Last weekend’s long-awaited ULink opening has been a smashing success, with UW and Capitol Hill boosting Link ridership by nearly 50% in a matter of days ($). More impressively, this is being done both prior to the big Metro restructure tomorrow and prior to UW students returning from Spring Break on Monday. With many reports of train overcrowding already, it’s a relief that Sound Transit will begin mixing in much-needed 3-car trains. But Monday in particular brings a new era for Seattle transit riders.

Amidst the deserved joy of ULink’s opening and the intense feelings around ST3’s draft rollout, let’s not lose the sheer magnitude of Metro’s bus restructure, the largest in decades and one that will change tens of thousands of daily trips, mostly for the better. We’ve already covered the restructure exhaustively, and Metro has come out with a slew of helpful videos for riders (two of which are shown above), along with route-by-route transfer animations for riders connecting in the Montlake Triangle.

The basic theme of the restructure, especially in NE Seattle, is higher frequency service paid for with a reliance on ULink and increased transfers. The ease and reliability of these transfers is an open question, and their success or failure will largely determine the public’s view of this restructure over time. Even prior to the restructure, this week I’ve taken a few trips between Capitol Hill and The Ave via Link, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the ease of the trips (pro-tip: use the UW Station elevators, they’re lightning fast and go all the way to the pedestrian overpass). On my first trip, I emerged from Link and waited 3 minutes for a Route 271 on Pacific St, and after boarding I was at 43rd & University just 4 minutes later, for a total trip time of 14 minutes. My Route 49 bus is scheduled for 18 minutes to travel the same distance. When Saturday’s restructure exponentially boosts service to the Montlake Triangle, riders will become accustomed to very short waits for buses in all but the worst traffic conditions.

Let us know in the comments how your Saturday experience goes, and especially any new commutes you try out on Monday! We’ll be covering the ridership and travel time changes extensively as data rolls in over the next few months.

And let’s also say a thank you and requiem for the buses that will no longer be with us after today, including:

  • Historic milk-run Route 16, which will graduate into a full-time, frequent Route 62 serving far more neighborhoods.
  • Lightly-ridden Route 25, which will mostly not be replaced except for a tiny Laurelhurst loop on new Route 78.
  • A shadow of its former Sand Point-Seattle Center self, Route 30 will finally give up the ghost.
  • Route 66, which will go into cryogenic stasis until SDOT reanimates it as high capacity bus rapid transit in a few years’ time.
  • Route 68, which will be taken over by more adaptive species (Routes 67 and 372), which are both able to come twice as often and exist without taking Sundays off
  • Route 242, the last remaining Metro service from NE Seattle across 520 to Redmond. From now on those are solely Sound Transit Routes (combinations of 540, 541, 542, 555, and 556)
  • And of course, the often crushloaded, decades-long workhorses of Routes 71, 72, and 73 Express.

105 Replies to “ULink Bus Restructure Begins Saturday: More Service, More Transfers, Faster Trips”

  1. “…(Routes 67 and 372), which are both able to come twice as often and exist without taking Sundays off”

    Insert lewd joke here…

  2. I may be super late to this party, but I feel like with some route removals, my connection to other neighborhoods from Lake City have now been eliminated or will take twice as long. All in the name of getting everyone to the Link station or Downtown.

    Com’on Metro. Start thinking about neighborhood connections!!

    1. Which connection? As far as I can see, everything except the 72 stays in place. The 72 is a loss, yes, but you trade it for double frequency on a lot of other routes.

      1. 72 got me to where I needed to go to see friends and family in 19 minutes. The new route as suggested by the trip planner is a 65/67 that will take me 32 minutes. Higher frequency does not help in this case. While I will appreciate that for getting to work, this doesn’t help for neighborhood connections.

        Transfers aren’t a problem, except when you make it a hub/spoke model. Right now we just added a second hub, AKA Husky Stadium, that all buses now seem to gravitate towards. Because, you know, EVERYONE has a need to get there.

      2. Sorry, I lied:

        OPTION 2
        46 Minutes with 0 transfer
        Routes: 65, 67
        Leaving at: 5:26p

        I wish Seattle and KC Metro would be more open to a grid system. Ah, but that’s the east coast in me.

      3. The Metro trip planner isn’t very good at route planning. Tell me where you are coming from and going to and I might be able to come up with something better.

    2. Lake City service will be improved for most neighborhoods, with Route 522 adding a stop in Upper Roosevelt/Maple Leaf at 90th/Lake City Way, and Route 65 and Route 372 doubling service. Peak service on routes 64, 309, and 312 is unchanged except for a new SLU routing for Route 64. And Route 41 is unchanged as well. The only folks with a forced transfer to Lake City are those in the heart of Roosevelt who currently use the 72.

      1. 65 and 372 still serve UW and skip Roosevelt all together. I don’t even want to get into the lack of timely service from LC to Greenwood… What a cluster that is and my pockets aren’t deep enough to support Uber on a regular basis.

      2. If heading from Lake City to Roosevelt, my suggestion would be to start on the 372 to 65th St., then pull out OneBusAway to decide whether to switch to a 62 or just walk the rest of the way. Google Maps pegs the from 25th Ave. to 15th Ave. at about 11 minutes (1/2 mile), so I would expect the 62 to be worth waiting for about half the time.

        Worst-case, you ignore the 62 and walk the last segment, in which case the total travel time from 125th/Lake City Way to 15th/65th is about 26 minutes. The 72 is scheduled at 24 minutes, so as long as you’re willing to walk a bit, there is no significant difference in travel time. What you do get, however, is a 372 that runs twice as frequently as the old 72 with much better reliability (no more getting stuck in the downtown tunnel, or waiting for a ship canal opening), plus the potential to get lucky with the 62 connection, allowing for an even faster trip.

      3. @asdf2,

        So you call an 11 minute walk an improvement over a direct connection on the #72 then your definition of improvement is a hell of lot different then mine.

