Looking south from 4th/Wall – photo by the author

Last September Metro moved all Magnolia service over to 3rd Ave, but in a hilarious oversight they left the 82-Night Owl on 4th Avenue.  4th/Wall, pictured above, is served only by the 82 in the middle of the night, at 2:19 and 3:34am. Yet it still has a full shelter! STB contacted Metro about this and they have since announced that on January 5th the 82 will move to 3rd Ave.

The next loneliest?  2nd Avenue at Broad, Cedar, and Bell, served by a grand total of 4 trips/day on the 123.

This is an open thread.

84 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Loneliest Bus Stop in Seattle”

  1. Finally got around to riding RapidRide some. I know Metro received federal funds, etc. for this “BRT light line,” but it’s still a joke. Metro blew an opportunity by keeping in so, so many stops. Lower Queen Anne is one thing, but the density of stops in Interbay is the real head scratcher.

    That said, is a better name VapidRide, cRapidRide, or CrapRide?

    1. I’m shocked and disappointed at the stop spacing in Ballard/Crown Hill. What kind of rapid ride stops every other block?? It should be Market Street, 65th, 80th and 85th, with nothing in between. Instead, we get stops every two blocks and still no off-board payment at most stops. This is really stupid, Metro.

      1. They actually just rearranged the stops between Market and 65th (reduce to one each way), so they’re more even and make a lot more sense now.

        5 blocks (1/4 mile) is fine in an actual populated area. Especially when you’re asking people to walk a ways laterally for something that isn’t particularly frequent or direct [coughcoughdetour] to begin with. Cut the stops to 1/2 or 3/4 mile as you suggest and you’re demanding a mile walk for many. A walk not proportionally rewarded the way a subway would.

        Stopping every two blocks makes you miss a ridiculous number of lights that you otherwise wouldn’t, and kills your inertia. But stopping every 5 blocks isn’t that different from driving in a car. Getting rid of on-board payment and cash in general would do far more for RR than eliminating more stops would. (Or eliminating the detour, because it is longer and moves slower, not because it had extra stops).

  2. Minneapolis/Saint Paul has several suburban bus routes with one trip in each direction per weekday. Some small town/rural bus systems in the Midwest have routes with one trip in each direction per *week*. Talk about lonely bus stops….

  3. Even lonelier shelters, the ones along the old Waterfront Streetcar line. I haven’t looked in a while, but aren’t a few of those still up on Alaskan Way?

    1. I think they may have gotten rid of them once they turned into waterfront apartments for a few people..

  4. @Zach Doesn’t route 29 (a supposed express) stop along 2nd avenue between Broad and Bell southbound in the AM peak. I know when I have taken it from SPU around 9:30am, the 13 that leaves just in front of it always beats me downtown.

    1. The first week or two of the shakeup it did stop along 2nd all the way through Belltown. I caught it at Cedar at least twice when I saw it coming as I crossed 2nd toward 3rd.
      I guess at some point they got the word out to the drivers to bypass these, thankfully.

  5. Last Sunday I took the Sounder in from Kent Station to the Seahawks game. I was rushing with my son to catch the first train out because we wanted to tour the city, see the Smith Tower and get something to eat downtown (ended up at McCormick’s on 1st…always good food there).

    I was rushing to get him squared away with a ticket. I decided to use the southbound platform ticket machine because I figured the northbound would have more traffic, and we were down to the last few minutes. (The menu seemed unusually difficult. Did he want and “all day pass”? Is that anything like a Round Trip ticket?) After we got his ticket, we ran across the skybridge and got to the platform. We actually ended up with about a minute or two.

    However, once on the train, I realized I had forgotten to swipe my ORCA card! Shoot, I knew they are policing these things and I started to voice my concern. I guess many of the others aren’t regular riders because they either said they never get carded, or else it’s infrequent…both of which I knew were no longer true statements.

    The train was also moving excruciatingly slow, which meant they could have time to check then entire train. When we pulled into Tukwila station, I stood by the door so I could run out, find a yellow reader, and swipe my card. However, although I was near the middle-forward part of the train, I did not see any card readers, so I ran back on.

    Of course five minutes later the officer was there reading cards. For some people he merely looked to see if they had an ORCA card, but of course with me he scanned as I tried to explain my sorry story about forgetting to swipe (which I’m sure he hears about a zillion times a day).

