67 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Greyhound’s Premium Seats”

  1. This is why Seattle’s new ruling class will use Uber instead of being subjected to Metro.

    1. The ruling class will have cars or limousines. A few enlightened ones might take Metro for egalitarian reasons. Uber is neither; it’s for the riff-raff who can afford not to take Metro. The ruling class might set up a private carshare service just for themselves if they decide that owning cars is so last century.

      1. Pffft. You guys still don’t understand how our modern feudal lords live. Remember this:

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/inside-job/?_r=0

        ‘Almost 20 years ago — when Wall Street paychecks were small by modern standards — I asked some investment bankers whether getting out to their Hamptons places was a hard drive; there was a silence, then someone said, “It’s only half an hour by helicopter.”’

        Yes, that’s right, the elite travel by private helicopter.

      2. Re:unfunny class-related point about prison records of likely fellow passengers: Heard statistic recently that one third of the US population now has an arrest record. Which the proliferation of “Who’s Been Arrested” websites can be visited by employers to see the millions of those “Whom Not To Hire.”

        No case outcome necessary, including case dismissed for being mistaken identity or just plain crap, or thrown out by a gullible liberal jury, as all juries are, for complete lack of guilt. Thirty years ago.

        Which country still jails higher percentage of its people than we do? Iran? Know we’re way past Russia. Could possibly have something to do with number of prisons we have run by private corporations.

        Thereby also giving rise to well funded lobbies to be sure legislators keep adding longer prison sentences for an ever increasing list of violations. Talk about legal systems it was our forebears’ American Dream to get away from! I know 72″ TV screens didn’t exist a very long ago, but still think above dream was the American one.

        Or even better, the way the post civil war South found its way around those tyrannical amendments forbidding slavery or specifying you couldn’t jail somebody black for crime of having been a slave. Just make laws that made it illegal for a black man to walk too close to a railroad track. And then sell him to a private contractor, who unlike a master, had no financial interest in keeping him alive.

        Could just be a quibble, but really wonder if the US Constitution really says that a rent a cop should have the power to strip-search somebody. Could be those three cruel amendments need one more added. Like returning shareholders’ profits to sources like sales of 72″ TV screens. Where they belong.

        MD

      3. That’s what makes you ruling class? You have a car? The ruling class is bigger than I imagined.

      4. No, in the US even the poor have cars because many areas have no or little bus service. But the top of the top in King County all have cars or chauffeur-driven limousines. Even if they have a helicopter they can’t take it every place; there’s no helipad on the Paramount or conveniently close to it; it’s easier to drive from Medina.

  2. It’s interesting that Pierce Transit was running the 97A yesterday. I guess King County Metro only runs ST routes that go deep into King County, like the 560.

    Oh, wait….

    1. Someone on the reminder thread yesterday said they were using the MCI coaches with a luggage compartment. Makes sense when you’re serving the airport.

      1. Curious, aw: have you ever seen any one ever put anything in the luggage bins under the cabin of one of the ST MCI’s- generally on the 594’s and the 574’s.

        Several times I’ve had to help lady passengers lift extremely heavy airport-class luggage up the very steep, narrow intercity staircases of those buses. “Intercity” my own designation- those buses are not designed for multi-passenger boardings of any frequency.

        But I’m pretty sure drivers have told me they’re not allowed to use the bins- though they do operate the wheelchair lifts.

        Mixed feelings about those buses. Selfishly, I enjoy the comfortable ride, and the windows everybody can see out of- including the side ones to the front of the coach. New low floor buses on these runs definitely board easier.

        But whoever decided to leave seat height standard level from the low floor, thereby putting the window line at the passenger’s chin, either doesn’t ride buses, thinks those who do have no claim to human comfort, or spend so much time texting the bus might as well not have windows.

        Unfortunate amount of evidence for the last point. I think solution often used in Europe gives passenger more dignity: seats on each side sit on a raised platform, leaving the aisle at low-floor level.

        Meantime, on new IT buses out of Olympia, I’ve got a choice of eight comfortable forward facing seats behind the back door, two comfortable aisle-facing benches, and a rear bench seat whose window seats are comfortable.

        New ST 40′ low-floor buses have total of four comfortable seats to the rear of the back door. Seats over and behind back wheels leave passengers’ knees bent the whole trip. Obviously whoever designed that bus never rides one or despises those who have to.

