SounderBruce (Flickr)
SounderBruce (Flickr)

One thing I neglected to mention in my recent suggestion for better span of service on restructured Metro routes was that Metro had already set aside a cache of service hours within the restructure to proactively respond to overcrowding and reliability issues. Several STB writers have seen Metro staff in the field tallying riders on key routes, and it appears they have enough preliminary data to start tweaking.

Beginning next Monday four routes – 28X, 62, 373, and 73 – will see a total of 6 additional trips.

Route 28X has seen the highest number of complaints of overcrowding, with the restructure retaining its midday frequency but cutting its peak frequency by 26% – going from 23 to 17 trips between 5-9am. The 28X will see two additional morning trips in the 8-9am hour, with the aim to retain 10-minute headways until 9am. One trip will be added in the 5pm hour to allow 6-7 minute headways in the peak of the peak.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.43.51 PM
Routes 28 and 28X (pink) before the ULink restructure (inbound from 85th/Greenwood)
Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 11.43.23 PM
Route 28X after the ULink restructure (from 85th/Greenwood inbound on weekdays)

Route 62 has also received overcrowding complaints, though only for the southern half where it has taken over Wallingford-Fremont service from Route 16 and Fremont-Dexter-SLU service from former routes 26 and 28 local. Accordingly, Metro will add two morning trips between 7-8 am, originating at Ravenna/65th instead of Sand Point. This will provide 7-8 minute service between 8-9am from Green Lake to Downtown via Fremont.

Route 373 currently begins service from Aurora Village at 6:00am, and Metro has heard complaints from riders wishing to connect to Link a bit earlier, and has also observed “standing loads on all morning Route 373 trips.” It will add a single trip at 5:45am, arriving at UW Station at 6:30. Because the 373 and 73 live loop together at UW Station, Route 73 will see an additional trip also, leaving UW Station at 6:30 and arriving in Jackson Park at 7:00am.

Bravo to Metro for being responsive in adding trips just 3 weeks into the restructure, and let’s hope it’s the start of more tweaks to come as riders’ trip patterns settle over the coming months.

75 Replies to “Metro to Add Trips to Crowded Routes 28X, 62, 373, and 73”

  1. Actually just two weeks (March 26 was metros shakeup). So proud of them for quickly responding. It’s always tough to predict these issues so you plan the best you can and you act accordingly.

  2. Yes, Metro 62 can get crowded from Green Lake south. But Metro should look at the NE part of the route too. From what I can see, it is very over-serviced. For example, after riding a few times this week, I never saw more than 6 or 7 people on the bus east of 65th. Why are we sending empty articulated buses up and down the eastern, and 100% residential, NE 65th every 20 minutes or so up to almost 2am? I live in the area, and I can tell you, those buses are keeping people up at night.

    1. Take a look at this service alert, regarding the night routing.

      Route 62 goes all the way out to NOAA because people work there, and at nearby sites. Crossing Sandpoint Speedway to get to a bus stop is no fun.

      Two weeks into a service change is a little bit early to give up on a route, but it will always look empty that far out as it approaches its layover. That’s how most neighborhood bus ridership patterns work. NOAA was also probably easier to convince to provide layover space than any of the residential neighbors were.

      1. I remain unconvinced. There are *some* jobs at Sand Point; NOAA (which closes at 7pm), MAC, Arena Sports, and the odd coffee shop that is probably owned by a local. That is maybe in the low hundreds. But we have added bussing capacity for several thousand riders a day, and way before and after working hours.

        Now, I get the goal of encouraging folks to use transit. However, to get downtown from Sand Point or View Ridge, I would imagine we’d want people to use the new U Link station, not ride a 45 minute bus to downtown via Fremont (I’ve tried, that is a best case scenario). That would leave some need for east/west trips, but there is no need for the kind of capacity we’ve set up to/from Sand Point.

        I dont think running a bus as early as 6am and as late as 2am by people’s homes just because we can’t find a better way to turn around is acceptable. We obviously already found a way to do it for the couple of rides that start and end in Ravenna.

      2. In general, I agree with you. But in the specific case of the 62, the obvious question is why NOAA, or even Ravenna, makes a better terminal than Northgate.

        According to the schedule, the 62 takes 20 minutes to get from NOAA to Green Lake & Ravenna. By contrast, the 26 takes 13 minutes to get from Northgate to roughly the same place. So simply swapping the tails of the 26 and 62 would save quite a bit of money (by virtue of the fact that the 62 is so much more frequent), which would enable extra trips on the whole length of the 16. It also would have provided a demand center at both ends of the route. (And it would have preserved the E-W connection between the center of Wallingford and Northgate TC, which I know that many riders were sad to lose.)

