The last few years have not been kind to Community Transit or riders in Snohomish County. The Great Recession forced the largest cuts in the agency’s 39-year history, every winter has cancelled Sounder North runs, and the Oso mudslide interrupted bus service to Darrington for several months. Despite these setbacks, Community Transit will be able to welcome 2015 with open arms, with several major events planned.

Sunday and Holiday service restored

Proposed Sunday service (Photo by Community Transit)
Proposed Sunday service (Photo by Community Transit)

This month, the Community Transit Board approved the addition of 27,000 hours of new service, of which 18,000 are to be used on Sundays and holidays. The June 2015 service change, five years to the month after the cuts to Sunday service, will bring hourly Sunday service on major routes and 20-minute headways on Swift.

To fund the new service, Community Transit will be raising their adult and DART fares by 25 cents effective July 1. The increased fare will bring the cost of a round-trip on commuter routes from Marysville, Stanwood and Snohomish to a staggering $11 for adults.

CT plans to keep expanding its bus service hours, with the 2014-2019 Transit Development Plan proposing 60,000 hours of new service by the end of the decade to meet its goal of carrying 12 million annual riders in 2017.

Double the Double Talls

Community Transit 10807 "Double Tall" on Route 421 in Seattle
A Double Tall in Seattle (Photo by AtomicTaco)

The ever popular Double Tall fleet of double-decker buses will grow to 45 vehicles, the second largest double-decker fleet in the country, after the delivery of the second and third wave of 22 Alexander Dennis Enviro500s in spring and summer, respectively.

Sound Transit is also debuting their 5 double-decker buses, planned to be driven by Community Transit/First Transit drivers on the Snohomish County ST Express routes after their delivery in March.

A New CEO

Longtime CEO Joyce Eleanore retired in August of this year, ending her 20-year tenure at Community Transit to spend time with her grandchildren. The search for a permanent replacement, led by interim CEO and Administration Director Emmett Heath, is scheduled to end with the board’s selection of a candidate in March. Eleanore oversaw the contraction of Community Transit’s services during the aftermath of I-695 and the Great Recession, while introducing bus rapid transit and double-decker buses to the region.

Swift II planning ramps up

Everett Station SWIFT terminus
The Everett Station terminal of Swift I (Photo by SounderBruce)

Swift II, the planned Boeing-to-Bothell bus rapid transit line, is entering the most crucial step on its way to serving riders in 2018: planning and fundraising through state and federal grants. This week, the Federal Transit Administration gave CT its blessing to move forward on the project, with support from both of Washington’s senators as well as the U.S. representatives from Snohomish County’s two congressional districts.

Swift I, however, was not ignored. Celebrating its fifth birthday, the line will welcome its third pair of infill stations, serving Edmonds Community College at 204th Street Southwest.

Smokey Point gets new transit center

Smokey Point Transit Center, under construction in July 2014
Smokey Point Transit Center, under construction in July (Photo by SounderBruce)

Smokey Point, a textbook example of exurban sprawl in its adolescence, will be opening their renovated transit center with five shelters and improved pedestrian access. Initially scheduled to open this past summer, Community Transit expects construction to be substantially complete in January, with buses using the new stops as soon as it is safe to do so. As the terminus of various north Snohomish County routes, the transit center will be served by frequent, 15-minute weekday service to Marysville, Everett and Lynnwood on Routes 201 and 202, as well as local service on Routes 220, 230 and 240 to Arlington, Darrington and Stanwood, respectively.

The transit center is also proposed as the northern terminus of a possible Swift line on the North Broadway/State Avenue corridor, which would replace Routes 201 and 202 in Community Transit’s long-range plans.

BusFinder: Baby steps to integrated real-time information

Community Transit released a beta version of their real-time departure information system, BusFinder, for mobile devices this past October. The system uses GPS-based estimates of real-time departures from stops, predicting when a bus will arrive at a given location. There is also a mobile version of the beta site for use on smartphones in their web browser.

