Per the OneBusAway twitter account, realtime arrival information should now work for all trips on RapidRide C & D. A big thank you to the staff and volunteers at Metro and OneBusAway for making this happen. Note, however, that (due to a separate problem) OneBusAway realtime and schedule data is usually broken on holidays where Metro operates a Sunday or reduced weekday schedule, so you’ll probably have to wait ’til next week to actually make use of this. Along with the recently-enabled signal priority in Interbay (which, although I have no real data, certainly seems to be making the bus faster), this brings the D Line closer to what was promised, a genuine improvement over Route 15.

Perhaps, to celebrate Kwanzaa, Metro could turn on the lights at the ultra-sketchy northbound 3rd & Virginia stop? That would be another great favor to riders.

UPDATE: The merits of the Uptown deviation have been debated to death in previous threads, and the subject is now derailing another thread where it is, at best, tangentially related. It’s off-topic for this thread, and comments on that subject will be deleted.

41 Replies to “RapidRide C & D Realtime Data Now in OneBusAway”

  1. actually only those trips which are deleted will show as “scheduled arrival” so all other runs should show accordingly.

  2. Should also add, I noticed the weekend B line real time arrivals are working now as well, showing arrivals period! For a while, it would show “No arrivals in the next 30 min” on weekends.

  3. Regarding the 3rd and VA stop, I wonder if Metro could work with SPD to close down the open air flea market that sets up there daily. It leads to a whole lot of unnecessary loitering.

  4. I think some of the recent improvements to the C and D lines are examples of what RR can do. The marketing emphasis on the lines puts these specific lines and their problems in the forefront of the region’s attention. The lines can, should, and will get better and launching RR branding before the real improvements were finished might result in their faster implementation. It might even set a precedent that these are lines to keep improving and thinking about, not finished products.

    That said, considering the typical winter traffic swoon, we shouldn’t count our ducks before they hatch on speed improvements.

  5. So, does a headway-based system in theory mean that on Christmas Day when there’s no traffic and almost no passengers, the D-line can cruise between downtown and Ballard as fast as the roads will carry it?

    By contrast, I rode the #44 today. But, because the driver had to stop at every time point, the trip from U-district to Ballard wasn’t allowed to be any faster than it would have been a normal Sunday afternoon.

    I’m not actually sure what the point is of stopping at every time point on a route that runs every 15 minutes. If it runs once an hour, ok, you can really screw people over by leaving a stop early. But if its every 15 minutes, the next bus will probably be early too and as long as you roughly maintain the advertised headway, it shouldn’t really matter. And those that want to time to the minute exactly when the next bus will be coming will still have OBA.

    For a route like #44, Metro might even be able to save a little bit of money by taking advantage of the faster and more reliable travel times to shorten the layover and run the route with slightly fewer buses. You don’t need nearly as much layover time on Chistmas Day to maintain a reliable schedule as you do on a regular Sunday afternoon.

    1. I agree with you in principle, but disagree that 15 minutes is “so frequent you don’t need a schedule” no matter what Metro says. OBA does you no good if you’re on another bus trying to make a transfer.

      I really think you need sub-10-minute headways before you can talk about doing away with the timetable.

    2. The RR I was on today was running intentionally slowly in order to keep to the schedule. In fact, the 40 I had just missed, which totally blew off the schedule, made it downtown nearly a dozen minutes faster point-to-point than we did.*

      On the other hand, off-peak headway management only ever seemed to be used to keep follower buses super slow behind lead buses that were being super slow. It was a cavalcade of intentional slowness much worse than the schedule-adherence slowness of today.

      *(Note: OBA said the 40 arrived 5 minutes early. But it turns out that the official 40 schedule is minutes faster than the official RR schedule, at least on Sundays/holidays.)

      1. Typical government bureaucracy. Intentionally make the buses slower to keep to a schedule, then refuse to publish the schedule and just say it comes every 15 minutes. Makes we want to just throw up my hands…

        In any case, going back to my 44 example, even if 15 minutes may not ordinarily be so frequent you don’t need a schedule, running every 15 minutes without a schedule is still better than running every 15 minutes with a schedule that is excessively padded to artificially make the buses run really slow.

        There is absolutely no reason why on Christmas Day, the buses shouldn’t be able to maintain a 15 minute headway by leaving the terminal 15 minutes apart and going as fast as possible. Even if a bus goes by a stop early causing you to miss it, the next one will probably be early too. And unless you’re going a very short distance that you could have just walked, you would probably make enough time en-route to mostly compensate for the longer wait time.

        The ideal solution here would be a modified version of the Sunday schedule that featured faster running times, shorter layovers, and fewer buses. Unfortunately, for one day a year, it probably costs more money to come up with that schedule that what it would save, which is probably why it hasn’t happened. But in the absence of that, I would rather see every 15 minutes without a schedule than a schedule that intentionally slows everybody’s trip down for no reason.

