King County Metro XT60 (4533)

This is an open thread.

67 Replies to “News Roundup: The Scourge”

  1. Posting title is perfect description of every inch of plastic stuck to the exterior of that bus that is not on the metal. Anybody want to help me with a class-action suit to give us tax- and fare-payers back the views we’re paying for of our beautiful part of the country?

    Since reason zebras have evolved stripes is so a lion can’t pick a “kill” out of a running herd of zebras- they can only get one- only valid defense would be that getting stuck in rush hour traffic could leave our new artic fleet in a pile of bloody bones with hyenas eating them. Though by hyena dietary laws, Bredas are safe.

    I’m serious. If I wanted to look through prison-van windows, I’d take a razor-sharp scraper to enough of those abominations to be a prison-time felony. Would also start paying for my blue ORCA card again. And given proven success last month, I’d glue a hair-ball from a giant African lion to my head and say: “Deal?”

    But New Year’s Revolution, I mean resolution. Finally, after all these years (all three of them) the forces of The Republic of Upper Southern Ballard can roll in from Olympia and, because we can finally pay the rent, reclaim our homeland! Without the Norwegian Navy having to shell anything! And the Swedish air force can keep it’s Saabs garaged in every barn beside a huge white windmill.

    However. Those guys in the ships with the dragons on the prow- just like in Ireland, your women probably all know the Vikings were the only men in Europe who took baths. Reason Icelandic singer Bjork looks like her hundred-times-great Irish-alleged kidnap-victim-grandmother was probably named Bridget McGee. Word to Medina.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mr. D – I am with you 100 per cent on those ad-wraps.
      It’s like riding in a perpetually filthy bus; unable to make out the details of anything you are passing,
      Not everyone is content to live a life contained in a palm device.
      I’d wager that one day a crime will be “witnessed” by a load of passengers unable to make a positive Id of the perp because of the view/vision destroying wrap.
      Any attorneys willing to take on TPTB pro bono?
      I’m sure they will wave foregone service hours about as justification for the loss of sight.
      I’d say take a bit off of every salary over $100k.
      Screw the lot of them.

      1. FWIW, perpetrator identification is least of public safety worries re: “wraps.” Any time a driver reports a fight or a threat aboard a bus, co-ordinator’s first question is: “Any weapons?”

        How would you like to be police arriving on-scene, unable to see, or God forbid, SWAT team be able to target, a killler? Or a Medic One first-responder coming into a mass-casualty situation? I’m appalled that the authorities have permitted this practice to exist this long.

        It would be worth a try for a citizen legal on the grounds that covered windows can endanger passengers’ lives. Since purpose of these wraps is advertising, I don’t think either the ST or KC Metro, or the advertisers’ clients, would welcome the resulting publicity.

        Money argument is garbage. Considering what’s happening to real estate in Seattle, nobody can say common practice is being violated by raising the price of non-window advertising.

        And unless Second and Jackson building has had enough seniority or lead-time for the Historic Register, its entire external faces, including and especially window glass, could probably carry more square footage than our whole fleet.

        On the serious contemporary architecture side, hundreds of transit shelters in San Francisco and a lot of other cities, and their surroundings, are rendered safer, prettier, and more financially beneficial by advertising panels lighted all night.

        KC Metro and Sound Transit, Just Do It!


      2. The dot-matrix style full wraps make me nauseous. It’s better now that there’s automated announcements of the next stop, but before that was painful since I really had to be able to see where the bus was.

    2. You crack me up most times. The eye of the tiger or bullseye in this case is more appropriate as an aiming point for the running of same in Spain. Perhaps this is an aim point for ‘severely raged SOV drivers’ looking to get even. Dunno, but don’t want to pay for it. I’ve heard the ORCA card is a pretty good scraper in a pinch. Everyone take a window and have at it.
      Looking forward to more vintage Dublin in 2017.

    3. I rode a fully wrapped 550 recently. It was a bit darker inside, but I found I was still able to see out the window just fine.

    4. Mark – You are a gem. I always appreciate your perspective and truly unique expository style. Have you pursued any longer form writing? If you published a novel of transit fiction (but based on a true story!) I would pre-order a hardcover copy and wait in line to have it signed.

      I don’t know how obfuscating those full-wraps are from the inside but agreed that we should not allow them to significantly obstruct passengers’ view. Maybe they should have full-wraps that advertise the buses themselves. They’ll appear from the outside like they are applied face-down with blurry, vague silhouettes of attractive naked folks or kittens and puppies or whatever captivates people these days and passersby will be so intrigued they’ll have to take a bus ride themselves to see how things look from the inside.

