Readers sometime ask us how to join our writing staff.  While we’re thrilled to have Zach working part time, it is our volunteer writers (including yours truly) who guide the overall direction of the site and allow us to cover far more than one person can manage.  Staff writers get more freedom to publish what they want on the front page, access to our informative and entertaining internal communications, and a few social opportunities. More importantly, the natural flow of things is that many volunteers eventually move on after a while.  Keeping STB vibrant and interesting requires new — and especially diverse — voices.

If you have something unique to share with our readers related to transit or land use or cities generally, writing a guest post is the easiest way to start. Many people have a couple of posts about transit in them (and we welcome guest posts from anyone), but successful staff volunteers have enough inspiration to write at least a post or two a month for an extended period of time.

To write a guest post, simply sign up for Page 2. Instead of hitting ‘publish’ immediately, you might save your piece as a draft and send us a note. An article that gets an editing pass or two has a much higher chance of making it to the front page. If you’re interested in writing, but the mechanics of online writing and publishing seem too intimidating, let us know and we’ll find other ways to collaborate.

After a few successful guest posts, if you still have more to say, we’ll invite you to join the handful of people that have helped lead the conversation on transit in Greater Seattle.  If that sounds interesting to you, sign up for a Page 2 account and let’s start working together.

3 Replies to “How to be an STB Staff Writer”

  1. If push comes to shove Martin, I’m here. But be forewarned: I’m an active participant in many of the North by Northwest things you’d have me cover and I’d be more of a columnist if not G*d forbid an opinion columnist. Plus my service area is Skagit-Island-Snohomish counties with a side of Sound Transit fandom.

  2. I would love to see a balance to the “transit agencies walk on water” approach that I too often see in this blog. News flash: they don’t walk on water. That’s because these agencies are run by people, many of whom have never had a job in the private sector, where budgets are often cut and revenues can be mercurial, where employee benefits are more modest, and where accountability is much stronger, else they get bought out or go out of business. They live in a different world and, while well-intentioned, have blind spots to efficiency and to the customer experience. Instead of fear of offending the agencies or appearing to be anti-transit, there should be bold push back in this blog, e.g., on proposals that lack support. The Paine Field excursion for Ev-Link is a prime example, for it adds $1 billion in costs, 5 years to the timeline, and carries ~44% higher O&M costs while adding 2 weeks/year to the typical Everett-Seattle commuter and presumably a higher fare. Since no local bus service is supplanted, Everett won’t see new local bus service hours because of it. Local politicians countered that the saw plans for the Paine Field area that warranted the diversion, yet never (to the best of my knowledge) released what these plans were. There’s an opportunity for STB to fill in those blanks!!! Similarly, there will be BRT on I-405. Yeah! However, are those new service hours, and if so, how many? That’s because ST already has robust service there, especially on the north half, and when you combine it with the other transit agencies’ service there, is close to BRT level. It’s even closer to BRT level on SR-522, when you combine ST’s 522 and Metro’s 372. Again, are any new service hours being added, or is it just branded buses (a requirement of BRT) and nicely-painted stations? Another idea: interview the committee members at Metro, the behemoth transit agency around here that ironically is the most progressive, who are providing feedback on what’s not working for the frequent transit user, such as U-Link connections to buses or getting to the Mt. Baker station. We all need to be advised: most of these agencies have well-oiled spin machines that orchestrate the messages they want us to receive, and their primary goal is to protect their fiefdoms and their own individual agency agendas. STB needs to cut through that in an objective manner.
    Last thought! Now that ST-3 has passed, the taxes are starting to kick in. How are people reacting? Many are finding out for the first time (didn’t vote or did, but didn’t figure out the impact to them). For instance, this letter in the Olympian from Richard N. Mercier, University Place:

    Sound Transit: Sticker shock is hitting hard

    My wife came to me today extremely upset. After asking her what was wrong, she told me that while her Social Security cost of living increase was minimal for 2017, her car tabs increased by 344 percent. After saving for a new car, I don’t know if we want to keep it.

    Sound Transit’s November proposition was rammed down the throats of all working people in the three regional counties of Pierce, Snohomish and King. While Pierce County overwhelmingly rejected it, our neighbors to the north have thrust upon us this overbearing new increase in taxes.

    With 2017 upon us, I hope those in Snohomish and King counties start to feel the sting in their wallets as well. And it’s not over. Wait until they see the increases in their property and sales taxes.

    Maybe they should have tried a fundraiser instead of flushing the rest of us down that endless hole in the ground.

    And if the estimates are correct for the annual growth rate for operations and maintenance, along with the inflation rates of construction, these taxes not only will need to be increased in the future, they very may well be perpetual.

    1. As to;

      The Paine Field excursion for Ev-Link is a prime example, for it adds $1 billion in costs, 5 years to the timeline, and carries ~44% higher O&M costs while adding 2 weeks/year to the typical Everett-Seattle commuter and presumably a higher fare. Since no local bus service is supplanted, Everett won’t see new local bus service hours because of it. Local politicians countered that the saw plans for the Paine Field area that warranted the diversion, yet never (to the best of my knowledge) released what these plans were. There’s an opportunity for STB to fill in those blanks!!!

      #1. It was literally serve Paine Field or lose the Snohomish County vote.

      #2. It was very clear many wanted a light rail stop at Seaway Station at Paine Field. #1 ST3 meeting attendance was at Everett Station.

      #3. Right now, as we type Everett Transit and soon Community Transit will plan to serve Seaway Station with a lot MORE service hours. It’s gonna be awesome, I’m told.

      Now hold on to your hats…. it’s gonna get real interesting up here.

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