UW Station at night

This is an open thread.

75 Replies to “News Roundup: Finally”

  1. It’s bad enough that large apartments are ever built near freeways, but it is so much worse that many cities, including Seattle, force almost all new, large construction projects next to freeways and major thoroughfares, thus endangering far more people. Also doesn’t help that new apartments in Seattle are made so residents can’t open their windows more than an inch.

    1. Cities don’t force large housing construction up against freeways. Neighborhood associations do.

      1. Associations force cities to force construction, cities and council members don’t push back. Same difference.

      2. @Brent: Zoning is a major factor here, and it’s passed and enforced by cities. If you look at the general shape of zoning plans you see the highest zoning near the biggest interchanges and roads — that’s a legacy of highway-oriented transportation planning as much as “neighborhood associations”.

  2. Do Uber and Lyft worsen congestion?

    Frequently travel lanes become parking lanes for said vehicles. Instant, unpredictable road diets.

    1. Doubly so for bike lanes. The belief seems to be that hazard lights make anything a loading zone. On Tuesday I saw one that pulled into parking on the left side of a four lane, two-way arterial to pick up their ride (24th at Lynn or so). That means they twice crossed two lanes of a busy road by driving the wrong way.

      I think we need to increase the number of loading zones and then enforce that outside of residential neighborhoods, you walk to the nearest loading zone to meet your uber/lyft, rather than expecting the driver will stop exactly where you are.

      1. Cities with lots of taxis have been dealing with this for years. I think it is a little worse with for-hire services (like Uber and Lyft) because people call for a car, then sit inside waiting for them to show up… whereas with street-hail the cabs only pull over when someone is physically there hailing them. But only a little.

        All cabs and for-hire cars should be using legitimate parking spaces or loading zones every time. They’re not like garbage trucks, where it would be implausible to reserve all the places they need to stop (particularly on residential arterials). Back when I rode Dexter every day I heckled everyone I saw parked in the bike lane… and sometimes I stopped and told them I was calling the police if they didn’t move. That usually got them out of the way. I think it would only take a minority of cyclists being fairly prickly about it to shape the culture…

      2. When I LIVED on dexter I remember a lot of cyclists almost running me over when I tried to cross to the bus stop..

        It’s always the same pattern. They are going way too fast in the bicycle lane. They can’t stop. They almost kill me. Then THEY would get mad at me and swear at me before speeding off.

        If you are going too fast in the bike like to stop, you are going too fast and need to drive in the road. It isn’t pedestrians jobs to scurry out of the way when you guys come blasting through at 30mph. We can’t even see you most of the time.

        Frankly after being sworn at and almost run over by bicyclists as a pedestrian so many times living on dexter, it makes me sick to see people acting self righteous and bragging about hassling people who live in the neighborhood.

        Dexter is a place people live, not a bicycle highway for aggro bros commuting to their amazon gig from Fremont.

      3. As a commuter cyclist, the Uber in the bike/travel lane problem has gotten worse over the past year. For awhile, it’s been having to swerve around the Uber while giving them a solid whack on their window. Recently, I’ve had more and more Ubers merge into the bike lane, while I’m next to them in the bike lane, even at times where there’s no parking lane on the other side.

        I think the City needs to institute a $500 fine for ride share vehicles illegally waiting or picking up in the bike/travel lanes. Have a snitching program where people can upload pictures or videos of a violation in progress.

        Naturally, it won’t be enforced, as which every other traffic law, but it’ll at least give something for the City to pat themselves on the back once again, as they help Seattle towards Zero Vision…I mean Vision Zero.

        @Brendan: If you are crossing at an intersection or designated crosswalk, you have the right-of-way. Just give them a little nudge; they’ll think twice before refusing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.

      4. @Brendan: I don’t think the people parking in the bike lane live in the neighborhood. If they did they’d park their cars in actual parking spaces at their homes instead of sitting there staring at their phones in a bike lane in front of someone else’s.

