How Much Does Congestion Cost Transit Agencies?

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.

Mayor Murray Kills Bikeshare (for now) in Seattle

SDOT Photo (Flickr)

In a surprise Friday the 13th announcement, Mayor Murray quashed any attempt to revive public bikeshare in Seattle after Pronto’s March 31 demise. Whereas the Council had given the struggling system a 1-year lifeline, the city will now not follow through with an immediate replacement. Though city staff were optimistic about a potential replacement as recently as October, the potential contract with Bewegen for an electric bike share system is dead for now.

Mayor Murray has achieved this election-year shut down by diverting the intended $5m funding stream to other bicycle projects. Much-needed Center City bike connections will now be prioritized instead, including 4th Avenue from Spring to Vine and east-west connections on Pike and Pine; and $3m will go towards Vision Zero goals via Safe Routes to School. Diverting the funding to other bike priorities is likely intended to soften or blunt the criticism from the bike community, and supportive statements from Cascade Bicycle Club and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways were in Mayor Murray’s press release (see below). But beyond politics, it’s true that a fully-built Center City network will definitely increase the chances of eventual bikeshare success.

So while there may be future chapters for bike share in Seattle, the Pronto saga will come to a close on March 31 with a series of unforced errors and unnecessary political pain. Severely undercapitalized, hobbled by helmets, and going against best practices for network design, Pronto was doomed to disappointment at least and failure at most. For those of us broadly supportive of public biking in Seattle, the slow-moving demise was sad to watch. For now, a second try will have to wait.

Mayor Murray’s press release after the jump.

 Today, Mayor Ed Murray announced over $3 million in funding for Safe Routes to School, as well as other bicycle and pedestrian improvements throughout the city. These projects will grow Seattle’s bicycle and pedestrian network as we continue to lay the foundation for a multimodal transportation system that reflects our growth and our values. The funding for these new projects is derived from funding previously allocated to the 2017 re-launch of the city’s bike share program. It will instead be invested in safety improvement projects and expanding the city’s bicycle and pedestrian network. Pronto, the city’s current bike share service, will end March 31.

“This shift in funding priorities allows us to make critical bicycle and pedestrian improvements—especially for students walking and biking to school,” said Mayor Murray. “While I remain optimistic about the future of bike share in Seattle, today we are focusing on a set of existing projects that will help build a safe, world-class bicycle and pedestrian network.”

The funding will go to the following projects:

  • Adding pedestrian safety improvements, including traffic calming and crosswalk improvements, at 19 schools through the Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Completing a missing link of the 4th Avenue bicycle lane and extension to Vine Street.
  • Accelerating design and outreach for the east/west connections in the Center City bicycle network.
  • Improving accessibility in Pioneer Square by adding curb ramps at key locations.

These projects are scheduled to begin in 2017.

“Cascade Bicycle Club applauds the Mayor for accelerating the downtown bicycle network and connecting key neighborhoods to where people live, work, play, and shop,” said Blake Trask, Senior Policy Director, Cascade Bicycle Club. “These new safety improvements around targeted schools will amplify the bike and walk education that Cascade provides in every Seattle Public elementary school.”

“I’m thrilled Mayor Murray has renewed his commitment to safer routes to school! Any investment in safe routes is a good investment in our children’s health and in Seattle’s future,” said Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. “Mayor Murray’s targeted spending on a downtown bicycle network is also a bold statement that Seattle values safe streets for all people, whether they choose to get around by walking, riding a bike, or in a vehicle. Great choices for a healthy Seattle, Mr. Mayor!”

Should Small Cities Grow Faster?

Downtown Snoqualmie

For over a year, regional planners have wrestled over growth plans with six small cities that are planning to ‘grow too fast’. Last month, the PSRC Executive Board tabled a decision on reclassification that could have eased the way for faster growth in Covington and Bonney Lake.

Six smaller cities, four of them in King County, are planning for growth that runs ahead of regional targets.

