Funky new shuttle proposed for the Snoqualmie Valley.
Funky new shuttle proposed for the Snoqualmie Valley.

Tomorrow afternoon, the King County Transportation, Environment and Economy Committee (TEEC) will host a fairly important public hearing on a whole bunch of proposed Metro service changes for Fall of this year and a few upcoming ones next year.  While this isn’t going to be the palooza that preceded the massive Fall 2012 shakeup, there are some fairly significant countywide service proposals on the docket, including implementation of the E and F Lines, I-90 revisions, and the Snoqualmie Valley alternative service delivery project– Bruce has covered just about all of these.

Here’s the rough breakdown of routes that the TEEC will take public comment on:

Fall 2013

  • South King revisions:
    • Convert the 155 to DART service
    • Revise the routing of the 909 DART to better serve Renton Technical College and Renton Housing Authority
    • Extend the 140 to serve the Landing, presumably to build up the market for the F Line
  • Snoqualmie Valley alternative service delivery:
    • Convert the 209 into a peak-only route
    • Implement a new 208 between North Bend and Issaquah
    • Shorten the 224 to operate only between Duvall and Redmond
    • Implement a new Snoqualmie Intra-Valley shuttle
    • Shorten the 311 to operate only between Seattle and Woodinville
  • I-90 corridor improvements:
    • Reroute the 210 to serve Eastgate P&R
    • Delete the 211’s South Bellevue P&R deviation (wahoo!)
    • Delete the 215’s Issaquah TC deviation
    • Revise the 216 routing to serve Issaquah Highlands instead of North Issaquah

Spring 2014

  • Implement the E Line
    • Delete the 358

Summer 2014

  • Implement the F Line
    • Delete the 140
    • Delete the 110

The public hearing will be held tomorrow, April 30th from 4pm to 5pm at the King County Council Chambers.  There will also be an open house preceding the hearing at 3:30pm, where you can get a detailed description of each proposed change.  The TEEC will pass on its recommendations to the full county council, which is expected to vote on the changes in May.

63 Replies to “Public Hearing Tomorrow on E, F Lines, I-90, and More”

    1. Because they’re very different services, financially, operationally and as presented to the public?

    2. They say they’re contracting out the intra-valley shuttle to some local group, which can do it a lot cheaper.

  1. Is the DSTT inter-agency agreement coming up for renegotiation soon? I vaguely recall someone saying those negotiations would be happening next year. Being able to run more 550s during peak of peak would make a lot of difference, as would bringing the 554 downstairs. The 202 should get truncated, but if keeping it is the price of getting support from Chairwoman Clibborn for allowing Metro to not be decimated, so be it. If it is kept, it makes a lot more sense in the tunnel than the 216, 218, and 255 do.

    If Metro wants to shift more riders to ST, then ST needs to be allowed to absorb those riders.

    1. There are not enough hybrid ST coaches to add the 554 to the tunnel, and also no capacity to add additional northbound coaches to the tunnel during the PM peak. (Extra PM peak 550s will have to be trippers running outbound trips only.)

      The 202 in the tunnel would be a waste of Metro artics that are badly needed on other routes during the peak.

      I don’t know about the status of the agreement, but a few extra outbound 550 trips between 4:45 and 5:45 p.m. are sorely needed.

      1. With only two outbound 554 runs per hour during peak, I don’t think that will break ST’s fleet, any more than adding a few more peak-direction peak-of-peak 550s would. Surely, fleet replacement is ongoing. If it really is that tight, some of the Metro hybrids for routes that would be kicked upstairs could be used.

        The point of having those two buses in the tunnel is to absorb some of the rides away from the 550, and encourage even more Mercer Islanders to ride at all with a consistent place for them to catch all the buses going to Mercer Island.

        The same goes for the 202, which also has only two outbound trips per hour, and lacks the disadvantage of having northbound return trips during PM peak. Yes, the 202 is itself a waste (at least the express portion). But it is a larger waste upstairs when most Mercer Island riders are waiting downstairs.

        That’s two Metro hybrid buses and two ST hybrid buses out of a fleet of …

      2. And in any case, how would the 202 get into the tunnel? Remember, it enters I-90 at West Mercer (and in my experience, a fair proportion of its passengers board between the P&R and the freeway.