    He then asks for my driver license and takes a picture of it with his reader and gives me a warning.

    Now, I’m not sure how to feel about this. One the one hand, I’m really glad they are beating up on scofflaws and making people pay fair share. I really can’t argue with this person’s behavior as a professional.

    HOWEVER — at the same time I felt criminalized when, yes, I did make the error of not remembering to swipe, however, once inside, I had no way to correct that error. I was thinking of possible workarounds which could have been available. A card reader on the train maybe. Or how about one that acts like a GoodToGo pass and scans your card as you walk on the train. Another would be being able to use my smartphone and buy the proper ticket once on the train.

    Again, I’m not looking to absolve my actions and I realize that you can’t build a system for everyone’s faults, but the extenuating circumstances were that I made a good faith effort to correct the problem and also that I ended up spending several hundred dollars in tickets, touristing and dining in Seattle.

    1. I’ve had the same feeling when either distracted as I entered a Link platform or once on the train truly wondering whether I had scanned my card or not. I can see a non-regular rider paying more attention as to how to pay but also the system makes it easy to forget. The fare inspectors I’ve seen recently on Link (two different occasions) use a point and shoot digital camera to capture driver licenses (not their scanner).

    2. It bothers me that the fine is the same for people running red lights, speeding in a school zone, etc. Those latter seem like larger crimes. But then, those don’t tend to be committed by the down-and-out broke, and have a car-loving apologist at a local daily complaining that red-light-running and school-zone-speeding are criminalized (but he doens’t give a darn that the down-and-out broke get kicked off the train, as far as I can tell).

      I’d actually like to see the fine for getting caught a second time be something less extreme, like, say $25. Then ramp it up toward the max. But also, if someone has a pass that partially covers the ride, make the fine proportional to the unpaid fare. Riders shouldn’t be getting a $124 fine for missing 25 cents of fare. Likewise, if the low-income ORCA is established, and ST agrees to honor it, then the fine should be proportionally lower for those who have qualified for the card, but simply continued to not pay.

      But eventually, the amount of the fine doesn’t particularly matter, when someone disobeys a no-trespass order, gets escorted off the train in handcuffs, and spends some time in jail. Still, trespassing on public transit should be less criminal than endangering peoples’s lives.

      Also, I’m getting the sense that the rules on RapidRide are different than the rules on Link. Or, at least, enforcement is different. If the fare enforcement officers are not taking the ID or a picture of everyone who didn’t pay, it certainly does look like targetted enforcement, even if that is not the intention. Yeah, the officers may have memorized the faces of the frequent evaders/troublemakers, but equal enforcement is a basic principle to getting any prosecutorial action to stick.

      1. “if the low-income ORCA is established, and ST agrees to honor it, then the fine should be proportionally lower for those who have qualified for the card, but simply continued to not pay.”

        I disagree with this. Your hypothetical case is just as much a scofflaw as a highly paid office worker that doesn’t pay.

        That said, I could totally understand if the fare enforcement officer gave the low-income person a sympathetic hearing within the limits of their discretion and just handed out a warning.

      2. I would love to see the data on how many people who have received tickets on LINK and RapidRide have actually paid the ticket. What percentage have paid? Something tells me very few really have. If someone doesn’t care about paying the bus or train fare, they aren’t going to care about paying a fine.

      3. The collection agencies don’t have a way to harass riders who refuse to show their ID or admit where they live.

    3. He gave you a warning, apparently believing your extenuating circumstances. Sounds like a good ending for you.

    4. I still strongly believe that if you have a monthly pass, and that monthly pass is valid for an entire month without exception or interruption, and that monthly pass possesses a face value that exceeds the value of the trip you are taking, then you shouldn’t need to tap it at all when boarding a “proof of payment” service.

      You have paid. The card is your “proof”.

      Revenue-sharing between agencies is a political problem. It shouldn’t be the passholder’s problem.

      But in the meantime… don’t forget to tap your card, John.

      1. Do it just for the benefit of data collection. The APC systems may tell about passenger volumes, but ORCA data can tell the agencies about linked trips. If you give the planners more information about some of your rides, maybe they’ll improve some of the connections you’re always complaining aobut.

