Metro’s General Manager Kevin Desmond was pleased with the results produced by RapidRide C and D lines, noting that about 83 percent of the riders surveyed in those routes were either satisfied or very satisfied with the service.

“I’m proud of the ‘can-do’ Metro team that pulled it off,” Desmond said in a statement. “And very pleased that we brought a new level of transit service to the people we serve.”

The rider satisfaction numbers came via a new survey from Northwest Research Group, which found that about seven out of ten C Line riders (71%) said that the overall experience on RapidRide is better than other Metro services. In addition, almost three out of four D Line riders (72%) agreed that the overall experience on RapidRide D Line is better than the previous route. Riders from both lines were most positive about the frequency of service, service hours during the day, not having to rely on a pre-determined schedule, and the shelters and features at bus stops.  The survey does show that Metro has room to improve on other dimensions, however, such as rider safety perceptions, capacity, and ease of transferring.

Full report details after the jump.

RapidRide C and D lines launched in September 2012.  When riders were surveyed six months later, overall satisfaction with those lines were significantly lower than the routes they replaced. For example, on the “Overall satisfaction with RapidRide C Line” survey, 24 percent of respondents who the C Line answered “very satisfied” while 43 percent answered “somewhat satisfied.” Both figures were lower than the data collected on April 2012, when surveys conducted were on routes that the C Line eventually replaced, as 25 percent said they were very satisfied and 56 percent of respondents said they were somewhat satisfied.

However, satisfaction levels rebounded in 2014. Among RapidRide C Line riders, the percentage of “very satisfied” riders increased from 24 percent to 35 percent, while for D line riders, satisfaction increased from 20 percent to 27 percent. Also, the percentage dissatisfied decreased from 17 percent to 6 percent among RapidRide C Line riders and from 11 percent to 7 percent among RapidRide D Line riders. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 6.57.21 PM

The report posits that the increase in satisfaction rate from 2012 to 2014 is due to factors such as the steady increase in satisfaction with frequency and reliability of service, increases in satisfaction levels for comfort in waiting areas, bus stops, or in the bus, and higher satisfaction ratings with travel time and ease of transferring between (the table above shows average satisfaction levels for those factors, with 5 being very satisfied and 1 being very dissatisfied).

On the negative side, satisfaction levels with personal safety have decreased since the C and D lines were introduced, with the decrease being greater among D Line riders, which went from 3.82 before the service and 3.66 in 2014. The satisfaction levels for the comfort in riding the bus became lower with RapidRide for both lines, although the C Line had improved in 2014.

The most common concern that C Line riders had about their personal safety was waiting for the bus at night while D Line riders expressed concern about the behavior of other passengers on the bus. In the 2012 Survey Report, satisfaction with night time safety was said to be improving for all the routes in general. The 2012 report also suggested that buses serving Seattle/North King County and South County should focus on the behavior of passengers on the bus since about 24 percent in that particular survey avoid riding the bus due to safety concerns.

Satisfaction with transfers was also below-average, and the survey notes that “ratings for wait time when transferring are below average and are highly correlated with ratings for on-time performance.”

The survey also sheds light on some key differences between RapidRide C/D riders and Metro riders at large.  C and D riders average 39.5 years old, versus 45.5 for Metro riders as a whoole. Students make up about 13 percent of all riders in the C Line while the D line had about eight percent of riders being students in 2014. Students made up about nine percent of total ridership for all the routes combined in 2012, before the C and D lines were introduced.  The vast majority of the riders for the C & D lines use the services as means of commuting to and from work, making up over 2/3 of all surveyed riders. This compares with 58 percent of all riders.

Overall satisfaction with frequency and reliability of service on RapidRide C Line has increased significantly each year since its introduction. Satisfaction with frequency and reliability is now the second highest rated dimension of service.  As for the D Line, the increase in satisfaction for the same category was somewhat higher in 2013 than the previous metro route and has increased significantly in 2014. C Line riders in particular were most satisfied with on-time performance as well as the frequency of services during peak hours.

Satisfaction with freq and reliability RR C Line Freq and Reliab RR D Line

16 Replies to “New Survey Shows Increased Satisfaction with RapidRide C & D Lines”

  1. Just anecdotally, many people I talk to cite the behavior of other passengers as a big reason they avoid the bus.

    1. Anecdotally, one big reason I avoid driving is the behavior of some drivers. I choose to not have a traffic accident be the cause of my demise.