The region’s growth management strategy, VISION 2040, focuses most development within an urban growth boundary. Inside the growth boundary, the highest planned growth in each county is in “Metropolitan Cities” like Seattle and Bellevue. The next highest growth rates are planned for “Core Cities”, with progressively lower growth in “Larger Cities” and “Small Cities”. Small cities outside the contiguous urban area should grow more slowly than cities within.

In the last round of comprehensive plans, Six small cities created plans with growth capacity well above their regional targets. Four of these (Carnation, Snoqualmie, North Bend and Covington) are in King County, and two are in Pierce (Gig Harbor and Bonney Lake). In response, their plans were certified conditionally until they could come into compliance with regional goals. To date, the conditional certification has not impacted their access to grant funding, but might do so in the future.

Small cities have lower growth targets because they are typically further from major business centers. This means longer commutes that increase demands on regional transportation infrastructure. Unplanned growth impacts traffic in neighboring communities and on rural roads. The character of small towns is to be preserved. (Some small cities are indeed charming, others maybe less so). But slow growth strains the budgets of many smaller towns, dependent on an influx of new residents or businesses to fund existing services and infrastructure.

Continue reading “Should Small Cities Grow Faster?”

Volunteer Opportunity: Seattle Subway Political Director

Seattle Subway’s political director, Jonathan Hopkins, is moving on to be the Executive Director of Commute Seattle. We’re sad to see him go, he has done a plainly incredible job for Seattle Subway and our region and will be very much missed — all of the congrats to Jonathan on his new role!

He leaves big shoes to fill but a big opportunity for someone who wants to get involved in transit advocacy in our region.

The Seattle Subway Political Director is a central role to our organization. This person is the face of Seattle Subway. This means regular contact with Sound Transit and other government agencies, local politicians and media (print, online, radio and TV).

Duties include but aren’t limited to:

  • Attending monthly board meetings (remotely if necessary).
  • Regular appearances at volunteer events.
  • Maintaining relationships with regional institutions, agencies, politicos and other stakeholders.

We are looking for someone who is excited about what is happening with transit in our city, has excellent communications skills and a passion to get involved. Backgrounds in communications, media relations, political outreach, non-profit work and transit advocacy are all big pluses.

Seattle Subway is an all volunteer organization. If you are interested in joining our team – email contact@SeattleSubway.org

Angle Lake and Mid-Day Sounder Ridership Stats

SounderBruce (Flickr)

Aside from the SE Seattle Metro restructure, the two major service additions in September 2016 were the opening of Angle Lake Station and the addition of the first mid-day Sounder roundtrip. Nearly 4 months after their launch, we wanted to check in on ridership stats for the Angle Lake and Sounder portions.

Sound Transit tells STB that Angle Lake is drawing a weekday average of 2,578 boardings, a Saturday average of 2,174, and a Sunday average of 1,411. Based on August numbers for Link ridership by station, this would place Angle Lake 9th among Link’s 16 stations stations for weekday ridership, slightly higher than Beacon Hill and slightly lower than Tukwila Int’l Blvd.

Angle Lake is naturally dependent on the park & ride commuter market, with little residential/commercial development or bus transfer synergy to induce all day ridership. Sound Transit says that December weekday parking usage ranged from 86-98%. With more than two times the boardings compared to the 1,160 parking spaces, a surprisingly high number of riders seem to be transferring from buses, carpooling, biking, or commuting to Angle Lake for jobs at places like Alaska Airlines.

Sounder

Though Sounder introduced nominal ‘mid-day service’ in September, ridership on the trip pair has been highly asymmetric, with the 10:18am northbound trip (115 boardings per day) having only one-third the ridership of the 2:32pm southbound trip (356 boardings). Given the early schedule of inbound trains from Lakewood and South Tacoma, using Sounder in both directions wasn’t terribly practical before the 2:32pm train was introduced. Now those taking inbound trains in the 4am and 5am hours have a way home by train before 5:30pm. Remember too that the new train uses a smaller 2-car trainset, meaning the afternoon train is packed with 178 riders per car. There is clearly demand for a broader peak period for Sounder.