      2. But it is the tapping that determines how the revenue for the pass is divided between the agencies. If a person with a monthly pass does not tap on the train, but does tap on a connecting bus, then the revenue for that pass is given to the bus company. So, having a monthly pass should not be a reason to not tap.

        Plus, I believe you are violating the conditions of use when you don’t tap your ORCA card with the monthly pass.

      3. During the era of the Ride Free Zone, I would frequently tap the Orca reader(love having a monthly pass from work!) at Westlake before going down the stairs to travel to Pioneer Square or International District. If a bus came before LINK, then I would take it but still tap out when reaching my destination. I know it skewed the monthly numbers but figured it would show that I was using the tunnel instead of not showing up at all if I just rode the bus. Now that the RFA is gone, I guess I have to wait until I’m down in the tunnel to decide what I’m going to ride.

      4. J. Reddoch, you missed my point.

        Passholders shouldn’t have to give a shit about interagency revenue squabbles. They’ve paid, they should be done. Any further “did i tap?” nervousness brought on by the enforcement team should be moot.

        The “terms of use” reflect those agency squabbles taking priority over the actual user experience. And that’s a symptom of a much larger problem.

        If you want to install fare gates, such that no one can board without tapping to cross a barrier, I’m fine with that. That recognizes that my paid pass exists; it need not “activate it”. I paid for the whole month, it should be “active” the whole month already.

      5. I have a pass that covers exactly the highest fare on Link. If I get a warning, I will seriously consider going back to pay-per-ride, as I don’t actually ride enough to justify the pass. I consider the underutilized pass value a tax-deductible contribution to Metro and ST. So, yeah, fare inspectors should remind riders to tap, but a warning and a fine would be counterproductive. I paid the full fare for my rides.

    5. It sounds like the card tapping locations are not entirely obvious/convenient. This problem is apparently much worse on the LA Metro system, to the point where I really could excuse anyone for turnstile jumping at some stations (“Where the hell do I tap? Huh? Where?”)

    6. One of the many problems with ORCA is the lack of the yellow readers at the stations. After exiting the train in puyallup, on each side of the platform theres only two or three of them, instead of near every door where the train stops. makes for a long line to get swiped out of the system (or into depending on the time of day. Also there should be more in the tunnel as well.

    7. If they’re not going to install real fare gates, they can install anything that protrudes into the walkway and puts an ORCA reader right in front of you. It has to look like a doorway or something you’re going through. Two posts on either side, an archway, anything like that. Make them a color that stands out; e.g., yellow since the ORCA readers are yellow. Put the “Fare Paid Zone” sign on it at eye-to-waist level, not way up above where some people won’t notice it or won’t read it.

      Another thing they’re doing is sharing one reader between multiple walk-paths. That’s cheaper than a reader at every path, but it’s the reason people aren’t finding these readers. I have forgotten to tap off at Kent Station when I saw no reader to remind me. In the DSTT or SeaTac station, it’s silly to have to detour to a reader on your way in or out.

      1. I like this idea. It’s reminiscent of how Berlin does proof-of-payment, or at least how POP was done there in the pre-smartcard era. To access a station platform, you passed a very clearly delineated paid area, with an abundance of ticket-stamping machines. Update the machines with touch pads and the message is just as clear.

      2. +1 On Vancouver’s Canada Line, paint and signs and architectural clues make it very clear even to a newbie where the fare paid zone is.

        Of course, as long as buses and our current bus ticketing system remain in the DSTT, that facility won’t be a fare paid zone.

    8. it is your responsibility to make sure you have valid fare prior to boarding link or sounder. at sounder stations there are station agents to help you if you encounter any problems or have any questions about fare payment.

      1. Yes but the usability principle argues that stations should be designed to make this easy for the user, so that their default intuitive action is the right thing. There’s no benefit to forcing users to remember to tap (or to remember a complicated fare structure, for that matter). Just put the reader so they can’t avoid seeing it. Then it’s no effort to comply, but an effort to evade it.

  6. My nomination for a stop that could use a shelter is where the 21 will someday have a stop near the corner of Lander and 4th Ave S, when SDOT and Metro can come to agreement on where to put the stop. I’d also have the 50 stop there, in addition to its stop with the sign hidden between the trees between Busway and 4th Ave S. Since the 50 only comes half-hourly, I suspect riders would be happy to walk the extra block to the shelter, where more people are waiting, and might even prefer to catch the 21 or 50, whichever comes first.

