really necessary?
Do you mean the street furniture (small trees on Fairview’s sidewalks)?
They might have been diseased, or their roots might have been breaking up the sidewalk.
They don’t intend for the street furniture to live more than 10-12 years.
Yeah, those trees. If anything, they did provide adequate shade on the sidewalks. Now you’ll find yourself blasted by sun rays – a minor inconvenience, but still…
I’ve noticed that contractors often prefer to remove every plant more than 2 inches tall whether necessary or not
I want to make a comment about Magnolia losing late-night service in September. It has been my historical observation that bus ridership in Magnolia drops off significantly after about 10pm. I’ve gone night-hiking in Discovery Park from one end to the other, whereupon coming up to the 24, the driver being surprised to see anybody at their terminus.
The continued existence of the 24 service on Viewmont and to Discovery Park is more beneficial than running an empty coach around Magnolia at 12am.
The good news is that since Metro did this administratively, they can undo it administratively.
The bad news is they can’t create a route out of whole cloth (e.g. Discovery Park to 15th Ave W). But they could call it the 24, and have it asterisked as “This route only serves Discovery Park to 15th Ave W.” Doing that to one run wouldn’t free up platform hours, as the bus has to get back to base anyway. But having several 24 runs in the after-peak evening do this shortened path might be doable administratively.
It can’t hurt to ask.
Though I do notice the 24 already gets truncated in the evening to *not* serve Discovery Park. Same with the 19.
Not to be ageist, but isn’t Magnolia just a big retirement home for rich Seattlites from the 1950s?
Who would ride a bus except for teenagers visiting their grandparents or the hired help?
You’re not ageist, just ignorant.
I think he’s just saying “Magnolia’s demographics are not suitable to a high level of transit service” in a fairly un-PC manner, which is almost definitely true. The combination of low density and high income makes the neighborhood pretty suburban in character, and thus not likely to ride the bus.
I think you’re only thinking of one small part of Magnolia (which happens to be the one served by the part of the 24 referred to in the comment above). Take the 33 to the end of the line sometime, or just drive through the eastern part of Magnolia. You’ll see something different from your impression.
The 24 is already truncated at Magnolia Village in the evenings. The last eastbound bus from Discovery Park is 8:49pm weekdays, 7:32pm Saturday, 7:02pm Sunday. The last westbound bus from downtown to Discovery Park leaves at 7:20pm weekdays, 8pm Saturday, 6:15pm Sunday. The 33 is similar although it cuts off a bit earlier eastbound and a bit later westbound. From my memory, the 24’s tail is the richest view homes, while the 33’s tail is mostly park/army property and very few residences.
If I’m reading the schedule correctly, the truncated #24 still serves 34th and Government, which is just one block away from Discovery Park’s east entrance.
It does transfer to the 33 at 34th/Government. I don’t know Magnolia that well so the park entrance could be close. But the 33 takes several minutes to get from there to the park, so it seems like it would be even longer walking.
Discovery Park is a big place. 34th and Government is two blocks (not one) from an entrance which is midway along the park’s east side. The 33 drives, via an indirect route, to a terminal which is inside the northern portion of the park. From the park entrance near 34th and Government to the 33 terminal is about a ten-minute walk. To cross Discovery Park from south to north on foot, using the most direct route, is close to half an hour.
I can’t speak for Magnolia proper, but if the 24 and 33 are the only routes that serve Elliott Ave. in the area where there’s been a fair amount development recently, I think that it could be argued that some service be provided after hours swing-shift employees at software/so-med companies and siumilar outfits.
Maybe places like Big Fish and Classmates and the Cruise company are strictly 9-5 PDT operations, but if a neighborhood is commercial area trying to encourage that sort of evelopment, all-day reliable transit access isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
Ridership along that corridor is essentially zero after about 8 pm, and the few riders that get on are mostly transients. If there are swing shift employees, either they are all driving or there are not many of them. The great bulk of the ridership being affected by the change is Magnolia residents going home from downtown (or from other destinations with a downtown transfer).
When I do ride buses through Magnolia (about once every couple of months), it’s almost always on a weekend and almost always for a visit to discovery park. While I don’t normally do night hikes there, this service definitely would impact me if I wanted to do one in the future.
Nevertheless, there are few tricks you can use to access discovery park without having to depend on bus service through Magnolia:
1) Ballard Locks. The #44 stop next to the Ballard Locks is actually only a 20 minute walk from the Discovery Park north parking lot. If you walk 5 more minutes to 24th Ave West, you hit stops on the #75 (changed to #18 post September). For most of North Seattle, this is the best way to reach the park by bus and, by far, beats going through downtown. Now, if only the walkway across the locks remained open after 9 PM, allowing this route to be usable for night hikes…
2) From the Discovery Park east parking lot, it’s about a 20 minute walk to the Emerson St. bridge over the railroad tracks, where you can catch the 31, if it’s still running. If it’s not an additional 10-15 minute walk on Emerson will get you to 15th and the D-line. When walking from Discovery Park to the Emerson St. bridge, be sure to take Elmore St., not Government/Gilman, as it’s not only shorter, but much more scenic (although it does have a few steep hills).
