Just 6 hours 22 minutes from Olympia to Darrington
Just 6 hours 22 minutes from Olympia to Darrington

Planning a trip to or through Snohomish County?  You’re in luck. Community Transit buses are now integrated with Google Maps.  You can now plan that trip from Olympia to Darrington.

CT data has been available for some time now on OneBusAway.  However, it was only once Sound Transit – which now manages OneBusAway and associated data – opened up their feeds last February that it became possible to integrate the CT data with Google.  Great news for folks who use Google to plan their trips around the region.  Thanks to Brian Ferris, friend of the blog, OneBusAway creator, and current Googler, for pushing it through and for giving us the heads up.

39 Replies to “Community Transit on Google Maps”

      1. I guess I should’ve been clearer – Google Maps never believes that taking the link is faster than taking the bus. E.g., going from belltown to uwajimaya, you never get suggested to go via link.

      2. I think that might be the transfer penalty? When I plan trips to MLK Way or to the airport, Google gives me Link every time.

  1. Given the elapsed time, this would probably require three, possibly four, fares, but even at that what a deal!

    1. According to the trip planner (itinerary provided almost identical):

      Cash Fare $14.00
      ORCA Fare: $5.50 (does not include the $3 for the Intercity Transit fare as the web interface can’t seem to list fares needing various methods of payment, i.e. $5.50 ORCA fare and $3 fare for Intercity Transit).

      This would indicate that the $3.50 fare paid on the 594 would work for the 510, but your time would expire before catching the CT bus out of Everett.

      1. In the instance of the 592 from Olympia, the procedure is to have the driver tag the reader as in-county (which Oly-Tacoma fares are considered to be). At 512, the passenger would re-tag as inter-county, which resets the transfer window.

        As far as IT and the 594 are concerned, the smart commuter going on an epic trip would be better served by riding Mason Transit to Bremerton and taking the ferry to Seattle. There is about a 1 hour time penalty, but the total cost would be 3.00

      2. I’m guessing, though, that Mason Transit runs a lot less often than Intercity Transit. Is there really a one-seat ride from Olympia to Bremerton, or is a transfer required? A transfer out in the middle of nowhere between routes with 2-3 hour headways could be rather risky.

      3. Three routes and two transfers in fact.

        For the true epic trip you can go all the way around the Olympic Peninsula via Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, and Grays Harbor transit.

      4. I haven’t done that. But I have taken the epic transit journey from Seattle to Vancouver. While the total travel time was at least twice as long as the trip would be on Bolt, it was a lot of fun, and you get to see a lot of stuff along the way that you miss driving through it on the highway. The best part was the 6-mile walk between the towns of Blaine, WA and White Rock, B.C. through Peace Arch State Park and along the Canadian beach.

      5. Speaking of expanding the transfer window, I did this during the summer when I didn’t have a bus pass. It’s probably morally dubious, but it works. For example…

        I would take brief trips from federal way to Seattle on some weekdays. I planned it out so I would pay (in order) a $2.25, $2.50, $2.75, and $3.00 fare, expanding my transfer window each time, making the round trip cost just $3. (I don’t do this anymore btw)

  2. A six-hour-and 22-minute-trip on transit is nearly three times longer than the same trip by automobile. Yes, we need more and better transit everywhere, but cars are going to be with us for a very long time to come.

    1. If ST had all day & all week ST Express Bus Service all the way up north to Bellingham and South to Olympia with limited stops, I think the transit disadvantage would be far less.
      But then again, is that realistic or not is a whole nother question

      1. As a matter of public policy, we don’t want to encourage daily long-distance commutes in this region. That’s sprawl-inducing.

      2. There are very legitimate reasons why someone may wish to commute long distance. Some examples:

        1) A part time college student lives at home in Seattle but takes a class at Western Washington University’s campus in Bellingham 2 days a week for the next 2 quarters.

        2) A couple lives on a family Ancestral farm near Snohomish. One works in Everett the other works in Kent.

        3) Some guy named “Anc” lives in the Rainier Valley but was required to be at reveille at JBLM until he musters out in 6 months.

        4) Some family lives in North Seattle but the breadwinner commutes to Boeing Field every weekday.

        Public policy should accomodate for the transportation needs of people regardless of their particular situation. Public policy should provide for each locality in the metro region to grow and prosper by creating urban benefits. If it means running express buses in the I-5 corridor then I’m for that. 1 bus equals taking up to 60 cars off the road.

      3. Transit is transit; it should take people wherever they’re going to fulfill their activities. The city streetcars and the interurbans were both important. But because transit is mass, it can only offer a limited number of routes to where the widest cross-section of people are going. So there should be a service like ST Express from Everett to Bellingham, running hourly, including weekends and into the evening. Because cars are going that way, so that indicates there’s demand. Who should run this service? That would be a good job for the state since it’s a statewide issue, just like the state highways and ferries are. Hahaha, as if our current legislature gives a rat’s ass about transit. But they should, and it will be a glaring gap until this is fixed. Not to menion the thousands of people who are put at great inconvenience because it doesn’t exist, and have to drive even when they don’t want to, or have to drive further than the county’s transit center.

      4. As a matter of public policy, we don’t want to encourage daily long-distance commutes in this region. That’s sprawl-inducing.

        No. In fact, those places where transit is faster than driving it has encouraged development around the stations and dense walkable towns around their stations. See France, Germany and Japan for exames.

      1. I think so also, but people on this site do take their transit seriously. And it is possible to conjure up a scenario where someone would actually want to, need to take that Olympia-Darrington trip on public transit. And there are always those transit Fans who do such journeys for fun, with friends and with food and refreshment stops along the way.