        But don’t take my word for it:

        Only in two places — on Aurora and just northeast of Greenlake — are the stops little-used. This contrasts very favorably with Route 26 below, again (as with Route 5 vs Route 28) illustrating the importance of terminating routes at ridership centers if possible.

        Of course, I do love the fact that NE 65th has 15-minute service. I wouldn’t want to give that up. But to the extent that the N-S part of the 62 demands more service than the E-W part, it’s a shame that the best option we have is adding short-run routes.

      3. Once Roosevelt station opens I think cutting the 45 in half and moving the eastern half to 65th might make sense. That would of course make it a two seat ride from Crown Hill/Greenwood to the U District, but it would be an easy transfer. That would also decouple the crosstown portion of the 62 with the better-used north-south portion and allow it to continue to Northgate.

        Roosevelt station is still a long ways out, and things could certainly change in the mean time, but does anybody know the plan for crosstown service after it opens?

      4. I don’t have any particular disagreement with your analysis, Aleks. What I don’t want to lose is some sort of all-day connection to the businesses on the east side of Sand Point Way. Imagine all the more that could be built out there if we could get rid of those surface car storage sewers. With only a half NIMBYshed and very low elevation, that is one place that could build up (and there are businesses there that want to build up) on land that has already been begrimed with asphalt.

        Route 75 does not serve them very well, if you are travelling southbound. A route really is needed to head east into the developed area, whether it be the 62, a 2-way 74, a 30 connecting to UW Station, or something else. I’d even settle for a diversion of southbound 75, such as L on NE 74th St / R on 62nd Ave NE / R on NE 65th St / L on Sand Point Way NE.

      5. Stefan,

        I’m sympathetic to your noise complaints. My wife suffers from hyperacusis, and we recently moved to a new home specifically because our old one was too loud.

        That said, note that NE 65th St is classified as a commercial connector along virtually its whole length, from Green Lake to Sand Point Way. The only higher classification is regional connector, which covers streets of regional importance like Aurora and 15th Ave NW.

        The street hierarchy is a contract of sorts. Residents get to have ~95% of the city’s street blocks devoted for their exclusive use, with signs, street design, and landscaping that discourages through traffic. In exchange, the other ~5% of streets are designed for higher-intensity commerce and transportation. The rules that designate NE 65th as a high-capacity corridor are the same rules that protect Ravenna’s dozens of neighborhood streets from high-speed traffic.

        The street classification has been in effect for decades. Pretty much everyone who lives on NE 65th moved there after the designation took effect. I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask Metro to significantly curtail bus service on a commercial connector, taking options away from transit riders, just because there are people who happen to live along that commercial connector. If you decide to move to a home that is situated on a commercial connector, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re okay with the potential level of noise.

      6. Ian: I think it’s much too early to say. Two years ago, I predicted that Metro would use the opening of U-Link to eliminate the 43; that they would reroute the 11 along Broadway/John, while leaving the 10 in place; and that North Seattle would see few changes. I was wrong on literally every count.

        What I can say is this: in Metro’s recently-published long range vision, even the 2040 service network doesn’t have an E-W route like the one you’ve described. Such a route has the unique flaw of passing through exactly zero urban centers (i.e. not center city, not the U-District, not Northgate). Except for a handful of low-frequency feeder routes in West Seattle, I can’t think of a single other Metro route within city limits that has that trait.

        I still think an E-W route here would be wonderful, and I will push hard for it when Roosevelt Station gets closer. But it’s likely to be an uphill battle, and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m even correct in wanting it.

      7. Brent: I agree completely. Even if Metro does decide to move the 62 back to Northgate (and I doubt they will), I very much hope the replacement service on NE 65th goes all the way to NOAA.

      8. Aleks,

        First off, just for full disclosure, I don’t actually live on NE 65th, just in the area.
        Regarding street classifications. I am not sure I am looking at the right information, but according to this (, transit-wise, NE65th east of 35th is a “Minor Transit Street”. The short version of what that means seems to be ” Provides local and neighborhood transit service. Some Minor Transit Streets may be part of the UVTN”. That is somewhat vague, but the next definition up helps. “Major Transit Street” means “Provides concentrated transit service to connect and reinforce major activity centers and residential areas. Some Major Transit Streets may be part of the UVTN.”. What we are trying to do with 62 seems to me exactly that: Concentrate ridership connecting major activity areas.