    5. @Mark D,

      I was talking to someone last week who actually preferred to have the windows covered with those full bus wraps. His take on it was that the buswraps kept people outside the bus from looking in and seeing who was riding. Basically he was embarrassed to be on the bus and preferred the annominity that a full bus wrap provides.

      I don’t agree with his approach, but he did have a point – if you can’t see out, then nobody can see in either.

      1. Thanks, Mic, but the way it works is that whether writers admit it or not, we’re all created by our readership. So this is all your fault. Or at least the STB Board, because they could have just as easily have done a blog about the real estate market.

        Strange you mention it, but found a bullet (or maybe just an airgun pellet) hole in rearmost left window of my 4000 series artic on Rainier Ave one night.

        Wonder if the NRA ever uses term “lead” (with a double- “ee” sound) regarding a moving target. Guess that’s why Founding Fathers realized that Ted Nugent gets a barn full of machine guns.

        Lex, are you talking about fee for the wraps, or justified Divine amount of revenge for them?

        AJ, you realize that, one, the viewer’s own glasses may also be bringing him some ad money. And two, how much of the view on the 550 consists of Bellevue.

        But Lazarus, you’ve finally found the answer! One-way mirrors are only transparent in one direction. So advertisers can put whatever they want on the outside of the glass.

        Could even do videos. Ads showing the dreams people who don’t look like bus passengers can buy if they win the lottery. Including not losing again. “Lay off about Education, judge. Us legislators are funding the Department of Imagination, ain’t we?”

        And inside every window completely unnecessary. Soon as the vehicle starts to move, Rapid Ride windshield will give cab view like the Starship Enterprise going warp. Too bad actual bus is still shaped like Flash Gordon’s rocket ship in 1950.

        And LINK can suddenly be the New York IRT in 1930, with with the horn section doing “Rhapsody in Blue” around every wailing curve among lines of hanging fifth floor laundry.

        Guarantee: No more ideological fights over light rail versus BRT. And best of all, every LINK crush load can suddenly morph into “Full House” at concert for…group can shift as train crosses subarea lines. I forget who gets Miley Cyrus. And Average rock concert crowd thinks two cars are too much room.

        Happy New Year, everybody.


      2. When the bus pulls up to the stop, I usually look in the window to see if there are seats available. On any unwrapped bus, unless one is sitting in the window seat with face pressed against the glass, you still aren’t going to see enough inside to be able to id anybody. Shapes, and blank spaces between the shapes, sure, that’s pretty much what the supervisor is going on when he taps on the window to get the aisle standees to distribute themselves.

        If he’s that embarrassed about riding the bus, wouldn’t he be even more embarrassed waiting at the stop?

      3. I like to at least be able to see if anyone is getting off, especially if it is someone that is going to need the lift.

    6. I was on a bus on Monday that was like looking through a screen, a completely obscured view. The wrap ended somewhere above eye level so if I were a giant I’d have a clear view. I think it was the C because I went to Lincoln Park that day.

  2. How about a parking permit with a price that varies depending on how close to a frequent bus route you live that takes you to the park and ride, and gets really expensive if you live on a good commuter route like the 179 (which has frequent service during most of it’s operation)? If you live on the 179 then there’s no reason to drive to a park and ride unless you work odd hours. Those one-way long commuter routes are super expensive to operate as well, so it makes sense to give people a financial incentive to use them if they can.

    1. Just price the P&R by demand. If the lot is full, raise the price. SDOT uses the same policy for pricing street parking – goal is the set the park so that spaces are ~80% full. For a P&R, you traget ~95% full.

      I think trying to price discriminate by location will be politically difficult (aside from discriminating in favor of those who live within the ST tax area)

  3. Cost to ad wrap a bus:

    Bus wraps vary greatly in cost depending on design and coverage. The pricing can range anywhere from $8,000 ā€“ $12,500 this price would include all installation and removal costs as well.

    1. Thanks for checking the catalog, Joseph. Especially since we now have the hundred percent foolproof way to avoid both the installation and the removal costs.


  4. ā€œa significant deterioration in a rental market that has been booming for the past five years.ā€

    Also known as “a significant alleviation of the housing shortage that has been getting worse for the past five years”

    1. Well, AJ, just proof that there’s a third party in every market transaction. Are you the buyer, the seller, or the poor creature hanging on the hook?

      Another question always left out of the discussion: Would you let your family eat anything out of an unregulated poultry or fish market?