      4. @ Zach

        That 522 stop is at 85th and Lake City way not 90th and that stop doesn’t help me at all.

      5. Anytime you make a change, there will always be some people who are better off, some who are worse, and some whose trips are different, but not necessarily better or worse.

        I would put Roosevelt to Lake City in the “different, but not necessarily better or worse” category. You walk a bit further, but spend less time waiting at the bus stop. The two cancel out.

        The point of the restructure is to give the large numbers of people in Northeast Seattle a bus that comes every 15 minutes most of the day, rather than a bus that comes every 30 minutes. Even during the evening hours, when the bus comes every 30 minutes after the change, it’s 30 minutes until after midnight, compared to the previous schedule where frequency drops to once an hour around 10 PM.

        While Lake City to Roosevelt happened to lose out (slightly), the change is, overall, still worth it. Consider, for example, an alternative where the northern half of the 72 is retained, with its hours split with the 372. The result would a 72 and 372 running every 30 minutes during the daytime, Monday->Saturday, dropping down to once an hour on evenings and Sundays. Or maybe you keep the 72 and 372 running every 30 minutes in the evenings, by cutting the 65 back from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes at 6 PM, rather than 8 PM. Either way, lots of people would be worse off to pay for your 72 compared to the schedule that Metro actually settled on, and if Metro were to suddenly propose, in a couple of days, cutting service on other routes to bring the 72 back, people who ride those routes would complain.

      6. @asdf2

        So you say were not worse off. Well I beg to differ you because the deletion of # 72 is a major inconvenience that makes a big impact on my ability to move about. Obviously you have not used the # 72 so you have no idea of that impact but you can sit there and tell me that the deletion is just different.

        First of all this walking you refer too are on streets in many cases that are uphill and many of these streets don’t have sidewalks. Some of us also have problems with walking so don’t tell me that it just different because this change is a major and I repeat a major inconvenience and don’t tell me otherwise,

        My taxes were raised to support Metro and I am being screwed big time by Metro. So don’t tell me about this increase in service when I have difficulty getting to it. Increased service doesn’t do any good when you can’t use.

        I just hope that the s**t hits the fan next week when many other riders find out about these changes and the inconvenience it will cause them.

      7. 65th St. has sidewalks. I have walked on them many times. It is north of 85th where many of the Seattle streets do not have sidewalks. Yes, the walk along 65th between 25th and 15th is hilly, but Seattle is a hilly city. In general, it is almost impossible to take transit anywhere without some amount of walking up and down hills, and a bus network that provides a one-seat from everywhere to everywhere at hourly frequency is not a solution.

        As I said before, to retain the 72, somebody else’s bus service would have to be cut to pay for it. Whose service would that be?

      8. @asdf2

        I was referring to the streets north of 85th street and not NE 65th.

        And yes I am aware that Seattle is a hilly city but you just slouch that off like it is nothing. Well what about people who have difficulty walking or use a cane or a cart to move about. Do you want to tell them that it is too bad that your bus service has been taken away but it has been replaced by another route 5 to 10 blocks away but unfortunately because of your limited ability to move about you can’t get to this new service.

        Voters in Seattle voted in favor to increase their taxes to support Metro so there is money to continue route # 72 to do the same thing as the # 71 and # 73 does which is to continue to provide direct service to the Roosevelt and University Districts and then be routed to the light rail station at Husky Stadium just like the 71 and 73.. Voters were told vote to increase your taxes and Metro will be able to retain the service you have today and that is not happening.

        And no the 372 does not even come close to providing the service that the 72 did as the 372 provides service to the campus and not to the Roosevelt and University District. I live on these routes and I know damn well what I had and what I won’t have in the future.

      9. “The only folks with a forced transfer to Lake City are those in the heart of Roosevelt who currently use the 72.”

        Not exactly. Consider the northern end of the U-District and Ravenna. With the 72 running along University Way, anyone trying to go to Lake City from about NE 50th northward is encountering this situation. I think this is what Cyclistmike was alluding to. Walking from, say, NE 55th and University Way to Campus Parkway or 25th Ave NE to catch the 372 is not ideal. A previous one seat ride has turned into:

        -45/71/73 south (backtracking) on University Way to 372 at Campus Parkway
        -71 north to 372 at NE 65th/25th Ave NE
        -73 north to 522 (at LCW), 75 (at Northgate Way), or 41 (at NE 125th)

        Yes, there are many options and the 71/372 combo appears to be the simplest. However, what about Sunday? What is Metro recommending?

        Doing ABC everyday but one day and then doing XYZ is hardly intuitive and kind of a shame for two locations that are not very far apart.

      10. “those in the heart of Roosevelt”?

        Does that include many of us in the u-dist that don’t want to spend time heading south to get the 372?

  3. The 71 and 73 will still exist, but they’ll go to/from UW Station instead of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, they won’t run on Sundays, and the 73 will have a shorter span of service M-Saturday. Presumably they will be less packed though, as Link riders heading to/from the U-District distribute themselves between the all the buses with transfers at UW station. (And some will walk to/across campus as well).

    Personally, as a heavy user of the 71 living in Wedgewood, I would have preferred the 71 to be deleted entirely, and its hours redistributed to routes 62, 45, and 65, but unless its ridership completely collapses after the restructure, my guess is that it’ll be with us at least until Roosevelt Station opens in 2021.

    1. The 71 was resurrected due to Councilmember Dembrowski’s micromanagement, and rumor is his family lives along it. The 65th and Wedgwood tail will doubtless have as few riders as the old 71 which led to its deletion. That suggests it will be gone in the next recession or restructure (North Link restructure).