      2. There is somebody in Sedro-Woolley who takes transit extensively to events in Snohomish and King County, and it’s not inconceiveable that he may want to go to Olympia someday.

        So if our enterprising person left Mt Vernon on the 6:50 or 7:20am Skagit Transit #90, he’d arrive in Everett at 7:45 or 8:25, and could then take ST (512 + 594) and Intercity Transit (620) and get to Olympia by noon or 12:30. Forget about Sounder because there’s no reverse-commute from Everett and no midday service to Lakewood (yet). Returning he’d have to catch the last northbound bus in Everett at 7:20pm, which means he’d have to leave Olympia by 3:30. So that gives three hours in Olympia in the early afternoon. Maybe he could use Sounder on the way back, although it wouldn’t save any time. IT #620 runs on weekends but Skagit Transit #90 doesn’t, so it’s weekdays only.

        (By the way, the latest you can leave Olympia for Seattle is 7:30pm weekdays, 7pm weekends.)

      3. Er, the Everett side is a forward commute both directions. The Olympia side is a reverse commute. So Sounder North could theoretically work; let’s check the schedule. Nope, the last southbound train is at 7:15am and the bus gets to Everett at 7:45. But there is an earlier Skagit Transit bus which gets into Everett at 6:45am, so that would allow Sounder. I didn’t consider it before because I didn’t know if you could get from Sedro-Woolley to Mt Vernon that early. Coming back, our Everett deadline is 7:30pm, so one could take the last Seattle-Everett Sounder at 5:35-6:34. Although I think our person is boycotting Sounder North over mudslide safety.

    2. Transit trips that take 3 times as long as driving also exist among O-D pairs much closer and more common than Olympia-Darrington. I’m going to worry about those first.

    3. There are actually quite a few long-distance transit options north of Everett along the I-5 corridor – the 201/201, 90X, 80X, Amtrak, Bolt, Greyhound, and a few others. It’s once you leave the I-5 corridor that the transportation options become extremely limited. In most cases, simply taking a bike with you on board the bus for last-5-miles-travel is the best option. I used the bike/bus combo to visit the Tulip Festival this April and it was quite successful.

      1. It’s only five miles from Smokey Point to Mt Vernon? Which route did you take, and is it relatively flat and safe for bicycles?

        (For instance, highway 9 south of Arlington doesn’t look particularly safe, with a narrow shoulder right next to 55mph traffic. It reminded me of some segments of highway 202 between Snoqualmie and Duvall which have no shoulders at all, although the speed limits are slightly lower. But the Snoqualmie Valley Trail parallels it a half mile away so the towns don’t seem completely inaccessible. Is there a similar safe bike route in Skagit?)

  3. And thus a huge gap in local transit coverage on Google Maps has been resolved. Hopefully

    Also, Swift is designated as Route 701 (its internal route number). Hopefully it can get re-labeled as Swift just like the RapidRide lines. [Speaking of, what will Community Transit call the original Swift route after they start building out their network? Swift I? Swift Line 1? The Pacific [Hwy] Line? I’d love to know.]

  4. It seems like intercity rail *should* be competitive at these distances (despite the abysmal frequency). Both the first bus and the last bus in the journey are within spitting distance of the Cascades, but nothing really lines up to make such a trip practical (e.g.there’s only 1 trip daily that actually goes through Seattle, there’s no Amtrak station at Smokey Point).

    1. My guess is Greyhound is actually faster. Take it from Olympia to Everett, then transfer to the local bus. I’m guessing Google doesn’t include Greyhound (or other private bus companies).

      But you are right. A good train system would do exactly that. Olympia and Everett are both big enough to warrant decent service — but this ain’t Europe.

      Back in the day, I contemplated these sort of local services. I would hitchhike from Bellingham, and often find myself stuck in Everett. I could take a bus to Lynnwood, then another bus to the north end, then eventually get into Seattle. This was back before city to city express buses. This trip (as described) is sort of like that. It makes no sense to connect cites this way — a train or even a set of express buses make way more sense.

  5. Now we just need to get the monorail on Google Maps. I mean, I can see it (the lines show up) but it doesn’t exist as far as a transit option according to Google. It is like it is a ghost line.

  6. Next up: Thuston County Rural and Tribal Transit, so you can extend the line out to Centralia and Yelm.

  7. Way to go Brian!

    Also funny you should mention this trip… today I drove from Lacey to Smokey Point.

  8. I am somewhat amazed that a town with the size and isolation of Darrington has any transit service at all – comparable towns in most other states would have nothing.

    Even more amazing was how much more service Darrington had before the recession. Back in 2008, Darrington actually had hourly service that ran all day, even on Saturday – maybe even Sunday, although my memory on that is a bit hazy. I never rode it, but I have driven past Darrington on the way to/from hikes in the cascades several times, and we would almost always pass a bus going the opposite direction at least once along highway 530.

    Considering how tight transit budgets are today, it is shocking that this level of service so far out was ever affordable.

    1. The 230/C23 was never hourly. It would run hourly during peak hours, every 2-3 hours otherwise. Originally, it ran 7 days a week, then when weekend service was cut the first time, the 230 got cut drastically to hourly peak, every 3 hours midday. This continued until the last time CT had to cut sunday service, at which time the 230 was gradually cut to the 2 trips/day it does now. There used to be a busy commute for people who worked at the mill in Darrington, but that has since shut down, so now Darrington just receives very basic lifeline service. Oddly, if CT were to say “Heck, lets cut the 230 and just pay Skagit to extend the 710 to Darrington” the ridership would likely increase, and the public would be happy.

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