      9. Confusingly, there are multiple street classification schemes in Seattle. The transit ones are post facto. Metro decides it wants to run service on a street, and so it asks the city to change its classification. Or else it gets grandfathered in. For example, between 43rd and 50th, Phinney is listed as a minor transit street while Fremont Ave has no classification. Anyone who spends time in this area can attest that this makes no sense.

        The map you linked to was last updated in 2006. I’m almost positive that 65th was upgraded to a higher classification as part of the March service change, since that’s the only way Metro can get permission to double service on a street.

        More interesting are the Seattle planned arterial classifications. These are set more holistically, and they are used to govern street design, zoning, etc. If you look at that map, you’ll see that 65th is green the whole way. Green means minor arterial, which is a synonym for commercial connector. Don’t be misled by the word ‘minor’ — this is the same classification as NE 45th in Wallingford, and Broadway in Capitol Hill, among others.

    2. 62 is a HUGE difference in transit for people along NE 65th. Previously the 71 ran every 30 minutes and was generally pretty terrible. It will take some time for people to figure out that there’s now a frequent bus that runs along the route.

      1. Route 71 is still there, and still running every 30 minutes, except from 9:30 pm to 7 am, and just happens to be going to UW Station. I suspect its main ridership is between the U-District and UW Station.

    3. My thoughts on the 62:

      It’s a huge step forward for improving East-West transit in the city, and creating a frequent gridded network. I’m extremely happy that Metro created it.

      I do think that 65th St needs at least 15 minute frequencies- few people who have any other choice of transportation are going to use a bus with 30 minute frequencies. That said, I think it’s harder to (currently) justify the level of service that the combined 62 and 71 provide on NE 65th St. I’d like to see the 71 deleted and it’s hours reallocated to some of the routes it intersects or overlaps with. My personal preference would be to add an extra hourly run of the 62, and extend the 48 a mile northward to 65th until 2021, but other combinations might be more effective.

      The 62 does feel like two routes glued together though- an East-West route and a North-South one- the old 16. I doubt I’ll ever cross the ship canal on the 62.

      At least on the NE portion of the route, there do seem to be reliability issues and bunching. My guess is that that these stem from the Downtown and Fremont Bridge portions of the route, but I don’t know for sure.

      I think the ideal solution would be to (as I believe Mike Orr suggested a couple weeks ago) have the 62 continue going west to Ballard. This would provide provide East-West transit across the whole width of North Seattle, and it would provide connections to every North-South bus route (and Link when Roosevelt Station opens)

      Finally, whatever is done with the 62, the NE portion does need time to build ridership- my guess is that outside of former 16 riders, and STB readers, not that many people are aware of the 62’s existence. Anecdotally, last week I was talking to one of my roommates- a regular 71 rider- and I mentioned that I now sometimes catch the 62 then transfer to the 45 or 73 (or vice versa) and the creation of the 62 was news to him.

      1. Yep, I agree that the 62 is 1) two routes glued together, 2) a huge boost in service to NE Seattle from the unreliable 71, and 3) excessive service, given that the 71 didn’t actually get deleted – but deleting the 71 is probably what should change.

        I’d add that the 62 in NE Seattle is clearly about setting up a grid (commendable) in anticipation of north link. It’s a bit of a wash for NE Seattle riders now, but it will be an awesome route when the Roosevelt station opens up.

        The biggest problem with the 62, though, is not the route but the zoning. The eastern end of 65th is about as far from an urban village, and therefore walkable amenities, as you can get in the city. An urban village on 35th Ave would be an enormous help to this part of town, a boost to transit ridership, and a good place to fit a lot of Seattleites.

      2. The 71 is a political route, explicitly added by the county council during the final approval of the restructure, when Metro wanted to delete it. So it won’t go away until at least the next service change, if not the next recession or North Link restructure.

    4. Brent,

      I don’t have a problem with the 62 route per-se. As I said, I am trying to use it for my own commute to Fremont. My complaint is about the schedule and frequency on the NE end of the route; east of 35th, say. It doesn’t make sense to me to impact the neighborhood early in the morning and (really) late at night with buses that have few, if any, people on them; we see them going by, they are mostly empty.

      1. I grew up on 65th and 51st, where my parents still live – I could definitely hear the 71, both as it drove down 51st and then as it struggles to climb the hill on 65th, but it was never keep-you-up-at-night loud. More like airplane cruising overhead – you tune it out unless you hear it go by and think, crap, there went my bus!