      However, it has two benefits worth noting. One, the 45/71/73 will provide 8 buses per hour between UW Station and 65th Street weekday daytime, instead of 4 per hours the 45 alone will do (less than the 48). Two, because the 71 turns east at 65th, it will be a same-stop transfer to/from the 62 toward Sand Point. Transferring between the 62 and 45 or 73 looks like it will require crossing the street, and southbound it will require choosing a stop beforehand because the 71/73 cross at 15th and the 45 crosses at Roosevelt/12th.

      1. Route # 71 was going to be deleted and the reason it was saved is that Rod Dembrowksi and his family uses that route. So another politician looking out for his own self interest.

        And I have already expressed my thoughts on the elimination of the # 72 and none of the replacement service that Metro spouts about is not even close to what I had with the # 72. I lose the direct connection to the Roosevelt district and the University District plus I have to walk some 8 minutes across the UW campus to transfer to get to downtown. And yes it took me 8 minutes because I tried the light rail this past week and that is how long it took me.

        But since I wasn’t on the King County Council like Dembrowski I am just another taxpayer who is paying extra taxes for Metro and getting screwed by them after being told before the election that if the taxpayers approve that measure Metro would be able to retain their current service. Well in my case I am not retaining my current service and getting screwed by Metro and don’t anybody on this forum tell me otherwise.

      2. @Jeff Pittman. Don’t you know that you should be grateful to Metro for making you walk? Any walk of up to a mile doesn’t even count as a walk! Why can’t you just be happy for the people in NE Seattle and the Rainier Valley who have better bus service now? Sure you may have lost, but think of the people who won!!! /s

  4. Being a daily 16 rider in Wallingford, I’m not happy. Sure, its nice to have the 62’s frequent connection to Fremont, but I’d rather have the 20-30 minute commute savings each day with an Aurora trip instead of Dexter. The 62 sure makes a lot of sense in 2021 once NLink opens.

    Yes, yes, 44+Link or 26+10 min walk or E+10 min walk or Link+walk+31/32. Luckily the 44+Link is the same time as the 16, but a lot can go wrong with the 44 as 45th and the UDist can be paralyzed by I-5 traffic. Managing 4 indirect route combos and gambling on the best based on traffic is a lot to juggle when you just want to get home. A peak-only 16X would be so nice, just like Ballard gets with their 15X, 17X, 18X…

    1. I’m curious where you live that the new full-time 26x is a 10-minute walk from the new 62? If you’re in Tangletown or along 45th, it’s only 1/4 mile from Latona (26X) to Meridian (62). Also, both routes serve the same stop at 40th/Stone, offering 6-10 buses per hour to Downtown between them. I agree though the faster trip on Aurora is at least partially negated by the frequency reduction from 20 minutes on the current 16 to 30 minutes on the new 26X.

      1. If he’s 10 minutes from either the E Line or the 26 he’s probably right about at Wallingford Ave, near 45th. That’s a half-mile to the midpoint of the Latona/Thackeray couplet, a bit over a half-mile to the E Line, and about 3/8-mile to the 26’s stop at 40th/Wallingford. A couple blocks north and you’re really a half-mile from everything (though you’re also a couple blocks farther from the 16).

        And the 62… is going to spend a lot of hours carrying not many people up on 65th, at least until Link makes it there. It’s not even clear it’s going to carry a ton of people in the eastern reaches after Link reaches Roosevelt, since they’ll have quicker trips downtown via Husky Stadium and it will be years still before Roosevelt provides access to the north. One crazy suggestion might be to short-turn half the trips and put the hours into a shortened 16. But about the farthest south you can make either cut is 45th/Wallingford, and I don’t think one buys the other.

        Which means we’re all just waiting for Link to reach 45th. Except lower Fremont, which may never be reasonably accessible from the due north by transit. Call it the Curse of the Interurban — it’ll surely last longer than the Bambino’s.

      2. There should be two “16X” runs per peak hour (6:15 to 8:15 and 4:15 to 6:15) using the classic Aurora routing from Ravenna and Green Lake Way. Forget the “short turns”; they’d be stuck going through Fremont and down Dexter as well.

        Seriously, why does central Wallingford get so badly screwed? It can’t be that many bus hours and it has been a very loyal transit neighborhood for decades.

      3. Continued.

        Loop ’em southbound in the morning using Yesler/Terrace/Fifth Avenue Contraflow/Cherry/Seventh/Columbia Main Lane on ramp. In the evening use Roosevelt/Eastlake/Roanoke/I-5 to Dearborn the Sixth and Jackson to First.

        On the (few) days when I-5 is flowing freely north of SR 520, the buses could enter at Ravenna Boulevard.

  5. I wish somebody – Metro, ST, or UW – would put up some damn maps. I work at UW and I still get lost sometimes because of big the campus is and how few buildings my job actually takes me to. As an occasional 65 rider, I don’t actually know the best way to get from Drumheller Fountain to a 65 stop. Google is sending me down paths I don’t know, and Metro’s alert sign instructions are unintelligible. Maybe the fastest way is to just take the 75 and transfer at U Village?

    I’m still pessimistic about 25th Ave NE. Buses down 25th are already crushloaded in the morning. Metro is reducing the number of peak hour buses by 10% compared to current levels. I’m not exactly sure how the 372 is meant to be able to pick up A – former 72 riders, B – new riders who want to get to UW Station, and C – all current riders of the 372 and 68 (south of 75th).

    In any event, nothing to do but see how it goes next week.

    1. Yep. I fully expect to watch resignedly as crushloaded 372s roll past my Wedgwood stop in the morning…

      1. I think the hope is that by consolidating 25th Ave. service into one route, service will at least be spaced out more evenly, rather than a 68 and 372 coming back-to-back, followed by nothing for 10-15 minutes. Also, not all of the former 68 riders will find themselves on the 372. Those getting on back at Roosevelt would be on the 67 instead. Similarly, route 72 riders from anywhere from 80th on south would likely end up on the 73 or 373, rather than the 372 – only those from the Ravenna Ave./Lake City section of the 72 would end up on the 372.