78 Replies to “Community Transit Looks Forward to Brighter 2015”

  1. $11 isn’t staggering because most downtown commuters have employee orca passes. For the low wage folks, sorry again, like for all our other transit funding.

    1. I rather doubt Snohomish County (or Pierce County, for that matter) is ready to set up a large operation to qualify adult riders for low-income status, or to take the hit for suddenly losing a chunk of fare revenue, which would probably necessitate raising the adult fares and other reduced fares even higher.

      That said, a low-income qualification process doesn’t have to be as complete of an operation as King County is trying to make it. If the federal government were to simply add EBT cardholders to the list of passengers for which agencies receiving federal funds have to offer a fare no higher than half the full peak adult fare, that would bring more sanity to federal fare policy. Hopefully, the feds would then figure out how to enable EBTs to hold bus passes, and work with the near-field technology of the very finite number of vendors (two or three) with whom transit agencies are working. Chicago Transit Authority has figured out how to accept passes from private cards. Can the EBT be that difficult to catch up to the same standard?

      The problem of the $5.50 fare — a $198 monthly pass! — has a limited shelf life, given that Lynnwood Station is only nine years away. But nine years is a long time.

      Sound Transit looked at the possibility of setting up its own qualification process in Pierce and Snohomish Counties. That thought experiment didn’t get very far. But I don’t expect the debate on whether to accept the low-income ORCA on ST Express is settled. New low-income riders will start noticing on March 1, and there will be much larger political pressure to look at the issue again after that. As it is, ST Express fares are falling noticeably behind CT commuter fares for similar trips.

      Anyway, thanks for the report, Bruce!

      1. One nice thing 9 years away – hopefully less – is Community Transit will simply drop off Snohomish County to Seattle commuters at Lynnwood Station to the light rail ;-).

      2. As it happens, I was getting ready to ask ST what the distance-based fares all over the built-out ST2 will look like, under current policy. I have a bad feeling Lynnwood to downtown Seattle will not be a cheap ride. But then, we transit nerds have fantasies that train fares cause people to move to live closer to work, or change jobs to live closer to home. I’m not sure even a $198 monthly pass would have quite that effect on anyone.

        My money says distance-based fares on Link go away before Lynnwood Link opens.

      3. So that people don’t realize how lazy I am, I looked stuff up:

        Link fare formula: $2.25 base fare (as of March 1, 2015), plus 5 cents per mile, rounded to nearest quarter.

        Westlake to Lynnwood (as the train travels): 16 miles

        Fare under formula as of March 1: $3.00

        I stand corrected. CT commuters will save a bundle!

        And hey, they’ll be paying for seats. The folks paying $2.75 and $2.50 will be lucky to find a place to stand.

        FWIW, Lynnwood to the airport: $3.75. (or save a buck by getting off and back on a couple times along the way)

      4. Yeah, I suspected Lynnwood-downtown would be only a quarter more than SeaTac-downtown.

        The real key here is that ST and CT will each save a bundle from the operational efficiency, so the commuters halving their costs and splitting the remaining face value between two agencies won’t necessarily harm anyone’s bottom line.

        That said, BARTnorth will seek flat fares (or BART-style $4 inner-system fares to offset long-distance moneypits) over my dead body.

      5. The fare from downtown to the airport will be $3 as of March 1. Riders are paying for the honor of taking the scenic route.

      6. BART likes to boast of its 70% farebox recovery.

        Some far outer segments are on record as requiring $32/boarding subsidies (in addition to fares of $6.50 or more).

        Mathematically obvious conclusion: all those passengers paying $3-$4 to use just the inner portion of the system — the vast majority of trips — are getting completely hosed.

      7. This is most analogous, of course, if Sound Transit ever tries to completely or further flatten the fare structure, as Brent initially predicted it might do, or if it builds dumb subways to Everett so as to exponentially increase subsidies to far-flung passengers while simultaneously diminishing returns at the farebox.

