The changes take effect Sept. 28th:

ST Express
Route 510: Major route and schedule changes
Route 511: Major route and schedule changes
Route 512: Route now runs on weekdays and Saturdays
Route 513: Trips added and schedule changes
Route 522: Stop changes in Bothell due to construction
Route 532: Stop changes in Everett
Route 540: Trips reduced to better match ridership
Route 545: Trips added and schedule changes
Route 550: Trips added and schedule changes
Route 554: Schedule changes
Route 566: Schedule changes
Route 567: Trips added and schedule changes to meet new Sounder train
Route 578: Trip added and schedule changes
Route 586: Two morning and afternoon trips resume September 23, 2013
Route 590: Schedule changes
Route 592: Select trips now serve Lacey and Olympia and minor schedule changes
Route 594: Minor schedule changes
Route 596: Trips added to meet new Sounder trains

South line: One round trip added; schedule changes
North line: No changes

South Sounder adds an eighth peak direction round trip; this service will reduce headways rather than expand span.

We reported on 592 service to Lacey and Olympia here. The 510-512 changes realize the Service Implementation Plan Bruce reported on here, simplifying all-day service while shifting capacity to the overloaded peak.

64 Replies to “ST Releases Fall 2013 Schedule”

  1. And yet, despite all these “Seattle Expresses” Kent Station still doesn’t have one…although I appreciate the new Sounder service.

    1. Just fishin’ this morning John?
      Of course the 158/159 qualify for Express status to Seattle, unless you need the ST livery and budget line item to meet the test. Then the next question would be from what S.subarea account would you pay for it with? Less Sounder, less STEX, or more deferred Link construction? Kinda your call here.

      1. All-day, off-peak, just like so many other places have. During peak, express travel between Kent and Seattle is covered by Sounder.

        No need to pay anything more for it, except that some 40′ coaches will need to be replaced with artics.

        Just do the following two things:

        1) Reroute the 578 so it serves Kent, rather than Federal Way, before continuing to Auburn.
        2) Add a stop at Federal Way TC to the 594. (Artics will be needed for capacity.)

      2. I guess in theory if I need off-peak express service to Seattle I should drive to Auburn Station.

        Although, I see that this “Express” takes a full 52 minutes! Example, last 578 bus out of Seattle:

        Leave Seattle 10:57 pm
        Arrive Auburn 11:49pm

        Yet the “local” 150

        Leave Seattle 11:10 pm
        Arrive Kent 11:58 pm

        Hold on! That’s on 48 minutes!

        Thanks guys, but I’ll stick with what I have…

      3. Although, I see that this “Express” takes a full 52 minutes! Example, last 578 bus out of Seattle

        Last week our taxi dispatcher called me to say that my customer I was heading to had called 3 times in the last 10 minutes to ask how soon I was going to be there. The dispatcher made the comment of the day: “Apparently the passenger doesn’t understand that our teleportation system is out of order today.”

        I thought of that when I read your comment…….

      4. “I guess in theory if I need off-peak express service to Seattle I should drive to Auburn Station.”

        No – you should drive to TIBS instead – less out-of-direction travel.

      5. @adsf

        Yes, but more driving in ratio to transit, and in heavy traffic (which would be one reason to take transit over just driving in) and possibly not finding a parking space.

        However my time analysis indicates that I should be satisfied with the 150 (@Cascadia, the point of my comparison, not the absolute number of minutes).

    2. John, which is faster: the 150, or riding your bike into Seattle? The bike ride counts as express, right?

      1. As someone who has done both many times, (ride my bike from 94th Ave. and 94thave/248th st in Kent to The heart of the CBD, or to Alki, and someone who has walked down the hill to take the 150 or the sounder into the city a fair many times, The sounder is fastest, the 150 is next, and the bike takes a full hour longer than the 150. but the bike ride sure is nice.

      2. Yes, I used to bike ride reverse commute U Dist to Kent Space Center.

        Getting out of the city early in the morning and hitting the fresh winding roads of the Green River Trail…I can still visualize it…

    3. I think we need to remember the priorities here. While Federal Way does have 30 minute weekend express headway to Seattle, they have little else to speak for Sound Transit How are you to route the new express route? Send it along SR 167? Send it on former KCM 162’s routing (the same used by 158/159 west of Kent Station)? I don’t see a lot of good answers. Remember that ST funds route 577/578 and it’s not even operated by KCM. I personally feel that this is a little Off topic to be honest, considering this is about the actual service changes, not the service changes that one feels should have been made. I think that’s more appropriate in open forums.