        Whether this is enough to prevent crush-loads on the new 372, I don’t know. I guess Monday, we’ll find out.

  6. There is a curious lack of communication with ST’s own drivers regarding these changes. Yesterday on my 550 morning route the driver took the waiting-for-train opportunity to rant over the intercom about the changes, but primarily how the afternoon westbound routes would be on the surface and that it would cause catastrophic delays

    Someone up front must have asked him a question because he came back on and ranted some more about how the powers that be had no clue what they were doing and we should talk to them if we had problems

    A very strange experience I’ve never had before. A lot of nervous laughter and raised eyebrows on that bus

      1. Why, That driver told the truth as they are on the road daily and know more of what is going which is more then Metro planners who never bother to leave their office and are clueless.

      2. Because it’s unprofessional? Right or not, the coach microphone is not the place to air his opinions.

      3. @M,

        Correct. Totally unprofessional. The driver should be assisting the customers in a professional and courteous manner. He should not nine using the bus mic to spread angst and trepidation amongst the riders.

        If he has a beef with management then there are channels for that, this is not the channel.

        Totally unprofessional and bordering on insubordination.

    1. “…but primarily how the afternoon westbound routes would be on the surface and that it would cause catastrophic delays.”

      He’s right about catastrophic delays, not to mention confusing new passengers who may not know where to catch the bus back to Bellevue, though the driver’s seat isn’t the place to rant. (And yes, I’m guilty of sometimes doing so and frankly should be reported if/when I do. As irritating as stupid political descisions (pushed by council members, “concerned” citizens, or management) are, it’s unprofessional and against policy to bitch about it from the driver’s seat. That’s what this blog is for :)

      All that said, pretty sure ST isn’t going to surface the 550 for now.

      1. The proposal to surface the 550 is more evidence that something is *seriously wrong* in the heads of Sound Transit management.

        The 550 is the *East Link shadow route*. It belongs in the tunnel, where East Link will be.

        Surface every other route if you have to do so, but surfacing the 550 is insane.

  7. Is the 44 going to be extended to U Village/Children’s Hospital via 45th once U District station opens? That would take new trolley wire, but it seems like the sensible thing to do after the Link transfer at U District station is in place.

    1. Metro hasn’t said anything about the North Link restructure and probably won’t until a year before. But SDOTe’s RapidRide+ corridor goes from Ballard to Children’s, so it will probably replace the 44 by then or soon after, and it will be a trolleybus.

    2. I imagine it’s a possibility that’s crossed the mind of some planners, but trying to predict what’ll shake out of the planning and politics of the 2021 Link restructure now seems like a fool’s game.

      1. Which is a shame because we should know more or less exactly what the entire transit network is going to look like (or at least what the desired network will look like, even if we don’t quite get there) before we spend billions constructing new high-capacity transit lines.

      2. I dunno, where the ridership is coming from, where density is increasing, etc, in 4-5 years seems like useful and important information for putting together the best restructure. Service patterns should reflect needs, developments, and ridership/population patterns, and those aren’t perfectly predictable.

      3. What makes us think we can plan the precise alignment and stop locations for a high-capacity transit line 20 years before it is operational then?

        The same thing that should allow us to plan the rest of the network. Travel demand is based on land use which changes slowly and can be controlled by governing municipalities. This makes predicting travel needs pretty easy. Designing a good anywhere-to-anywhere transit network really boils down to a few things: connect stuff that is in a line, run transit vehicles frequently, don’t make transfers a pain, and take right of way where it is needed. But without a physical manifestation of these principles on the ground or at least on a map somewhere, there is nothing for the folks planning HCT to work off of (not that ST should be absolved of blame for Link’s shortcomings; some of this stuff is downright obvious). You end up with misplaced (UW Station, Northgate) or missing (First Hill, NE 130th, SR 520) stops requiring the existing transit network to contort itself unproductively to integrate the new piece of the network. Without a established and comprehensive vision, this will continue to happen.

      4. We needed a comprehensive regional+local transit plan twenty years ago when we started on this Sound Transit and RapidRide journey. But the agencies all planned their short-term projects in isolation, working around the previous plans. So ST sited its light rail line on th eeastern axis of the city, the moniral sited theirs on the western axis, and penciled in five other lines where light rail didn’t go. The RapidRide lines were basically Metro’s choice, and there was no comprehensive discussion of what kind of city we wanted and what we wanted the entire transit network to be at the end. That’s partly because Sound Transit positioned its long-term plan as a wish list rather than a complete multi-phase network, and it addressed the ST1 projects in isolation, the ST2 projects in isolation, and the ST3 projects in isolation. Meaning we had only a vague idea which corridors might be next, but not which ones would be in, or when Ballard or Lake City might get their turn. Metro for its part has had a limited budget since the 2000 anti-tax initiatives and the 2008 oil-price rise so it couldn’t do planning beyond RapidRide. It’s finally working on a long-term plan now, but in the meantime so many corridors have already been decided by ST or SDOT stepping into the gap.

        However, I understand why Metro is reluctant to reveal its restructure ideas more than a year ahead. That would stretch the inevitable controversies for five years of going around in circles, because different parts of the public want contradictory things. That leads to people saying negative things about Metro for a longer time, which damages Metro. Do we really want a Route 2-style debate stretching out for five years, with urbanists wanting a consolidated frequent network and others wanting to preserve the bus stop at their house and wherever that route goes now?

      5. How would talking about restructures 5 years before they happen be different than coming out with a longer range network-wide plan of a similar level of specificity that you agree should have happened long ago? Won’t we be having the same discussions once Metro airs the first draft of its long range plan?

        Seattle’s and Bellevue’s TMPs provide excellent starting places for any further planning efforts in those areas and should be the basis of any Metro long range plan.

