A great scene from one of the Star Trek films Leonard Nimoy directed that most bus riders can relate to. I will miss him. He lived long and prospered.

42 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Kirk and Spock Ride the Bus”

  1. More than any PSA or Click It or Ticket sign, this video has made me a safer driver, more reluctant to drive in the snow, and even a more alert and defensive pedestrian. This video teaches people just how unsafe driving can be, even if you’re the best, most cautious driver in the world. (I’m not sure why so many Russians have dash cams in their personal cars, though).

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcMstV-1oyY

      Hard to tell. This video could be either Crimean Atlantic Base safety supervisor routine accident report, or training video for Russian armored unit.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6792nwi8hQ

      However, this one is background information on extension of Route 7 to Ellensburg starting next shake-up. “Tour guide” job description and new uniform will be added shortly.

      Heroic military memorials are on their way from Czech Republic. Also Skoda trolleybuses. However, no batteries and wire both directions.

      Still working on wiring ORCA over the mountains.

      Mark

      1. You know that the Russians are way ahead of us on subways. And their space program started before ours did- because I suspect that conditions in outer space are a lot more like Russia than here.

        So it’s very likely that the Russians have discovered a way to dig subways by crashing meteors into the earth at correct trajectories to bore a tunnel.

        Very likely in this case, they decided a floating bridge was too much of a hassle with the local neighborhood association.

        Also, I suspect that many private hood-mounted dash cams are because in many ways, Russia is a Fergusson, Missouri that stretches all the way across a huge continent.

        But finally, as witness huge stretches of trolley wire Stalin reputedly loved trolleybuses, and I think he founded the trolleybus line with the stewardesses.

        Proving that in addition to being a weirdo, everybody who like ETB’s is also a Communist, whose purpose is to rat on motorists with “Cold Dead Fingers” bumper stickers and antler rifle racks in their pickup back windows.

        Like the anthem goes: “Arise, ye prisoners of combustion…”

        Comrade MD

      2. Something that surprised me when I was visiting Russia for three weeks last May was how hard it was to spot dash cams. As I was walking along the street past parked cars in three different cities, or observing adjacent cars while aboard a bus crawling through traffic, I saw very few. Under 1% would be my estimate.

        Yet there are many YouTube videos from Russia that would give the impression of ubiquity.

        I saw enough accidents, near misses, and police stops to make me think having one would be a good idea.

    2. Russians have dashcams due to an epidemic of accident fraud — people filing false crash reports. The dashcams keep ’em honest.

  2. The local newspaper for Vashon Island did an article on new buses coming to the island: Vashon buses to be replaced with hybrids.

    They are the same XDE35 buses that first arrived in Bellevue a few months ago. The part I found interesting… “The new buses also have […] a function that allows the bus carriage to raise when driving on and off the ferry.”

  3. Isn’t it sad on some level how conservatives are bombarded with Sh*ftWA propaganda that Sound Transit is some evil organization? Geezus you read their crap and you think Sound Transit is a lie factory, never built much of anything and never has passengers!

    What are we going to do about it?

      1. That’s a bit unfair. There are SOME pro-Transit Republicans like me and Rep. Dave Hayes.

      2. You’re not running for office, Joe, and Rep. Hayes represents Stanwood so I can’t vote for either of y’all. The last pro-transit Republican I could vote for, Andy Hill, has decided to not be so pro-transit this time around (though he’s still better than his predecessor). Thus, the record of not voting for those folks still stands.

      3. Copy that, LakeCityRider Wes. I think Andy Hill is under a ton of pressure from all right-wing corners not to be too sweet to Sound Transit – think ShiftWA, WPC, et al. It’s hard to be a rising star in the GOP these days…

      4. On the national scale, I’ve been watching sane Republicans being forced out of the party for decades now. It’s trickled down to the state level — Charlie Crist was the last decent Republican governor — and now it’s trickling down to the local level. There are still decent Republicans in some smaller counties & townships, and even in a few cities, but I think they’re endangered. :-( The national and state parties have been aggressively rewriting the rules to make sure that “insurgents” can’t displace the current establishment candidates, which makes it unlikely that the party will repair itself.

  4. Anyone else enjoy comment threads that involve Sam and Mark Dublin? You two are the best! You should get your own radio show. Id love to hear you two discuss and debate in real time!!!

    Listening to you two would be like sitting on a bench in pioneer square with the boys while enjoying some adult beverages!!!