      1. The same with me. I worked for a company in Snohomish County for a few years and dreaded the I-5S commute back to the city: Too many drivers driving at too fast speeds unsafe for wet and slush covered roads and just about any other time, as well as too many bumper to bumper traffic slow downs and accidents that would turn a drive of over a little of an hour to 1.5 to 2 hours. Upon hearing of my and my co-workers layoff, there were a few of them who applied for and got positions in a company out near Overlake Park; I could have done the same, but did not want to deal with similar commute headaches back into the city even if it meant and did result in unemployment for a bunch of months holding out for and eventually getting a gig in the city w/ a public transportation commute.

      2. I’m generally forced to drive out here in rural NY, but this is also the reason I avoid driving: too many maniacs on the road. There are specific highways which I will not go on at all (luckily there are parallel roads).

  2. For me, the most appealing aspect of Rapid Ride is that, after peak hours, I can still get close to my destination w/o an enormous number of stops on a local. For example, compare the 40 to the RR D line.

    For the future, I think we in the transit activist community should push the county council (I’m writing the email now) to incrementally improve the line (or rather, let Metro have the latitude to do it). Increasing popularity should give them some political cover to do so.

    1. As you probably know, the specific stops on RapidRide lines are set by county ordinance. Terrible precedent.

      I realize some are annoyed at having to walk a little further to their stop, but they may not understand the connection between that and the improved frequency, reduced travel time, and longer span of service.

      1. Am wondering why the C line does not stop at the south end of Lincoln Park, as did the 54, where there is both a crosswalk, stoplight, and makes for easy, safe access for wheelchairs to the waterfront. The current stop makes little or no sense.

    2. The D didn’t remove many stops compared to the 15 it replaced. And it gets caught at the same traffic light at Elliott and Mercer that has always blown its reliability out of the water.

      You’re right that we need to remove the County Council’s power to dictate stop spacing. But maybe the enabling legislation should also ban the D from lower Queen Anne.

      1. I’m curious. Would you prefer that Metro be completely unaccountable to the populace, or that the accountability only be exercised through direct democracy (i.e., initiatives and/or referenda)?

      2. Having an elected body be “accountable” is different from having that elected body make technical considerations based on provincial political considerations. Those decisions should be made by transportation planners and other technical experts.

      3. What JesseMT said.

        Metro is accountable to the citizenry because it is enabled by state law its management is appointed by the members of the County Council, acting ex-officio but unable to escape their identity as county politicians.

        Metro also needs the ability to exist and act independently of the political whims of the County Council in a way that ensures its health and ability to service the citizens it’s chartered to serve. Direct democracy is abjectly terrible at that, and the direct meddling of County Councilmembers is not much better.

      4. If you need an example of what happens when Metro has to wait for the county council to approve every bit of administrivia, we just got it with the recent sad episode of politicizing the route cuts.

        The county council sets the operational guidelines and budget. When Metro follows them, and the council doesn’t like the results, the council then ignores the guidelines and occasionally (as some members tried to do recently) the budget.

        Metro simply wouldn’t be able to operate a transit service if every schedule change and every stop change were subject to council action. The cost of removing even one single stop, including the notification and hearing process, would be exorbitant.

        The soon-to-die 173 is an example of the council’s existing power to slow down Metro, for no clear reason. The 173 has been getting horrible ridership, and yet two runs each way have been preserved because, up until now, the council never approved eliminating the route completely. It takes three long deadhead trips to do those two runs, which ends ups eating up roughly a full FTE by the time you add up morning and evening hours. That’s roughly how much was being wasted on continuing to run the 42 after Link opened.

        Metro takes it on the chin for both perceived and real inefficiencies. But they know how to become more efficient. In too many cases, the county council simply won’t let them. The failure of Prop 1 this spring had less to do with Metro’s ability to operate efficiently, and more to do with the decisions of the county council.

  3. is it just me, or do the changes in the numbers from 2012 to 2014 look like noise? I.e., likely artifacts of sampling, not meaning anything? Seems like people were generally upset by change in 2013, but I’m not seeing big changes in the ratings from 2012 to 2014.

    1. I’ve seen huge increases on the a line since it’s inception. Not just on paper but on the bus.

    1. Right here, in the comments section, where people who help form public opinion, as well as that guy from Bellevue who reads the New York Times every day while riding the bus, will read it.

Comments are closed.