      6. ” Travel demand is based on land use which changes slowly and can be controlled by governing municipalities. This makes predicting travel needs pretty easy. ”

        PSRC’s land use predictions, however, are complete and utter garbage, as has been documented repeatedly at this blog. They are fantasyland projections having nothing to do with observed reality. You *could* have a sensible land use projection, but in fact you do not.

  8. One thing that seems to be lacking, and maybe it’s because it would cause ripple effects everywhere, is coordination between buses in off-hours. A personal example I’ve noticed: Getting from Ballard to the Central District after 11pm is difficult. Let’s take a leaving-at-midnight trip (since that’s when my usual board game haunt, Cafe Mox, closes). The 40 inbound to downtown misses the outbound to Central Area route 3 by six minutes. That means a one hour wait until the 1:15am route 3 to First Hill. That’s the way it has always been because the 48 doesn’t run very late.

    But, wait, now the 48 (after split) runs later! Excellent. A nod of thanks to Metro in exchange for the split. However, the inbound-to-UW 44 misses the outbound-to-Central-Area route 48 by five minutes. That means a half hour wait until the 1:01am route 48 trip.

    In both cases, if the inbound bus arrived first, prior to the outbound bus, even late-night trips could be made with the hey-everybody-loves-this transfer frequency that we desperately want. For lack of a handful of moments, night trips take over an hour.

    1. Unfortunately, this seems like a major issue with Metro in general. While it’s impossible to time every connection correctly, at least the most important connections should be timed conveniently.

      At the very least, you’d expect Metro to have convenient connections from UW Station to the heart of the U-District at night, when service is infrequent. But if you take a look at the schedules, the 45 is totally mistimed with Link. (The 45 is the only bus between UW Station and the Ave past 10pm; the 71/73/373 stop running by then.)

      For example, the last Link train arrives at UW at 12:50am. However, you have to wait 17 minutes for the connecting 45 at 1:07am. Similarly, consider the train arriving at 11:20pm. If you can make it to the bus stop in 2 minutes, you might be able to catch the 11:22pm bus. However, Trip Planner doesn’t consider this a valid connection, because if the train is a minute late, or you don’t walk fast enough, you won’t make that bus and you will have to wait 17 minutes for the next one. Honestly, this forced long wait is likely to sour people off of transfers in general. Is it really that difficult to have the bus depart a few minutes later, or to hold the bus so that everyone makes the connection?

      1. While it’s impossible to time every connection correctly, at least the most important connections should be timed conveniently.

        I agree wholeheartedly. Major transfer points* should have timed connections, especially in the evening and night hours. After, say, 8pm or so, an inbound vehicle–bus or train–arriving at a terminus or station where other routes begin (or nearly begin) should arrive first. Even a five-minute window would be sufficient for most cases, though six or seven would be better to account for not-so-occasional delays.

        I know I’m biased, and maybe just a little irked, but it seems like a huge miss to me that the inbound/outbound pairs around the shiny new stations weren’t calculated better. Maybe Metro can try again in June (if the June service change is still a thing) once the reality on the ground is better known.

        * (ideally, anywhere marked with a black “T” in a circle on a transit map but specifically areas that Metro has said are major points, like light rail stations and big neighborhood stops like along 23rd)

      2. That’s true, but the 44 and 48 only go as far as 45th St (which is not an adequate replacement for the current 71/72/73, which go past 65th St). Also, the 44 and 48 are poorly timed as well; there are still trains with no convenient connection to any of the 44/45/48. For example, if you get off the 11:20pm train at UW, here are your options:
        11:33pm (48, only goes up to 43rd St)
        11:37pm (44, only goes up to 45th St)
        11:37pm (45)

      3. See, this is why I kept e-mailing Metro to insist that the 48 should at least still go up to Roosevelt until Roosevelt station opens. And it should still connect better with the route 44 trips coming from Ballard.

        Also, I think it’s a rather interesting insight into the location of most of the commenters on here: I started out commenting on how it is difficult to go south of the canal from the north and most of the replies have come in about difficulties continuing farther north.

        (My kingdom for the Metro 8 Subway.)

      4. This is a major issue with transit systems in the USA in general, not just Metro. Timed transfers are a significant part of some of the most successful systems in Europe.

      5. This lack of attention to schedule coordination has always been a pet peeve on mine, and has been the source of a number of Lyft/Uber/Car2Go trips over the years.

        Many suburban milk-run routes that were killed off during the recession were never given a fair chance, because their schedules lined up horribly with the ST express trunk routes they were supposed to connect with.

        The only example of good schedule coordination I’ve seen around Washington is Kitsap Transit coordinating their bus schedules around the ferries (by contrast, the Saturday schedule of the 118 on Vashon Island has no coordination with the ferry schedule whatsoever). Even there, I think such coordination applies only to rush hour commuters, and during the midday or on Saturday, wait times are more or less Random.

      6. I thought the 48 should go to 65th too, since Pacific Street to 65th is basically the urban village.

      7. What about the 64? Isn’t it an FS bus? It runs every half hour until 12:15 and then once more at 1:15. Grant that you have to decide between Stevens Way and the Triangle stop. Still, it is service north of 50th.

      8. Timed connections are a stopgap: if the buses are more frequent the need for them is completely obviated. After all, if something awful delays the first leg of your trip ten minutes past the tolerance, and the second leg, usually well-coordinated, is hourly, then you’re still going to be waiting for ~50 minutes.

        Who’s with me for better late evening frequencies for E-W routes? [singling these out because there are fewer and thus it’s less possible to substitute one with another]

      9. Well this is surreal: something Pierce Transit does better than King Transit (other than maps). Every time I take the 1 home from downtown, we end up sitting at the 112th St stop for a few minutes to allow for timed transfers with the 4. Even though these are both trunk routes, the timed transfer is necessary because we can’t afford decent frequency.

  9. I wish they would have melded the 30 into a truncated version of the 74. To fill the remaining seats a stop at the link station would have done the trick.