    1. “Adult beverages” is a hard one. For wine, I used to drink a cabernet from Chile called “Black Cat”, which cost about ten dollars a bottle and tasted delicious. But attempting to sophisticate my palate, I started broadening my purchases to selections whose flavor got progressively worse the more they cost.

      Not a single one of them tasted anything like raspberries and grapefruit with a hint of oak and vintage coconut. They all tasted pretty much like vinegar. Only honest label was one that proclaimed it had a chalk aftertaste.

      Horrible to imagine what food it’s paired with. Especially considering that nobody knows what Spain does with surplus dead bulls But worst thing is neither the outrageous price nor the vile taste of vintage wine, but the fact that the coffee roasting industry is starting to describe its products the same way.

      Really a bummer, since now I consider the only adult beverage in the world to be a ristretto espresso so short that it it becomes a black hole (whatever that is in Italian) in the bottom of the demitasse, that pulls the drinker into a time and space warp that comes out in Italy. Olympia Roasting? Venice or Perugia. Starbucks? Bottom of the city dump in Palermo.

      Meanwhile, I understand that Occidental Park is looking for a sommelier. “Permit me to recommend a wine. It’s a tad fruity and overbearing, and has the bouquet of a broken Ford radiator,but it DOES THE JOB!!!!”

      Sam?

      Mark

  5. You will be pleased to know that down south here, on Friday Rep. Bill Post declared Spock the “greatest Republican in the history of the galaxy” on the Oregon house floor.

    1. Things will get significantly better in this country if a libel standard is ever applied to public-record statements by politicians.

      I feel quite certain that this West End-tenement-dwelling son of Boston Jewish immigrants never supported a single Republican in his life.

      1. I think it’s the “Live Long And Prosper” part. Though since it’s not in the script, maybe, in a Vulcan equivalent of a Brooklyn dialect, he mutters: “Yeah, and you overpaid Terran-named cockroaches should decompose while stuck in a Steven Seagall holodeck malfunction.

        Same as interstellar latrine duty and what Scotty says if he treatment plant takes a Klingon hit instead of the shields.Or what Vulcan kids laser into urban location-change seats.

        My guess is “Die of ear shortening disease begging for
        Terran monetary credits after a short wretched life of only a billion years in the mythical Quadrangle of Early Galactic Explorers!” Or “Ingest Extremely Durable Post-Consumption Nutritional Material!”

        Wish we could view out-takes.

        MD

      2. That’s Leonard Nimoy.

        Rep. Post specifically was talking of Spock. “He was a legal alien that believed in prosperity.”

        In 1967 he made a northwest tour of sorts and appeared in both the Medford Pear Blossom Parade and the Portland Grand Floral Parade. Don’t know if he made any such appearances in Seattle or surrounds.

      3. Spock also behaved rationally as a fundamental character trait, and argued routinely that the benefit of the many should outweigh the raging egos of the few.

        Ergo, not Republican.

      4. In our current politics, right-wing means anti-science and pro-stereotyping, pro-bigotry.

        Spock was pro-science, anti-stereotyping (99% of the time), and anti-bigotry.

  6. This week, I’d like to address a concern of mine in regards to out-of-place coaches, such as when a run of a Sound Transit bus route is being operated by a non-ST-decorated coach (and vice versa), or when RapidRide coaches run on non-RapidRide routes (and also voice versa).

    The basic understanding is that Metro, CT, PT and ST try to avoid out-of-place coaches at all costs, but in the most extreme circumstances this cannot be avoided. However, it has the potential to mislead riders who, being accustomed to their route being run by coaches decorated in a specific paint scheme, think that the policies for the run in question are different than normal.

    Take for example, non-ST coaches running ST routes–more specifically Metro coaches. Bear in mind that while Metro currently issues and accepts paper transfers, Sound Transit does not. However, to “unintelligent” riders the presence of a Metro-decorated coach on ANY route (regardless of whether it is technically a Metro or ST route) would suggest a Metro route (rather than an ST route in this case) by default and therefore would imply Metro’s policies are valid, possibly misleading riders into thinking that their Metro-only paper transfer is valid on what is technically an ST route, much to their surprise when they present their transfer to the driver and he/she says it’s not acceptable.

    Similarly, the presence of a RapidRide coach on a “regular” Metro bus route (non-RapidRide) would imply to the lay person that it is acceptable to board through the back doors when in reality the policy is to enter through the front and pay as you enter.

    In my case, whenever I encounter an out-of-place coach on a route that I intend to ride, I will deliberately refuse to ride the run with the out-of-place coach, waiting for the next departure until I get a “proper” coach.