      2. Bus operators need to own enough buses (and large-enough buses) to handle peak loads. For most systems (Metro included), this means the weekday commute period.

        It generally doesn’t make sense to own a separate set of smaller buses to use when there is less demand. You would save a tiny amount on fuel, but dramatically increase capital and maintenance expenses. It would be like sending out a work crew to reduce I-5 to one lane in each direction b

        You can decrease frequency or span of service, but that’s not great, either. If you used to take the 5:45 bus, and it gets deleted, then you have to take either the 5:30 or the 6:00 bus. This means that your commute is 15 minutes longer than it used to be. If you take two buses, it could be 30 minutes longer. Imagine if we arbitrarily declared that NE 65th was closed to cars and pedestrians for 15 minutes every half-hour. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s what it feels like when frequency is really low.

        Thus, a system that aspires to be useful for a large number of people will inevitably have emptier-than-usual buses during periods of low demand. That doesn’t mean the bus should be cut.

    5. How about this as a refinement:
      1) Terminate all trips of the 62 at Green Lake/Ravenna (at the old route 26 layover).
      2) New route from Sand Point to Fremont. Frequency, every 30 minutes. It would following the existing path of the 62 from Sand Point to Green Lake, then take Green Lake Way/Stone Way over to Fremont. In Fremont, the bus would take Stone Way all the way to 34th, then turn right onto 34th, then right again onto Fremont Way, serving the northbound bus stop in a live loop, using 35th St. to return back to Stone Way again for the outbound trip.
      3) Move the east/west portion of route 71 north 1/2 mile from 65th St. to 75th St. to provide better coverage for the same budget.

      – Allows the more crowded part of route 62 to run at higher frequency than the less crowded part. It also allows east/west portion of the route to be operated with smaller buses.
      – Scales all routes better to meet demand.
      – Improves reliability on the east/west portion of the 62 by making it no longer subject to delays passing through downtown, Belltown, or the Fremont bridge, while still serving Fremont.
      – Adds east/west service on 75th St. to replace that lost by the elimination of the 68, while also providing service to the upper U-district to some of the former route 72 riders.

      1. That does have some advantages, but I’m reluctant to declare 15-minute service to 65th St a failure so quickly. Maybe we can look at it again after a year? And if we do, we could extend the 62 to Northgate (replacing the 26, at the cost of a slight frequency boost) rather than ending it at Green Lake.

        But I’m all with you on moving the 71; Metro should do that ASAP this fall if they don’t cut the route altogether.

      2. Yeah, I kind of agree. While I think my proposal may have (in hindsight) been better had it been the initial proposal, the idea of creating a corridor with 15-minute service and turning into a 30-minute service corridor after just a few months leaves a bitter distaste. It would create the impression of a transit agency that can’t make up its mind about where to allocate its service.

        On the other hand, if the 62’s get constantly bunched due to issues involving downtown and the Fremont bridge, maybe the 15-minute corridor exists only on paper, while the effective level of service on 65th St. (excluding the 71) is closer to 30-minute service, anyway. And savings from reducing trips on the the east/west portion of the 62 could be re-invested into maintaining the 15-minute frequency on the 65 and 372 through evenings and Sundays.

        I’m guessing one of the reasons the 62 does what is does is that Metro was being very careful about the 71/72/73 not going downtown, and felt it was important to say, at least on paper, that everybody who had a one-seat ride to downtown on the 71 before the restructure still has a one-seat ride to downtown after the restructure. Which makes sense at the time, because the primary concern was not having Demowski veto the entire restructure. Except, in practice, people saw right through the plan, and even though the 62, on paper, provides a one-seat ride between NE Seattle and downtown, in practice, this is a one-seat ride significantly slower than a straight-line bus->Link connection and everybody knows it.

    6. The 62 is a great benefit. However, there is an imbalance of demand between the western half and eastern half, so it may not remain a single route forever. But it’s a good innovation and stopgap, and there are people very happy to get from Fremont to Sand Point, Fremont to Greenlake, and from one part of Stone Way to the other without the cumbersome previous options, so splitting the route would break some of those. Still, it’s a reasonable interim solution until Roosevelt Station, 45th RapidRide, and the rest of Metro’s long-term plan offer more possibilities.

      1. While the 62 is a very good and much needed east-west connector, I am very sorry that the northern part of the old 16 was eliminated, leaving students and many elderly without direct access to the colllege and medical and social services facilities. Another great loss is the 66.

      2. It’s been tied to the 28 – or are you talking about the section around Northgate Way? Or is there a large concentration of students and elderly people specifically along the old 16?