        I used to love riding the 202, and would still do so if I didn’t have to drop teh kids off at daycare, it wasn’t all that uncommon for us to pull up to the transit center with only four or five passengers [admittedly, theer were almost always two or three high schoolers who used it to get to school from the south end].

        I don’t know where Judy lives, and so far this session she has given a fairly good impression of somone who is completely unconcerned with Mercer Island’s issues (surprising given her mayoral background, it isn’t as if anything has really changed). Senator Litzow lives somewhere convenient to the 202, but I don’t know if he’s ever used it.

      3. Brent, don’t forget that if you are putting the 554 in the tunnel then you need to make all 554 coaches hybrids, including those that don’t happen to visit the tunnel during peak of peak. The 554 is a long all-day route that, if it weren’t interlined with the 555 and 556, would need approximately 6 coaches on its own; the ST hybrid artic fleet is currently 52, all of which are already accounted for. Also, again, you’d have to find two northbound buses per hour to kick out of the tunnel to account for the two inbound 554 trips. The northbound side is at capacity, as you will find out if you watch buses stack up between 5:00 and 5:30.

        Adding the 202 to the tunnel would be much easier. It’s just that watching empty artics head to Mercer Island at the peak of the peak will really stick in the craw of those passengers on crammed-full routes who will lose their artics as a result. I think the current situation is probably the best among the imperfect options available until East Link finally rationalizes the tunnel situation.

      4. Are you sure? ST has added a substantial number of Hybrid coaches and I frequently see Hybrids on the 522, 545, and 554, although those are sometimes linked to 550 trips. Either way, the idea of bringing the 554 downstairs is a sound one. It might even get people prepped for a long away future of transferring at South Bellevue to vastly improved Issaquah/Bellevue service made up of the service hours from the 554, 555, and 556 routes…

      5. I doubt 202s in the tunnel would be that empty. A lot of riders going to Mercer Island P&R would switch to that if it comes first (except if they are concerned about the fare differential, but that is something ST can fix).

        The Metro and ST fleets are fungible, so why not borrow some Metro hybrids? It’s not like the paint jobs have to go through design review, except occasionally by Councilmember PvR. I’ve seen Metro hybrids on plenty of routes that don’t actually need them.

        The northbound tunnel is at capacity under current operating procedures during PM peak. As I’ve pointed out, there are ways to change those procedures in order to improve the flow. Nevertheless, let’s assume Metro isn’t going to do that. The 255 has seven outbound peak trips per hour. Kicking them upstairs (as should have been done a long time ago) would open up a lot of space, and enable the 41 and 77 to be split out to their own bay.

      6. Last time I looked through the runcuts every hybrid-assigned piece of work had at least one 550 trip on it. There is a lot of interlining between the 550 and the 522/545, so changing that might dredge up some coaches at the price of some scheduling efficiency. Because most of that interlining takes place at the edges of peak hour or at night, I’m doubtful that we could find six coaches (more than 10% of the fleet), all day every day.

        Kicking the 255 out and revising the Metro/ST agreement to include the 554 would solve all the issues except for the lack of coaches, and would make sense for a lot of other reasons. But it would definitely create a political problem for Metro on the Eastside.

      7. “Adding the 202 to the tunnel would be much easier”

        It’s not going to happen. The best you can hope for is a full restructure of the Mercer Island routes to connect to service at Mercer Island P&R. The combined service hours of the 202, 204, 205, should be applied to the spine of the Island along the densest areas toward the North end. 30 minute all day Service to the Mercer Village Center, possibly upgraded to 15 minute service at the peaks would be a good place to start.

        The 201 should be deleted. The 203 should, of course be kept since it serves my Mom’s house… Seriously though, I have no idea what the right answer is for the 203/213. They provide worthy service that gets used, but in a very confusing way… Upgrading the stops near Covenant Shores so the 213 doesn’t need to go into their driveway would be a good start. Simplifying their schedules would also be good.

      8. If you’re looking for extra tunnel capacity for the 554 and/or 211/212, the 255 would be a logical route to kick upstairs, since it doesn’t get to utilize the direct connection between the tunnel and the freeway in either direction.

      9. Are riders in Kirkland really that attached to having tunnel service? When I’ve ridden the 255 inbound, I’ve always found it frustrating waiting to get into the tunnel. It always seemed like the bus would actually get me to downtown faster if it just kept going on Stewart St.

