SounderBruce (Flickr)

In 2015, as SDOT began selecting Metro bus routes to improve with Prop 1 funds, much of the first round of funds went not toward frequency or speed, but to ‘schedule reliability’. Basically, congestion was so bad and variability so high that one of the first priorities was simply to pad the schedule to adapt to worsening realities. Later that year in September, facing ever-increasing delays on its Snohomish County commuter services, Community Transit threw “the last $2m [they] could find” to pad their commuter schedules for reliability.

It’s important to note that funds used for schedule padding amount to an indirect subsidy of our single-occupant vehicle culture. While schedule padding can reduce total delay as buses have more chances to recover, padding doesn’t make anyone’s trip faster. It reinforces the perceived right of open vehicular access, increases the cost of each bus trip, reduces all ridership/performance metrics, and downshifts rider expectations into a newer, slower baseline.

Directly quantifying the costs of this congestion is very difficult, but some approximations can be made. Metro has said that its buses are only moving 54% of their run time. 28% is taken up by stop/dwell time and 18% is consumed by traffic delay. Compare this to Link light rail, which is moving 80% of the time, stopped 15% of the time, and delayed up to 5% by (temporary) bus/rail conflict.

In 2015, Metro provided 3.7 million service hours. If 18% of those hours were consumed by traffic, and assuming a conservative $150 per service hour, we can infer that our car habits cost Metro roughly $100m per year in direct service costs. This would be roughly 10% of Metro’s annual budget, imposed by drivers, borne by transit agencies and taxpayers. It’s money lit on fire while we all sit in gridlock, all of us paying more for lesser service. So when we talk about the costs of transit, it’d be helpful to remember the unnecessary costs we already incur, and how transit priority (and enforcement) can often pay for themselves. We shouldn’t be paying to absorb inefficiencies, we should be paying to fix them.

46 Replies to “How Much Does Congestion Cost Transit Agencies?”

  1. So 54% of the time a bus is running, 28% of the time it is at a bus stop, and 18% of the time it is not moving for some other reason. My guess is that a lot of that time is spent stopped at a traffic light. Most congestion is not gridlock (real gridlock is unusual, even though the term is used a lot around here). If a bus is moving along at 5MPH on the freeway, it is still moving. But at that speed it is costing the agency a huge amount of money, especially if one of those buses is a deadhead (a deadhead getting stuck in traffic is common in the evening). But I’m not sure this fits in that 28% category. It is something else, which is simply delay, and I’m not sure if that is measured.

    When it comes to investment, the differences are important. For some runs (e. g. Snohomish County Commuter runs) the most important delay by far is traffic congestion. Spending a bunch of money on off board payment or signal priority would be silly for those bus routes, because the bus makes so few stops and encounters few signals. On other bus routes, though, that wouldn’t be the case. Just about every bus encounters some congestion (this being Seattle) but I’m sure there are routes where — at least for most of the day — the biggest issue isn’t congestion, but traffic lights and dwell times. I’m sure it varies a lot by route, as well as particular segments of routes.

    As mentioned, though, one of the worst parts of a traffic delay is that it kills reliability. Traffic lights tend to balance themselves out. You may encounter 5 minutes of delay due to red lights, but it is usually around 5 minutes. Traffic delay on average might be less, but if it varies from 0 to 15 minutes, that really screws up the system. It is a tough balance, for sure, but given the data as you presented it, I wouldn’t assume that the worst part of our system is that the buses spend too much time in traffic (even though that plays havoc on certain routes). It may be that the worst part of our system is that they spend too much time at bus stops and waiting for the light to turn green.

    1. Delays from other buses are a non-trivial source of delay, especially downtown.

      Bus drivers are not executing the skip-stop pattern on 3rd Avenue to maximize efficiency. One of the big issues is buses blocking both lanes – I see this all the time:

      Bus A leads Bus B into a stop. A takes longer to load than B. Driver of Bus B wants to depart and tries to pull around A to pass but can’t. Both lanes of 3rd Avenue are now blocked. Buses that use the other stop on a different block are stuck waiting behind Bus B in the left lane.

      1. You could say that for operations coordination and training, Third Avenue is the second story of the DSTT underneath it. A part of the system designed not to “operate”, but to be operated, by personnel with sufficient training, skill, and motivation.

        Nobody’s born knowing those rush hour Third Avenue maneuvers. No offense, Joe, but this isn’t Skagit Transit through Downtown Mt. Vernon. Though what I’m trying to do is to either give you guys a positive example to work toward. Or some job openings where some fresh attitudes could give us a badly needed boost.