    SODO Station needs a less-lonely bus stop for West Seattle riders.

  7. The Museum of History and Industry reopened yesterday in its new space in the South Lake Union Park armory. I hadn’t realized until now that doing this makes the armory itself part of the exhibit, very clever. Anyway, there’s a section on Seattle’s transit history, with short loop videos of the streetcars being replaced by trolleybuses, and the aborted Bay Freeway and central Seattle ring road. There’s a streetcar map, a map of cross-Sound bridges, and a picture of the Thompson Expressway going down to an underwater tunnel. One of the things it says about the streetcars is that they “caused traffic congestion” when they turned right from the center lane, blocking the right lane of cars. Oh, poor cars! So that was one of the reasons for getting rid of the streetcars. There’s a picture of a streetcar being turned on its side and burned in effigy after the reusable scrap parts had been stripped from it.

    Another section has maps of the two park plans for South Lake Union that didn’t materialize, the Bogue plan in in 1910 (with rapid transit), and the Seattle Commons in 1995.

    So there are artefacts of things we’ve talked about on STB, and if you haven’t seen them it’s worth doing so.

    1. By 1939 the streetcar system was worn out, equipment and track. The power infrastructure was still good, which is why we have trolleycoaches to this day. Of course back than we probally sold all that scrap to japan, who in a couple of years returned it us with deadly results.

      1. Think of the prodigious amounts of metal that went into building SOVs, once the streetcars were gone, that could have been used to build vehicles of war.

      2. Not so much, actually. No cars for civilian use were built between 1942 and 1946. Steel was rationed. So was rubber for tires. You had to make do with what you had.

    2. I took my family to see it. We’ll be back when there’s not a million rude people shoving to see every exhibit. Educators get free admission if there are any others in the crowd.

  8. Can anyone explain to me why every time I have gotten on RapidRide D at 3rd/Pike, the driver has left the 2nd and 3rd doors open far longer than necessary, allowing a number of individuals to board without paying. I understand leaving these doors open at stops where riders are able to pay off-board, but at 3rd/Pike……?

    1. The policy isn’t clear to me as to whether transfer-holders can board through the back doors on RR even where no reader exists. It seems they should. I’m not saying Metro has failed to put the information out, but I haven’t seen it…

      1. Riders with a valid transfer can board at any door. There are stickers on the ORCA readers which suggest that off-board ORCA use and all-door boarding is only allowed until 7 PM, but drivers don’t seem to care.

      2. One of the fun parts of fare inspection with analog-diagonally-torn transfer slips is arguments over how long the transfer is good for.

  9. Let’s talk about night owl services.

    Concretely, I know that Metro isn’t planning on a major service reorganization when RapidRide E opens. However, it seems like the opening of RapidRide E presents a great opportunity to clean up the night owl service some more. I know Metro doesn’t want any more “big bang” reorganizations, but given the ridership of most night owl services, I doubt there would be too many objections.

    In particular, I’d love to see Metro make the following changes:

    – Delete the 82, 83, and 84.
    – Provide 24-hour service on RapidRide E, just like C and D.
    – Add two trips (2:15 AM and 3:30 AM) to the 3 (both parts).
    – Add two trips (2:15 AM and 3:30 AM) to either the 66 or the 73.
    – Add one trip (2:15 AM) to the 11.

    I don’t know the impact this would have on service hours, but it would certainly have benefits in terms of system legibility. My guess is that it would end up saving money simply by increasing ridership on the night owl services — I bet there’s a number of people who currently don’t use them simply because they’re so weird.

    I’m sure some people reading this comment are “in the know” with Metro. Do you think there’s any chance we’ll see any of these changes?

    1. If you cut the 84, you’d need to add trips to more than just the 3 and 11. You’d have to add at least 1 trip on the 2.

      1. You might be able to get away with just a trip on the 8. Particularly if the 8 was split as was proposed here not too long ago.

      2. Morgan: Consider that the legacy night owl service currently stops at 85th St. This means that if you want to get to Northgate, it’s a long way.

        Rationalizing the night owl network, without significantly increasing service hours will necessarily leave some areas with less service than before. For example, any simplification of the 83 will probably leave Ravenna without direct service. I think that Northgate for Ravenna is a worthwhile tradeoff on its own, and doubly so because of the legibility benefits.