      1. Personally, I think it’s on-topic each time there is a ST service change, as this has been a change we’ve been asking ST to make for a long time, but they are resistant for a variety of reasons and keep not making the change.

        The revised 578 would be completely consistent with the mission of ST Express, and would fill a gaping hole in the ST network.

        You’d route the revised 578 in whatever way got you from Kent Station to downtown without stops the fastest. I’d expect that would be KDM during peak hours and 167 the rest of the time, but that’s just a guess.

      2. It’s parallel to the 512 revision, where combining the 510 and 511 led to more frequent overall service. Likewise, combining the 577 and 594 would lead to more frequency and mobility options along the line, and would also free up the 578 to serve the biggest hole in ST’s network.

  2. “Route 510: Major route and schedule changes
    Route 511: Major route and schedule changes
    Route 512: Route now runs on weekdays and Saturdays”

    From that, I take it that they are scaling back the use of the 510 and 511, and using the 512 instead. Is this the 566 restructure all over again?

    1. How is combining the the 510 and 511 into the 512 off-peak and counter-peak similar to the 566 restructure?

      1. Yeah, you’re right, since the 512 stops everywhere, it is not like that. I was kind of appalled last spring that the perfect north-south corridor transportation offered by the 566 was mostly torn apart by the 567 (and that continuing service can be had by the 560, which arrives only 40 minutes after the new 566 at Renton).

    2. Since I use the 510 and 511 on Saturdays to travel between the U-district and downtown, I have looked forward to this restructuring for a long time. For an occasional trip to Lynnwood on a Saturday night, this will be a significant improvement too.

    3. It’s odd that the 510 now gets a new stop at Broadway/34th like the 532 has now and yet the 512 does not. I’m going to have a shit storm with ST if the booklet is not just an accidental omission. The service change already makes painful inconveniences to Downtown riders, but that’s entirely unacceptable. Headways are bad in Everett and making people walk another 5 blocks is going to kill commuter ridership. You can only time-penalty so much.

  3. Wouldn’t it be a LOT cheaper to just run the 592 between Olympia/Lacey/DuPont and the Lakewood sounder station? Is it really that important for people to not have to make a timed transfer?

    1. +1

      On Sounder, riders will get a whole table to themselves, especially with the 20-minute peak headway. On the 592, they’ll merely get a pair of seats to themselves.

    2. That would defeat the purpose of providing citizens outside of the ST district with their own ‘ST Perks’.
      You know, like ferry rides from Kingston and Whidbey, or commuters from Marysville. Perhaps a few key legislators want to ride the bus from Oly to Seattle, thereby gaining additional PR points.
      And Pleeeeaaazzzzeee, don’t bring up the marginal cost of extending service outside the district. Otherwise, I’ll ask them to pay for the service in it’s entirety, and let the rest of the district just buy-in on the cheap for some marginal cost of their own.

      1. Maybe just maybe there are citizens of Sound Transit’s district that need to commute to Olympia. Olympia, our State Capitol, where laws are made, and sometimes funding is made available for things like… SOUND TRANSIT!

        I agree that InterCity Transit should join Sound Transit but until then, for those that want to traverse through SoundTransit District counties to get to their destinations, it makes sense in some respects to have through routing. It takes cars off the road. It saves time, and maybe just maybe being visible will change legislators and their staffs opinion on public transit.

      2. I agree, Charles. It is too bad this 592 plan doesn’t go to Olympia in the morning and Seattle in the evening. I, for one, would take advantage of it once in a while, to do things like lobbying for more transit funding. But then, IT made the effort and got the state mobility grant, and they are not in the business of helping riders commute to Olympia. ST is cutting off its nose to spite its face by not investing in direct service *to* the Capitol. If all it takes is applying for and getting a mobility grant to make this a two-way affair, I hope it happens. Write to and ask for them to find a way to fund Seattle-Olympia service in upcoming Service Improvement Plans. If the planners at ST don’t get the value of easy access for Seattleites to get to Olympia, all the board members will understand the value of having lots of boots on the ground in the Capitol during session.

        At any rate, the 512 expansion was largely a result of a lobbying push from this blog. ST listens to us, even if the legislature doesn’t.

    3. I guess if they did that, it would basically be the same as one of the IT routes. But I think it would be beneficial to replace each Olympia Express route with a variant of the 592, to Tacoma off-peak, and to Lakewood peak (to connect to sounder). That way, DuPont gets midday service, and you can get to Olympia with an ORCA card.