      3. @William C: Meridian north of College Way has lots of medical and social service facilities that are not served by the 26 that replaced the 16. Look at Google maps.

      4. I used to live up there and have mixed feelings about the change. It would have added about a 5-10 minute walk for me to reach the 26 (relative to the old 16), but in exchange for the bus being more on time, when I do get there, it’s probably worth it. It’s also good for people in the area around Meridian/85th, which could probably get downtown faster (depending on traffic conditions and which way the I-5 express lanes are running) by taking the 26 north and transferring to the 41, rather than taking the 26 south.

      5. Getting rid of that Northgate Way fishhook was a widespread longstanding request which Metro finally implemented. The 345/346 serve Meridian north of the college, as does the 40.

    7. I’m astonished by the number of people anxious to throw in the towel on such a major improvement to the grid, which makes a tremendous contribution of the possibility of E-W travel via transit in North Seattle, because of a) whiny wealthy homeowner NIMBYs who live on a major street but feel entitled to not hear buses disturb their suburban-Seattle fantasies and/or b) poor ridership two weeks after launch of service.

      If we want to to create a transit system that allows people to go car free, we need a grid that let’s people get around the city effectively, not just to and from their job. Maybe people just don’t want a grid, and want to keep their cars and use transit for work only, but for God’s sake, and for the sake of those of us navigating the city without a car, at least give grid-improving innovations a chance before declaring it dead.

      Politics won’t give us this:

      In one fell swoop, but the more of grid we can establish prior to North link opening, the better our chances of building a real be when it’s done. There’s a bigger picture here that people are ignoring.

  3. Can anyone explain why route 74 still goes downtown?

    Most of the platform time is wasted on I-5, then getting through the DSTT during peak, then deadheading back on I-5, in the counter-peak direction (which is hella clogged during rush hour), then getting back out to Sand Point. That is an insane waste of platform hours, when the route comes within a few minutes of UW Station.

    Even if those hours weren’t reinvested in other routes, they could be used to provide more frequency on route 74’s neighborhood tail, and provide 2-way service, across Sandpoint to the job centers on the east side of Sandpoint Way.

    1. Sure, I’ll explain it: Because a lot of people in the area want to go downtown and get there quickly. I’m not talking about people to the northeast, but people in the north end of the U-District. It might surprise you, given the fact that Metro has bent over backwards to send so many buses to Northeast Seattle, but not that many people live there. Census records show a lot more people live in the north end of the U-District (e. g. 50th and 15th), where this bus goes. Folks along there have a one seat ride to downtown that is faster than taking a bus and making a transfer to Link.

      If anything, you could argue that the tail end (east of 25th) is unnecessary. It travels through a fairly sparsely populated areas, But it isn’t that bad, and the 74 provides a nice addition to the grid. Without it, people headed to the U-District would have to head down to the UW and then back up again. This isn’t as bad as making the connection to the train (it is a surface transfer and in one case no transfer at all) but it is still a pain. It would also mean additional walking for some folks, so I see no reason to change it.

      I would say the 74 is fine, and should probably be kept as is until we get a station in the U-District.

      1. I timed the 74 at under 6 minutes from Westland to 42nd and 8th in u district. But takes another 9 minutes just to get from 8th to 15th. I wonder how long it would take to get down 15th and 50th to ulink station.

      2. RossB,

        Did you consider the possibility of more frequency on route 74 before deciding the current routing is faster?

      3. Also, if I were living in the U-District, I would want more buses running to UW Station, more frequently, all day, and more buses from UW Station to the U-District all day as well. Route 74 is already not useful for anyone trying to commute from the south end or downtown to a daytime job in the U-District.

      4. Considering that the tail of the 74 replaces the 30 that was eliminated, I think keeping the 74 is fine for now. The fact that Metro wanted to be cautious, not knowing how well Link transfers would work, is understandable. In fact, the fact that people are evening suggesting that the 74’s service hours should be re-directed elsewhere is testament to just how well Link is working.

        That said, I think the utility of the 74 only makes sense because of the speed afforded by the direct connection between the downtown tunnel and the I-5 express lanes, and once that connection is severed in 2018 (and the Pike St. exit closes with it), the existence of the 74 should be reconsidered. Rerouting the 74 to take the Stewart St. exit would add a good 15-20 minutes to every trip, waiting in a line of cars to exit the freeway (when taking the old 71/72/73, I would feel sorry for the 510/511 riders we routinely passed who were stuck waiting in that line of cars). At that point, riders may as well transfer to Link, with its immunity from traffic and its 6-minute peak-hour frequency.