    The only exceptions to this “out-of-place” rule is trolley routes being operated by internal-combustion buses on weekends–as I subscribe to Metro’s “trolley motorization” text alerts, I have advance notice of what to expect.

    Incidentally, until very recently, the presence of 60-foot hybrids on non-tunnel routes counted as an out-of-place coach. The initial logic behind this was, when the 2600’s were first introduced, they would be treated the same way the Bredas they replaced were treated–they would be used ONLY on routes that used the tunnel, and on Sundays, when the tunnel was closed all day long (until the introduction of Link light rail), they would spend the entire day sitting around in the yard doing nothing all day while “regular” diesel buses ran the routes they would have been operating the other 6 days out of the week. However, with all of Metro’s new orders for internal-combustion vehicles incorporating hybrid transmissions, I assumed this was the norm and thus hybrids on non-tunnel routes no longer count.

    1. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen an “out-of-place” coach (diesel buses on trolley routes excepted). It seems quite rare, and I would hope that drivers are willing to be flexible with confused passengers in this situation.

      As to your decision not to board these buses, it seems strange to me, but you’re obviously free to do what you want.

      1. My reason for doing so is basically because of the confusion it causes to riders. In other words, the fact that out-of-place coaches causes confusion in this manner makes them “not respectable” and should be avoided at all costs.

        In addition, IMO, King-County-only ST routes run by Pierce Transit (560, 566, 567, 577) make little sense at all to me and are also “not respectable” and therefore, they too should be avoided.

      2. I see Metro-branded buses running ST 545 trips two or three times a month, for what it’s worth.

        @SR Das, Sound Transit bids out the trips it contracts to run. 560, 566, 567, and 577 came in with cheaper bids from Pierce Transit instead of Metro so Sound Transit contracted with Pierce for them. I believe Community Transit does something similar; its 510-513 trips are contracted to it by Sound but are actually run by First Transit, a private company.

      3. Wes: Even if it is supposedly cheaper for ST to subcontract its SKC routes to PT, it STILL is senseless IMO (and that’s putting it nicely!). One county’s routes DO NOT deserve to be run by a “foreign” county’s operators, regardless of circumstances. Therefore, until the operating authority for these routes is transferred to King County, there are rendered “not respectable” and will be avoided by me at all costs!

      4. So SR Das, in your opinion, Metro and ST should spend more capital dollars in order to absolutely guarantee that buses with a particular color are running on routes irrespective of how many might be in the shop this week. And you think that ST should be supporting Metro’s bloated operating costs when it could save a few bucks by using another provider.

        What about if ST were to decide to contract with Amtrak or Keolis or Veolia for Sounder service? Would you oppose that since Sounder trains run on BNSF’s tracks?

        This seems like a pretty arbitrary distinction to me, but as was noted earlier, you’re welcome to avoid those trips if you want to. For me, I’d rather have the agencies looking at the bottom line and doing what’s expedient and efficient. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be the right color buses most of the time.

      5. This feels a bit like whether you think cartoon characters should wear the same outfit every day or not.

        (pro: that is what the character looks like! con: why so little variety; doesn’t he/she/it get bored?)

      6. Sound Transit could very well contract with Veolia or First Transit to run Sounder, Link, or ST Express routes. There is really nothing that says ST has to use the local transit agency. For that matter ST could run everything directly in much the same way Metro or PT does.

        The issue that seems to be the root of your objection is the different policies of the agencies involved. Essentially that ST does not accept paper transfers and Metro does. The simple fix is for Metro to stop accepting paper transfers.

        FWIW I occasionally see a Metro coach operating a Sound Transit route and once in a blue moon see a ST coach on a Metro route. I’ve also seen regular metro coaches on a Rapid Ride route, but haven’t seen a Rapid Ride coach on a regular Metro route.

        Unless you want agencies to have lots of spare coaches sitting around there is going to be the occasional route run with the “wrong color” coach due to maintenance and breakdowns.

    2. Simple solution: consolidate all these different brands. It was bad enough before Metro decided to add another (RapidRide). I guess it’s basically so people know where the money is coming from.

      1. The federal grant required RapidRide to have a distinct brand. It was meant to be the nucleus of a network of frequent. high-performing, easily-recognizable routes that would later be expanded. Obviously, not all of it worked out that way,

  7. Heads up: http://www.thefuturestaskforce.org/

    http://blog.psrc.org/2015/02/task-force-to-examine-regions-transportation-future/

    From the FAQ:
    Is this study an effort to convince the public to accept widespread tolling?