        Similarly, I’ve never heard anyone in Ballard or Fremont complaining that they don’t have a tunnel bus. Folks seem to understand that the geography of the tunnel wouldn’t make it useful for their trips.

        I understand that there may have been political reasons to “spread the love” when the tunnel first opened, but it’s been open for decades now.

        For what it’s worth, I think the 522 would actually be another logical candidate for tunnel service. All the other Lake City-Downtown service is already in the tunnel (IIRC), and the 522 would benefit from the express lane connection. Maybe swapping the 255 and 522 would be a politically easier trade, since the 522 does technically serve the north Eastside?

      10. Wouldn’t putting the 554 into the tunnel also make it subject to the same issues in the pm peak that made them have to omit the 216 and 218’s Eastgate stops?

      11. Totally agree that using an Artic on the 202 would be overkill. It already gets one on the last pm bus of the day, which IME has ridership that would be well served by a minibus — at least some of the earlier buses (which are served by single buses) usually have a few standing passengers over the floating bridge.

    2. Yes – as part of the technology thread from a few days ago, I came across a note that said the DSTT agreement would be up for re-negotiation in 2014. Whether that’s actually still true or not may require an email to Metro.

    3. The other Lake City routes (306 and 312) are not in the tunnel, so the 522 would be a poor candidate route for the tunnel.

      “Spreading the love”, when it comes to the tunnel, means half-hour headway on one route to a destination upstairs, and half-hour headway on another route to the same destination downstairs, instead of roughly 15-minute headway between two routes serving the same stops. Imagine if the 73 and 74 were moved upstairs under the mantra of “spreading the love”. That’s how ridiculous it is to have the 545 upstairs and the 255 downstairs.

      Somebody save us from the county council’s love!

      1. I was thinking of the 41 and 72, both of which already provide tunnel service to Lake City. However, you’re absolutely right about the 306/312 — not to mention that the 522 is not an all-day route, which for some reason I thought it was.

        I’m 100% with you about common corridors, which is why I’ve wanted to kick out the 255 for years. It just seems like a shame that Lake City service, too, is split between in and out of the tunnel.

      2. The 522 is an all-day route. And it works pretty well on its current alignment, especially during peak hours — it wouldn’t benefit all that much from a move to the tunnel. Not sure why Metro and ST gave us 522/306/312 riders the gift of using Union and Pike when everyone else (except 301 riders) has to suffer through Stewart and Olive/Howell, but I’ll take it.

        Brent, I still don’t understand why you think the 545 and 255 share any destinations or should be considered a common corridor. The only destinations they have in common are Montlake and Evergreen Point stations, hardly drivers of any ridership from downtown.

      3. David: It’s not just Montlake (though there are more riders between downtown and Montlake, or between Convention Place and Montlake, than you might think). It’s that every other SR-520 bus from downtown follows one route, and the 255 is the only one that doesn’t. From a system legibility perspective, it’s nice to be able to tell people, “go here for the 520 buses”. The fact that the tunnel itself uses this signage for bus bays suggests that people find it useful.

        And also, one of the main benefits of the tunnel is the ability to use the direct connections to the freeway. The 255 never benefits from this, whereas there are other well-used routes which would.

        Finally, once the direct access ramps open at 108th, who’s to say that Sound Transit won’t add a freeway stop? Suddenly, riders at S Kirkland P&R really do have two options… so long as they have a common routing downtown.

      4. David L.,

        There probably is causation between low ridership to Montlake Freeway Station from downtown and low frequency to catch that trip from any given downtown stop. There is high ridership to the Montlake area, just few who opt for that express but painfully infrequent (due to the split) path. One way to test this hypothesis would be to compare ridership from downtown to Montlake Freeway Station with ridership from Montlake Freeway Station to downtown, which doesn’t suffer the split problem. Obviously, there is demand for this trip, or ST wouldn’t be building a train station a few hundred feet away.

        I’ve also noticed during my tunnel observations that the 255 is not as stuffed as the other northbound buses during PM peak. I’m sure someone will chime in that I’m wrong, just as someone always says the 560 is well-used, the 16 is well-used, the 2 is well-used, the VA stop is well-used, and the 42 was well-used. The defenders of every route always exaggerate their ridership claims.