    1. The 30 already was nothing more than a truncated version of the 74. Rerouting it to the link station instead of Campus Pkwy might have been a cool idea, but I agree that those service hours were probably better spent on the frequent network instead.

      1. “better spent on the frequent network instead” makes no sense to me. Why should Sandpoint get shafted? It is not easiest for everybody in this area to take the 75. 74 is a much better bus for many but it only operates during peak times.

      2. There’s a hole on 55th with the 30 gone. It was already reduced from all-day to peak-only in the cuts. The reason was nobody rode it for decades. It got a handful at peak, zero to two midday (except a couple times a month when a school group of thirty would go to Magnuson Park), and zero evenings and weekends. Some people rode it under protest because there was no 65th route to Sand Point, and are gladly switching to the 62. So there’s a hole now on 55th, but that’s because people didn’t ride it when it was there.

      3. I’ve ridden it many of times where it was running 75%+ full. Terminating it at U-link would have topped it off.

      4. The 30 was screwed over by bad schedule timing. I would see it leaving Campus Parkway usually following close behind a 74 or 71. Of course it has low ridership when people could get to the same general neighborhoods on an earlier bus.

      5. The 30 was 75% full peak hours or when? Did half those riders get on west of 25th and off on the Ave?

      6. Les, your wording is curious. “Why should Sandpoint get shafted?” By any map I’m looking at, the Sand Point neighborhood is located at or north of 65th. Sand Point are the ones not shafted by this… not only did they manage to keep the 71, but they now get frequent service on the 62 in addition to the 75.

        Which I think answers your question, or at least the one you meant to ask. 55th Street got shafted to provide frequent service on both 45th and 65th, half a mile in either direction.

  10. The late night 43 SB is an interesting and unexpected surprise. I guess the 44’s were headed that way anyway to get to their base?

    1. Yes. The 44s have traditionally been signed 43 on their deadhead runs to give a bit more service to Broadway, and with the 43 becoming peak-only there was huge public demand to list the 44’s deadheads on the schedule.

  11. Monday will be extremely interesting at UW Stadium Station. Hope they staff it up massively to answer questions.

    I am tempted to walk 10 minures north 65th and grab a 62 today and take le grand tour d’seattle – donuts in greenlake, ice cream in Wallingford, beer in Fremont, udon noodles downtown. Okay, maybe reverse direction.

  12. The other day I noticed that the emails KC Metro sent out on the 24th about specific routes ended up in my spam folder. (The Alerts went to my Inbox, I’m referring to the route revision emails.) I wonder if that happened to many others.

    In any case… the emails had a decent “Rider options” section that were much more clear than what was listed on the website. Were these clearer Rider Options also listed online somewhere?

    For example, for route 72 the web site has:

    “Rider options: Between Lake City and the University District, use a combination of Metro routes 45, 67, 71, 73, 372 or 373. For direct service to downtown, use Metro routes 49, 70, 74, 76 or 312, Sound Transit Route 522, or Link light rail.”

    But the email has:

    “North of NE 80th Street, use revised Route 372X or ST Route 522 (see current schedule) via a new stop at NE 85th Street and Lake City Way NE.
    Between NE 80th Street and the University District, use new Route 45, or revised routes 67, 73, or 373X.
    On University Way, use new Route 45 or revised routes 71, 73, or 373X.
    For service between the University District and downtown Seattle, use Link light rail or revised Route 74X (peak periods only).
    Sign up for transit alerts for new routes.”

  13. I rode restructured buses and trains for the first time today, and I’ll admit that for the most part, I was disappointed.

    62 towards downtown to get to my Caucus site this morning – 5 minutes late, barely anyone on board
    62 towards Sand Point after the caucus – 10 minutes late, barely anyone on board
    So Metro is having trouble with schedule reliability on a Saturday with low traffic…

    Traveling from Ravenna to downtown this afternoon
    The 372 came 4 minutes early at 55th street so we missed it. Adding insult to injury, it passed us as we were walking down 25th Ave because Metro doesn’t understand the difference between local and express buses.
    The next 372 was 10 minutes late. Which meant that it was faster to walk from 25th/55th to UW Station then it was to wait for the next 372 and take it to Rainier Vista, then walk to the station. A long walk, and the sidewalks on Montlake randomly end, but still walking was faster than the bus. “Metro – we’ll get you there, but you’d get there faster if you walked”.

    The elevators in UW Station are indeed faster than the escalators. But the elevator buttons are labelled BR, S, and P. Now someone might think that S=Station, but S really means Street. But it’s not like Sound Transit would put signs up in the elevator because the agency is bad at communicating with the public.

    The train we were on was signed “Capitol Hill Station” on the outside, not “SeaTac/Airport Station”. So that was a little confusing.

    Coming back, we noticed that the red alert signs at Stevens Way and Rainier Vista were swapped. The Eastbound sign says this is where to catch the 31/32 and the Westbound alert sign says this is where to catch the 75. If someone unfamiliar with the area trusts the alert signs more than the signposts, they’re screwed. Because Metro is bad at communicating with the public.

    Finally, all 372s we saw today were single buses, not accordion buses. Fine on weekends, but if Metro runs single 372s this coming week, the commute crushload will go from annoying to nightmarish.

    After all that negativity, the train from UW to downtown was remarkably quick. That’s great. But pretty much every other part of my public transportation experience today was miserable. I’m disappointed. But I don’t own a car, so I’m at Metro and STs whim.

    1. I also live near 25th and 55th and used the new network to take a trip downtown for the first time. Going south, I checked OneBusAway for the 372, but when it showed a black “scheduled arrival”, I decided not to chance it (since I had a schedule to keep) and took Pronto down the Burke-Gilman instead. The ride was about 8 minutes, about as fast as the 372, but without the waiting. After arriving at the station, the train left right as I finished descending the last escalator, so I had to wait the full 10 minutes for the next one. Even so, the door to door travel time from home to the International District station was 40 minutes.