We’ve requested ridership info on the SE Seattle restructure as well, and will post that when available.

News Roundup: Hotbed

This is an open thread.

Service Reductions for Martin Luther King, Jr Day

GO @SEAHAWKS @SOUNDTRANSIT DOUBLE TALL!

Sound Transit Express will be running their regular service schedules on MLK Day, but may find their usual bus lanes filled with parked cars. . Photo by AVGeekJoe

Next Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Most transit agencies run a regular weekday schedule. The outliers are King County Metro, Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail and Tacoma streetcar, the King County Water Taxis, the Seattle Streetcars, Community Transit’s commuter routes, Clallam Transit, and Mason Transit.

While Link Light Rail is running a Saturday schedule, the Saturday span of service is the same as the weekday span of service. With 3-car trains running all day (as has become the unpublished tradition for all Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays), it will also be more spacious, especially if you wait in the right section of the platform to board the third car.

As Zach pointed out over a year ago, the Seattle Department of Transportation has bought out the Metro weekday reductions on Seattle-only routes (except those in the separate UW reductions category) on minor holidays, but the Seattle Municipal Code hasn’t caught up with that reality. Free parking is allowed on minor holidays in a lot of lanes that would normally function as bus lanes.

Information about bus reroutes can be found at Metro’s, Sound Transit’s, and Community Transit’s alert pages.

I am no longer including shuttles that are not open to the public in this list. Check here for additional transit options provided through the University of Washington. (None of these operate on weekends or on MLK Day.)

Service levels for transit agencies around the region for this Saturday through Monday are below the fold. Continue reading “Service Reductions for Martin Luther King, Jr Day”

Metro All In on Battery Buses: 120 by 2020

AtomicTaco (Flickr)

At a press conference this morning, King County Metro is announcing plans to purchase 120 battery buses by 2020, providing unprecedented opportunities for zero-emission electric bus service throughout Metro’s service network. After 3 years of federally-funded demonstration projects – with 3 battery buses on an interlined loop serving Routes 226 and 241 – Metro is making a bold bet that the technology will mature enough to be reliable on a much broader variety of bus routes.

This bet is bold precisely because the technology is not yet mature, and indeed Metro seems to be attempting to induce its maturation, Kickstarter style. By committing capital and hopefully setting off a competitive blitz among manufacturers, Metro is taking real risks; products could underwhelm or fail to materialize, battery technology could fail to sufficiently mature, manufacturers could go bankrupt, charging stations could become unreliable boondoggles or the next front in the NIMBY wars, etc.

But alongside the risks, the concomitant rewards could be nothing less than transformative. As ST2 and ST3 get built out and Metro implements its Metro Connects Long Range Plan (assuming passage at the King County Council next month), bus routes will become shorter and straighter, lengthy express service will be deemphasized, buses will be ever less dependent on reliability-killing freeways, and routes will increasingly feed Link stations that have substantial footprints amenable to charging stations. Metro’s current fleet is 1,423. Together with 174 trolleys, all-electric vehicles will constitute about 20% of the fleet, and King County has a long-term goal of a 100% zero emissions fleet.

Continue reading “Metro All In on Battery Buses: 120 by 2020”

C-Tran Welcomes Vine, Washington’s 2nd True Bus Rapid Transit Line

C-Tran Photo

Clark County and Vancouver, WA aren’t exactly known for transit. Often seen as the Republican yin to Portland’s yang, where the dream of the suburbs is alive, Vancouver gets a bad rap. Local Republicans (often led by the gleefully antagonistic Don Benton) have been exceptionally hostile to both Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and to extending MAX across the Columbia, and C-Tran’s voters have twice poured cold water on local funding for its Vine BRT project. In the classic bait and switch of turncoat BRT supporters, one C-Tran board member said Vine was “a Ferrari when a Pinto would do“, and then local Republicans sued to stop the project on account of it not being “true high-capacity transit.”