        If the 255 doesn’t move upstairs, it may get some peak runs cut. Notice that the 255 is on the 65-routes restructure list.

  2. While adding service (span, coverage, frequency) is a good thing, when the budget is fixed or declining, those redeployed service hours need to be ‘stolen’ from some less deserving riders (efficiency). OK, so much for the Econ101 lesson.
    Now, look at what happened to productivity with the A-Line. Service was added, larger buses added, street furniture and TSP was added, and the riders/hour of service is still only about half of the route it replaced, the MT174. So we’re deploying lots more hours, to serve some more riders along the corridor, but efficiency is only half of what it used to be.
    Fast Forward to RR-E. The 140 and 110 are going to be cancelled, which between Sounder Stn and Paccar gives the advertised headways for RR-E of ’10 minutes in the peak’. So, little change in the route, fewer stops, same headways, but now the 40 foot bus and van become an artic. Also, all trips will have to do the Burien to the landing loop, so a lot more service hours will need to be added to the route. And these came from who??
    And the productivity of RR-E will fall to what??
    … at a time that Metro is broke, has depleted most every capital and rainy day account, has been deferring maintenance, and will SURELY get a big bump in local option and MVET taxing resources as a result of a very friendly-transit oriented legislature and regional voting base.

    1. mic, I believe you meant to say Fast Forward to RR-F, not E.

      Also, I believe the RR F should not serve the Renton P&R and just stay on Rainier Ave. Every bus that goes to the P&R also goes to the TC, so transferring passengers can transfer at the TC, and it will shave 5+ minutes off the F Line.

    2. RapidRide A ridership lower than the 174? I thought it was 50% higher. The disappointment was that it wasn’t 100% higher. But still, we need to have frequent higher-quality service on key corridors (the suburban “grid”), because that’s important for Metro’s long-term success and to encourage cities/developers to densify those streets. We’ve finally gotten suburban cities to start thinking about densifying their centers and main arterials; we shouldn’t say “Just kidding!” and go back to the way it was.

      1. Overall ridership is up, but riders per hour are much lower than the 174 according to route performance reports. Now that routes live or die by one or two metrics, this being one of them, it’s important to look before you leap into new services that cost way more than existing, but deliver marginal improvements, at the expense of other riders.
        Can RR-F claim better before and after metrics?

      2. Nobody is served well by four half-hourly routes. If one of them goes to 15-minutes full time, it finally makes the service more usable. If two of them go to 15-minutes full time, it’s even better. There’s not much else you can do in south King County instead that would be as worthwile, except making the 169 15-minutes, but that’s just moving the benefit from one place to another.

    3. Not every efficiency decrease is a bad thing. There were periods of the day when the old 174 was over reasonable capacity. The RR A doesn’t have that problem.

      But RR F is a different situation. It will have way too much capacity from day one. The thing is that the extra expense associated with that capacity is not that high. Daytime frequency is the same. Peak frequency is the same if you include the 110. Only weekend and night frequency are going up, and we could very reasonably expect extra ridership as a result of those changes, since the F’s two most important destinations are both heavy weekend draws and one of them is also a 24-hour draw.

      The extra operating expense associated with an artic vs. a 40-footer is not significant, and the extra capital expense is being paid for by the feds.

      1. High load factors are not a bad thing, as they contribute to routes having high fare recovery ratios, and adding overload trips is nothing new to service change.
        In a perfect world, RR-A would have started with significant signal priority, fewer stops, and off-board payment along the line, yielding the touted 25% speed increase, that never materialized. That means the route can have up to 25% fewer buses assigned for the same schedule, or 25% more trips using the same hours, which accounts for half of the higher ridership gain.
        But no, Metro doubled the service hours, then foot dragged on all the speed things, which really shot down the riders per service hour metric.
        That’s my concern with RR-F with all the changes.
        Metro no longer shares platform hours allocated with the public on a route by route basis, but has no trouble in the latest service report of crying how many hours will be cut if this or that route is lost, or how many hours a route needs to avoid overloads. Even the press pieces on the media today are all about scaring the public, which I suppose will parlay into calls to Olympia to pass all the transit tax measures, without regard for how those new dollars will be spent.
        I don’t trust an agency that spoon feeds the data to the public that they want them to see, and hides everything else. So much for the new wave of Transparency.

