With a temporary Skagit Bridge now in place, WSDOT discontinued the extra Cascades round trip to
VancouverBellingham. The last trip was June 19th.
“Amtrak, Sound Transit and BNSF stepped up in the hours after the bridge collapse to help WSDOT quickly offer another mobility option for the traveling public,” said Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. “I am grateful for these efforts, and that this partnership came together at a critical moment to find solutions for Washingtonians.”
Gus Melonas, BNSF Railway regional director of public affairs said, “BNSF was pleased to help provide assistance for travelers during this crisis situation.”
WSDOT spokesperson Laura Kingman told me the highest ridership of the round trip on any day was 55. She added that if the volume had been above 500, they could have run the trains longer.
I asked Ms. Kingman to reflect on lessons learned from the experience:
What we already know is that it takes time to build ridership because it takes humans time (and motivation) to change their habits. We like our routines. Our WSDOT highway engineers did a great job tailoring the detours to meet demand and people may also have chosen to delay non-urgent travel which kept volumes and delays down. Without significant delays, people were not motivated to use alternative transportation.