So in one final act of ironic perseverance, Vine opened yesterday on a snow route, using older non-articulated buses, and skipping its brand-new stations. Once the ice storm melts, Vine will provide better service at less operating cost for the 6,000 daily riders on the Fourth Plain corridor between Downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Mall. Despite a mostly mixed traffic channelization, the line comes far closer to true BRT than RapidRide. Back in October, Bruce had a good write-up of its features:

The Vine will operate more like Community Transit’s Swift than Metro’s RapidRide, featuring a wider variety of traditional BRT features. Stations are spaced a third of a mile apart, with only 17 pairs on the 6.7 miles from Downtown Vancouver to Vancouver Mall. Platforms are raised to be level with buses, which have three doors for boarding and three interior bicycle racks for roll-on boarding through the back door. Payment is done off-board, with ticket vending machines at all stations; the Portland region’s new Hop Fastpass fare card will debut next year and C-Tran is one of the launch agencies, so integration with The Vine is expected soon. Sections of Fourth Plain Boulevard, where The Vine runs, will have transit signal priority to help speed up bus travel through the corridor by as much as 10 minutes, despite remaining in mixed traffic.

Congrats to C-Tran on sticking through the many setbacks to provide a huge service improvement to their riders.

“Architectural Variety”

Jon Talton is one of my favorite Seattle Times columnists. His latest big-picture piece in the Sunday Magazine ($) has a lot in it that I agree with, although overall it has a get-off-my-lawn tone.

But one sentence bothered me a lot:

Dull glass-skinned towers have replaced architectural variety.

For one thing, many of the new towers are anything but dull. Secondly, the best place to find architectural monotony is in the single-family neighborhoods, frozen in amber by law, where any differentiation beyond one craftsman after another is viewed as an affront to the “character” or “scale” of the neighborhood. Genuinely challenging new architecture is almost always despised by its future neighbors, going all the way back to at least the Eiffel Tower. Moreover, we’ve set up a design review process where the surest guarantor of success is copying whatever got through before.

Even in the absence of all this, there are surely economic incentives to build a certain kind of building in a certain style, and repeat ad nauseum.  But all of the process we’ve erected to police building style, and the kind of comments that come in as opposition, serve to reinforce architectural sameness and squash whatever individualist impulse might exist. It’s fine to be bored with one identical building after another, but it’s important to remember who to blame.

Sen. Hasegawa Seeks to Put Commercial Wheelchair Vehicles in the Fast Lane

Sen. Bob Hasegawa

In a turn for the better, State Senator Bob Hasegawa (D – Renton) has chosen a new transportation cause: allowing commercial vehicles carrying wheelchairs to have access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes. The bill digest for Senate Bill 5018 states that the bill:

Authorizes the use of high occupancy vehicle lanes by private, for hire vehicles that have been specially manufactured, designed, or modified for the transportation of a person who is wheelchair-bound and has a physical or medical impairment.

The bill does not require that such vehicles be given access to HOV lanes. Rather, it authorizes the appropriate governing authorities to offer that access.

SB 5018 was pre-filed on December 30. The Senate Transportation Committee will have its first meeting of the 2017 regular session on January 11th. No bill hearings have been scheduled yet.

Committee Chair Curtis King (R – Yakima) was very supportive of Sen. Hasegawa’s unsuccessful bills to make Sound Transit pay the cost of parking permits for homeowners near light rail stations. Perhaps their friendship will put this simple little non-ideological bill on the fast track.

Link Soars, Sounder Struggles: November 2016 Sound Transit Ridership

Sounder Bruce (Flickr)

November was an incredible month for Link ridership, with 66,237 average weekday boardings, up 95% from November 2015. Though down from October’s 68,387, this represents the first November in which ridership was higher than July, continuing the shift away from seasonal tourist fluctuation. Recent weekend trends continued, with Saturday ridership surprisingly strong (+103%) and Sunday ridership surprisingly sleepy (+37%)

Other trends were not as happy. Sounder had a very difficult Q4, but mostly due to factors outside its control. BNSF construction just south of Auburn Station led to unreliable trip times, and on-time performance fell to 81% in November. Staff reported to the Operations Committee Thursday that Amtrak (Sounder’s maintenance contractor) failed to refuel enough locomotives on December 26, leading to cancelled trips the following day. Year-over-year Sounder ridership fell by -0.8% mostly due to losses on the North Line (-3.4%), as a switch in the order of 2 and 3-car trains led to overcrowding and customer complaints (which quintupled compared to September). Though BNSF construction will wrap up this month, Sounder has other operational challenges later this year, with likely service interruptions/bus bridges for the switchover to the new Tacoma Trestle this autumn.