        I think East Green Lake falls into the same category. With night owl trips on the 358 and the 66, I don’t think the area in between justifies extra service, given our budget constraints.

    2. Metro planners know the night-owl network is stupid, but management doesn’t seem to consider it a priority for reform. Metro, at least in their emails to me, won’t even commit to replace the 82 with a couple of E Line trips, which is basically what they did with the 81/D Line, and is about the simplest, best single change you could make with the owl network.

      1. See my comment above. Replacing the 81 with the D and the 85 with the C were one-to-one swaps, but you can’t really do the same with the 82 and 84. Even replacing the 83 with the 73 or 72 might be a little iffy; doesn’t one side of its loop go down 35th?

      2. Metro wasn’t even planning to replace the 3:30 trips of the 81 and 85. SDOT had to help pay for those trips to make it happen.

      3. Regular patrons on the night owl routes basically fall into two categories: homeless people with nothing else to do, and low-income people working swing shift. Aurora is thus infinitely more important for owl coverage than East Green Lake.

        The C/D Line is a similarly unlikely place to find owl riders, which is, I suspect, why Metro didn’t want to pay for the 3:30 (assuming that’s true; I haven’t heard that elsewhere).

      4. I suspect that one difficulty with replacing the 82 with E Line trips is that the 82 also goes up Queen Anne Hill. I agree with you that Upper Queen Anne is probably more similar to Green Lake than Aurora with respect to night-owl demand (i.e. there probably isn’t much), but I’m guessing that someone would throw a fit if Queen Anne suddenly lost all its owl service.

        The way I see it, if you pull on the 82 thread, the whole thing starts to unravel. The E Line makes the 82 redundant in northwest Seattle, but you still need to serve Upper Queen Anne, and it doesn’t do a great job at serving northeast Seattle either. So you add some night owl trips on the 3 and the 66. Now you’ve made the 83 and 84 redundant, but you still need to serve the east-central neighborhoods. So you add some trips on the 8. And voila, no more night owl buses.

        In total, with these changes, the walk shed of the night owl network would be roughly the same as it is today. But making any change individually would create holes in the network, for no good reason.

      5. Night owls don’t need to serve Upper Queen Anne. Anyone who can afford rents on top of the hill is already just going to drive/cab it. I really doubt anyone up there would fight — there wasn’t even that much pushback over the 45X going away, which was vastly more used.

      6. “Aurora is thus infinitely more important for owl coverage than East Green Lake. ”

        Who exactly do you expect will be willing to wait at a bus stop on Aurora at 3:30 in the morning? I wouldn’t.

    3. Since Metro isn’t going to run a night-owl shadow route for Link, I hope ST budgets for it. Airport workers who live in Rainier Valley have to have a good connection both ways. Consider that four hours without Link each night results in eight hours worth of shift changes that don’t work with Link — both the workers coming to work during graveyard time, and workers going home at graveyard time. Add that shifts can change all the time, and many workers will just suffer the sunk cost of getting a car.

      A shadow bus should be almost as fast as Link during graveyard hours, and has the flexibility to serve the south terminal stop.

      Oh, and if the 560, 140, and 180 shut down at night, how about extending the 120 to the airport during graveyard hours? The same goes for the 124, for which the connection with the A Line is not obvious that it won’t leave riders stranded at TIBS for an hour or more.

      1. It would be really nice if ST just extended Link’s hours of operation. Start an hour earlier and end an hour later Mon-Sat, and make Sunday’s span of service identical to Mon-Sat. The frequency could be cut during the first and last hours. But instead of last train inbound at 12:10am (11:05 Sundays), make it 1:05am every day. And first train reaching Seatac at 4:45am every day. Might need to make that even earlier as I think shifts start earlier than that. Frankly, with two trains in operation, they could run 45 minute service all night (~37 minute runtime). They can run single car trains so they don’t need staff at Westlake. Yes the tunnel would need to be remain open.

      2. For the cost of keeping the DSTT and trainyard open, and the cost of deferred maintenance, eight buses could probably keep up 15-minute headway on the shadow route all night for much less cost.