      8. Hey guys, I really love how light rail is going to cut commuter fares for people. Something we should be encouraging to make mass transit more marketable.

      9. Oh, bull, Brent.

        Demand for service from the city to the middle of fucking nowhere is entirely inelastic, both at rush hour and during the rest of BART’s ghost train hours.

        That is why outer BART subsidies are whopping.

        Anyway, if BART can blow that much money on all-day frequency to nowhere, yet still boast a 70% recovery system-wide, then one can essentially guarantee that SF-Oakland-Berkeley passengers are paying >100% of their way.

      10. I will agree that:

        (1) Fares within reason have little to do with ridership from suburban East Bay to downtown San Francisco, compared to factors like freeway tolls and congrestion.

        (2) A lot of Snohomish County riders are willing to pay $4 each way for a less comfortable, less frequent ride to downtown than Link. (This may be an important datapoint come 2035ish, when capacity might — and I say might, not will — face a crisis on North Link.)

        I’m not convinced that suburban East Bay ghost train ridership is maxed out. Nor am I convinced that CT commuter ridership is maxed out (although I don’t think there are that many empty seats, and how many riders are willing to stand that far and long, on a bus?) Nor am I convinced that you or I know more on the topic than transit planning experts who believe that ridership is elastic with price. Nor do I care to debate transit theory much, when transit reality is a different beast.

        If Link faces a capacity crisis, I would expect the fares on different modes to be shifted to encourage shorter trips to occur on foot, bike, or local bus, and avoid pushing suburban commuters back onto expensive express service.

        Common sense willing, ST will design its way out of facing that crisis, but I am officially not hopeful, unless there is a culture shift in the engineering department.

      11. Brent, Link is going to vastly improve travel between downtown Seattle, Cap Hill, and the U District. Actually much more than it’s going to improve travel between downtown and Lynnwood. Making these shorter trips possible in a reasonable amount of time on transit is the one truly great thing Link is doing. Trying to put those people back on buses would be wasting not only people’s time, and service hours stuck in traffic, but all the money we’re spending to build that tunnel. Might as well have run the line straight up I-5. It would be nothing short of a betrayal of every Seattle taxpayer and transit rider.

      12. Exactly, Al.

        And that’s shy ST needs to be working on ways to expand peak capacity on Link. Things like mitigating the missing ventilation shaft in the U-Link tunnels, improving reliability on MLK, and building a wye at ID Station to leave room for a center platform are multi-billion dollar decisions. The engineers are opting for short-term capital savings over long-term operational functionality.

        But if the engineers leave it to future generations to fix the bottleneck causes, the Snohomish commuters will still get their seats on Link, even if express buses are offered, and Capitol Hill commuters will be left waiting for space on the next train, or the train after that, or the train after that …

      13. Then at that point you right-scale the fares for the long-haul, expensive trips!

        You don’t flatten the fare structure, “encouraging” urban trips away from the mode of transit most appropriate to their scalable needs, and explicitly penalizing anyone who needs a non-excruciating trip within the urban zone.

        That’s the kind of crazy talk that cements this region’s awful transit-planning framework.

        And anyway, Al is wrong on one point: Thanks to its compounded BART design-isms, Link won’t really be all that useful for most Capitol Hill trips!

      14. “Of course, the real BART is not super-cheap to ride either. One way from the airport to downtown is $8.60.”

        That’s an airport surcharge. Millbrae to downtown is $4.50. The highest fare seems to be Millbrae to Pittsburg at $7.50.