Data and charts after the jump. Continue reading “Link Soars, Sounder Struggles: November 2016 Sound Transit Ridership”

Metro Brings Carpool Permits to 6 More Park and Rides

The 15 lots at which Carpool Permits will be offered. (Republic NW Map)

Metro announced yesterday that it will offer carpool parking permits at 6 park and rides (P&R). Beginning February 1st, carpool groups can obtain permits for reserved spaces at Eastgate, Issaquah Highlands, Northgate, Redmond, South Kirkland, and South Renton.

Metro’s entry into the program will boost carpool access by 66%, with the 6 new P&Rs joining the 9 that Sound Transit already operates on a partial permit basis. All but one of these new sites – South Renton P&R, though ST 560 is two blocks away – are served jointly by Sound Transit and Metro, so this new program will help to provide access more equally throughout the system. It will also offer express bus riders a bit of modal equality, with the prior lots being mostly located at Sounder and Link stations.

Metro’s program will be nearly identical to the program rolled out by Sound Transit, with the primary difference being the $5 nominal fee that only Sound Transit will charge, whereas Metro’s permits will be free. Republic Parking NW will operate both programs jointly, and Metro will reevaluate the performance of its 6 new lots after one year. Current occupancy data shows that half of Metro’s P&Rs are at 80% capacity or greater, and all of the 6 P&Rs chosen for this pilot program are at 93% or greater occupancy.

Parking is a capital intensive, space-hogging resource that fundamentally cannot scale, with hundreds of spaces being filled all day on a small handful of buses or trains. With Link construction set to make a scarce resource dearer still – with South Bellevue and Overlake TC losing parking early this year – increasing passenger density at other P&Rs is clearly preferable to sourcing new capacity (though Sound Transit is planning lots of that too).

But parking is a legitimate niche product for those needing transit access for whom fixed-route transit service would be prohibitively expensive or inefficient for agencies to provide. With this natural scarcity and high demand, park and rides will always be oversubscribed unless agencies provide either preferential access to carpools and/or provide a market price for single-occupancy spots. Though pricing would be the strongest way of managing demand, the expansion of carpool permitting is an encouraging step in the right direction, and will reward those who make more efficient use of the resource. Kudos to Metro for jumping on board.

Micro-Fixes for Link Ops

Widescreen of @SoundTransit Chrome Train

Photo by “Beast Mode” AVGeekJoe / flickr

Link Light Rail had its busiest year by far in 2016, and saw its largest ridership growth ever, with ridership growth surpassing the original year’s ridership for similar periods of time, counting from the opening of University of Washington Station and Capitol Hill Station. It is still settling into its new routine after the opening of Angle Lake Station in late September.

Calls continue for running 3-car trains as much as possible, to deal with occasional but frequent crushloads. Having only three-car trains could probably be done, at the same scheduled headway, at great expense, and possibly messing up some plans for what happens after the buses get kicked out of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel in the next few years (as, once ST rolls out service, frequency, or capacity, it is loathe to undo it later).

Today, I’ll offer some suggestions to improve Link operations that can be done regardless of the 2- or 3-car train debate. The first four impact what will be in the printed schedule that comes out in March.