I know neither option works really well at night, but for those hiking Discovery Park during the day, these are good tricks to know.
If you walk 5 more minutes to 24th Ave West, you hit stops on the #75 (changed to #18 post September).
PSA: The 18 gets renumbered to the 40 in September. It’s the north end of the 70, the Ballard section of the 18, and the south end of the 17. By my math, that means the route should really be numbered (17+18+75)/3 ≈ 37.
Er, north end of the 75. My math still holds.
“It has been my historical observation that bus ridership in Magnolia drops off significantly after about 10pm.”
Bus ridership on most routes drops off significantly after 10 PM.
Disneyland is actually not a bad model of what a future city should be. Walt’s vision was that a center core would be surrounded by parking lots and the interface would be transit. Of course Disneyland per se is carfree.
The city would mostly be recreational and educational. No one would live there (except Michael Jackson acolytes). People would have their exurbian home and personal transit to get there from miles around.
Walt’s original vision was a ride known as “Autopia”, where kids drive around in fancy circles not crossing the path of other kids, and all one-way.
They didn’t know about Google cars then…which need no “guideways”.
No one would live there
Right, because absolutely everyone would accept a long commute in exchange for having an exurban garden and a few spare rooms to rattle around in.
One of these days, you’ll understand that some people want to actually live in the city. You might even make the deduction that they are why downtown condos are so unaffordable.
Of course, Disneyland is a re-creation of a historic town center and city. So it imitates what it had a hand in destroying.
Hydrogen scooters ready for mass production
The scooter manufacturer aims to incorporate convenience stores, gas stations and scooter shops to provide service for exchanging old storage canisters for new ones. In this way, the government does not need to provide relative infrastructure for such vehicles. The storage canisters are approximately 4.4 kilograms each, lighter than the Lithium battery used by other battery electric vehicles.
Have you bought one of these yet?
When available, I’d buy it before an eBike.
Zero chance of success. The charging network doesn’t exist.
Electric bikes, on the other hand, can be charged practically anywhere.
…not to mention the whole Hindenburg problem.
Perhaps someone knows: Will rear-door openers be activated on equipped coaches (mostly 6800 and 6900 artic coaches) with the end of RFA? Or ever?
Rear-door openers? The rear doors on those coaches already open, so I’m not sure what you mean.
He means passenger-operated rear doors.
Ah, that would be cool.
I truly don’t understand how a service alert like this http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Alerts/Central-Link-Maintenance.xml
can be considered acceptable for the region’s main transit spine.
It’s supposed to be dependable core service running every 10 minutes. This alert says that for 3 months on certain days not entirely specified Link will run every 20 minutes without giving a schedule
Here’s the complete text of the alert:
Route: Central Link light rail – Track maintenance – between July 12 and November 1, 2012
Posted: July 27 – 9:27 am
Starting Thursday, July 12, Link will run every 20 minutes between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. on most Tuesdays and Thursdays until November 1, 2012.
I hope they check the Sounders and M’s schedules, including the two Champs League matches.
Remember the copper wire? They have to replace it.
I would sure like to know how long am I going to have to wait for a light rail at the platform at that rate…
7 p.m. seems very early to start this.
I usually commute home between 7 and 8:30. Trains are packed, especially toward the earlier end of that interval. Once in a while for some odd reason ST/Metro sends a one-car train. That is never a fun experience.
Maybe they could use this episode to test three-car train operations.
I saw a sign for this in a train on Saturday. It is common for Link’s frequency to drop to 20-30 minutes in the evening for a few weeks for maintenance. Whether this is avoidable or comparable to other light rail systems, I don’t know. July-November does sound like a long time, and it makes you wish ST would list the maintenace that requires this closure.
It couldn’t happen in London or the trains would quickly become overcrowded. In New York there are several parallel tunnels and express tracks, so they just switch a route to a different track for a weekend, which may cause it to run express or local when it normally wouldn’t, or to stop in a different tunnel than it normally does. I had the bad luck to arrive at JFK when the express track was under repair, so I had to spend an hour on the local A train.
The Washington D.C. Metro randomly decides to run trains at 20-30 minute headways on nights and weekends for track maintenance. When they do, there’s no scheduled – you just sit and wait up to half an hour for your train to show up. Superficially, based on my limited trips there, this seems to happen at least once or twice a month.
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