      If not, why accept an economic philosophy, and its politics, that smell like either one left unregulated on a hot day?


  5. Josh Feit’s article is an exercise in poor thinking. Does it not occur to him that adding parking increased support for ST3 in the suburbs while still not breaking 50% in a specific suburban city?

    1. I had the same thought as I was reading the article. Beyond the fallacy you identified, it came across as quite arrogant and holier than thou. To his actual proposal, thousands of individuals in the suburbs did vote for it, and he is proposing to remove something that was actually beneficial for those voters. Apart from being illegal, that would be highly unethical.

    2. They’re still paying ST taxes, and the ballot measure said parking garages. It wasn’t a two-way commitment (parking for vote pledges); it was a one-way enticement and a gamble (like a retailer marketing something people can choose to buy or not). Also, the garages aren’t solely vote-maximizers; they’re to make transit viable in the suburbs where many people don’t have a bus route near them or it has limited hours.

  6. Look at the map of projected growth areas in Everett. Remind me again why we didn’t build Link on 99?

    1. For those who don’t want to click through, every single place that Everett projects substantial growth in the next twenty years is along highway 99. Every one.

      1. Exactly. And so why would the politicians and policy makers in Everett then want to put LR along Hwy 99? The short answer is they wouldn’t.

        Think of it this way; If you mainly view LR as an economic development tool (and they do), then why would you waste its potential by putting it where economic growth is already expected to occur? You wouldn’t. You would instead put it somewhere else. You would put it somewhere where it would actually creat new economic growth that otherwise wouldn’t occur.

        Basically if Hwy 99 is doing well, then put LR somewhere else.

        I think it is short sided, but they are scrambling for every growth dollar they can get, and they still view the world through the windshield of a car.

      2. Everett opposed trains on 99, and I think it threatened to sue ST if it chose that preferred route. See Des Moines. Everett thought Evergreen Way was perfect and trains would impact the beautiful car dealerships and their tax revenue. However, four points:

        1. That’s not really 99 because 99 turns east on Everett Mall Way. Did you really mean Everett Mall Way would be a great place for TOD?

        2. It remains to be seen whether those urban villages will be more than just two buildings and not much of a village. Same with Lynnwood’s.

        3. Most of Everett’s upzone area is north of 33rd Street, but the part most significant to the 99 alignment is from 20th Street to 196th Street; so there’s not much overlap. At most it’s just one station.

        4. Everett’s goal for Link is an extension that turns west to downtown and north to Everett Community College. That’s what it pushed for in ST3 but it didn’t get it because of the cost of the Paine Field detour. Which Everett also wanted, more than it wanted the downtown extension. But the downtown extension is still on the table as Everett’s preferred spine terminus, andf it would serve a lot more people than those villages along 99 (assuming the downtown plan succeeds).

      3. Huh, I always assumed 99 was Evergreen Way all the way into Everett. Good to know.

        I’d say it would be nice to run Link along Evergreen Way because of the potential for in-fill stations, but as long as there is strong SWIFT service on Evergreen Way and a good rail-bus transfer at 526, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

        The Everett CC extension is the logical extension, and I can’t imagine anyone opposing it (aside from generic anti-transit opposition). It just has to wait until the next funding package.

      4. Looking at the candidate project slides from Dec’15, there would be two infill stations on Evergreen Way. Given 1-mile stop spacing, that seems about right.

    2. Running SWIFT down 99 and putting LRT station elsewhere results in a more integrated network. The closer stop spacing of SWIFT vs rail will be beneficial for that corridor. That said, the Link station on 99 is critical for transfers.

      If SWIFT can handle the demand for transit along that corridor, I’d rather see it upgraded to true BRT before building rail to replace the bus (and buses would still need to run as a shadow). Same for the E-Line … in ST4, Link should intersect with the E somewhere in North Seattle, but not replace the E.

    3. I haven’t driven a bus on Aurora Avenue for at least 25 years, so situation may have changed. Like if everybody that did drive the Route 6 before it was the 358 has passed on, taking with him a vision of an Aurora Avenue that passengers or even driverless trains would avoid.

      In the peaceful modern tourist town of Mt. Vernon, I clearly remember a jar of House-Of-The-Rising-Sun industry tokens in an antique shop.

      From the days when this country was totally moral. While doctors didn’t believe in germs and dentists used rock drills and dynamite from nearby mining operations, some trades really were a lot more professional.

