38 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Silent Bus Sessions”

  1. Have to be careful if these events go international. Don’t even like to think what a standing load of soldiers in huge black fur hats and plaid kilts could to to the propulsion package with a single rendition of “Scotland the Brave.”

    Side note, however. The only negative reaction I saw during our fantastic LINK musical ride ceremony was on the plaza in front of Union Station. With the first key was hit, every pigeon within blast radius lifted off in a cloud, and didn’t return ’til after dark.

    So if we start next musical one at Tukwila International, perhaps the entire Pigeon Planet could decide it’s time to find a more peaceful place to die.

    Any more wheeled concerts planned? Maybe openings for U-LINK, First Hill Streetcar, and changing-of-the-guard from Breda to New Flyer? But: for EastLINK, nobody dare play “Nearer My God to Thee”!


      1. Oh, by the way.

        Since this is clearly an advertisement for a particular brand of technology.

        And since you publicly announced to me that I myself would have to pay you to promote another technology.

        I have to assume you were paid to post this video.

        And if you weren’t paid, I have to assume that I was unfairly discriminated against by STB.

        So which is?

      2. Seriously, John, thanks for the word on Aberdeen (Scotland, though would be terrific for a distressed economy if they could be produced out on the coast here.)

        I’m honestly curious, though, about why hydrogen fueled engines are quieter than other combustion engines. Isn’t the power still essentially created by and explosion?


      3. Mark, hydrogen fuel cells are not ICEs. They chemically convert hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of a catalyst directly into electricity (and heat). There are no explosions involved.

      4. Yes. It’s a process much like converting chemical energy into electricity in a battery, only you supply the chemicals for the reaction from a storage tank, giving a much less limited capacity.

      5. Neither.

        I get nothing for posting these Sunday videos other than my name on the post. The “point” of this video was I like quiet transit vehicles; that it was sponsored by a certain company or technology is not relevant in my opinion. We were just talking about how we wanted quieter Link vehicles yesterday.

        Readers send us links to videos all the time. Not all of them become posts but you’ll have a better chance that way.

    1. Magic Moments: Driving a Breda down the Ave years ago, I picked up a young man carrying an acoustic guitar. I asked him if he was any good with that thing? He replied “ss-so, but I enjoy playing” I asked if you would like to play for the rest of us, which he gladly accepted, and we spent the next 15 minutes listening to the most amazing music heading to the tunnel. True story.
      Even Bredas can go into hush mode when the conditions are right.

  2. Could anyone enlighten me on the use of the “Husky Stadium” buses that supplement the 44 on days with Husky football games? Yesterday around 6pm in Wallingford I saw several buses signed Husky Stadium driving in both directions, and one pulled over to stop for me. I got on and asked if the driver would stop further down along 45th Street, and he said he didn’t know because it was his first time doing the route, and that I should use the bus I am accustomed to using along that street. So I got off.

    Do the buses stop to pick up on demand, at every stop? That sounds like a 44 to me.
    Do they stop on demand to let off passengers along the way? That doesn’t seem very express to me.
    Had I touched my card to the reader, would I have been charged $5? Didn’t see a sign aboard to that effect.
    There were just a couple passengers aboard. Had they paid $5 to ride what was, in effect, a 44?
    The 44s going by in both directions were rather empty, too.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I had just assumed that these buses ran express, nonstop, from somewhere in Ballard to the stadium, perhaps using 50th Street for speed.

    1. If you’re talking about these shuttles:
      Then that probably wasn’t it. These shuttles all start in a suburb outside Seattle (with the exception of Yellow from Northgate), and I don’t see an obvious reason why any of them would be on 45th in Wallingford. My guess is that they are just route 44 buses with the signage changed to help infrequent bus riders find their way to the Husky game.

      As for fares, the 44 fare is regular metro fare, and if the bus you got on really as a 44, then the fare would just be regular fare (as it should!). If you were on an actual shuttle, these fares are cash only, so the ORCA readers were probably turned off. I do think that Metro should enable ORCA for these shuttles, but that has a few effects, like the fare paid going through a middleman and allowing use of a monthly pass on these shuttles, which may affect the revenue stream, but if Metro can eat whatever this costs them for regular service, I would think they can also accept them on these shuttles. I’m sure, however, Metro needs near 100% farebox recovery to justify these shuttles anyway, so that’s probably the reason.

      1. Alex,

        Extra 44s with the signage changed, with atypical 44 drivers — that is probably the answer. But it doesn’t explain why the other 44s didn’t have their signage changed! Talk about sending a confusing message. I did look at the shuttles page, and didn’t see any from Ballard.. so I guess those don’t exist, although I thought they did.

      2. AlexKven should read down the page linked to further to find the answer, rather than just postulate incorrectly about the service.

        Here’s a link to the beefed up local service that operates on a number of Seattle routes that go to/from Husky Stadium:

        Metro has been running extra service on these routes since time immemorial.

        The extra 44s heading eastbound are typically signed “HUSKY STADIUM” with no route number (though “44 UW STADIUM” is programmed and available for driver’s use).

        These trips are extremely busy, and frequently have a full standing load upon arrival in the U District. Also keep in mind, they can be diverted off the 44 route at a supervisor’s direction… they occasionally will take a right on Roosevelt and then left at Campus Parkway to avoid the 15th and 45th intersection.

        Why not just ride a regular 44 trip to the game? They short turn at Campus Parkway.

        After the game, these specials leave the stadium signed “44 Ballard” and make all regular stops.

    2. I used to take the bus from Ballard to the football game. I think they are basically the 44 except that they park and depart a little bit differently. They depart the game when they fill up (one by one).