      15. North Link capacity reality check. Some Sound Transit staff are concerned that north Link might reach capacity by the target date (I think 2035 or 2040). That’s why they’re sending all trains to Lynnwood now rather than truncating East Link at Northgate off-peak. But if it does reach capacity, it will be gradual over several years, and there will be time to compensate (but not to build the Aurora line). The ventilation shaft will be an easy fix — especially in the context of capacity pressure. And we can reintroduce express buses for a couple select pairs, such as a P&R cachement area that Link doesn’t cover especially well. I don’t know where that is and I don’t think we need to decide that now. Let’s assume somewhere around Shoreline, like the Shoreline P&R (which would also pull in Edmonds). I don’t want to see express buses from Northgate or anywhere further south; I’d rather siphon off suburban demand to preserve capacity for them. In this scenario, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace would have some capacity (and perhaps full P&Rs; I’m not sure of the ratio of P&R capacity to train capacity), but buses would attract the overflow from areas further from Link stations.

      1. I would say that saying “most downtown commuters have employee orca passes” is a bit of an overstatement, but I can’t directly prove or disprove it.

        Looking at the last ORCA quarterly report, a Business Passport is used for 41% of all ORCA boardings. But not all employers use the Business Passport, some purchase Puget Passes for employees or offer a subsidy on one (mine pays for 75% of the cost of any pass) and others purchase ePurse funds for employees (mine matches employee ePurse purchases dollar-for-dollar).

        So I would say that it would be safe to assume that over 50% of ORCA rides are at least partially paid for by employers… but that doesn’t qualify as “most” in my book.

        Some other fun facts:
        *The Business Passport account for 46% of all ORCA sales.
        *In September 2014 approximately 196 $5.25 Puget Passes were sold.

        Source: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/2014/orca/orca-joint-board-program-mamagement-report-3rd-quarter.pdf

      2. “But not all employers use the Business Passport, some purchase Puget Passes for employees or offer a subsidy on one (mine pays for 75% of the cost of any pass) and others purchase ePurse funds for employees (mine matches employee ePurse purchases dollar-for-dollar).”

        And others pay nothing but participate in a commute-tax-break program. And some of those employees (like myself) find the tax break so minimal in light of the restrictions that we just buy a full-price pass anyway.

    2. Stanwood -> Seattle, approx 54 miles, Amtrak price = $12 for “Saver” fare

      Ronkonkoma, NY -> New York Penn, approx 49 miles, LIRR fare $12.75

      To paraphrase a sentence near the end of the book American Heritage History of Railroads in America:
      To be honest, the commuter expects a bit much. They demand a discount fare for a service they only use at peak periods in the peak direction.

      1. The only trains from Stanwood to Seattle are at 9:16am and 8:21pm, returning north at 9:08am and 8:15pm. So not usable for 8-to-5 or 9-to-5 jobs.

      2. The $12 round trip does not include wear and tear on the car, which is not zero when you make the same trip over and over again, every day.

      3. The general public makes driving decisions based on the price of gas. (Whether their accountants agree with them or not)

  2. Sounder Bruce, very nicely done. I don’t know what inspired you to write this, but sure like your overview of Community Transit and many good pictures.

    1. Thanks, Joe.

      I was inspired by Frank’s “2014 Bright Spots” post from this week, since it is the best time of the year to reflect on 2014 and look forward to next year.

      I fully expect next December’s look forward to be full of events (University Link, Angle Lake Station, ST3).

      1. Quite welcome, I’m excited for U Link & ST3 personally. U Link will be very close to a hotel I haven’t been able to visit since 1/2010 and ST3, well I’d like to see that come to fruition for more than just Paine Field.

    1. +1. I use Google Maps to plan my trips as much as possible, but Community Transit is letting me down in this regard.

      1. You have WAY too much faith in the Information network.

        How do you know it’s CT that is the problem?

      2. From a technical aspect, do YOU know why CT isn’t showing up on Google Maps?

        Google isn’t infallible, you know.

      3. Or Google Maps doesn’t know how to read it.

        Like I say, Google isn’t infallible.

        I’ve witnessed a number of errors myself,

        so it still brings up the question…

        Which one is responsible?