      1. I’m a bit worried on the effect of Tacoma->Seattle reliability if the bus is coming all the way from Olympia and subject to the whims of JBLM traffic.

        Considering the lackluster ridership of the 594 in the Lakewood->Tacoma segment, perhaps the 594 should simply begin its off-peak runs in downtown Tacoma. Save money and improve reliability on the segment that people actually ride. Sounds like a win-win.

      2. @asdf There’s already a bus that serves downtown Tacoma to Seattle (the 590). I think the current 594 arrangement makes sense when the 592 is not in service.

      3. The 590 operates only during the peak. I-5 between Lakewood and Tacoma can be congested any time, any day. The last time I traveled through that stretch, it was bumper to bumper traffic all the way, on a Saturday afternoon. There are no HOV lanes through this stretch, so the 594 has to fight traffic just like any other car would have to.

        If the Lakewood->Tacoma segment generated lots of all-day ridership, that would be one thing. In reality, it does not. Given that the 574 already provides 30-minute headways between Lakewood and Tacoma, the all-day 594 doesn’t need to cover that section as well. Not only is the redundant coverage expensive, which ultimately means longer headways on everything than would otherwise be necessary, but it’s also not fare to make 20 people getting on the bus in Tacoma wait for bus that’s 15-20 minutes late, simply to allow 5 people getting on at Lakewood to avoid a transfer.

        Also, if Sound Transit is ever going to make the 594 serve Federal Way to allow a rerouting of the 578 to serve Kent, yet more people are going to be stuck standing at the bus stop for each minute the 594 gets stuck in traffic.

      1. De facto 3-county fares used to kind-of exist under the old RFA, because it wasn’t possible for example to tap entering Everett and tap when leaving Tacoma within the ORCA transfer window. With PAYE all the time, it’s much more possible to pay only $3.50 from end to end.

      2. The route map shows no county zone line between Thurston and Pierce. You’ll be able to go from Olympia to Tacoma for just $2.50. However, if you transfer to the train instead of waiting for a bus, the trip will cost $3.00.

    4. For anyone trying to go between Olympia and Seattle, the 2 hour travel time is already significantly long so the one-seat ride makes a difference. Plus the fact that freeway bottlenecks will occur frequently and throw one-half of the transfer off schedule. Olympia is paying for the extension through a federal grant, and ST says it has space on the 592s, and more articulated buses if necessary. So it’s a pilot project for potential future all-day Seattle-Olympia service and inviting Thurston County to join the ST district.

      1. ST ought to apply for, and get a similar grant, to make this a 2-way 1-seat ride, for all the same reasons you listed. Then, we’ll know whether there is a conspiracy by state-level politicians to keep bus riders away from the legislature.

      2. It’s not just commuting in the sense of traveling every day. People may have a one-time or twice-a-month meeting in the other city. or they may be going to their parent’s house, etc.

      3. There are multiple Intercity Transit vans parked at Green Lake P&R on weekends. I can only assume they are used on weekdays for people with very long commutes to the capitol.

        Unfortunately, my understanding of vanpools if that, while they are very affordable for people making the same trip day after day, there is a registration process to join, along with a monthly fee, which makes vanpools unsuitable for occasional trips.

      4. asdf,
        The vanpool I was in years ago had a daily cash fare for occasional riders, provided there was room.

  4. Is the service change brochure linked online somewhere or should I just check the next ST bus I’m on? Reading through the short booklet is a lot easier than trying to figure out the changes by comparing the 150-page PDF to the current web site.

  5. So If I’m reading that schedule correctly, they must have acquired a 6th trainset for Sounder South?

    1. They have enough coaches to allow this train. The next trains will need the extra equipment from Bombardier in order to meet the demands, or they can reduce each trainset by a car and run them that way.

      The new locomotives are STILL not in service, pending an issue with MPI…

  6. Since the service changes for Pierce Transit were rescinded two months before taking effect (which is last minute in planning time), will the PT fall schedule be exactly the same as the summer schedule (except, of course for the PT trolley)?

  7. Sometimes I think the South Sounder is really under appreciated. It is clearly the fastest mode of travel (car included) from downtown Kent to the Seattle CBD. Crazy how the next best options are so much crappier.

    Was disappointed to see that the extra Sounder trip is being used to improve the already generous headways instead of expanding the bubble. I assume this is a BNSF problem…at least I hope so since otherwise it’s a stupid choice.