        Ditto for department than purchases buses for any bus line, including Sound Transit, who ought to know better. Might check out Swedish buses with two rear axles. More expensive I’m sure, but built for humans who have a choice.

        Mark Dublin

      2. The 574´s ridership is predominately airport employees. Link´s ridership to the airport is a mix of airport employees, people catching flights, and south King County commuters.

        That said, I doubt the baggage issue was the overriding reason to choose PT. You may have noticed that Metro is in a hiring panic.

  3. Wait, what??? I did not get to pick out the type of trash on my luxury Greyhound trip!!!! (Sarcasm – gotta love The Onion)

    Now, in seriousness, all these new Greyhound buses need are tray tables so I can use my laptop while riding

  4. I rode an intercity bus in Peru recently, from Cuzco to Andahuaylas. The bus itself was fine, actually – it was pretty clean and reasonably comfortable. There was a guy who hopped on at the start and talked for an hour on a microphone about health, then tried to sell everybody ginseng tea.

    1. In Russia vendors come on the trains with carts. They open the tray table right in front of you without asking and put two or three books on it, like a comic book and two regular books. They come back a few minutes later and you either buy the books or they take them away. It felt like those book clubs that mail you their monthly selection “with two weeks free examination”.

      1. On my last Greyhound ride between Sacramento and Eugene a couple of years ago, which will probably be my last ever, the filthy condition of the bus- whose lack of loosed trash meant that it came out of the yard picked-up but all panels dirty.

        Ride quality indicated suspension on its last rods an bushings. Every seam creaked and rattled. Remembering the nice Greyhound “Post House” restaurants from fifty years ago, found 7-11 rest stops clean per health code, but depressing.

        But absolute worst factor were both the drivers who each drove the bus half way. There driving skill was fine, but their manners and passenger treatment would have, and maybe did, gotten them fired by the California Department of Prisons. And thought mistakenly that they were funny.

        Anybody else want to help me see if the American Legion or the VFW will provide legal aid to anybody who starts scraping the flag of our country off those horizontal rolling latrines?

        Above accounts of intercity bus travel in far poorer countries sound right from things I’ve read about Turkey. Recalling when Greyhound travel was enjoyable, in addition to good passenger rail, quality bus travel should be within our nation’s budget.

        Believe I’ve mentioned before the book called “The Lunatic Express.” Brave reporter went all the way around the world on the transportation available to locals, reputed for spectacular danger. In some instances, true, though author said fellow passengers made up for a lot of hardship.

        But absolute most depressing part of the trip was final coast to coast ride on Greyhound. A ride for the despised. And if you didn’t despise yourself when you got on, condition would soon be cured.

        Still wondering how and why that company is still on the road. I keep thinking that some much larger corporation is getting some kind of regulatory privilege or break for running it. Anybody know?

      2. Sadly my last trip on Greyhound a few years back mirrors Mark’s experience.

        While my fellow passengers were a bit odd they were mostly an OK lot.

        However the terminals and buses were filthy and poorly maintained. The staff was extremely hostile and rude, to the point of treating me like I was someone going off to jail on a prison transport.

        Never again, Greyhound deserves whatever horrible fate awaits them. Frankly Greyhound is an embarrassment. I feel sorry for the odd foreign traveler who makes the mistake of thinking they are like intercity bus service in more civilized countries.

        I’ve also ridden Bolt Bus and Amtrak Thruway Service. The contrast is night and day. The staff are polite and treat you like a valued customer. The buses are clean, new, and well maintained.

      3. It really can be easier to start something new than fix something that’s decayed. In this case, particularly so, because BoltBus is only operating in a few places, on routes where they think there’s lots of potential to gain riders and profits by improving service.

        This is, of course, something that can’t be lost on observers of greater-Seattle transit projects (really, public works projects generally). A lot of the great ideas and a lot of the questionable ideas around here are really about finding where improved service (or perceived improved service) could really gain lots of riders.

      4. @Al D,

        Ya, Bolt Bus is a Republican wet dream – they absolutely love to talk about it. Fast, cheap, and totally private. They view it as a model for non-government transportation and a reason to reduce government subsidies for other modes. Of course Bolt Bus only cherry picks urban centers and cuts out the small towns and rural America, but for some reason the R’s seem ok with a mode that serves urban liberals while cutting out there conservative rural base. Pretty soon we will all live in cities.