1. Remove the minute of padding in the schedule at SeaTac Airport Station. It does not take four minutes to get there from Angle Lake Station or from Tukwila International Boulevard Station. We have the video evidence that ALS to SAS can be done in 2:45. Nor does it always take at least a minute for passengers with luggage to board or deboard. Thanks to the schedule padding at SAS, operators often have to wait half a minute or more after everyone boards before the scheduled departure time allows them to proceed. Some operators keep the doors open, and some keep the doors shut, while waiting for the departure time. If drivers could save half a minute each way at SAS, that would be another minute of break they could get. Continue reading “Micro-Fixes for Link Ops”

Between-Car Barriers Coming to Non-DSTT Link Stations

Impact Recovery Systems’ Sentinel™ barriers,
as deployed on an LA Metro platform
This afternoon, the Sound Transit Board’s Operations & Administration Committee will take up a contract proposal with Impact Recovery Systems, Inc. to install between-car barriers on the platforms of Link Light Rail stations. Impact Recovery Systems has a long resume of transit agency customers that have paid them to install various between-car barriers, including chains and other materials attached between cars, and the tightly-spaced series of poles that have become the cutting-edge technology in the field.

There have been several high-profile cases of blind riders walking off light rail and subway platforms between train cars, and then getting run over. Most recently was one in DC, resulting in DC Metro installing chains between cars. LA Metro, St. Louis MetroLink, and the “T” in Pittsburgh use the between-car platform barriers.

The barriers will be installed first in the twelve stations outside the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, as there are no operational issues in the way. That installation is expected to be complete by the end of March.

The contract includes purchase of enough barriers for the DSTT stations, but installation might not happen until the buses leave the DSTT permanently, per Kimberly Reason, Sound Transit spokesperson. A stakeholders group is working to find a way to install barriers in the DSTT without negatively impacting bus operations.

Currently, it is the job of DSTT security staff to assist vision-challenged riders. King County Metro also provides free travel training for various categories of riders with disabilities.

Sky Train platform floor arrows
While the stakeholders deliberate, platform floor arrows are planned for installation in Westlake Station, and then possibly the other 3 DSTT stations, showing where the train doors will be. The floor arrows would then be removed once joint operations ends.

I asked Reason whether shifting all the southbound buses to Bay C, the forward-most bay on the southbound platforms, could enable the barriers to work in the DSTT. Per Reason, that would risk restricting the flow of buses as well as trains in/through the DSTT.

As is the case with many features used to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are positive spin-off effects for the general population. Riders would be able to see where the break is between the second and third car, and cluster there where they are in position to board whichever car is rear-most. This would help to spread out passengers, make better use of capacity, and speed up boarding.

The ST Operations & Administration Committee meets at 1 pm in the Ruth Fisher Boardroom at Union Station.

News Roundup: Atrocious

Skagit Transit Route 717 in the Snow

Catching up with Human Transit:

This is an open thread.

Sounder to Run for Seahawks Playoff Game Saturday

Dave Honan (STB Photo Pool – Flickr)

Limping into the playoffs but happy to be playing at home, the Seahawks play the Detroit Lions on Saturday at 5:15pm at CenturyLink field. Sound Transit announced last night that Sounder will serve the games with a typical service of 2 trains from Lakewood, 2 from Everett, and 1 from Sumner.

The first South Line train will run local service from Lakewood-Puyallup and then express to King Street, the second train will originate in Sumner making all stops, and the 3rd train will operate all stops from Lakewood.

The two North Line trains will be scheduled 15 minutes apart, with 2:15 and 2:30pm departures from Everett.

All 5 trains will arrive well before kickoff during the 3:00 hour, and will depart after the game in staggered slots, with South Line trains leaving 10, 20, and 40 minutes after the final whistle, and North Line trains leaving 15 and 35 minutes afterward. Standard fares of $3.75-$5.75 apply, and unlike Metro’s cash shuttles (which will not operate) all ORCA pass products are accepted.

Even if you’re not a sportsball fan, there’s nothing stopping you from using these trains opportunistically as weekend Sounder service. One thing I like to do on days like these is take Sound Transit 578 to Puyallup, ride the Foothills Trail to South Prairie, and return in time to catch the express train back to Seattle. Any suburban folks wanting a Saturday day trip to Seattle have a tailor made 5-hour window for errands or entertainment. Just expect large, blue-green crowds :)