        (One could make a similar argument for the 76 – perhaps a peak-hour express version of the 65 and 75 that went directly to Link and skipped all stops south of 65th St. would get people where they want to go faster than the 76 does; and also do so with fewer service hours, which would mean better frequency).

      5. asdf,

        What’s wrong with using the BlueStreak routing for the NE Seattle expresses when Pine Street closes? They could travel on Westlake in the bus lanes and on Mercer between the Mercer ramps. Something to consider.

      6. I did not include route 76 in my question because it has an actual time advantage (at least on paper), thanks to not slogging through the U-District. My math indicates, at least following the schedules, that route 74 has a time disadvantage, getting to Westlake, over a similar route that heads to UW Station.

        What I’d like to know is whether the schedules are realistic.

      7. The problem is not Westlake – it’s getting on and off the freeway. Trying to take the Mercer St. exit in the height of rush hour would be no better than trying to take the Stewart St. exit in the height of rush hour. The line of cars the bus would have to wait in is just too long – and even after the bus finally got off the freeway, it would still be another 15 minutes, at least, to downtown, even using the Westlake bus lanes.

        On the contrary, a 65X overlay for peak-period-peak-direction could save riders a lot of time getting downtown. It could follow the “65 local” routing from Lake City to 35th/55th, then skip the Children’s slog and the “Campus Creep”, taking Montlake Blvd. right to the UW Station. During periods of extreme traffic congestion, the bus driver could be given the discretion to take Stevens Way and drop people off at Ranier Vista before looping back around to the normal stop on Montlake. Not as fast as the 2021 option of getting on Link back at Roosevelt Station, but definitely way faster than a 74/76 alternative that goes all the way downtown, but gets stuck in a long line of cars trying to exit the freeway. You could also add a similar “express” variant to the 75 and the 372 as well.

    2. Metro could have deleted all peak expresses from 55th on north but instead it added trips, and extended some of them into the shoulder hour (9am and 2pm). The reason seems to be to avoid the criticism, “You’re forcing me to take Link and transfer!” This on top of the fact that nobody knew how well Link+transfers would work because it had never been tried before in northeast Seattle, and U-District and Roosevelt Stations aren’t open yet. So it rerouted the local buses in a grid to UW Station, but kept the peak expresses alone until North Link. I do know the 74 is pretty full on 55th. I don’t know how many people are taking it in the northern U-District; it would be worth finding out rather than assuming based on census tract. If people are trying to use it there, I wonder if they can even fit on it given that it’s already mostly full on 55th.

      1. I guess I should have said it rerouted the all-day buses, not the local buses per se, because the 71/72/73X were a major part of the reroute.

  4. Those extra trips on the 28 will be much appreciated. This bus has often been standing room only well north of Market Street. It’s not that I mind standing, but when the bus is that full it gets super slow because every stop takes a super long time as people shove past each other to get to the door, or get asked to cram closer together to let another passenger on.

    1. 8th Ave NW is a big problem for the 28 – too much parking, inadequate pull outs. Since drivers ignore the law 99% of the time and do not allow the bus to reenter traffic, there is so much delay in the trip. Also, a bus lane is needed at the intersection with 85th, bc it can take 7 minutes or so to get across in PM rush. I think we can spare a little street parking?

      1. Getting rid of street parking would probably mean having two lanes of traffic in each direction…not something I really would support.

        What would help the bus is putting in some bus bulbs so that the bus doesn’t have to wait for a bunch of cars to pass before it can pull back into traffic. Instead it would never leave the travel lane in the first place.

      2. Yes, bus bulbs rock! However, there has been a growing tendency for cars to ignore the law and pull into the oncoming lane to get around the bus. (In fact, I saw four cars pull around a loading 36 a couple days ago, causing the bus to have to sit through another light cycle.) Pull out your cameras. Get pictures. Send them to SPD, post them on social media, or both. Let’s end the scourge of SOVs failing to yield to buses.

  5. Thank you for not previously mentioning the cache of reserve hours. When the public becomes aware of such a cache, the most well-organized neighborhoods have an inside track to flood Metro with complaints, and get help ahead of the routes with poorer riders, where people know SRO is a fact of peak bus (and train) ridership life, have fewer cell phones, have less immediate internet access, and are less likely to submit complaints. Complaints also tend to come from the least regular riders.

    I hope Metro is backing up its complaint responses with field investigation to see the true ridership patterns. While there is no equivalent of the C vs. the 120 in northeast Seattle, counting complaints is still no substitute for counting riders.