      So might be time to send a scouting expedition from the Aurora Bridge to Everett to ascertain how much has been left out of the historic register. And if they phone in from the desk of a motel more than 40 years old, shift ST rail alignment to the middle of I-5 immediately.


      1. When was this country totally moral? Before Columbus?:)

        Having ridden the 358, watching the life on Aurora Ave from the window was a pleasant distraction compared to the smelly wastrels that used to board it, still board it?

      2. I wish Metro would bring back the 6. It connected lower Fremont and Wallingford with points north and gave great access to the Woodland play fields. The E line could then be made into a real express route with even more limited stops and let the 6 handle the local Aurora traffic.

      3. Not many people used that part of the 6. Apparently only one person said it would inconvenience them. Deleting the 6 was what made the 358’s and the E’s frequency possible. If a route in west Green Lake comes back, which is not in Metro’s long-term plan, it won’t be going all the way to Aurora Village. It would have to be part of another coverage route, such as NW 65th Street.

  7. New York’s 2nd Avenue Subway will open on Jan 1st.

    In the event you are still feeling glum about the long term nature of ST3, this was initially proposed in 1919, promised by 1951, and declared dead by the New York Times in 1957.

  8. I wonder when ST will announce the schedule for the additional Sounder South runs that are supposed to start in 2017.

    1. From the 2017 draft SIP

      “The final schedule for the new round trips will be developed in early 2017 in coordination with BNSF and Amtrak, with the goal of maximizing efficient operations of the passenger and freight services between Lakewood and Seattle, as well as maintaining schedule reliability for customers on existing Sounder service. Public release of the final schedule will occur ahead of the September 2017 service change.”

  9. I know that on a regular basis there are posts wondering/complaining why Link Light Rail does not run later then it does when there are special events with large crowds and especially on New Years Eve although ST does add some late runs on that evening and morning.

    But if you think that may be bad go to Amsterdam on New Years Eve where the GVB, the agency that operates the trams and buses in the city stops all service between 8 and 9 pm and then doesn’t start the night owl bus service until 130 am on New Years Day.

    They have done this for years and I don’t know why but now people are finally starting to complain about no public transit service in Amsterdam on one of the busiest nights of the year. Rotterdam on the other hand does operate its transit service on New Years Eve and now pressure is being put on the GVB to do the same thing in the future but it will not happen for this year,

    1. I don’t know about Amsterdam but in my experience some European cities (Paris for example) will close service in busy areas or at busy times for crowd control. It’s safer to make everyone walk to a distant station or take a cab than have thousands of people flooding areas that aren’t designed for these exceptionally large crowds.

      You’d have to be insane or suicidal to drive a car to these events anyway. Shoving yourself onto a crowded tram or metro after what would probably be an hour wait would be equally horrible. Seattle doesn’t even come close to having that kind of problem though so Link/Monorail/Streetcar service definitely should run for NYE.

      1. I did fourth of July on the Mall in Washington DC once, and boarded the Metro in the Reagan Building. They had police officers stationed at entrances to the stations to limit access, so that the crowd of pushing people was up outside, not down where someone could be accidentally pushed onto the tracks.


      2. ST did the same thing on opening day for the U-Link extension. People lined up outside and only a hundred or two were allowed down at a time.

    2. Tacoma Link provides service on NYE. They recommend parking at Tacoma Dome with the assurance that the train will take you to your car for free after the countdown festivities.

    3. There’s also the Portland alternative: free transit service on New Years Eve and some extended transit hours on a few lines, but not much to actually go to. Oregon Symphony does a Ndw Years in Vienna type concert, but no big fireworks show down here.

  10. Heard on the radio and checked online. Headquarters opened today for new streetcar line in Detroit. Cars from Brookville Equipment in Pennsylvania. Note that cars run mostly on batteries, raising raising pantograph when batteries are low and overhead is present. No visible hills on its route.

    Good idea to check out this whole linked page for context and perspective. Was in Detroit, my pre-Seattle home town, a few months ago. Did not, as far as I know, get murdered. Or treated with anything but kindness and respect. Inside city limits, things looked pretty much like when I’d seen it last, in about 1980.

    Some very rundown neighborhoods, some abandoned. Many more with very nice homes. Main scene: to the horizon, vacant lots that used to be a city. With complete urban infrastructure still underneath it. Tempting to say that low property costs make it ripe for becoming the world’s greatest gated city.

    With a hybrid streetcar line with equal quality sidewalk cafes to watch it go by. And similar neighborhoods a little way either side. You’ll notice in all “Q-line” PR, you don’t see a single bus. Which Detroit does have. Used to have some trolleybuses too. And PCC streetcars on same boulevard as Q-line, out eight miles to the city limit.