      By comparison, under the old network, the best option was to walk up the hill to 15th/52nd and ride the 71/72/73 express. The ride time was about 30 minutes (including the slog through the U-district, the nonstop ride down Eastlake, and the stops within downtown itself), plus another 10 minutes to walk up the hill to the bus stop, for a total travel time of 40-55 minutes (depending on wait time, traffic, etc.). So, the new travel times of 40 minutes (worst case) or 30 minutes (best case) is definitely an improvement.

      Going back, I again checked OneBusAway for the 372, or possibly consider taking a 65 to the U-Village QFC to get some shopping on the way home. Unfortunately, both buses left back-to-back, right before the arrival of the train. Rather than wait the full 15 minutes for another bus, I hopped on another Pronto bike and pedaled it down the Burke-Gilman back home.

      Some lessons from the trip:
      1) 15-minute bus headways don’t mesh very well with 10-minute train headways. At best, that leaves just one trip every 30 minutes when a connecting bus is possible with an under-10 minute wait. In hindsight, it might have better if the 372 had 20-minute headways, rather than 15, provided that the schedules could be coordinated to line up with every other Link train. Ideally, the 372 would have also taken the 65’s pathway through the Montlake triangle and stopped closer to the station.
      2) Having OneBusAway down at the platform level would quite useful. That way, you could walk up the escalators (or take the elevator) if the time saved will actually make a difference in making a connection, or stand on the escalators up if it won’t.
      3) Even with worst-case connection times, the trip is still no longer than with the old 71/72/73. The change is definitely an improvement.
      4) Pronto has a lot of potential for connecting the UW Station to the Burke-Gilman Trail. From the intersection of 25th Ave. and the Burke-Gilman trail, Pronto is just as fast getting to the UW Station as a 372 bus with infinite frequency. As a city, we need to do what is necessary to give it a chance to succeed. That means moving the Montlake Triangle Pronto Station up the hill, closer to the light rail station, and adding more Pronto Stations along the Burke-Gilman trail, where the service is most useful. It is way to early to declare the system a failure, after just 18 months of operation, with no light rail to connect to. For me personally, I have already taken more Pronto trips in the past week since U-link opened than in the entire previous 6 months.

      One may say – why not just ride your own bike. 1) carrying a lock is a nuisance. 2) Even with a lock, bikes still get stolen. I also don’t want my seat or wheels getting taken off. 3) I can wear ordinary pants and not have to worry about pant legs getting caught in the pedals. 4) Flexibility to come back a different route without having to go back to the Montlake Triangle just to pick up a bike. 5) Avoids the process of locking and unlocking my bike on the “home” end, which saves several more minutes. 6) No need to ride up the hill between my home and the trail at the end of a trip. I can, instead, return the bike, then walk up a flight of stairs, without all the extra weight.

      1. Too bad some Richie Riches at U Village couldn’t be convinced to start up a private shuttle that constantly ping pongs between the UW Station and the center of U Village.

      2. I was hoping U Village would pony up and sponsor a Pronto station. The IMA Building Pronto station isn’t too bad a walk from the Link Station, but when those stations are out of sight, they are out of mind… “Pronto – the bus you don’t have to wait for”. Does City Council’s foolish proviso that several bike lanes have to be built before SDOT can expand the Pronto network preclude adding new sponsored stations?

  14. Not a Saturday, but a Sunday experience, but may be of interest …

    To U.District

    Just missed transfer to the 8:00AM #49 downtown, scheduled to make NE 45th at 8:27AM. Went down to the tunnel, and caught the 8:06AM Link. Emerged from “Husky Stadium” station onto the bridge only to see the #44 (scheduled to get to NE45th at 8:24AM) pull out of the stop below the bridge just as I was about to descent the stairs to it. Since I wanted to check some timing, decided to walk and see how long it took to get to some places. Took 7 minutes from the platform to Stevens Way, 18 minutes from the platform to the Burke Museum – arrived 8:32AM (gives some idea of walking time from the north campus).

    From U. District:

    Just missed the 12:20PM #49 (scheduled to outside-Westlake at 12:49PM). As the #44 and #45 don’t share stops (and the #271 doesn’t stop at NE45th), hung out at the corner of the Ave and 45th until I spotted something. Fortunately, it was a #44 (so I didn’t have to run down to 43rd in hopes I could beat the #45 once spotted). It was a bit late (it came all the way from Ballard) – meaning that Link train was pulling out of “Husky Stadium” Station just as the elevator door opened. Took the next train 10 minutes later, arriving at Westlake at 12:57PM.

    Tentative conclusion (for Sunday morning / midday): If you can make it, the #49 (and maybe the #70) is now the best choice between downtown and NE45th – and much less hassle. However, if you just miss one, U-Link may be a reasonable alternative, given the greater schedule reliability of the train.

  15. Best parts of restructuring: Frequent east-west service on the 62; All-day/night service every day on the 372.
    Not so good: Loss of the 66; harder to transfer to the 44/48 from UW campus.

  16. It seems that King County Metro has moved into 2005 by uploading PDFs of their schedules (and even creating a zip file for all new paper timetables). Or at least I think this is new.

    1. They got tired of me filing public records requests for the PDFs that they send to the printers to make the paper timetables. ;)

      (Yah, really, that’s what happened and I have the e-mails and Page 2 post to prove it. :D)

    2. I’ve noticed that certain google searches will result in the top result being the PDF of a map. Not that helpful.

  17. Re Route 68. SDOT paid for Route 68 Sunday service in 2015 just before its deletion.

    Re Route 66X. No one can know yet what will be implemented with the SDOT Eastlake-Roosevelt project; it is just beginning, and will be subject to budget constraints and other inputs.

    Analogy: the center of the University District transit world has shifted to the Link station from NE Campus Parkway.