      2. I should also add that for the D-line, intentionally running slow along 15th or Elliot to maintain schedule or headway doesn’t seem to ever make sense. Being early is not a problem for people already on the bus – it is only a problem for people who are going to board the bus later.

        The number of people who actually get on at the stops along 15th or Elliot is probably negligible since there’s nothing there (although I don’t have actual data to confirm). So that leaves Lower Queen Anne and downtown in the southbound direction and Ballard in the northbound direction.

        Southbound, there are so many buses going between Lower Queen Anne and downtown that I can’t imagine anyone specifically timing their schedule to catch the D-line, rather than just take whichever comes first. So I don’t see much benefit to them by doing this. Downtown, you do have a bunch of people getting on when the D-line turns into the C-line. So waiting a few minutes downtown if you arrive early makes sense, but at least the D-line people will have already (mostly) gotten off the bus so you’re not delaying them.

        Northbound, again downtown to Lower Queen Anne has tons of other buses, so you’re not screwing anybody over by keeping on going if you’re early. And as to stopping and waiting in LQA, it comes down to the question of whether the crowds going from LQA to Ballard are big enough to justify making it a little easier for them at the expense of people going from downtown to Ballard. Metro has apparently decided yes on this (we can feel free to disagree), so fine – have the northbound bus sit there in Lower Queen Anne a few minutes if it’s early. But there’s still no reason to have it crawl down an empty 15th. If it’s still early coming out of LQA, it shouldn’t stop and wait again until at least Market St. in Ballard.

      3. asdf, the D handles the commute for lots of high school kids to Ballard High School (the Ballard High School catchment being primarily south of the Ship Canal). Magnolia kids get channeled to W Prospect & Elliott in a sizable horde in the mornings, and some Queen Anne kids probably walk down/uphill. Aside from that, the Interbay stops do have usage in my experience, and will get more as the large Interbay apartment complexes get finished next year.

      4. asdf,

        Late-evening 15/18s were always padded to the hilt. A bus that left downtown on-time was nearly guaranteed to sit idle at Queen Anne and Mercer for at least 2-3 minutes.

        Late-evening RapidRides are no different.



        They finally published the schedule for all non-rush-hour running. OneBusAway has the schedule. The driver has the schedule.

        The bus was, in fact, running slow (and waiting at time points) to keep to the schedule.

        [ad hom]

      5. d.p., you said to asdf “Late-evening 15/18s were always padded to the hilt. A bus that left downtown on-time was nearly guaranteed to sit idle at Queen Anne and Mercer for at least 2-3 minutes. Late-evening RapidRides are no different”

        I just looked up the run card for the D Line from Seattle headed north. It shows that the D Line is on estimated time points (ET) until it reaches its terminal. In the below Metro run card link, the D Line is called the route 674.


        Why would a northbound evening D Line sit at Queen Anne and Mercer when it’s on estimated time points?

      6. I don’t know, perhaps because the trips after 10:50 pm are “scheduled trips” and therefore aren’t on “estimated time points”?

        As for the daytime inbounds, I call it like I see it: A driver who sits at Queen Anne and Mercer until a clock ticks precisely one second past the number on the timecard is “following the schedule”.

      7. Or (on closer inspection), perhaps it’s because the link you posted is from the future rather than the present, and seems to represent a shift in both specific evening scheduling and running procedures.

      8. This is one of the downside tradeoffs when through-routing. If the route was estimated after, for example Market Street, it would need to sit somewhere close to downtown so the buses get back to their headway for Route C. Sitting at 3rd & Pike wouldn’t work probably due to the number of buses that also serve that stop. According to the run cards, the previous timepoint is 1st/Denny. It can’t sit there in a travel lane…

        It almost makes me wonder if the entire route should be Rapid Ride C until some point in the future when Metro can break the through-route.

      1. The calendar it follows is a strict lunar calendar, with no leap-accommodations. It can (and does) fall literally anywhere on the Gregorian calendar!

  6. This can only mean that the failed headway system has been abandoned. Where’s the announcement?

  7. I was so excited about this. I live a 4 minute walk from the D line stop I take, and the idea that I didn’t need to know the real time info because of frequent service was laughable. There’s a big difference between waiting two minutes and waiting up to fifteen.

    1. Here here. I hated to do the 4 minute walk, just to see it’s coming 19 minutes later during 10 minute headways.

      During better on-time periods, I would use the Metro trip planner to see when they were SUPPOSED to come, but that still wouldn’t guarantee it would be on time.

      1. But did it really come 19 minutes later? There’s a problem with the RapidRide B signs where they an implausably long headway but the bus comes in five or ten minutes anyway. Maybe RR D is having the same problem.

      2. Actually, I embellished the truth. When I got there, it said 11 minutes. In actuality, it came 19 minutes later, which I believe was due to the bus being extremely late to the north terminal.

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