        FWIW, when this was my commute, I did live in the neighborhood and commuted north. I actually stopped for people crossing the street. You can believe me or not, whatever, I don’t get my self worth from what jerks write on the Internet. I actually agree that general commuter cyclist behavior on Dexter is overly aggressive. I usually rode against the main commute flow, and on days when I had errands that took me along with it I was sort of shocked by it at times.

      5. You want Uber drivers to get commercial plates so they can use the loading zone? How’s that going to work with occasional drivers where the fee eats up most of their income, plus they’ll have to drive around with commercial plates all the time they’re not Ubering.

      6. I mean, they’re using their cars for a commercial purpose, so…

        If that doesn’t fit, maybe they should lobby the city for a change, or else we should create some new kind of zone for it?

        But every damn one of them parked in a bike lane needs a ticket and a fine.

      7. Commercial plates are cheap; many pizza delivery drivers spring for them just so they can use “truck” signed loading zones and park in alleys legally. Commercial tab fees are based on vehicle weight, so for an ordinary sedan the registration cost is basically the same for commercial plates as passenger plates.

        Getting the city’s commercial vehicle window sticker opens up another set of free parking spaces beyond the truck spaces, and they’re pretty cheap, just an annual fee of a couple hundred dollars last time I checked. But the paperwork can be a pain in the ass, because the whole process assumes a vehicle directly owned by / registered to a Seattle business. If you actually have a company-owned vehicle, it’s an easy process. If you’re using your personal vehicle and working for someone else’s business, good luck dealing with that bureaucracy.

      8. @Al Dimond If they don’t live in the neighborhood…. what do you think they are doing in dexter exactly? There are a handful of offices on that road, but it is mostly a residential neighborhood. Dexter is not a “destination” area. The only bar closed down a couple of years ago.

        Most of the people parked in the bike lanes are picking people up or dropping them off from one of the apartment buildings.

        Not everyone has a parking space or a car! Parking is expensive. I never owned a car when I lived there. I took the bus, walked or ubered.

        Somehow if you live on that road and take an uber, bicyclists feel entitled to level abuse at you, even though those same bicyclists I’m sure use uber in their own neighborhood.

  3. “legislature may go after car tabs instead.” – meaning fix the depreciation schedules, or eliminate them entirely?

    1. The bill basically says that the valuation must be the lower of the blue book or NADA values. Personally I think that’s more fair (although the fairest would be the average of a variety of sources), although it will cost ST a chunk of revenue.

      Nothing I can see about killing off the car tabs completely.

      1. I understood that cannot be changed as to the bonds already sold (violates the Constitution’s impairment of contracts clause). So they’d need two different depreciation schedules, one for ST1 and 2 and one for ST3.

        I can just see the confusion that would sow, particularly where they’re promised by their legislators that this fix will simply work.

  4. Fauntleroy Way is still going to be 2 GP lanes each way, right? Seems more like “parking vs bikes” … basically street parking goes away and the neighborhood gets PBLs & some nice trees instead, right?

    1. I’m more concerned about the loss of the center lane. With the street layout in that area, trying to get across oncoming traffic is already difficult enough.

      And while I like the idea of walkable boulevards in general, maybe the primary access route to the West Seattle bridge isn’t exactly the best place for it.

      1. If you’re gonna have business access on a street, it’s gotta be walkable. It’s 2017, no more “stroads”.

        I think the idea with the center lane/median is to consolidate the number of places where you’d have to “get across oncoming traffic”, and that you’ll have a dedicated turn lane to do it every place it’s allowed.

      2. Who is “getting across traffic”? If it’s pedestrians, that’s what the cross-walks are for. If it’s cars, reducing the number of places to turn in front of traffic is both safer and more efficient.

      3. The plan doesn’t involve removing any center lane as one doesn’t exist in this corridor for the most part. The current plan is to remove the dedicated right turn lanes for the two blocks between Avalon and Oregon and add a landscaped median. The businesses want the city to instead turn the median into a center lane to improve car access. There’ll be a dedicated left turn pocket for the one turn onto 38th Ave that currently has a turning lane. The whole opposition really seems pretty myopic.