        So right now I’m giving everybody a “free shot” at my War on Automation. Tunnel and surface, the whole Downtown Seattle Transit Project had potential to prove that in service areas size of ours, human drivers, coordinators, and supervisors could out-perform robotics. Forget the link. John Henry, The Kingston Trio, and 1962 will go retro, just wait!!!!

        Death by Design Assumption, though. That a large majority of our work-force would not just tolerate but demand to participate in a system that would give them lifetime work, precisely because it could never be automated. And nobody’s yet written an algorithm to automate pro-transit political action.

        Only real hope is that some ATU member reading this likes the Route 7, wishes it could always do “joint ops in the DSTT, and is 37.


      2. As a bus driver who is on 3rd 4/5 days, it really bugs me when other drivers aren’t doing the weave. I’m not entirely sure what the cause is though. I’m not sure if some of them never got the memo on how to properly operate on 3rd, or if it’s just them being greedy and trying to get ahead first. When I’m driving trolleys it gets worse though, since the other drivers hate being caught behind a trolley going its correct 5mph(11 or above is when you get in trouble though, so usually its closer to 10) through switches.

      3. >> Delays from other buses are a non-trivial source of delay, especially downtown …

        Exactly. That is my point, and why I think it is way too easy to point to traffic as the main source of our ills. Or, more to the point, assuming that the only way to make things better is to completely remove buses from traffic, or somehow, magically remove all traffic. There are plenty of places where that type of investment makes sense, but there are also places — as you mentioned — where that really isn’t an issue. What if we made a huge investment in off board payment and level boarding downtown? That would be expensive, and you would likely lose a lot of money with fare evasion, but just imagine how much faster the buses would travel if every stop took less than thirty seconds. If you can’t do that (and you probably can’t) then pick a street (3rd, for example) and simply require all buses that travel that street have that.

      4. … and faster buses means lower operating costs for the same number of runs, or allows additional runs that improve frequency and make passengers happier. So there is an investment but to the extent it’s paid back or improves service, it’s net free.

    2. You also have to look at bus speeds. Even if a bus is moving, in congestion the bus is running much slower. Consider the 550 plodding on I90 going 30 mph verses 60 when the HOV lanes are clear.

    3. Even with traffic lights, the reason it takes so long to wait for red lights is that there are too many cars. In an extreme case, take away all the cars, leaving only the buses, and you could replace every single traffic signal with a 4-way stop (or, in many cases, a 2-way stop) without causing any sort of backup.

      1. Yes, of course.

        But even in that scenario it takes a while to get across town. Let me give you an example: Last night I took a ride from the east side of lower Fremont up to Phinney Ridge. I suggested using 3rd and then 65th, but instead we drove over to Fremont Avenue and then on up to Phinney. I am quite confident that we would have saved time had we gone 3rd instead. Yet it had nothing to do with traffic. It was 8:00 PM, and while the streets weren’t empty, they weren’t congested, either. I don’t remember being slowed down by a single car. But we had to stop at several lights, which is normal.

        Now imagine all of those lights were stop signs. I count about a dozen stop signs for a two mile trip. That is dirt slow. Drive a couple blocks, come to a complete stop, then start again (and that assumes no one else is on the road). Even with the random delays of stop lights, you are faster with them. As it was we made most of them (since traffic favors it) but missing out on a couple here and there was the difference, really. That is where signal priority would make a difference. Instead of waiting sixty seconds for a light, we wait for ten. Instead of just missing a light, we make it.

        From a practical standpoint, there will always be cars on the road — delivery vehicles, police, transit, taxis, maybe even private vehicles. It is silly to think that we can do much better from a traffic standpoint than the traffic found at 8:00 PM in Fremont on a rainy Tuesday night. But what we can do is make the buses considerably faster by reducing the time that a bus waits at a stop light (as well as a bus stop).

        Of course traffic is a major problem, but to answer the question asked, we have no idea how big of a problem. For some routes, especially at rush hour, it is a huge problem. For other routes, congestion isn’t a big issue at all — dwell times and traffic lights are the issue. This is especially true of some bus routes that spend a lot of time in bus only lanes in the city (e. g. the E Line). I don’t think we should assume that the only reason buses aren’t really fast is because traffic has gotten so much worse in this town — even old timers like myself would have told you that buses were slow back in the day. Except, of course, for the bus tunnel — buses used to go very fast in there back in the day.