      3. I’m not sure that I undertand why the costs of keeping the bus tunnel open have to be all that high. As it is the tunnel is kept open until at least 1am and reopened by 5am, so we are only talking about 4 hours. Further there are almost certainly costs associated with closing and locking it up, and then with reopening it. I would think that between offsetting those costs and looking at efficiencies it ought to be possible to do it fairly inexpensively. I think the bigger issue is that KC Metro operates the tunnel, not Sound Transit. Does ownership transfer to Sound Transit at some point?

      4. Yes – ST should run a Link shadow bus with at least 30 minute frequency whenever Link is not running. This creates a legible 24 hour connection between downtown, the airport and points in between. Run it on 3rd Avenue downtown.

      5. A Link night shadow would overlap with part of the 7 night owl. There are a few ways to do this. (A) Serve all stations using Columbian Way or Holgate Street to get up to Beacon Hill. You could truncate the 7 at Mt Baker station.

        (B) Modify the 7 to be the Link shadow. Go on 3rd Ave, Jackson St, 12th Ave Bridge, Beacon Hill station, Mt Baker station, regular Link route. This would bypass Stadium and SODO stations but would give new service to Beacon Hill. It would make local stops to adequately replace the 7, including Graham Street and 12th & Jackson. North Rainier would be left out, but it would be a max 1/2 mile additional walk to Mt Baker station or 12th & Jackson.

        For Stadium and SODO, the only ridership I can think of is from Studio 7, the Showbox, Dennys, and the Metro base. They can all use the 124 night owl which goes to 6th & Holgate.

      6. I have mixed feelings about night-owl service. On the other hand, it fills in a significant gap in transit service.

        On the other hand, ridership on any night-owl route outside of Manhatten is almost certainly going to be crap. The willingness of people to walk or wait at a bus stop goes way down during the graveyard hours. And the number of people traveling during that time is just a trickle to begin with.

        I’d be interested to see some data on what the ridership actually is between 2 AM and 5 AM. However, if it’s what I think it is, simply relying on taxis, Car2Go, Zipcar, and the downtown Airporter bus during those hours may very well be good enough.

        But if we are going to run Metro buses during those hours, we should at least think about giving airport->downtown trips some semblance of usability. Which means get rid of the stupid connection at TIBS and, instead, say late-night A-line service is truncated at SeaTac airport, with late-night 124 service extended to the airport. It would cost no additional service hours, but eliminate the transfer to get from the airport to downtown, which far more people are likely to do at that hour than Federal Way to TIBS.

      7. asdf,

        According to the [2010 route performance report](, the 82 was actually one of the top 25% routes in terms of night productivity in Seattle. The 83 was middling by Seattle standards, but would have been in the top 25% if it didn’t serve the Seattle core. The 81 and 85 are poor by Seattle standards, but middling-to-good by suburban standards. Only the 84 — which is a truly terrible route by any measure — falls in the bottom 25% of suburban routes.

        Also, note that night starts as soon as peak ends, i.e. 7pm. I would expect that most service is far more productive between 7pm and 10pm than it is afterwards. Therefore, night owl routes are probably even more productive than this data would suggest.

        I draw the analogy to suburban routes because I feel that owl routes and suburban routes fill a similar niche. In general, these services are coverage-oriented, rather than ridership-oriented. They are not meant to be spectacularly productive on their own, but they help the network, by filling in gaps and allowing a greater number of people to rely on the bus network to get them where they need to go (and when they need to get there).

        Clearly, no one would design the owl network that currently exists. But a rational owl network absolutely has a place here.

      8. Whoops… can someone edit my last comment to change my markdown link to HTML? Or implement Markdown? ;)

      9. I looked at the numbers myself. You’re right – the 82 and 83 are substantially better than I expected and to me, look good enough to justify keeping in some form.

        The 84, and 280, on the other hand, I’m not convinced meet the cut.

    4. Late to this party, I know… was traveling over New Year’s.

      But I agree the night-owl network should be replaced by extra trips on regular service; I just have a few bones to pick with some of the suggestions earlier in the thread.

      The 82 should be replaced by the E. Full stop. There is nowhere the 82 goes other than Aurora and Greenwood that has a significant number of riders needing this service. And if people are willing to wait at Rainier & Henderson at 3:50 a.m. (which they are — that 7 trip is very well used), they will wait along Aurora too. The only problem here is that E trips are much longer than 82 trips. If there is no money for two Owl E round trips, I honestly think one round trip, leaving downtown at 2:15 a.m. and returning at 3:30-3:45 a.m., would be more useful to more people than the current two 82 trips.