      4. I have no idea what I was thinking; Jesse is correct. For some reason I thought there was much more center turn lane on Fauntleroy than there actually is. The only place I see this plan causing problems (based on the concept image in the link) is the entrance to Trader Joe’s, which is already a cluster.

        I still think the median would be better suited to a center lane rather than trees, but I don’t see this worsening traffic flow.

    1. When I regularly rode the 372 in the early 00’s, I’d say there was something that one might call a signature scent, although it wasn’t enticing riders.

    2. The old Bredas on Route 43 had a very distinctive smell. I wouldn’t say it was nice, but it wasn’t horrible either.

    3. This is one reason people don’t ride transit, because of the people on them. Maybe this would be a good idea, at least clean up the smell.

  5. That “one car family” story was ridiculous. The people being profiled seemed to perceive their action as heroic, with many sacrifices involved. In Seattle (especially the inner neighborhoods), it’s just not that hard living without a car during the week. Plus, the car-less dude said he almost missed a flight because of a late arriving ride-share?! Even from Magnolia, the smart choice to the airport would be Link if you desire predictability. Even crazier is they still have one car, which makes their situation super un-whineable.

    1. The majority of residents still consider it exotic and impractical. I’m surprised at the number of people on Capitol Hill and Queen Anne who drive everywhere, even though I moved there because it’s the most walkable and has the most frequent transit. But at least the drivers on Capitol Hill know that a lot of people don’t have a car so it’s theoretically possible. When you get out to north Ballard or Greenwood or West Seattle or Rainier Valley, the number of people who think their neighbors don’t have cars or that they wouldn’t be making a major sacrifice drops to near zero, and even more so in Renton and Bellevue and Kenmore. These news clips are important to show that it is feasable and what the real tradeoffs are, as opposed to the imagined tradeoffs.

      It’s like when I grew up in Bellevue and we always went to large supermarkets and Fred Meyer and the malls. and I wondered how people in Seattle could live without them. But after living in the U-District for a few years I realized that the small supermarkets and hardware stores had everything I need, and I only had to go to Northgate or Fred Meyer a couple times a year, and Southcenter even less than that (because some businesses are only around Southcenter). Likewise, people think that downsizing to a one-car or zero-car family is a major sacrifice, but it just requires being willing to do things differently, learning about the transit-accessible destinations that are available, and prioritizing different things.

    2. Depending on how much luggage one had, taking a rideshare to the airport could be much easier than Link.

    3. You have to remember in many people’s eyes today its inconceivable that human beings could ever have possibly gathered food or raised children without cars.

    4. And that cars are also used as raincoats and purses…or in the case of the guy in the article, car as gym bag. The comment about how to go to Starbucks or the gym in the rain without a car was priceless to me.

  6. Thank you guys for posting the ST jobs! I already applied to one of them and, I’m dying for the opportunity to work for the agency. Also, broadcasting these postings makes it easier for ST to get the best talent the region can offer.

    1. But will all these transit jobs paying more than $10,000 a year, who will want to serve on the People’s Sound Transit Board?

  7. “These proposals ignore the shared benefit and obligation in building a regional transportation system, and sound more like the whining [after the presidential election]”

    Good for the Everett Herald! Everett, Snohomish County, and I assume the Herald argued heavily for the Paine Field detour and the Everett extension, and Snohomish County voters accepted it. Now be a man and accept the consequences of your advocacy and choice.

    (The parellels with the presidential vote aren’t quite exact. That was affected by gerrymandering and voter suppression in the south and east, lies and unrealistic promises and voodoo economics and the media promoting them, and some level of Russian involvement we don’t know how much yet).

  8. “A backlash was inevitable after last fall’s voter approval of a mammoth $54 billion Sound Transit package. Nobody should be surprised that Republicans in Olympia would use their bully pulpit to administer some of the harshest lashes. GOP caucus members have offered a handful of bills to rein in Sound Transit’s authority, hoping to undermine the newest controversial mix of taxes.”

    The legislature is shocked, shocked that ST used the tax authority the legislature gave it.