      5. Here’s my Greyhound story. Riding from San Francisco back to college in Santa Barbara in ~1968, the bus stopped at the Salinas Greyhound station and I bought a Butterfingers candy bar from the candy bar machine. Back on the bus, I unwrapped my Butterfingers and took a bite. It tasted kinda funny, but I took another bite anyway. Still tasted funny, so I looked on the other side. Lots of little squirmy maggots. ICK!!! and no water on the bus with which to swish my mouth out. ICK ICK ICK. There was also a funny smell, and I could smell that smell on a bunch of foods for over a year. I didn’t think there were maggots on all the food I ate, but still, there was the smell and I couldn’t eat whatever it was.

        My husband-to-be, who was on a tighter budget then me, made the same trip from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area by hitch-hiking several times. He has stories to tell about how exciting that was. Greyhound was nice and boring and way more reliable than thumb if only he’d had the dough for a ticket.

      6. “It really can be easier to start something new than fix something that’s decayed. In this case, particularly so, because BoltBus is only operating in a few places, on routes where they think there’s lots of potential to gain riders and profits by improving service.”

        BoltBus is a completely different market. It’s like the Chinatown buses on the east coast: it only goes between the largest cities that have the most tourists and the highest incomes. That’s why it’s successful. It will never go to Mount Vernon or Coeur d’Alene or Missoula or Boise. Greyhound is struggling because it can’t charge more than airlines or Amtrak — people won’t pay more for worse service; few people get on/off in the small towns; and it’s hundreds of miles between prosperous cities.

        Greyhound has been withdrawing from rural markets for over a decade. In 2000 I took Greyhound to Walla Walla and then to Spokane and Chicago on the I-90/94 route. The next time I went to Chicago I had to go through Boise/SLC/Denver because Greyhound had withdrawn between Billings and Minneapolis. Trailways companies took over the service in MT and ND, and at first Greyhound sold through tickets on them but now it doesn’t. Now it won’t give me a reservation to Denver either; I guess you have to go to Sacramento and book a separate trip. Missoula is the furthest east it goes, and Pasco on the southeast. I also took the Oregon Coast route from Portland to SF in 1998 but now it’s gone. I don’t know how you get to the coastal cities without a car, at least south of Cannon Beach (Amtrak thruway bus).

    2. Greyhound was pretty good fifty years ago when I was able to see the U.S 99 Days for $99. Rode one from Portland to Hood River last year, the only way to get there for those who don’t drive. Portland station was much nicer than I had expected, with security staff keeping away from the waiting area those who were not passengers. Long distance bus travel is becoming very popular again in Europe. Bolt is a good step in that direction here. Sort of strange that Bolt is owned by Greyhound yet does not use the Greyhound station facilities.

  5. Is ST going to post an update on how the work went during the shutdown yesterday? Did they get everything done, or will another shutdown be needed?

    1. Yes. I’m told the re-calibration of signal timing for headway’s in the tunnel, going from 2 minute to 4 minute minimums, went quite well.

  6. Rout 97A was a curious addition to the mix for the Link closure. There normally is no airport express from downtown Seattle, and I think the normal 97 went to the airport. I’m not sure why they felt the need to add this express shuttle, which by the way only had two stops, one on 3rd and Pike and the airport.

    And no, Link is not an airport express. I’m convinced that if the 194 still existed, it would cannibalize most link trips south of Ranier Beach simply because it would be so much faster.

    1. A bus on Link’s route is subject to traffic lights and congestion and turns and overcrowding, so it can take arbitrarily longer. An express restores Link’s travel time, which is important for people catching flights.

      Although if my one-minute observation was typical, people who normally take Link to the airport took another way instead. I avoided going to Link’s other neighborhoods that day, and half the usual riders probably did too.

    2. Given that a relatively large percentage of Link’s Saturday ridership is going from downtown to the airport, and buses are smaller than Link vehicles, it makes sense to make some of the buses run an express routing for those who are traveling the whole way anyway. It’s quicker for the bus drivers and passengers alike.

      1. If we ever have the money or the will- the second harder to get- for experiments, here’s one I’d like to do.Definitely through the period where I think we’ll have to keep some buses in Tunnel service but fewer than now.

        I suspect one scenario could be to keep buses that run the routes that LINK eventually will- like the 550, and the 512. Run a bus every fifteen minutes through the Tunnel and straight to the airport.