  3. I noticed that in first hill on 9th avenue, there is trolley wire that extends north of James street, where the 3 & 4 turn of 9th. At this point, only the 60 and commuter express routes 303 and 193 run on 9th Ave. The trolley wire also extends past Madison to Seneca, where only the 303 and 193 run. Any Metro history buffs out there know if a trolley route ran straight up and down 9th ave in the past?

    1. I am the region’s leading trolley historian. No trolley route every ran along that wire. It’s nothing more than turnback wire.

    2. A previous comment here–I forget who posted it–said that this wire was used for the 3 and 4 when the tunnel was closed for construction.

      1. And you people really think AlexKven was interested in knowing what routes temporarily used that wire due to construction, or do you think he wanted to know if there was some trolley route in decades past used that wire as part of a route that has since been long deleted? Read his question again.

      2. To be completely clear, no routes used the 9th Ave trolley wire prior to the 3 and 4 being rerouted for construction (the wire was built for that purpose, I think) in the tunnel and no routes have used it since that reroute stopped.

      3. AND when traveling down/up James is impractical: snow, car crashes blocking, other disasters natural or man-made.

      4. The 12 E. Cherry and 12 – 26th Ave. S. (~1941 to ~1972) used to use a 9th Avenue wire between Virginia Mason and Harborview.

    3. The construction of Pioneer Square and University Street Stations during the creation of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel closed most of Third Avenue to routes 2, 3, and 4.

      So these buses were diverted along 9th between Harborview and Swedish hospital. But since the wire was already there, it’s likely that some trolley service ran their in the past.

      Anybody remember?


      1. The Old 12S, now the 3S and 4S used that wire to get Downtown before the wire on James St was built.

  4. Question. Donald Trump loves tall buildings, and many of you love tall buildings. It seems like you have a lot in common. So who here will be voting for Trump?

    1. Since “Build More Tall Buildings” isn’t a plank in the Republican Party platform, Mr. Trump has had little to say recently about much relevant to this blog.

      Historically, he has had some very forward thinking ideas when it comes to urban redevopment.

      However, Republicans generally don’t let members of the People’s Communist Party of Hawthorne Boulevard vote in their primary. So, I won’t even have the option of voting for him until the general election, should be make it that far.

      1. Purpose of the building of that name is to rescue our nation’s media away from being stuck like flies on sticky paper on Donald’s every repulsivity.

        Thereby saving every candidate of both major parties, except possibly Bernie Sanders-and Harold Stassen who is no longer running every election by reason of being dead- from having to answer why they can’t govern.

        Structural problem with giant badger on Trump’s head will be solved by a giant experimental wind turbine using artificial hair three feet thick catching the air currents.

        Massive loudspeakers will then broadcast increasingly anti-women and other repulsive propaganda until public just tunes out all these messages.

        While 12 million undocumented immigrants are hired at usual wages for the construction, excusing fact that fruit crops are being left to rot by pretending they’ve been deported.

        Fits the facts, doesn’t it?


  5. Fuel cell electric buses, powered by Hydrogen are completely quiet.

    China just inked a deal with Ballard Fuel Cell in Vancouver for the technology to build 300+ fuel cell buses.

    I’m surprised Seattle and Washington State isn’t also grabbing hold of fuel cell and hydrogen technology to power quiet buses, trains, trams, cars and households!

    1. Thanks for the explanation of the hydrogen engine, John. There are hydrogen internal combustion engines. But fuel cells do generate electricity to run the motor.


    1. The only thing I could find was a reference here on STB from March 2013 that the needed passing wire was possibly going to be cut from Metro’s budget. I’ve not found anything since that says what happened one way or the other. Every proposal for route 3 mentions the extension to SPU–some Metro proposals even go so far as to make it sound concrete, “Madrona to Seattle Pacific University via Downtown, Central District”–but no change so far.

  6. Oregonian columnist David Sarasohn says convert the troubled Portland Building into housing:

    One gem from this opinion piece:
    After a list of building code violations, “As office space, this constitutes a human rights violation. In housing it’s called character.”

    So about that retaining of modem code violations, errrr character, in older residential areas…..

      1. Lowest bid won.

        Portland got the giant office building equivalent of a Breda bus. Complete with water coming in the roof for the past 30 years.

  7. “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey.”

    How about a little or no cheaper and a lot worse? Oslo, Norway, and Gotherburg, Sweden, who of all places should have known better, still ended up with fleets of those miserable rolling zombies.

    Why has the whole urban world adopted this provably-disastrous procedure for selecting vendors. Isn’t there a legal term, in Latin so it sounds more litigationally effective, for “Run this pile of crap through an electric furnace and give the steel to somebody that can build a streetcar?”

    Honestly- why can’t the world just lose this whole idea? Wouldn’t it work better just to find a reputable contractor and negotiate? Compared with cost of lifetime of repairs and loss of service could above procedure yield any worse?


  8. Today I rode one of the new trolleybuses, and since I was only going a couple stops I headed straight to the back door. The new trolleybus seems to have a wider corridor in spite of the 2×2 seats, partly because the 2×2 is just two rows, and partly because the corridor just seems wider. There’s also a stop button right at the rear door so I didn’t have to reach over somebody’s head to pull the cord. So these buses seem generally more usable getting around in. The one problem I had was that even though I had encountered the push-to-open doors a couple times before, it didn’t occur to me until after the doors took a long time to open that I looked around to see what was wrong and saw the push-to-open sign. The previous passengers may have had the same problem because they were still going out the door when I was walking down the corridor. But opening the doors allows you to give them a large satisfying push like shoving somebody around (or boxing with a door?), so that can brighten up your day.

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