        I personally would only use Google to plan my trips in a high level manner, but I’d be researching directly each entity involved if I want it all to work correctly.

        One can have too much faith in computer based systems.

      4. I know someone who works for the relevant department at Google. CT and other agencies not yet in the system are absent because they haven’t provided google with the information they need.

      5. Does that person know if it’s a technical issue, or a inter-company/agency political issue.

        As in, if anyone wants to interface with Google for trip planning, it’s up to them to provide it in the format Google demands.

      6. I don’t know how technical it is. What I was told is “we (google) need XYZ from agencies to get them integrated. Many agencies volunteer XYZ and when major ones don’t we often ask for it; most of them give it to us, some don’t.” I suppose it’s possible that there is some insurmountable technical issue that hampers CT from providing XYZ for google (or raises the costs of doings so substantially) that is unique to them (and Everett Transit) amongst transit agencies in the state. I can’t figure out what that would be, though.

      7. Ah, voluntary assimilation.

        I have seen Google displayed data that is in direct conflict with a suppliers data (various agencies), and couldn’t figure out how Google could have gotten their version.

        I’m assuming it’s a loose-connection… as in, no one liaison polices the data transfer, it would be up to the agency supplying the data to make sure Google displays it correctly.

        Which makes it in that murky world of politics/management (as in “we’ve got other fish to fry, we can’t devote resources to this”), and just plain technical transfer issues (Google says this field is this, but that doesn’t fit with how we (the supplier) capture data).

        Again, Google, and anyone who has ever been involved in IT knows there are a gazillion places for things to go wrong.

    2. +1 on integrated transit planning and realtime data. With these piecemeal solutions it is useless for out of towners.

      1. I’ve learned to be skeptical of Google Transit. It will usually find a solution OK, but sometimes the local transit agency trip planners find a better one. So, sometimes it is a good idea to check both as sometimes one produces better results than the other.

        Jefferson Transit is also apparently not in Google Transit. If you ask Google Transit for directions on how to get from Portland to Neah Bay by transit the route is a madcap trip through Vancouver and Victoria due to a hole somewhere in the data.

  3. Thanks for the nice summary of exciting things to come for transit in Snohomish County.

    Just to clarify a few points:
    -Following the tragic Oso mudslide on March 22, Community Transit quickly responded with an alternate route to Darrington that went into service on March 28. It was a longer ride, but the community missed only a few days of bus service.
    -While the CT Board approved a 2015 budget with 28,000 hours of new service on Dec. 4, 2014, it has not yet decided how to allocate those hours. The proposal to bring back Sunday service is still up in the air. A decision is expected in February.
    -Also, a single new southbound Swift station will be built at Hwy 99 & 20th in Lynnwood. This will complement the northbound station at 20th to form a pair serving Edmonds Community College.

    Happy New Year to all!

    1. Restoring Sunday service is the most likely to happen with these hours because it will give more options for people to get around for a cheaper prices on Sunday. They could add more services on Sunday when they get more funding and the ridership is their for more services.

      1. Word on the street is very limited Sunday service (hourly service on most routes, with Swift getting the 20 minute headways it gets on Sundays). However, it is the goal of community transit once funding arrives to have matching Saturday and Sunday schedules for its local routes. This is from their website.

    2. I’m somewhat surprised that even with the frequent and-all-day 512 that CT still runs the 201/202 all the way to Lynnwood, even though Lynnwood->Everett section is pretty much identical to the 512, except for one extra stop. One wonders if the money would be better spent elsewhere. For instance, perhaps something could be done about the 2+ hours it takes to ride the bus from Monroe to Woodinville, a mere 10-15 minutes in a private car…

      1. The 201/202 is scheduled to take 29 minutes between Lynnwood TC and Everett Station. The 512 is scheduled to take 29-30 minutes. Are the schedules realistic?