        Might be a good idea to modify interiors for extra luggage space- notice how average wheeled baggage load more and more resembles a double-bottom semi. Alteration could be made so change back to full seating is easy.

        For me, main purpose of the experiment will be to see how soon it might be a good idea to add an express airport line to LINK, via Boeing Field and switching into the airport track at Boeing Access.

        Overload or even solid ridership might indicate that this express line should go into ST3. Lack of interest could signify that people in a hurry are glad to pay for cabs, while more leisurely travelers like present service just fine.

        In my observation, LINK is losing an enormous number of inbound passengers because the outside world doesn’t know, and ST marketing won’t- not can’t- spread the word. And greatest source of outbound ridership is inbound riders finally knowing they’ve got a cab-fare-free ride out.

        Should be possible for every Seattle-bound ticket folder to contain an ad for LINK, and maybe an all-day pass. Though just the ad would work wonders. Especially if it shows where LINK is. Also hinting that in cold months, walk through coffee and bathroom equipped terminal is better than thru parking structure.

        Of course the experiment would have to end, or at least be put to the street, when buses all must leave the Tunnel. But we’d definitely know what we’ll need next.

        Follow-up idea: Have a very nice hybrid leave Westlake at least once an hour, get on I-5, and carry legislature-heavy load screaming toward the Capitol exit and the Dome. While drinking coffee and listening to music.

        Not the grossest, most corrupt, or most infuriating form of lobbying that service area has ever seen. But negative attention would at least let the world people know that there’s a transit Tunnel that can send fast transit to extend ST’s reach.

        Maybe we can borrow a Bear bomber from Vladimir Putin to drop leaflets and day-passes. We’ll let him fly it to McChord himself, bus him to say hi to the Governor, then straight down to Westlake.

        Then back to the fort to fly the big Tupelov away- with a guard of the F-86’s and P-51’s we would have “scrambled” to meet a visit from a Bear in 1954.

        Congressional fury, massive street demonstrations…Remember: there’s no such thing as bad publicity. And there’s no worse publicity than LINK presently has around air travel, which is just about none at all.

        Just a thought.

        MD

  7. I have recently been thinking of what to do to the U-District-CBD routes once U-Link opens. Here are my ideas:

    1. Truncate routes 66 and 71-73 to operate from their tails to Campus Parkway only.

    2. Expand service on route 70 to operate on evenings & Sundays to offset deletion of routes 71-73 service south of the U District.

    3. Retain route 74 as a peak-hour Express route for those wanting quicker service from the U District to the CBD, and to reduce overcrowding on Link.

    4. Create new route 69 to operate as a reverse-peak route between the CBD (via DSTT) and the U District via Eastlake (to offset the loss of route 66 south of the U District) with 6 intermediate stops (Harvard, Lynn, Garfield, Fred Hutch, Mercer and Stewart/Howell & Yale). This can also be implemented before U Link arrives to compensate for overcrowding on the 71-73X.

    One thing I have not figured out is this–when the 71-73 are truncate, the time slots they occupied in the DSTT will be vacated. What do we fill these sots with? New tunnel routes?

    1. One thing I have not figured out is this–when the 71-73 are truncate, the time slots they occupied in the DSTT will be vacated. What do we fill these sots with? New tunnel routes?

      Aren’t the U-Link trains going to take those slots? Or is frequency not expanding immediately?

    2. The problem with this proposal is that it’s much worse for anyone who currently takes the 71/72/73 Expresses between the U-District and Downtown. Right now those run express from Campus Parkway to Concentrion Place station most of the day, except for Sunday, and with the funds from Prop 1, there will be even more 71/72/73 expresses.

      If I understand your proposal correctly, most riders going downtown would either have to get off at Campus Parkway and walk 2/3 of a mile to UW Station, or transfer to a 43 or 48 to UW station, or they’d have to transfer to a 70 or 49 local route, or possibly (during peak) a 74 Express. Or do the reverse going Downtown to the U-District and northwards. Any of these would be noticeably worse than their current trip.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any good options for U-District to Downtown service between the opening of UW Station in 2016 and the opening of U-District Station in 2021. I seems like the choices are between continuing somewhat excessive and redundant service on the 71/72/73 Expresses or forcing slow transfers between buses and Link.

      I’m tempted to suggest moving the 71/72/73 off the Ave to 15th Ave NE, then down to UW station, providing continuous bus lanes all the way from NE 50th St to UW Station, but there’s already tons of buses on 15th Ave NE, I’m not sure that it’s possible to turn buses around near UW Station, and transfers at UW Station still look at least moderately annoying.