  2. If it’s costing 100m a year, someone should compare how much that funding over the next 10 could instead create BAT and Bus only lanes to remove the need to pad schedules in areas that require the padding the most.

    Then you could see if we’re not only wasting people’s time, but also their money.

    1. Hundred percent right, John. But BAT lane is a slur on Nature’s finest little congestion-fighter. There’s a reason we don’t have Business Access/ Express Train lanes, and it’s not just because VAEMPIRES don’t turn into BAETS.


    2. That doesn’t work. You can’t engineer solutions to congestion for every location on every bus run that’s contributing to that $100 million. It would cost billions and billions and you’d need to take slices of thousands of properties for bus queue lanes and whatnot.

      I’m sorry, but it’s impractical.

      1. I agree. Also, as mentioned, we don’t really know how much of a problem congestion really is. On some routes it is a major problem. For others, the delay caused by traffic lights is the big issue. For others, it is dwell time.

        My guess is the routes that suffer the most are those on the freeway. A huge portion of their time is spent trying to get from point A to point B. The time spent actually dropping off or picking up people is minimal, and they don’t spend a lot of time stuck waiting for the light to turn green. We have a couple ways of solving that problem, of course, one is cheap and one is expensive. We could simply change every HOV 2 lane to HOV 3. That is dirt cheap and would pay for itself in the first week. Or we could build new bus lanes on the freeway. We probably won’t do either, of course.

    3. Completely agree with Jon. Further, I’m interested in “Then you could see if we’re not only wasting people’s time, but also their money.”:

      $100M just factors in the cost of paying the bus driver and some vehicle costs. What it doesn’t look at is all of the other riders on the bus. Assuming there’s an average of just 30 riders on each stuck bus, and assuming each of these riders earn a bit more than a bus driver, then we’re actually wasting $3B a year from congestion. Sure, this needs to be balanced out with how much of SOV drivers’ time you’re wasting, but with reverse induced demand over time this would balance out anyway.

  3. For routes that have owl trips, it seems like you could just derive the time difference between one of those trips and the longest trip and derive a pretty good idea of how much congestion costs.

    1. Great point, though some things like light schedules can be different at night. But as a generalization, yeah that should work.

    2. Night-owl trips also have a lot less dwell time a bus stops, because a lot fewer people ride the bus during those times. It would not be a fair comparison.

    3. You don’t have to go all the way to night owl. 6:30am weekdays, 9am weekends, or 8:30pm daily (for some routes and not on ballgame days) would be a closer comparison. The 75 takes 10 minutes from Rainier Vista to Magnuson Park before 8am and after 7:30pm, but 20-25 minutes midday.

  4. I’m not sure Metro has a methodology to capture the savings once people get used to boarding and alighting faster. My 132 frequently crawls out a snail’s pace in the northbound direction, on a major arterial, just to not get ahead of the scheduled time points, as it should do. But it has been doing that since the 2012 restructure, and never gotten retimed to reflect that it doesn’t need that much time, at least off-peak. And then it is always late coming southbound.

    Ironically, the crawling helps increase the ratio of moving time to stopped time. So those metrics have limited utility.

    In order to save money from all Metro has done to reduce dwell time and traffic-light time, Metro has to occasionally update the schedules to reflect the savings. Maybe they could do a survey to crowdsource which routes, in which directions, are most in need of retiming (to slow down or speed up).

  5. Most important posting since I found Seattle Transit Blog, Zach. Starting with, finally, a figure on cost of one minute of operating delay. Fifty dollars higher than my guess about the real cost of on-board fare collection and general lack of coordination in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

    One instance where cost of dwell-time is a hundred percent under King County Metro Transit’s control. Added to every result of inadequate operator training. I wonder if in the early years we lost as much time to trolley bus dewirements as we do now to inability to reset and restart a hybrid.

    And this in the only part of the system that transit completely controls. For the streets, recent Rapid Ride says it all. Federal Way to Angle Lake, light traffic. The bus hit every single red light. The driver told me that traffic signals were set to hold green for a few extra seconds to let the bus clear.

    Since bus lanes are also turn lanes for both cross streets and business, signal hold is useless. Until we can get full possession of a lane, I think first piece of remedy would be blanket regionwide signal policy that buses stop only at bus stops. Whatever it takes.

    Starting with measure easy, capital-free, and “just do it tonight”: put all signals to flash. Yellow for arterials, red for cross-streets. Give me one non-downside of an idling bus being only vehicle on the street for five mile radius. Vehicle maintenance should have stats on the wear every stop and start puts on machinery.