      2. High load factors are not a bad thing, as they contribute to routes having high fare recovery ratios

        Spoken like a man who spends more time poring over financial reports than riding buses…

        Metro no longer shares platform hours allocated with the public on a route by route basis

        Easy enough to (roughly) figure out on your own, if you are knowledgeable.

      3. We all agree that calling the F-line “rapid” is a complete and utter travesty, since it is geometrically impossible for any route following that pattern to be anywhere remotely rapid.

        Nevertheless, that ship has sailed and the best we can do is hope it does as well as possible.

        Or are you saying we should abandon all premise of RapidRide being any improvement over what was there before and cut the RapidRide route back to 30 minutes midday, 60 minutes evenings and weekends?

      4. To be clear, I’m a BRT supporter, where justified.
        Metro is not swimming in cash, so every hour given to one route must be taken from someone else. If it results in better system efficiency, or overall increase in bus ridership, then great.
        That didn’t happen in RR-A, and I doubt RR-F will be any different. Replacing a half full van from Tukwila to Paccar with an artic makes little sense.
        If RR-F is going to succeed, then ALL 35 TSP intersections need to be functional before the service change to get the times down, to justify adding a bunch more hours.
        Otherwise, we just screw some poor riders in S.King Co out of their bus route, so we can have a bunch of shine new buses rolling around ‘mostly empty’, and think we are accomplishing something.
        Start the service, but do it incrementally and add frequency as needed.

    4. Here’s a link to the FTA submission for funding on RR-F
      The big change is going to the Landing for the end of the route. Note the forecast for 7,400 average weekday boardings for this year, and the $5.4mil operating cost. We’ll have to see how things worked out in 2014 versus combining the 110 & 140, adding more route miles, and how the new ‘holy grail’ metric of Riders/Platform Hour is working out.

  3. Does anyone know how metro determines the worthiness of DSTT routes? From casual observation with a few exceptions, it seems most of the routes are high ridership routes. The 218 is typically SRO on all runs so that and the 550 peak runs make sense to keep in the tunnel to me. PM 218 often is all seats occupied by University St Station, so to put 30-60 people on 2nd and stewart and 2nd and seneca seems like a bad move when it comes to customer service.

    1. The choice of routes has changed little since the DSTT’s opening in 1990, subject to maintaining equivalents after route reorganizations. I don’t specifically remember the pre-ST routes being in the tunnel (550 <- 226 and 235, 41 <- 307), but on the other hand I don't remember a major reshuffeling of routes to downstairs either, or any routes getting kicked upstairs to make room for them.

      The original impetus seems to be to put at least one all-day route into every subarea. The 71/72/73, 41, 550, and 150 are obvious since they're the fullest. The 106 (and earlier 107) was presumably to serve a low-income area. South King County is so wide and populous that they probably figured it needed multiple routes (194, 150, 101). As for the peak-only routes, I've never understood why they were chosen, it seems to be arbitrary. I also think it sucks that any peak-only routes were allowed in the tunnel, because it underutilizes a scarce resource.

      The most surprising exception is that the 358 was never in the tunnel. You’d think the most-used route in northwest Seattle and the gateway to Snohomish County would be in the tunnel, but Metro said it was too much of a detour. So the entire west side — northwest Seattle, west Seattle, and Burien — are conspicuously absent from the tunnel.

      1. It *is* too much of a detour, at least for the 358 and other NW-bound routes. Don’t you agree? Then again, I think the 255 already has too much of a detour to be in the tunnel. :)

        I am surprised that there aren’t any West Seattle routes, though. Naively, it seems like it would be great to run a route along the busway to Spokane St, and then over the bridge.

      2. Any route to West Seattle from the tunnel would have to cross the BN&SF tracks somewhere. The only street-level on-ramp to the Spokane St Viaduct is on 1st Ave S.

      3. Three blocks is to much of a detour? Tunnel buses are twice as fast as surface buses, so by denying an area a tunnel route you’re relegating it to excruciatingly slow service.

      4. Tunnel buses are twice as fast as surface buses

        That hasn’t been true since 1) the tunnel slowed down from 8 to 10-12 minutes/trip following the introduction of Link and 2) the 3rd Avenue transit priority and skip-stop treatments were introduced. Now the difference between the tunnel and a trip all the way up 3rd and Olive is a matter of 2-4 minutes unless something goes wrong.