      1. One way to turn buses at UW Station would be to turn left from Pacific St. onto Pacific Pl., then right onto Montlake and right onto Pacific St. Unfortunately, that would put stops on the wrong side of the street from both the station and the hospital.

      2. I should amend my comment to say that I’m not sure it’s possible to turn buses around near UW Station without them getting bogged down. They could turn around the triangle, but it seems like turning on and off Montlake during peak would make such a route slow and unreliable.

      3. Isn’t there a bus lane between Pacific Pl. and Pacific St. on Montlake? Why would the buses get bogged down?

      4. I hadn’t realized there was a bus lane on Montlake there. My vague recollection was that I when I’ve been walking near the Montlake triangle during rush hour I’ll see southbound traffic back up along the Montlake leg of the triangle and north of Pacific Pl, but I could be mistaken.

      5. Why not keep 71/72/73/74 on the Ave, down to NE Campus Parkway and over to 15th Ave NE where they could follow the route of the 44 down to Pacific and loop counterclockwise around the triangle. Passengers would be dropped off inside the triangle where Sound Transit is building a bridge that will drop people right into the light rail station.

        Here’s a map of my envisioned route: https://goo.gl/maps/pCAuH

        It’s not a one seat ride to Downtown… but hopefully with the shorter route, frequencies can be increased and the transfer penalty reduced.

      6. It seems like this could work- I wonder if Metro has modeled or tested it to see if it’s viable?

        I don’t have strong feelings about 15th vs the Ave. I would expect 15th to be somewhat faster and more reliable since there would be 2 fewer turns and traffic feels like it flows more evenly on 15th.

      7. Though it might be problematic for people transferring from Link to a bus if they’re going north of 65th- if you just miss your connection to the 71, how pleasant will it be to spend half an hour standing around the Montlake triangle waiting for the next 71 to show up?

      8. Expanding the 71/72/73 with the start of U Link service just around the corner is just another indication of how out of step with reality Metro really is. U Link will be faster, more reliable and cheaper to operate. They need to figure out a way to leverage off U Link and not waste scarce public tax dollars trying to compete with it.

        That said, completely eliminating the downtown legs of route like these probably isn’t possible at this time, but a major restructure certainly is war rented.

      9. Lazarus: Metro is not expanding the 71/72/73X. Metro is gathering public input on what to do in the U-District when UW Station opens. Its first proposal is expected next April. It hasn’t said anything about what it might do to the 71/72/73X, other than a proposal in the cut scenario to consolidate the 66/67/71/72/73 into a single downtown – U-District – Northgate route. Now that the cuts are rejected, it’s unclear whether Metro will pursue this anyway. All these ideas are unofficial.

        In my opinion the alternatives are:
        1. Consolidate the routes. Nice from an idealist perspective but not absolutely necessary.
        2. Reroute the 71/72/73X to UW Station. Pacific Street is probably too full for this.
        3. Leave the 71/72/73X as-is. This would result in overservice.
        4. Cut the 71/72/73X frequency in half or whatever level matches the remaining riders going to the west side of campus. This makes the most sense if the consolidation is not pursued.
        5. Delete the 71/72/73X south of Campus Parkway, or make it peak-only. People who advocate this have no idea of the reality in the U-District. These routes have barely enough room for four standees even at 1pm. They’re the only all-day expresses between north Seattle and downtown besides the 41 and 522. If Metro deletes them, a busload of people will be getting on the 42/44/48 to cover the gap between UW Station and 45th, and slowed down waiting for the bus and stoplights, and some of them will transfer a second time in the U-District. That’s a lot of riders to just delete the routes without careful consideration — and additional shuttle service on Pacific Street.

      10. @Mike

        my understanding is that with the passage of proposition 1, Metro is adding evening and Sunday express service on the 71/72/73, so they are expanding those routes.

        Cutting the 71/72/73 frequency when u-link opens has two problems. First, though the combined frequency of those routes from 65th to downtown is good, individually they each run about every half hour off-peak. Cutting their frequency in half would make them useless north of 65th.

        Secondly, if you cut their frequency enough, it’ll be faster for some people boarding in the u-district to take a 43/44/48 to UW Station and transfer to Link, or even walk to UW station, rather than wait for the next 71/72/73.