  18. I rode the new 28X today. The schedule, OneBusAway, and even the on-board stop announcements seem to think there should be a stop at 39th and Dayton, but there is no sign and the bus didn’t stop there. Same for the stop at Evanston in the opposite direction. Kind of disappointing.

  19. Today I took the rerouted 67 from 85th and Roosevelt to the UW around 10 am. The bus was packed. Same story on my way back from U district to the Maple Leaf neighborhood in the evening: huge delays, due mostly to overcrowding. Deleting both the 68 and 66 is turning out to be a disaster. Also, with the deletion of 66, there is no easy public transportation from Maple Leaf to downtown. Lake City Way is 20 minutes on foot from my place and the 16 bus is at 15 minutes away. I will be driving and so will my husband. We will both be contributing to Seattle’s traffic, parking, and pollution problems.

    1. If it were me I guess from there I would walk down the hill and try the 522, but that’s just me.

      1. Or, depending on where I lived, I might go north to 92nd and get one of the buses there, including the possibility of heading north from there to Northgate and transferring to a freeway express from there.

        If you are so far west that Lake City Way is 20 minutes, then 92nd is almost closer than Roosevelt, so I’m not sure where you wind up that Roosevelt is a better option.

        Unless you are so far south that the stuff on 80th and 1st is closer? But then that gets close to Lake City Way so that can’t be the case.

        I’m guessing you are somewhere along the 63? If that is the case then what is unfortunate is that the 63 is a peak only route that doesn’t serve you at 10 in the morning.

    2. This is a considerable service change and, as such, it’s likely you need to completely rethink your travel patterns. In lieu of the 66, you could take the 67 north to the NGTC and catch a 41 or take the 67 south and transfer to Link. I imagine going north on the 67 would result in a bus that’s less full. Both options are about as frequent, have a similar duration, and are probably more reliable than the 66 used to be. Hope this helps! -A fellow Maple Leafer

  20. I live in Wallingford–Although my downtown commute is probably SLIGHTLY worse, I am really loving the 62 and new cross-town service. I often have to go to Wedgwood, and also have a lot of friends that live along the 65th corridor (Roosevelt, Ravenna, etc) and there was literally nothing before. I guess we’ll have to see if buses are really ’empty’ along 65th but I personally think if they do some outreach, a lot of people will be making new trips because there was no convenient way to get across town on transit before. I was often taking the 31/32/65, but would be forced to transfer on evenings and Sundays.

  21. Capitol Hill to UW – Same travel time, most of it now walking. I live near Group Health and travel to UW to buildings mostly north of Red Square. Previous travel time, including walking and waiting: Average about 32-34 minutes. Walking portion: about 10 minutes.
    Current travel time: About 30 minutes. Walking portion: About 20 minutes. (Additional time beyond on-board is getting in and out of the station and wait time (which so far has been very short).
    So I save around 2 minutes but have a really long slog at both ends, particularly the campus end. Weather is ok now, it’s going to be drag when it’s cold and wet.

  22. My experience so far with the new Route 62: 3 rides downtown so far at mid-day. Schedule off by 5, 15, and 10 minutes. It used to take me 20 minutes to go to Pine & 3rd on the #16 (across the Aurora bridge. So far it’s taken me 30 – 40 minutes to go to the same location over the Fremont bridge on the #62. Neighbors have had a similar experience. When did Metro time this route’s schedule? 6:00 am on a Sunday? Traffic is always bottlenecked in downtown Fremont, where the bridge is either up or traffic backlogged due to a previous opening.

    In the other direction, depending on the timing of my connection, it will take me longer to get to Northgate, which will involve a transfer. To ensure that I make it downtown on time, I’ll have to take an earlier departure than I should need to, in case the bus is late arriving downtown.

    Thanks, Metro, for your service “improvement.” This line goes nowhere near a light rail station before it gets to 3rd & Pine (same as #16), but Metro says that it re-routed my service due to the opening of new light rail stations. I wonder if it just drew some lines on a map and decided it made more sense instead of using data from real life transit experience.

  23. What happened to the changes they were supposed to make?

    I was out of town for the first week of the change, so I prepared by reading the schedule changes (at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/link-connections/ ). Preparing for work tomorrow, I checked the trip planner and… the changes that were supposed to be made didn’t happen.

    The 64 was supposed to be gone… at least from the east side of the hill. Riders talked about it for a month, which is how I found out about the changes in the first place. They knew they were heading toward Link and would then have to find some method to get to their appropriate downtown destination; the biggest issue seemed to be walking distance / speed / ability.

    The 63X (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/link-connections/pdf/recommended-transit-network-northeast-seattle-08-15.pdf) seemed like a good choice (sorry, I can’t find the actual link I used because they’ve overwritten everything on their site). I guess that’s the 63 now.

    The Wayback Machine seems to suggest they updated the program changes page on 3/25, but it does not retrieve the 3/7 version. This is probably because the Metro pages are now almost entirely loaded through Javascript, but I’ll save comments about how that’s awful for accessible Internet access until later. In any case, as they have overwritten or removed the content, there’s little I can do to reveal further details of the bait and switch.

    I know my morning commute just became much more complicated, options every ~40min instead of every ~20min, and so forth. My midafternoon commute is even worse, but it looks like I will be increasing ridership on RT62, even if it’s otherwise empty.

    1. Yes, Metro’s trip planner has problems. It’s been known to ignore U-Link connections even when they’re clearly the best option. Maybe try Google Maps or Sound Transit’s trip planner instead?

      The 64 isn’t gone, but it takes Mercer-Fairview-Boren-Jefferson now, without touching 5th/4th. (The 63 shares the same downtown routing.) If you’re headed downtown from 65th St, you could take the 64 and transfer at Stewart St, but transferring to U-Link is probably a much better option. (For one, you can do it all day.) Taking the 62 all the way would work, but like you say, it’s very long.

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