    “Schedule padding”. Asked a friend of mine with kids in school why “Common Core” is a hate-word for parents. Answer: As presently implemented, result is that the whole class is held to the pace of the slowest student. Who is also the one helped the least. Not the fault of the concept. Just implemented so as to require the least administrative and political effort.

    Real estate: “Location, location, location.” Transit: substitute “Right of Way.” Policy re: rules, fares, and training? If it’s in the way, tow it and fine it.”

    Mark Dublin

  6. Signal delay is only partly traffic delay! Pedestrians also have to have enough time to get across streets!

    Crossing takes quite a lot of time on wide streets. It also is hard to do things like not allow pedestrians to cross for the sake of transit priority. That 18% includes delays created by pedestrians too.

    1. But it’s mostly created by SOV priority lanes. Let’s not get tripped up on a red herring here.

      1. No. A bus in a bus-only lane also has to wait for pedestrian signals.

        The City of Seattle also just put lots more pedestrian-crossing-only signals. When used, buses must stop. There are at least one or two of these new signals on almost every major bus route.

      2. You aren’t wrong. But of that 18%, how much is congestion, and how much is pedestrian crossings. My guess 17% congestion. Also, what then do you propose, eliminate pedestrian access? Stay focused here.

      3. Look at Third Avenue. Many cross streets have no cars after 10-15 seconds, yet the cycles are longer because the timing gives enough time for pedestrians to get across Third Avenue. That’s got to be about 1/4 to 1/3 and maybe 1/2 of the delay time on Third Avenue, as an example.

      4. I’m not suggesting that we incomvenience pedestrians at all. I’m merely pointing out that congestion is not responsible for most of the 18% of buses not moving. It’s probably between 1/3 to 2/3 depending on the route.

        Metro has implemented many easy speed improvements already, and the best way for us to get more rider travel time improvements in the future is going to be redesigning our bus system around completely exclusive transit ways (the new rail lines that we’ve now funded in ST3).

      5. Exactly Al. We shouldn’t assume (based on very sketchy data) that the biggest problem is traffic congestion. It certainly is for some routes, but not for others. Imagine the following treatment for a bus route:

        1) 100% off board payment.
        2) Level boarding.
        3) Signal priority (including pedestrian triggered signals).
        4) New bus lanes.

        It is quite possible that having the first three is way more important than the fourth for a lot of bus routes.

        On a related note, more than once I’ve accidentally stopped the 41 by pressing the walk signal at the wrong time. The 41 is a big hauler (top ten within our system) and Ive felt guilty seeing dozens of riders wait for me (and just me) to cross the street. But it is also a failure in the system. No traffic cop in the world would wave me across if he saw the bus heading that way. Signal priority in this case would mean that I have to wait an extra 10 seconds or so before I get to cross, so that a lot more people get to save a lot more time. (I try and time the walk signal better these days, or simply jaywalk).

      6. RossB – your anecdote of stopping a 41 by requesting a pedestrian signal where transit priority should exist is an indicator, I think, of a larger issue and one that appears to have degraded the limited transit priority that Central Link used to have along ML King Jr. Way South.

        SDOT who is responsible for maintaining signals and managing automobile/pedestrian traffic is forced to respond to political pressure. Your example of route 41/pedestrian signal may have always been designed to operate that way (if a preset length of time has elapsed since the last pedestrian signal request – the signal will immediately grant your request no matter whether there are vehicles approaching and close to the signal or not).

        Last fall SDOT completed a signal upgrade to all signals along the Central Link alignment along ML King Jr Way S. The signal priority for Link was significantly degraded especially during off peak periods. While never perfect, that priority has degraded to the point where we are now frequently forced to stop between stations along the alignment. During off peak periods especially, we see a pedestrian can activate a crosswalk request while the train is less than two blocks away and that request is immediately granted forcing the train to stop. The train then is also behind the “cascade” and must wait at subsequent signals once it is able to proceed after the pedestrian signal cycle.

        Prior to the upgrade, Link enjoyed priority over this: The signal would allow the train through the intersection and the signal would grant all other movements after the train has passed. We who operate Link trains were trained originally that the signals would not grant an opposing pedestrian signal cycle if a train was approaching because a pedestrian movement cannot be cut short – once the walk sign is on it must run its timed period before the signal can change. Unlike vehicle signals which can be cut short when a train approaches. There have always been limits on Link signal priority: Seattle Fire and some law enforcement on emergency calls (via opticom) have and continue to override Link priority (as they should) and when trains are bunched too close together signals would not grant priority to keep the delay to other movements from getting excessive.