        If the 512 were to take over the 201/202’s path between Lynnwood and Everett, the S.Everett P&R would lose mid-day service. But would that matter?

      2. I believe South Everett P&R has some connections to Everett Transit buses (I don’t remember which), which would be rather cumbersome if the 512 skipped that stop.

        Honestly, though, if there’s going to be just one Lynnwood->Everett bus via I-5, the 512’s path makes more sense than the 201/202’s path. The access to South Everett P&R is an HOV-only entrance and exit that connects directly to the HOV lane, with no stoplights, so the time penalty to serve the P&R is a predictable 1 minute (plus dwell time at the bus stop itself). 128th St., on the other hand, there is no special path for the bus to take, and the general-purpose exit ramp can, at times, be quite backed up. The impact on everyone else is just not worth it for a stop in the middle of nowhere.

        If CT isn’t quite willing to just leave 128th St. without service, simply extending a local route that currently terminates at Ash Way P&R to McCollum P&R would do the trick, at far fewer service hours than duplicating the 512 all the way from Lynnwood to Everett.

        As an aside, CT’s decision to have Swift II cross I-5 without a connection to the 512 is crazy, as it effectively guarantees that people along the corridor will have no reasonable feeder service to get to Seattle. I fail to understand why a 112th St. crossing of I-5, with a connection to the 512 at South Everett P&R, was never seriously considered. (I suppose a 128th St. Link station on the way to Everett could eventually solve this problem, but that’s a long way off).

      3. The way to get between points in north Lynnwood and point in Seattle should be I-5, and we should be designing bus networks to make this possible. We should not be designing bus networks to force people to slog it all the way from Lynnwood to Seattle on surface streets or detour north all the way to Everett.

        For someone at the south end of the line, a connection to the 522 in Bothell would be adaquate, but someone at the north end of the line, it’s just too time-consuming when a frequent bus down I-5 already exists as an alternative, if there were just a way to get to it.

        In any case, the proposed plan for Swift II doesn’t even connect to the 5122 in Bothell. It terminates at Canyon P&R, which does connect to the 535, but now, you’re talking about a very circuitous 3-seat ride to reach downtown Seattle (4-seat ride for anywhere in Seattle besides downtown), with the middle link being a bus that runs only hourly Monday-Saturday and not at all on Sunday. Nobody who can possibly afford a car is going to be willing to do this.

      4. It (understandably) doesn’t get a lot of play around here, but I think the CT/ET split affects transit planning more than just about any other agency split in the region.

        There’s a case for ST/KCM, too. I don’t think the case is built on how the agencies divide up intra-county expresses, which seems to be inertia-based but more of a curiosity than a real problem. It’s built on a bus-rail connection at Tukwila Sounder that hamstrings the permanently more frequent bus service, disjointed transit efforts surrounding the 520 rebuild and South Kirkland P&R, and the way the choice of station locations north of Northgate played out. Just those three things may affect more actual riders than local CT and ET services have altogether.

        The case for CT/ET is the odd shape and length of the boundary, and the vast differences between the agencies’ (and their areas’) outlooks. Though Everett, at times on the wrong side of the last 50 years’ decentralization and consolidation trends, has declined in the face of growth elsewhere in the county, it still is home to some of the county’s most important transit destinations. ET serves them with an inertia that makes KCM’s trolley network look fresh. CT serves them like a visitor, the way it serves Bothell or Aurora Village. And CT skirts the Everett city limits when it’s not going to the center, preferring to emphasize hubs just within its service area (Mariner P&R) than just outside (South Everett P&R, Everett Mall). There isn’t even a map I know of that includes both agencies’ services! Not even one published by one agency that slyly de-emphasizes the other’s important services (i.e. the SF Muni map’s treatment of BART and maybe the otherwise pretty good KCM system maps’ treatment of Link, though it’s possible my perception of that is due to partial color-blindness).