    But sense I get is if that were true,private revival would have happened long ago. Just a guess, but pretty sure that to make a private development fortune there, there might not be enough government money in the US treasury. Approaching Administration? Using President-Elect’s twitter to truth ratio, personal response same as to chance of Force 9 quake. Water. Blankets, Matches. Shovel. Toilet paper.

    For Detroit and surroundings, gated part true, but polar opposite from usual. Detroit’s semicircular city 8-mile radius city line- north boundary is called Eight Mile Road- doesn’t have walls, beautiful or ugly, barbed wire, or card slots. Like some other places, income brackets work much better.

    But this time with the “kept out” confined inside a thick ring of suburbs that make Medina look like Dogpatch, stretching all the way to Lake Superior.

    Governor Rick Snyder? Look him up- doubtless references to him, and “Flint Water Supply” are on same linked page as streetcar. What happened to the water supply of Flint, a former industrial town with a largely black population, while under the Governor’s direct control, pretty much sums up the man, his constituency, and his party. Two particular links here.

    First one, the streetcar itself. Made-in-Pennsylvania. Second link:The Metro Times- you’ll recognize Stranger’s twin brother. Didn’t check the dating section. But my own fair, balanced and blindfolded sweetheart open-carries a sword and a pair of scales. Whatever Rick Snyder deserves for his handling of Flint, President Obama deserves double.

    For not Federally evacuating the whole population and relocating and given them full compensation for their homes. And for many, their permanently ruined health. As Defense Measure One against the structural disaster whose like no enemy has ever dealt us.

    Which presently saves ISIS the cost of either a cherry bomb or a match. All they have to do is have their head-phones on the news, and their fingers on Twitter to take credit.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Hmm, if Trump wanted to do a Putin, he’d buy Detroit at fire-sale prices and put casinos and resorts and a new financial center there. Then people would build estates there that would become your gated community. Without impacting the carmakers of course. But now that Michigan is a right-to-work state, the most objectionable part of carmakers is neutralized. Then there’s the issue of Detroit’s existing population, but they can all be deported. That would cause a gap in carmaker workers, but maybe some of the residents of those new gated estates could take over those jobs.

      1. If either one would have they could have, Mike. I don’t think Governor Snyder wants to leave anybody else dying of lead poisoning in State he’s the Governor of, , even if they are all black.

        But being spoiled by Siberia, I don’t think Vladimir would’ve put up with winter in Detroit, where moisture in the air gives it the world’s most offensive cold.

        Also, only five hundred miles would separate him from the Upper Peninsula, where a lot of Finns live. Afghanistan and Chechnya, he could handle. But the 1939 Winter War with Finnland….worse than anything that can happen to a rival gang in Detroit.

        Detroit already has a giant casino where Greektown used to be, but you get the feeling that that’s all the State of Michigan really needs. Also, Detroit River will never be the Jersey shore, and the Globe will really have to Warm to create the new Vegas.

        Has been some talk about using all those vacant lots for agriculture, but Vladimir will probably tell you, just between buddies, unlike the Russian arctic, there isn’t enough copper in the Upper Peninsula to be worth separating it from the arsenic.

        Let alone separating agricultural dirt in Detroit from everything else that’s in there, for which arsenic is probably the only cure.

        So sad to say, only way revival will come is when enough tax money paid for by union-wage workers, will clean the place up and rebuild it into the middle class city where people like that will want to live.

        Win or lose, Donald could never either sue the place, or get sued himself to make Detroit worth the scummiest Deal. But wouldn’t put it past President Putin to start his own Motown studio.

        Little known fact that many decades ago, a Russian physicist invented the Theramin, named after him. Two antennas creating a force-field that goes woo-woo-woo-woo-woo life for a spooky movie when you run your hand up and down in the force field.

        Coming from Russia- remember, ballet is still a national past-time, you can also play Mozart on it. So why not Motown?


      2. The Theramin was the first electronic music instrument, invented in the 1920s, when it was surrounded by art deco rather than blue hair and untucked shirts. Leon Theramin intended it to be a regular classical instrument, but it was most widely used in 1950s sci-fi movies for an eerie effect and never shook off that connotation. However, it can sound like a violin.

    2. Brookville is also the group that built the cars for Dallas. 70% lowfloor with battery power on those too.

      ST just yesterday released a request for bids on new cars for Tacoma Link. Brookville tends to go for smaller projects so they might bid on that one.