        I don’t doubt that SDOT has always been under siege from many sources demanding that it isn’t fair to impose delays on drivers and pedestrians to allow trains to travel without stopping along ML King Jr Way South and perhaps the degrading of Link priority is a result of that. The current outcome however has added more delays both to Link and to other traffic.

        Many agency and managment layers impose a communication barrier that prevent collaboration that could improve performance and limit impacts in these systems.

    2. Gothenburg, Swedish west coast. Professional-courtesys treetcar cab ride, with system’s senior instructor and a trainee. 11AM, straight through the city’s major central shopping area, Brunnsparken. Heavy intermix of streetcars and pedestrians, all moving.

      Very few pedestrian warnings at all. In Gothenburg, nobody puts “jay” in front to the “walking” part. Which includes DNA level streetcar awareness.

      To our left, young woman pushing a baby carriage at a fast walk. The instructor put he palm of his hand against the back of the trainee’s. Preventing the trainee from reflexively pulling back the controller. I would’ve yanked it out of its socket.

      “Just tap the bell. In Gothenburg, we always do this. No exceptions. People expect it.” Understatement. The girl didn’t look up, just slacked off her pace, and let the car roll by. I don’t think there’s even such a thing as “jaywalking” there. Everybody just walks everywhere all the time.

      Though would bet if you get hit by a streetcar, you have to pay for cleaning it. Also, legal system tempered by real universal health care.

      Exactly the same as the very wide “City Hall Plaza”, Oslo’s waterfront park. Major streetcar line, double tracked. Twelve minute headways. Paving stones cut to emphasize outside “envelope” of streetcars. Not Pedestrian Warning Sign One.

      Pedestrians definitely more comfortable at close proximity to streetcars than buses. My guess is an accurate sense that since a railcar is held in place side-to-side, it can’t leave its centerline to get you.

      But experience showed me something comforting long-term, but problematic ’til then. Pedestrians who grow up (baby-carriage rides included) around street rail just incorporate it into their living world. Grooved rail with catenary, listen for bell. Also, “read” pavement vibration.

      Meaning that in a few decades, we’ll have an “immune system” of safety habits for our best accident prevention. The ’til then’ is the tricky part. So whatever we call it, if we put account books above ideology as we develop our system, some extra taxes for health care will over-repay themselves in saved judgments and litigation.


    3. The reason why pedestrians need so much time to cross the street is because the street is too wide. And the reason why the street is too wide is (you guessed it) too many cars.

  7. When drivers have to slow down service to keep time points, might be time to go to headways. Time between coaches. Or trains. LINK has “timers” at Mt. Baker and Rainier Beach stations, doesn’t it?

    On straight heavy-hauling lines like the Route 7, experienced drivers who feel like it will often space themselves out to equalize loads. Same principle as scoops on a conveyor belt. Every bucket carries equal load.

    Though other drivers would rather hold back and let their overloaded “leader” (the bus ahead) take all the people. There’s a quarry over in the hills above Renton, isn’t there? Where nothing on the scoops asks questions or complains? Or evades fares? Improving economy gives every passenger-hater choices.

    If a Route 132 driver has to further slow down everybody’s rush hour to stay on schedule, answer could be to go to headway. Because by now many motorists stuck in line would rather be on transit- if it ran frequent headway on its own signal pre-empted lane.


    1. The issue is that if you just schedule routes as free running time, some drivers will naturally be more aggressive/drive faster than others, and bus bunching results. This is why Los Angeles Metro Rapid, after several years of free running, added timepoints every 20 minutes like every other route in order to maintain reliability.

      1. I think San Francisco handles the bunching problem a little better. Maybe because, with their average trolleybus loads, they have to. Frequent turnback loops, where overhead and lanes let a bus reverse direction.

        Route 44 has needed at least one between the U-District and Ballard since the glaciers melted. Calculation now is that a giant comet will soon bounce off Medina and do the subway.

        Supervisors stand by. When two buses arrive bunched, they transfer all passengers to the second one, and turn the first one back. No reason they couldn’t just as easily have both of them run together as if they were coupled. Just a theory, though.

        Wish I could channel my Atlantic Base instructor Roland McVay. “Don’t you call me sir, dammit! I earn my living. I’m a SERGEANT!” His position was that with aggressively delivered skilled instruction, (he’d throw a wheelblock against the plastic shield behind the driver, as a concentration exercise) drivers will get it together and coordinate. If they naturally want to live.