        My educated guess is that even under perfect conditions the E-3/tunnel trip would be slower to the north end of downtown than the current viaduct/Seneca/3rd trip.

      5. I try periodically to take a surface bus between Pine and Madison or Pine and Jackson to see if it has improved, but it still takes a long time and stops at several traffic lights except at like Sunday morning. It’s better than its worst period, yes, but is still significantly slower than the tunnel.

    2. The only tunnel routes that aren’t universally SRO at peak are the 76, 77, and 316. The 76 and 77 are there because they have common terminals with the 71 and 73, respectively, and so it’s operationally efficient to have them there. The 316 is there because most of its passengers are riding to its common it destination with the 76 (I-5/65th P&R).

      The original routes were chosen politically, no question about it. As many areas of the county as possible got their major routes included. My memory is that the following were in the tunnel at opening (working clockwise around the region):

      41 – Northgate
      71/72/73 – U-District, NE Seattle
      255 – Kirkland, Kingsgate
      253 – Medina, Bellevue, Overlake, Redmond
      226/235 – Mercer Island, Bellevue, Overlake
      225/227/229 – Eastgate, E Bellevue (peak-only)
      101/106/107 – SE Seattle, Skyway, Renton
      150 – Southcenter, Kent, Auburn
      176/177/178/194/195/196 – Sea-Tac, Federal Way

      That is “spreading the love,” even though some of those routes (I-90, north Seattle) made a lot more sense than others (SR-520, Federal Way) for tunnel service.

      1. I think you mean 266 in place of 253 (253 is now essentially RR B). I used to use 266 and it was very popular until 545 and 265 essentially chipped away at its route areas and provided faster service between redmond and dt. IMO, 520 buses don’t have a lot of purpose serving the tunnel as it much of those routes are relegated to the mercer merge across I-5 and then dumped onto city streets for a few blocks before entering the terminal. The tunnel was originally designed to accommodation buses on I-5 with the direct ramp. Eventually the E-3 busway and D-2 busways were built to good connections for south and east (I-90) buses. As many people have said, 255 is probably in the tunnel due to social equity and political pushing whereas 545 or 554 should be in its place.

      2. The 266 started life as the 253 Express. The 253 local continued past Bellevue to downtown via Medina (along what is now the 271 route). When the tunnel opened, the 253 and 253 Express were both in it. That part I remember well… because I lived four blocks from the 253 local.

      3. In 1992, by my foggy recollection, the routes in the DSTT were the following:

        All Federal Way TC-Downtown Seattle commuter express routes

      4. The idea of “spreading the love” is stupid. Is someone from Redmond supposed to be happy that the 255 is in the tunnel because at least it’s in the east King subarea? Or is the idea that someone from Redmond will love the tunnel so much that they will choose to drive to South Kirkland P&R to ride the 255 over catching the 545 right near home? That idea sounds especially laughable, considering that the bulk of the delays going into downtown happen right after the I-5 exit ramp, which the tunnel does absolutely nothing to avoid. And the 255 has less frequency most of the day than the 545 to boot.

        The tunnel routes need to be allocated on the basis of taking advantage of the facilities to be as efficient as possible. And this means most of the space should go to the I-90 corridor, even though the I-90 corridor is nowhere near where I live.

      5. OK, got to comment since asdf brought up the 255 (aka my bus). The 255 runs as a coupled street car during peak largely because of the stupid trains clogging up the bus tunnel. More people still use the buses in the bus tunnel even though it’s efficiency has been cut in half by Link. Link runs so frequently you don’t need a schedule, right? So, why does it get priority over buses which do have a schedule and most outbound bus riders in the AM depend on? I guess the answer is we spent so many billions of dollars on this we have to do what ever we can to make it look good even if it makes transit worse. Hell of a way to wage a war on cars.

      6. It’s official, the war in cars has been called off. Late-breaking news shows that the bus and train delays in the DSTT and on I-90 are an intentional plot by car enthusiasts who have infiltrated Metro’s leadership.

  4. By “reroute the 210 to serve Eastgate P&R”, does mean make the 210 not serve Factoria, or add a new deviation that will impose at least 10 minutes of delay for everybody on the bus.