      11. Expanding it now yes, but not for U-Link. If you’ve ever ridden it you’d understand why they’re adding relief runs and Sunday service. It’s not funny to be passed up at Convention Place and miss your transfer in the U-District. You never know if the bus will have room for one more person, or four people, or if one or two buses will pass you up before you can get on one. Telling people to hang on for 14 months until U-Link starts is not a solution.

      12. “If I understand your proposal correctly, most riders going downtown would either have to get off at Campus Parkway and walk 2/3 of a mile to UW Station, or transfer to a 43 or 48 to UW station, or they’d have to transfer to a 70 or 49 local route, or possibly (during peak) a 74 Express. ”

        I’d be willing to be that the percentage of 71/72/73 riders who will divert to Link would be higher than would initially appear. For instance, riders from northeast Seattle on the 71 and 72 would probably prefer to connect to Link on a 65 or 372, provided that these route could get a bump in frequency and span to make them more usable. A lot of 71/72/73 riders originate from the UW campus itself, which could walk directly to Link in as little as 5 minutes above what the walk to the 71/72/73 would be. The number of riders transferring to the 71/72/73 from the west to go downtown is probably negligible, as a more direct trip to downtown is already available on other routes further west, such as the 5, 16, 26, or E-line.

        That leaves people walking to the 71/72/73 from home just west of the Ave. or northwest of campus, plus riders on the 73 from further north. These numbers are not tiny, so the U-district->downtown express service probably needs to remain. But at the same time, it probably doesn’t need the same level of frequency and span that it needs today. If nothing else, Metro should at least be able to convert the 74 into a Link shuttle, since the Ave will be fundamentally out of the way for anyone coming from that direction.

        In the meantime, the 71/72/73 need more service today, and adding it now with prop 1 money, rather than telling everybody to just suck it up for 14 more months, is absolutely the right call.

      13. The University District is one of the densest urban neighborhoods in the state outside of the central Seattle Core. It is a major destination unto itself.

        There is a reason any 71/72/73 is packed well into the evening and on weekends.

        Even when the UW isn’t in session and the dorms are empty the 71/72/73 are busy most of the day, 7 days a week.

        It is insane to think you can just cut off direct frequent downtown transit service to a neighborhood like this.

        Sure, you could force everyone onto Link but you are going to lose most choice riders, especially if you force a double transfer.

        One issue with moving the East and Northeast service to UW station (other than horrible congestion on Montlake) is for many riders their destination is the University District (or UW) rather than Downtown or Capitol Hill.

        I suspect the transfer traffic coming from the North and West and heading to Downtown or Capitol Hill is more than you think. Especially since the 16 and 26 really aren’t an especially fast or frequent way to reach downtown. That certainly was true both when I lived in East Green Lake and when I lived in lower Wallingford.

        My general thoughts here:
        1. Restructuring decisions should reflect how we want service to look after North Link opens. While 5 years is a while it seems silly to restructure the same routes twice in a fairly short period of time.
        2. Any restructuring should improve service for a majority of riders.
        3. Any service hour savings should be re-invested into further service improvements in North and Northeast Seattle. This applies to when North a Link opens as well.

      14. The 16 and 26 are not particularly fast ways to get downtown, but I have serious doubts that a transfer to the 71/72/73 from the 44 or 48 would be any better, when you factor in the overhead of the transfer, the unreliably of the 71/72/73, and the fact that the 71/72/73 take a long time to travel through the U-district, even if they become express afterwards.

        The only way for sure to know where all the 71/72/73 riders are coming from is to conduct on-board surveys and ask them, but the chunk that is going through the U-district, not because they want to, but because today’s bus network is forcing them too is not small.

      15. Sadly when I lived in East Greenlake taking the 48 to either the then 305 or the 71/72/73 was indeed faster than the 16 and 26. To some extent this was also due to the 48 stops being 1/2 block from my apartment and the 16 and 26 being a couple minutes walk.

        Similarly when I was in lower Wallingford taking the predecessor to the 31/32 and transferring at Campus Parkway was usually faster. Though to tell the truth most of the time I rode my bike to the stop at 7th & 40th.

        Note this was primarily in the late morning when the 71/72/73 were all using the express lanes inbound but it was too late to catch a 26X or 316.

      16. In any case, transfer and through riders aside the U District is a huge trip generator on its own and will still need frequent downtown service until North Link opens. Also consider for much of the UW campus the buses to the west are much more closer and convenient than UW station.