        Far as I know, LA doesn’t have trolleybuses, though in 1992 there were serious plans for wire out to Santa Monica. Pretty sure plans are still there. Uh, Governor Brown….


      2. As long as we have an accurate real-time arrival system, is bus bunching really that big of a problem? As long as my phone tells me that the bus is coming in three minutes, I don’t really care if it was scheduled for three minutes in the future or eight minutes ago – the fact that it’s coming in three minutes is all that matters.

      3. I depend on bus bunching myself. The second bus 1 minute later with a good seat is always worth it to me.

      4. The three minutes on one end isn’t the issue with bus bunching. It’s the hour wait at the other end because all the quarter hourly buses are still stuck going one way.

      5. @asdf2 — As long as we have an accurate real-time arrival system, is bus bunching really that big of a problem?

        I would say it depends on the level of service. If a bus runs every 30 minutes and is bunched, then when I make a transfer, it doesn’t exactly cheer me up to know that I have to wait 30 minutes (instead of guessing it). I would rather the bus I planned on catching arrive on time.

        On the other hand, if buses run every ten minutes on average, it is no big deal if a bus arrives a few minutes early. I might miss my expected bus and have to wait ten minutes, but that really isn’t the end of the world. When true bus bunching occurs (two buses right next to each other) it usually isn’t the result of the second bus being driven by an over eager bus driver, but by the first bus simply being extremely delayed. If the second person delays to help stretch things out, I don’t think you’ve gained much, since that means it is likely another bus will back into him (so to speak). Typically the first bus just needs to run in “no pick up” mode and only stop when someone rings the bell, leaving bus riders to curse the driver for a second until they see the second (much less crowded) bus.

        In short, actual bus bunching — buses running head to tail — really isn’t the end of the world because it isn’t likely to happen on a route with bad headways. It is far worse to have a problem that is a lot less obvious, which is to have an infrequent bus show up five minutes early, screwing over folks who have to transfer.

  8. I think there’s an argument to be made that with proper city-wide bike share, bikes will take a significant percentage of the *remaining* cars off the road (even if most people still get to where they are going by bus or walking). Efficiency improvements like incremental reduction in congestion, less need to load bikes onto bus racks and one more option for people and businesses that lose their prime parking space or general-purpose lane all help make the most of high quality transit investments.

    That said, I’m not sure whether these studies are using the same measure of congestion or one that’s relevant to this discussion.

  9. An example of bus delay is where the 62 crosses N 50th St on Meridian Ave. Drivers are turning left and drivers going straight don’t have room to pass because of parked cars. I complained to SDOT about this and they refused to make a change that would reduce on-street parking.

    I’m sure there are tons of examples all over the city but there seems to be a lack of political will to address them.

    1. By the rules, if you live in Seattle, SDOT takes orders from your City Councilmember. If not, nothing to lose by making your County Council rep, and the County Exec, wish you’d go away.

      Smart-phone will also let you send real-time problems so viral science will never find a cure. So you’re not helpless here. Speak with an attorney to find out good way to let it be officially known how much civil evidence this corner is generating.


  10. Like bikes, cars are best designed single-width. Build, sell, lease, share, and drive single-width Tango from Spokane-based small business Commuter Cars. Result: traffic congestion resolved and new multi-billion dollar based business in Washington State.

  11. Wish I could’ve gotten to you sooner, Trolleyboy. Glad you’re proud of your trade. But you’ve pinpointed the exact problem here. King County Metro Transit thinks that one of the most important segments of the system can be taken care of with a bulletin.

    These maneuvers require some serious training and practice. In the driver’s seat. Also, everybody in those seats needs to know how to work as a team. Meantime, though, while KC Metro is working on it – meaning no schedule pressure at all- get together with your fellow operators and compare notes.

    And also work intensively on your own technique. Every stop, every pull-away, every passing, every slow for special work. Then you’ll find other drivers coming to you for advice. I hope your planning to stay with trolleys. Because it takes about five years full time before you’ve been through every possible dewirement.

    Then you can relax, and will probably go down Third Avenue like an otter through a chute. Might want to start doing some research on Tunnel history. We started a regional light rail system with essentially trolleybuses with excuses for diesels, though excellent electric package.

    Much info online. Also, archive room on 10th floor of the Downtown Library could have some documents. I think ST still maintains a library behind its information desk- though you need an appointment. You’ve picked a trade you’ll stay with.

    Mark Dublin

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