    If it’s the latter, who along the Newport Way segment is actually going to ride this thing, when getting in the car and driving, at least to Eastgate P&R, is going to be so much faster.

    I’m also a bit curious what the ridership on the 210 actually is? My intuition is that it would be fairly low, compared to routes like the 212, 216, and 218. If the 17% cuts are going to be enacted, is 210 on the deletion list?

    1. Almost no one along the Newport Way segment rides now. That’s the reason to add the deviation: to actually get more use out of the service hours. The route is still planned to serve Factoria, as far as I can tell, so it will be interesting to see if anyone actually rides from Eastgate, or if they all wait for the faster 212.

      The route narrowly avoided being on the list for deletion.

      1. As long as it still serves Factoria, almost no one is going to ride it from Eastgate. Even if you see the 210 coming, you will likely still get downtown faster by letting it go by and waiting for something faster.

        Nor is the 210 needed for coverage between Eastgate and Factoria. The 240, 241, and 245 already provide precisely this coverage.

        If the goal is what you say it is – to increase service between downtown and Eastgate – Metro should simply cut the 210 completely and re-invest the service hours into additional trips on the 212.

        Most of Newport Way already has lifeline coverage on the 271. And the tiny segment that is actually uniquely covered by the 210 has virtually nobody living there. With 17% cuts looming, we simply cannot afford to spend resources on tails like this, which almost no one will ever ride.

      2. What ridership there is on the 210 right now comes from the segment through Factoria to downtown, so I expect that is why Metro is retaining it. Cutting the 210 would force those riders to use the 241 and transfer at S Bellevue P&R.

        But, yeah, I don’t think many people will use the 210 from Eastgate if the difference between it and the 212 is more than 2-3 minutes.

      3. Is there a detailed description of what is actually being proposed anywhere. I tried searching Metro’s site, but barring a few tanat6alizingly named broken links, there didn’t seem to be anything detailing the route the 210 would take between the P&R and downtown [although to make things fun, it seems that Metro have decided to have it serving different Eastgate P&R stops in the am and pm] Somehow, it feels like the net effect will be to make the 212 even more dangerously overcrowded in the high peak.

  5. Spring 2014

    Implement the E Line
    Delete the 358

    So… I’m thinking about this, and though I really haven’t done the math, but I’m wondering where this idea would be flawed.

    If the E Line were set up with fewer stops (with a stop separation similar to Swift, and perhaps no stops south of 85th or Winona or wherever (except 46th), then could there maybe enough savings in hours to operate a 358 every 30 minutes or so? That way, most people would get a faster ride, yet those who can’t walk the extra several blocks to the bus stop would still have service along the route.

    It seems to work well with the Swift and the parallel CT101 and ET routes. Of course, there are political considerations, the color of the bus, and many other smaller things to consider. Just seems like it might work, though, or should at least be considered.

    1. It’s a great idea, but unfortunately, the math doesn’t work out. At best, skipping all stops between 85th and Belltown might save enough service hours to pay for one or two 358 trips per day – you couldn’t get near one every 30 minutes unless you cut frequency on the E-line or some other route.

    2. Skipping those stops might save you 5-8 minutes, which is maybe enough to pull one bus out of the E Line schedule. That would be enough for bi-hourly service on your 358.

      In general, you will get the maximum schedule efficiency by throwing all your buses at one service pattern, until you get down to 5-6 minute headways. Then it makes sense to split the pattern and have a limited/rapid bus and a local, both operating at, say, ten minute headways. This is what LA and SF do, and it’s pretty effective, within the constraints of a mostly mixed-running system.

      SWIFT works as well as it does mostly because Lynnwood is so spread out that the average trip length is quite long, making a limited stop service vastly more attractive than a slower local to anyone capable of walking. I don’t think the model of a frequent rapid bus with a much less frequent local service would work so well in a dense city.

    3. And don’t forget, much of SWIFT’s speedup comes from having real off-board payment, not just ORCA-only offboard with rampant, unabated cash fumbling at the farebox.

    4. The area by Green Lake contributes a significant chunk of the total ridership, especially at peak hour. If you take the 358 out of there (no stops between 46th and 85th) you will need something more frequent than every 30 minutes to replace it.

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