  11. Wondering if there exists a law/requirement that Metro bus stops have to be ADA compliant–making sure that a bus stop is located where passengers using wheel chairs and walkers aren’t forced to disembark several feet from the curb/sidewalk.

    1. Elbar,
      The Americans with Disabilities Act and the numerous design guides adopted by agencies to implement the ADA have that covered. But, it only applies to new construction, so if a bus stop has been in place for many years, there are no requirements to upgrade it.

      1. This may come under the New Construction category although it requires no new construction at all to remedy it, only adding a new route number to an alreading existing stop sign for the 82 night route: Make the eastbound 62 stop on Woodlawn instead of immediately around the corner on Ravenna where it has to share space with the 45 and where there is very little space for one bus, let alone two, dropping passengers off more often than not several feet from the sidewalk. Many bus drivers tell me they have called this to the attention of Metro since the 62 started service, so I am very surprised nothing has been done about it. It is difficult enough for an old geezer like me who is using a cane–for wheelchair, walkers, and stoller users it can present a real hazard.

      2. I agree. I also doubt that the 82 stop has enough ridership to justify a shelter (IIRC Metro only puts shelters at stops that have over 25 boardings/day), but that also could be solved by moving the 62’s stop. For people wanting to transfer, it’s only a 30′ walk to the other stop.

      3. (+1). The shelter for the 82-only stop is very confusing. I’m sure more than a few people have accidentally waited there for the 62, since that’s where the #16 used to stop, figuring Metro just screwed up in their stop labeling – only to see the bus pass them by.

        This is part of of the problem with special night-owl routes, in general, and I look forward to seeing routes like the 82 go away, in favor of night-owl service on regular, all-day routes.

      4. Speaking of which, another oddity regarding the bus stop at Woodlawn and Ravenna is why the 26 doesn’t stop there. Instead, the 26 serves another stop just 50 feet away, on the other side of the street, that require an around-the-block detour to reach. For the old 26, that pattern made since, since Woodlawn/Ravenna was the terminus, and the bus had to stop somewhere where it could turn around. But, now that the 26 continues on to Northgate, that extra twist doesn’t make sense anymore.

  12. I think it’s only 5-10 feet, not 30. The 82 shelter has been in place a long time, the 16 used to stop there. I think both shelters at that corner should be removed, as they are more often than not occupied by folks not waiting for the bus. Replace them with the kind of butt-rests that now exist on Campus Parkway and at Third and Pine, for example.

  13. I was browsing for Amtrak Cascades tickets and looking over the schedule, and I noticed something unusual — the schedule builds in some FORTY minutes to travel from Vancouver, Washington to Portland’s Union Station, a distance of just over 8 miles by car. This is an average speed of just 12 miles per hour, pathetic by any standard.

    I’ve never ridden this part of the route before, so can someone enlighten me as to how exactly this is possible? More importantly, is it actually true, or should I just get off at Vancouver and hail an uber/lyft/taxi instead?

    1. It does take thirty minutes somehow to get from the Oregon border to the Portland station. A lot of it is just crossing Hayden Island which you’d think would be small.But yoy cross the Columbia once, then fifteen minutes later you cross it again. I don’t know why it takes so long; I guess the tracks in Oregon aren’t improved.

      I would just stay on the train and enjoy the view. If you hail a taxi you’ll have to wait for it, it may get stuck in traffic, and you’ll be paying thirty dollars for it.

    2. We’ve ridden Cascades a lot, and it is usually 15-20 minutes from Vancouver to Union Station. The rest is schedule padding. Just stay on the train. I-5 on that stretch is notoriously congested.

      1. All the major crew/passenger transfer stations have padding time built in, including the last stop in the schedule.
        Vancouver BC, Seattle, Portland, & Eugene are the ones for Amtrak Cascades.

        If you want to know what the scheduled running time is for those stations adjacent, just read the schedule for the train going the opposite direction.

    3. Some of it is schedule padding, but there are also two busy drawbridges between V Vancouver and Portland. Interstate 5 also has a drawbridge, so they don’t escape river traffic.

      I’ve been on trains that have done this in 10 minutes, and there was one time several years ago it took an hour after two bridge lifts. 15 minutes is pretty normal.

      As to what you should do, that depend on where you are going after you get off and what time of day you are traveling. Interstate 5 is usually terrible at the bridge over the Columbia. If you’re headed far from the Portland station it might be worthwhile, but driving this distance can be very time consuming as it means spending time in downtown at each end plus whatever I-5 is doing.

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