Last Tuesday, Veterans Day, was a bit of a disaster for Seattle bus riders:
— Mark on Transit (@MarkOnTransit) November 12, 2014
Hey, @kcmetrobus, today's Reduced Weekday schedule doesn't work when most of your customers still have to work. Full busses, skipped stops.
— Michael Long (@michaelnlong) November 12, 2014
Metro runs on a reduced weekday schedule on Veterans’ Day. According to Metro’s Jeff Switzer, “reduced weekday service is based on past ridership levels, which have shown to be less than 80% of average weekday ridership. Reduced weekday puts about 90% of regular weekday service on the road.”
In practice however, it seems that the system broke down for some riders, due to the combination of record ridership and the September service cuts, the largest in the agency’s history. Consider that on a normal weekday, several Metro routes are passing up passengers due to overcrowding. Add to this the fact that OneBusAway still doesn’t support reduced weekday/No UW schedules*, and we have a real problem on our hands.
The decision to run reduced service on a holiday isn’t black or white. According to the Society for Human Resource Management**, 20% of firms nationally observe Veterans Day, compared with 37% for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and 35% for Presidents Day. Yet, Metro runs on reduced service for MLK Day and Veterans Day, but not Presidents Day.
Switzer says that the agency has avoided holiday service on Presidents Day in the past due to its proximity to the February service change. Presumably having reduced service the same weekend as a permanent service revision would confuse riders. Starting next year in 2016, however, Metro is moving to two service changes per year (again, to save money) and the plan is to operate on reduced service on Presidents Day as well. That’s one more planned day of reduced service in
2015 2016. With Prop 1 passing, however, Metro will be adding more service to core routes starting next year. Hopefully that means even reduced service is better than what we got last Tuesday.
* Switzer says the “provisional” data for these schedules has been released to OBA and Google and they have begun coordinating with those services to get this data into apps.
** National firm closures, are, of course, at best a rough proxy for local weekday transit demand. Large institutions like UW likely dwarf most private sector demand fluctuations. If anyone has better numbers, let me know in the comments.
UPDATE 4:02PM: The move to 2 service changes/year will happen in 2016, not 2015.