    No. The Task Force is looking at the current transportation system and funding mechanisms and looking at what the future demands will be for our region. Technological changes, traffic and freight mobility needs, generational mobility trends and expectations, and potential funding options will all be on the agenda for discussion by the Task Force. Tolling, gas tax, vehicle miles traveled, sales tax, other user fees and well as new options will be considered.

  8. SR, first question is if I have to get to Lynnwood starting next week- which could conceivably happen? Cab rides from Union Station to my dentist on Queen Anne Hill are as expensive as they are mandatory already.

    Cab fare to Lynnwood would more than buy the new car I’d need- of at least the a replacement of the $4000 hybrid battery I just bought in about a month’s mileage?

    Generally I’d agree with you about contracting work out to firms from foreign countries to save money- it often means importing other countries’ poverty rather than strengthening our ability to help them alleviate it, as we should.

    But considering Greyhound- anybody know what country runs them now? Like Elbonia in the Dilbert strip? But also understand that in other countries where middle class people still can’t afford private cars or airplane tickets for longer trips, intercity buses are still quite good.

    With them- at least we’ve got a debate. So does anybody know anything about the record of the company running CT routes?

    Mark

  9. Are there any plans to better connect the Kirkland Transit Center to the rest of the region with ST Express Bus routes? Right now there is just one route running to UW – it doesn’t even serve the core of the U District neighborhood. I’d like to see a route running from KTC to Lynnwood or Everett. And I’d like to see the current Kirkland-UW route extended north through the U District up to Northgate.

    KTC should have one-seat rides to more centers in the region than it does. Fewer transfers please.

    1. If you want that, get involved with anything you see surrounding “405 BRT” plans. So far, ST has regarded downtown Kirkland as too lengthy a diversion for too little ridership, and the city of Kirkland basically doesn’t believe in growing much there, instead focusing growth around Totem Lake for reasons that basically amount to, “Everything new sucks.”

    2. In my opinion, Kirkland TC is too poorly located for the kind of service you’re looking for. Kirkland/Lynnwood might be feasible (grab the 535 and have some of its trips divert) but that’s still a mile diversion off of 405 and then a left turn back onto it. Ultimately, my guess is that its ridership is rather low to justify one-seat rides to anything beyond major transfer points like the university or downtown Seattle or the Redmond and Bellevue transit centers.

      I’m not opposed to expanding transit to more places for more people, for sure. I suppose the big question to answer is why do you feel that Kirkland TC needs more one-seat rides? Who will ride those trips, especially during the middle of the day?

    3. One of our suggestions for ST2 Link has been more service on the 540 for a direct connection to UW Station. That would give immediate access to Lynnwood, SeaTac, Roosevelt, Northgate, Capitol Hill, etc.

      Kirkland is kind of a ridership hole. Tons of people go from Seattle to Bellevue all day, and from Seattle to Redmond, but the 540 has anemic ridership, and the 255 drops to a trickle in the evenings. I asked around why that was, and people pointed to the low density outside downtown and the high cost of houses. I.e., the young adults who are more prone to take transit can’t afford to live there and don’t have many units to choose from, so they move to Overlake and Redmond instead.

      Kirkland was the pioneer in suburban downtown densification in the 80s, including down the south waterfront to Carillon Point, but that was at a lowrise level which it has been reluctant to take further now that the Eastside’s population has reached midrise levels. So downtown and south Kirkland are unlikely to change much, which means ridership is unlikely to change much, which means transit service is unlikely to increase much. Kirkland is promising an urban center in Totem Lake, but that will be problematic for trunk transit because most of the destinations are south of it (Bellevue and Seattle), and the transit would have to go through the less-dense downtown and south Kirkland to get to them.

      Another issue with Kirkland regional transit is the distance of downtown from 405. That makes it diffcult for a Bellevue – Lynnwood bus to serve without making a big slow detour.

      1. It’s very likely there will be a direct connection to UW Station. It’s not likely to be on the 540 (at least no more than today). Check back in a couple of days and you’ll find out more.

        Kirkland outside of Totem Lake is not entirely static. Downtown away from the water is still growing fairly quickly, and is mostly midrise (6-8 stories). There is also more growth coming, although subject to some neighborhood resistance, in the area around Houghton Center, and also some left to go in Juanita. None of this is huge, but it is likely to continue increasing ridership volume on the three key Kirkland corridors (Seattle, Bellevue, Overlake).

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