    3. I do think it will be feasible to completely get rid of the 71/72/73 express runs in 2016, as there will still be a significant number of people who board those buses from homes and dorms west of the Ave., who would not appreciate the loss of what is currently a straight-shot down the I-5 express lanes directly into the tunnel.

      Link will cut into the ridership of the 71/72/73 considerably, especially for those originating from campus or transferring from a 65, 75, or 372. However, it is impossible to make a meaningful statement about what service pattern we should have post 2016 without at least a ballback estimate of just how many riders would switch over.

      In order to make an informed decision about what to do with the 71/72/73, we need data. And, the only way to get meaningful data now, rather than 2 years from now, is to conduct on-board surveys with the existing 71/72/73 riders get get insight into the trip. For instance:
      – Are they walking directly to the 71/72/73, or are they transferring to it in the U-district (those transferring could likely take a different bus to the U-district and transfer to Link)
      – Is downtown the final destination, or are they transferring to something else. (Those transferring to Link downtown would almost certainly prefer to just hop on Link right away in the U-district. Those transferring to another bus downtown might find the connection more reliable with a Link connection, even if it’s an extra transfer).
      – Are those walking to the 71/72/73 in the U-district coming from east or west of the Ave? If coming from campus, would they walk the other direction to Link, if the option were available, even if it was a 10-minute walk instead of a 5-minute walk?
      – How many of those boarding a 71 or 72 from north of the U-district would take a 65 or 372 to Link, if the 65 and 372 ran more frequently, for more hours of the day.

      The answers to questions such as these will allow Metro to not only make an informed service decision, but also justify whatever restructure they do want to make against the never-change-anything-ever crowd.

      1. Correction:

        I do not think it will be feasible to completely get rid of the 71/72/73 express runs in 2016, as there will still be a significant number of people who board those buses from homes and dorms west of the Ave., who would not appreciate the loss of what is currently a straight-shot down the I-5 express lanes directly into the tunnel.

      2. Will some buses connecting to Link go directly northward from UW Station without slogging through campus and the U-District?

      3. I am not going to speculate about what Metro will do, but I can say unequivocally, that that is what Metro should do. If getting to Link requires slogging through the U-district, or if the connecting buses drop to once-per-half-hour after 7 PM, then we haven’t really improved things over the status quo.

  8. Were streetcars with a trolley pole considered for the First Hill Streetcar considering how much of the route was already under trolley wire? it could still be a normal modern streetcar just with poles on each end, pretty much like your classic old school streetcar or what Toronto and Philadelphia still have. Plus they wouldn’t have had to reinvent the wheel with these custom experimental battery/wire streetcars.

    1. San Francisco”s been having trolleybuses and streetcars w. poles share positive wire for years. What’s streetcar voltage in SLU compared to buses? Also very skeptical about wire one way only.

      Still would like to know steepest grade similar propulsion has ever seen in passenger service- and for how long? In any case, might be good idea to put right length of catenary in storage ’til it’s time to put it up.

      MD

  9. What’s the story with the trolley overhead on Pine Street in front of the Paramount Theater and across I-5? What/when is it used, given that all buses run up Pike to Bellevue before cutting over to Pine?

    1. some of the buses used to turn on 9th to go up Pine to get to capitol hill, this changed in the 90s, so all buses take Pike and take a left at Bellevue.

  10. Went to the Capitol Hill restructure meeting. Like the U-District one it was all asking for input so there’s no information to report. The discussion was about a wide range of issues and routes; nothing in particular stood out. But Metro is thinking about everything under the sun and wants to exaactly what routes you want, which blocks and destinations are underserverd/overserved, etc. For instance, if you’re in the CD, do you want to go someplace not downtown? To north Capitol Hill? Or where? They’re thinking of things like a 32/271 route (Fremont-Bellevue, UW Stn) or a 49/12 route (UDist-Broadway-Madison, Capitol Hill Stn) or a 49/36 route (Udist-Broadway-Beacon), putting the 10 on John, reinstating the 47 and adding ?? to it, etc. They asked about Wallingford: should the restructure extend to the 16 and 26 as well as the 44? If so, what should be changed? One consensus point was that evening.Sunday frequency on the 8 is needed not just for east-west trips but for transferring from the D, 26, 28, 40, 5, and 16…. So now is the time to tell Metro what you want.

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