  4. Over the last ten years or so, when I frequently worked in Lynnwood, I developed a lot of respect and affection for Community Transit.

    Often used the 101 up and down SR 99, and the 112 from Ash Way Park and Ride to 44th Ave near the library. Also trips up 44th after arriving at Lynnwood Park and Ride.

    But maybe problem is foreign travel these last few years. Because for Snohomish County- and my former home town of Detroit, first question to hit my mind after reading about each collapse of basic services is:

    Will I now have to stop a US border station every time I get on the 512? Sense is never that the county or the city have seceded from the United States of America. The richest country in the world withdrawing assistance, investment, and attention from its own localities in trouble through no fault of their own.

    Or maybe too much Civil War history. I hate, as the Union Army called the Confederates: “secesh”!

    Mark Dublin

  5. Under what conditions will Snohomish County agree to rid itself of Sounder North? When Link Light Rail finally connects to downtown Everett?

    1. When the hammer comes down from “Dow the Best County Executive in the Game”, “AvgeekJoe”, “Sir Nay Niles” and the like unleash their inner LEGION OF BOOM.

      Or when finally Momma Nature decides to end this roulette and a Sounder North tips over or Heaven Forbid ends up in Puget Sound. I hope that doesn’t happen.

      1. I look forward to all the testimony at the meetings. Especially the Edmonds and Mukilteo council meetings.

      2. I’m under the impression the Sound Transit Board can declare an emergency and start working in that direction.

    2. Forget ST ridding itself of Sounder North… ST probably can’t afford Edmonds’ and Mukilteo’s emnity and has little else to offer them. Unless there’s evidence it’s a greater safety risk than first advertised, or unless they can get out of paying the railroad for the time slots, it’s not even a fight with much upside.

      I’d just like to know why CT can’t rid their Sunday network map of Sounder, which only runs on Sundays for events.

      1. Fair ’nuff; I’ll freely admit I have no non-obvious insight. And that putting people at undue risk just to avoid telling a hard truth to some hard-to-please constituencies would be a tragic case of the cowardice that plagues today’s politics.

        If slide risk isn’t by itself bad enough to kill the line, though… maybe Dow has a great plan to keep these towns in the fold without Sounder, but if so I wouldn’t expect anything that looks like a fight in public over it.

      2. Isn’t their bus service superior to Sounder North? And offers a faster, more frequent commute? Surely they would come around if ST offers them even better bus service to replace their lost rail connection which, due to frequent mudslides, is often intermittent anyway?

      3. Well put John. I get what Al D is saying re: political angle, however I think STB should be lobbying for Sounder North’s demise.

        That’s a lot of people to have in business attire trying to swim Puget Sound because of a mudslide….. not to mention a PR disasster that could sink ST3.

      4. The bus service from Everett is often superior to Sounder; more travel time variance but often faster (especially if your downtown destination is north a bit) and much more frequent. From Edmonds and Mukilteo Sounder’s reliability really helps. For example, the 416 by schedule takes between 32 and 49 minutes (with real times that vary even more); Sounder takes 27.

        I don’t think for a minute that this by itself justifies the service in its current form or that it would come close to consideration by current metrics… especially with Lynnwood Link as the alternative money sink…

  6. One thing I cannot help noticing when I take a bus into morning rush hour is all the Community Transit commuter buses waiting in what looks like an extremely long line of cars to get off the I-5 express lanes onto Stewart St. Given that alternative exits exist at Pike St. and Columbia St., which are HOV-only, I don’t see a good reason for buses to sit in traffic for such long periods just to get the stop in at Stewart and Denny.

    Yet another option, if the bus really has to go down Stewart, would be to take the exit into the downtown transit tunnel, but immediately resurface and cut over to Stewart St., rather than actually go through the tunnel. Perhaps the bus could even stop at Convention Place Station before resurfacing. Since Link does not serve Convention Place Station, there ought to be more room for buses there than at the other stations.

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