      The 83 should be partly replaced by a 2:15 a.m. trip on the 41 and a 3:30 a.m. trip on the 49 (complementing the existing 2:15 a.m. trip). “What?!” I hear you saying. It goes like this. The U-district is by far the biggest 83 destination, and the 49 can cover it (with reasonable speed at that time of night). Northgate is, also by far, the most major destination not even tangentially served by owl service, and the 41 also provides service (with a long walk) to an enormous swath of North Seattle. There is still a gap in the north end of the U-District and the Ravenna area. To solve this, the late-night 41 trip could be slightly modified to exit at Lake City Way and follow the 66 route to NTC.

      The 84 should be replaced by trips on the 3S. The existing 84 is redundant with the 49 (particularly if the 49 gets a 3:30 trip) for the parts of Capitol Hill where owl service is at all needed. On the other hand, it serves First Hill and the CD badly. The 3S serves Harborview, and is otherwise the most central route for the areas that need late-night service.

      The outbound 124 trips after Link ends service should be extended to the airport. The point of super-late-night trips to the airport is not to carry passengers — there are no passenger flights at that time of day — but to carry employees, whose shifts often start between 3:30 and 5:00 a.m. Neither outbound 124 trip returns as an inbound trip or deadheads back downtown for another Owl trip, so extending the last two outbound 124 trips to the airport would cost only a few minutes for each trip, and would significantly reduce pain for employees who now have to rely on the uncertain transfer to RR A.

      1. I’m not too thrilled about the idea of replacing the 82 with E-line trips. The 82 serves several areas that are too far to expect people to be willing to walk from Aurora late at night, during the hours when people are most concerned about real or perceived safety issues – for example, Wallingford, Greenwood, and east Green Lake would effectively lose coverage, in favor of shoreline, which I doubt would have as much ridership as the areas lost.

        But one potential idea I do like would be to modify the 83 to cover more useful areas. For example, follow the 49 routing through capitol hill up to the University bridge, then take the 66 routing through the U-district and on to Northgate. The tail of the 83 in Wedgewood would be lost, but the areas gained would more than make up for it.

        If this route would take a bit too long to make the 3:30 a.m. pulse in the center of downtown, I would propose that we modify it to only do the above in the northbound direction, while expressing along I-5, just like the 41 does, in the southbound direction.

      2. I only drove the 82 a couple of times, but I don’t think there’s any night owl ridership in Wallingford or Green Lake, and if there is, those users (like those in upper Queen Anne) can probably use a cab. Aurora and Greenwood are where the action is. I think the priority is to make service consistent and predictable, and the short walk from Aurora to Greenwood (which isn’t through a dangerous area at any point the 82 currently reaches) is justified under that priority. Also, there would be a lot of late-night ridership between 145th and the cemetery, judging by current ridership on the 358 and even through ridership to 145th on the old, pre-reorg 28.

        As for the 83, I’m having second thoughts on my plan above. Now I’m thinking we should simply change those trips to the 66. Wedgwood and Bryant don’t need owl service. Lake City could use it, but so could Roosevelt, which got the shaft in my post above (especially with the cancellation of the 82 to Green Lake).

  10. I think the 82 stayed on 4th because all the owl routes use 4th and (except for the old 85) wait at 4th and University. If Metro keeps the 82, 83, and 84, I wonder if Metro might want to move the 83 and 84 to 3rd?

  11. Well … I saw today that Metro is FINALLY adding a shelter at the WB 8/43 stop on E John & 12th Ave … The foundation is in and the only things missing are the shelter itself and the bench.

  12. well looks like sounder got one whole morning of operation before it got cancelled due to mudslides again. way to go!!

  13. One of the main reasons that swiping the card is to make sure that each transportation entity receives its fair share of the funds associated with each trip or each card. I don’t know the exact details. However, this is probably the main reason.

    1. d.p.’s point is that it shouldn’t be necessary. All the transit vehicles already have automated passenger counts, so the relative ridership between the different agencies is known. They should be able to use simple statistics to figure out what percentage of pass riders ride Metro vs. Sound Transit and split the revenue accordingly. It does not make sense to inconvenience passengers when they’ve already paid anyway and it’s just a question of allocation of funds between agencies.

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