    1. The remaining NE Seattle reserve hours should totally go towards increased evening/Sunday frequency on the 120!

  6. Does Metro have a way of knowing what routes are overcrowded even if people don’t complain? That is, do drivers keep a log of every time they have to skip a stop or roughly how many passengers they aren’t able to let board the bus?

    Otherwise a lot of it is anecdotal. The 372 I was on yesterday at 5pm left behind passengers at Garfield Lane, Rainier Vista, the HUB, and Pend Oreille Road. Probably about 25 people in total. Though by the time the bus got to 25th and Blakely there bus went from crush loaded to seats being available. On the other hand, I’ve only ridden the 62 as far west as Green Lake, so to me it’s a nearly empty bus. I had no clue the 62 was remotely crowded anywhere on the route, especially to the level of needing additional service.

    I don’t really know what that means for the 372 in general or how it compares to how overcrowded other routes are, especially outside NE Seattle. I assume the 372 is generally overcrowded and needs more service, but I have no idea if other routes need more service more urgently.

    1. I kind of wish OneBusAway had a quick button you could hit to say “this bus passed me at this stop” or “this trip was delayed because excessive crowding in the aisles significantly slowed down boarding and alighting.” That way the data could be crowdsourced. There might still be some bias to the extent that people in some communities might have lower smartphone ownership and OneBusAway usage rates than others, but it seems an improvement over relying on formal complaints.

      1. +1 a button like that would be way more useful to metro than the current “my bus was late”

      2. Or my bus has a pit-bull sitting in the aisle and you might wait for the next one. I had that happen once. Many riders were very anxious upon boarding.

      3. Or better yet, how about a button on the dashboard that the bus driver could press anytime he passes someone up, rather than relying on users to do it.

    2. I’m sure the operators provide feedback, and are being especially asked by management for that feedback if they drive one of the UW-Station-impacted routes. There is also ORCA data and farebox count, but that doesn’t help with the nuances of where passengers board and alight.

      Metro’s occasional ons/offs count occur on random days, providing a very limited data set, but still stronger than complaints.

  7. Zach, thanks for the comparison tables for Rt 28 before & after the most recent changes that show trips per hour. One correction: the time-point you’re showing as 85th & Greenwood should be 85th & 8th Av NW. The 28 doesn’t and didn’t run on Greenwood Av or at its intersection with 85th. That’s one reason riders on some segments of the 28 are a distinct market from riders who could use the 5/5X/355 to the east, or the 15x/D to the west. Further, while the extra trips will be much appreciated (thank you, Metro), there’s still a need to monitor the effects of the new routing. It’s definitely a longer trip for riders of the former express, yet doesn’t well serve those destined for Fremont. Riders to Fremont now need a transfer when they’re almost there or a walk that some riders might not be able to handle due to the slope and pedestrian conditions. The longer “express” travel time is related to both the 8 extra stops (6 Market to Aurora+1 new on Aurora + 5th&Wall) and the longer stop times downtown while more riders board for the 131/132. The scheduled travel time on the previous 28X from Market to Pike was 18 minutes vs new scheduled travel time at 24 minutes. From Pike to Main (the end of the old express route) adds 9 minutes now. I don’t have a comparison for the old travel time through downtown, but my sense is that it was quicker. For riders in Frelard who weren’t taking the express previously, their trip to downtown is quicker, but those farther north who aren’t close enough to parallel routes are feeling a decline in service.

    1. BB – what if SDOT could improve the bus facilities on 8th NW and speed up the bus that way? Would that be a good compromise?

      1. SeaStrap: I see your earlier comment about the delays at NW 85th & 8th. I was focused on the part of the route that changed recently, which is mainly from Market St (or technically 65th where the “express” service started before this change). That’s where there’s been a considerable addition to travel time compared to the old express. Your idea to change bus facilities on 8th won’t help that aspect of deteriorated service. Old timer story: Back before 1998 there was a 28 local and 28 express that followed exactly the same path. The difference was that the express (which was peak only) skipped a lot of stops, which made it faster than the local. Southbound along 8th it stopped at NW 65th, then Market, all the way to 34th & Fremont, then traveled on Westlake (not Dexter at that time). So anyone could get to both Fremont and downtown on either variant of the route during the peak, but the express was faster. In Sept 1998 the express shifted to an EB turn at Market St, then no stops to get onto Aurora at N46th St and no stops on Aurora til Mercer. The travel time was indeed faster than the Fremont routing, and also separated the rider markets into upper east Ballard & Broadview riders vs Frelard & Dexter riders. .The most recent change mixes those markets again such that it doesn’t serve either very well.