    1. 30-minute headway is not “generous”. I bet ridership on each trainset during peak will actually go up faster than ridership on other services, after the 20-minute headway is implemented. Anyone want to take that bet?

      (Pay attention to what is going to happen to the 157, 159, and 161 before taking that bet.)

      1. The middle trip headways are already 25 minutes, and yes, for suburban rail, I think going to 20 minutes is very generous – especially if there was an alternative to expand service hours. Last trip from Seattle at 6:15pm? That is super stingy.

        The Sounder schedule represents a bygone era of 8-5 working hours. Luckily I live in the city now, but when I commuted from Kent the Sounder schedule made my weekday life kind of inflexible (definitely no hanging out with friends after work).

      2. @shotsix:

        While I agree with what you say to a point, the fact remains that the trains really require decent passengre loads, or you end up with something that looks like Sounder North. As such it’s important to concentrate the capacity in the peak. By 6:30, the peak really is prertty much over — even by 6, transit is a lot less crowded, and Kent is far from alone in having a 6:15 end of service.

        Consider Mercer Island. The north end of the Isalnd is served late into the night, but the last public transit to the south end is the last 202, which leaves downtown around 6:20. I’m sure others could list similar tales of early service end.

        At least Kent has alternatives, and as the traffic thins out post peak, they come to suck a lot less.

  8. And still no schedule published for Link

    Link customers are second class citizens compared to bus passengers

    1. They only publish bus schedules so that you have something to read while you wait, and wait, and wait, for your bus to arrive.

    2. It’s a tough life, Carl, I tell ya, not knowing whether your train is scheduled to come in six minutes or one minute. Can we ease your pain by making a pocket version of Oran’s schedule, derived from the driver pick, available in pocket size and laminated? Maybe we can make selling these a small fundraiser.

  9. Awesome news on the 550:

    Peak-of-peak headway will be reduced to five minutes for over an hour in the peak direction, both westbound in the morning, and eastbound in the afternoon. Although this violates a strict reading of the joint-use agreement, it is great to see Metro and ST being reasonable for the sake of the riders. Thanks, Metro and Sound Transit!

    1. Good catch, and fantastic news! That looks to me like four extra peak-of-peak eastbound trips. I expect that will take care of most of the pass-ups, and make the wait shorter for the rest.

    2. Especially in the afternoon, /if they can actually maintain the headways/, this is awsome news: it really shoudl help clear up the passups. However, in my experience, what makes the afternoon 550 so horrible is its complete inability to run to schedule. It’s not at all uncommon to see a 10+ minute gap followed by 2 or 3 550s in a row. Also, unless it can run to schedule, interleaving this with Link is going to be interesting.

      Once they kick the buses out of tunnel, is there going to be room on 4th to run this many buses. [remember, you’ll also have lost Alaska Way by then]. I think we are in for several years of hell.

    3. I’m thrilled to see them fix the 550 headways from Seattle to Bellevue between 7 and 8. It used to drop from 10 minute headways to 25 and then 30. That bus leaving CPS at 7:55 was often pretty full. Drawing down headways a little more evenly like this should provide a better customer experience. Now I can tell customers the 550 to Bellevue runs “every 15 minutes” until about 8pm.

    1. A latter-AM peak westbound trip was added, decreasing headways for 7:23-8:35 departures from Bear Creek. A latter-PM peak eastbound trip was added, decreasing headways for 5:53-6:37 departures from 4th & Atlantic.

  10. While the 540 is losing several trips (just in time for the fall quarter), it is gaining a westbound morning trip.

  11. Given that Thurston County is a little bigger than Kitsap, and is a significant job center, I’ve always wondered why Thurston was left off the Puget Sound Regional Council. It seems to me that we’d get better integration of transit operations if Thurston was at that table, too. And that could make a huge difference in I-5 traffic through JBLM.

  12. On the note of service changes, I’ve found out two for Metro.

    First off, the 66 will not be terminating at the ferry dock anymore. I believe the terminal is going to be on Jackson, but I think it may still serve the ferries. I don’t know if this applies to the 16 as well, but I assume it will and I think it’s due to all of the construction. I overheard this one from a 66 driver.

    Second, and this is a good one, the 330 is going to run hourly on weekdays from 7 AM to 7:45 PM, with departures timed to coincide with the end of classes at SCC. This one I found from Shoreline Area News.

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