      2. I do see your point. My question was basically if overall trip speed improved could the current routing continue to work for you. Answer seems to be no, which is understandable. I so rarely use the 28 I didn’t want to depend on my own experience in judgment.

      3. SeaStrap: Re your most recent question about whether improving overall trip speed would work for me — Answer: The travel time would have to improve from NW 65th St south, because that’s where the latest change has added significantly to trip time. That’s not to say people farther north wouldn’t appreciate improvements; it’s just that the route hasn’t changed for them between 8th/97th (QFC) & NW65th. People even farther north in Broadview though, do have a diminished service b/c they get the 28 only in the peak, and it’s the revised (slower) version. However, they already had lower ridership and they have faster, more frequent service on the nearby seven-day Rt 5 and weekday peak 355.

  8. Re my Rt 28 comments above, I should have added that while the scheduled travel time now from Market to Main is 32 minutes (per trip planner, weekday leaving Market at 7:57am), my actual experience over the last 2 weeks has been 40 minutes. And that includes days with lower ridership (sunny Fridays or when previous bus was so late that my bus was nearly empty) and a driver one day who missed 3 stops(!). Still 40 minutes. :-(.

  9. I’m a little puzzled. Aleks, you’re correct that the 43 didn’t go away. Except that for the whole middle of the day, it isn’t there at all. Even stranger, the little SDOT note at the bottom of the schedule saying that the route had been improved through taxpayer participation.

    Didn’t the Ministry of Truth do that in “1984?” Call every change for the worse an improvement?
    Like announcing that a food ration had been increased from ten pounds a month to five? What am I missing here?


    1. Sound Transit improved the route by providing a train line that can run from Capitol Hill Station to Husky Stadium in 4 1/2 minutes, and Capitol Hill Station to Westlake Station in 3 minutes. Route 48 was improved to 10-minute all-day headway, by which pot of money I am not sure. Route 10, covering the old western portion of route 43, continues route 43’s all-day 15-minute headway.

      The algebra suggests most former riders of route 43 have better options today than they did in February. Only those of us at the nerdfest give a darn which pot of money made it happen. Heck, I’m not sure I even care. I’m just glad we’ve got that fancy new train line.

    2. “Improved through taxpayer participation” means trips funded by Prop 1. Those must mean the peak trips or some of them.

  10. When thinking of the frequency or necessity of buses heading out to Sandpoint (see all the talk of the 62 above), it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a fair bit of low income housing there. For whatever reason, the city has decided to put people who have few options in terms of living space or transportation in the middle of nowhere. It’s a food desert, with the nearest grocery store (not counting the 7-11) probably the PCC at 65th and 40th. If they can’t afford a car, they’re walking a very long way, or waiting for a bus that doesn’t come very often, particularly before the restructure.

    Making good frequent transit get out that far is key for giving the people who live there mobility.

    1. The reason is that the city got the land and buildings free from the navy. It had a need for low-income housing, and free unused buildings, so it put them together. Until now they’ve been relying on the infrequent 75 and the occasional and barely-useful 30. However, as in other transit deserts, they’ve probably spent half their income on a car and are slow to look at bus alternatives again.

  11. “A single trip at 5:45 AM” will do little to nothing to ameliorate the problem of “standing loads on all morning Route 373 trips”.

  12. Sandpoint Way is a decent route from Lake City way to UW Station. It passes NOAA and Children’s (which runs a number of shifts with weekend coverage). Stick a bus on it and see what kind of density it creates.

    1. I’m not sure what your point is since the 75 has been running the whole length since at least the 1990s. There’s significant residential density between 63rd and 80th. Further growth has been held back by zoning. The middle part is a surprising food desert; I don’t know why the city doesn’t incentivize a supermarket development like the 23rd & Madison Safeway.

  13. All this suggests to me is how poorly thought out and badly executed these service cuts…I mean, this restructure has been. Especially on the routes that don’t connect to U-Link.

    1. In what world is ‘we nearly doubled service but even that wasn’t enough to meet demand, but thankfully we reserved some hours to put on the most needed routes’ a) somehow cutting service and b) sign that it was poorly thought out

      1. My bus options come less frequently with smaller buses (reduced capacity). Looks like a service cut to me.

  14. no poster has mentioned the connection between new Route 62 and improved routes 75, 65, and 372. Is that a NE Seattle frequent service grid? if the tail of Route 62 seems empty, how full was the tail of the former Route 71?

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