    And no fake protests about time limits. The legislature knew the authority was perpetual when it granted it, and that the 15-year plan was just an example to illustrate how much it would collect in that time. If it wanted to limit the taxes to 15 years — and if it would have gotten enough legislative votes to approve in spite of the cities and ST opposing that — then it could have done so. The practical limit is that ST won’t build beyond the ST3 projects without another vote (unless it comes in under budget and there’s money left over).

    1. You do realize that Sound Transit could have made changes long ago, right? You also realize Sound Transit used the calculation they did because it was easier for them, even if they gauged the ones who pay for it (ie, taxpayers)? Voters were not educated, it’s as simple as that (this is a fact, look who gets elected around here). Now, in a region that has unaffordable housing, worsening traffic (which ST3 won’t alleviate), etc, those on fixed incomes (namely the elderly), are continually being forced to make difficult decisions which they shouldn’t have to make. And now the mayor of this city wants another tax for the homeless crisis he created? It won’t be long before any types of taxes will be voted down, just because the taxpayer got pushed around and taken advantage of one too many times, and what to show for it?

      I do think the headline of “grown up editorial” is everything but grown up. In essence, if someone disagrees with someone, they’re not grown up. That’s the exact problem we have today, name calling of those who have a different, albeit valid, opinion.

      1. ST was required to use that calculation by the state legislature.

        Building more roads doesn’t relieve traffic either. What grade separated transit does is give you and many more people then I-5 a way around traffic. It’s far more reliable then driving, even if you have self-driving cars.

        The best way to solve the homeless problem is to give them guaranteed housing, and we need money to pay for that. Germany has far higher taxes then we do, and their economy does fine.

      2. Show us the regional roads only plan, with specific projects, that we can vote for.

        Then we can see what the driving public will tolerate tax-wise.

        I know a few local city level road improvement taxes, pre-ST3, that citizens voted down (Edmonds, Bothell).

      3. “And now the mayor of this city wants another tax for the homeless crisis he created?”

        Murray created the homeless crisis? Homelessness started in the 1980s, it got worse with the 2008 crash, and worse again because rents went up 40% in the past five years.

  9. Turning 23rd into one-lane each way from Rainier all the way to Montlake is crazy! Is that really the plan? I love how people say that turning 4 lanes into 2 with a center lane for turning doesn’t impede traffic. I mean, really? LIARS. Everything DOT does makes traffic worse in Seattle. So it must be purposeful. The whole Montlake/520 redo is Exhibit A. Looks like 23rd AVe. redo will become Exhibit B – which if it extends all the way to Montlake will turn the entire area north of Madison or Boyer into one giant parking lot. Shocking to me that people put up with it.

    1. You don’t really live in Seattle, do you? It’s just a bunch of snotty liberals in your way to work every morning.

    2. We put up with it because these rechannelizations actually work. It hasn’t been perfect, but for the most part it has been a net positive.

    3. As somebody who regularly drives 75th NE and often drives 23rd, it makes no difference in travel time. If anything, it’s sped up a bit.

      The main limit on travel time was people taking lefts and forcing traffic into the (narrow) right lane. The resulting weave was tricky, because people who didn’t notice the turn signal would try to squeeze into spots in the right lane, and right turners, and the lane was very narrow. The result was slow for everybody. Oh, and taking lefts sucked, because you had two lanes to cross, and the people waiting to take lefts from the other direction obscure your view of oncoming traffic in the rightmost lane.

      Now, flow is smoother and less stressful in the main lane, you’ve got a designated lane for left turns, and the lanes are not stressfully-narrow. And it’s easier to cross as a pedestrian.

      23rd is similar, except that the pedestrian friendliness is far more needed, given the density and walkability of the Central District. My one complaint on 23rd is that the channelization is really weird, with curbs and lane markers moving in and out and often not aligning on opposite sides of cross streets. But it’s been a less stressful, similar speed drive, and a way improved pedestrian experience, for me.

    4. “love how people say that turning 4 lanes into 2 with a center lane for turning doesn’t impede traffic. I
      mean, really? LIARS.”

      Where’s your evidence? Turning 4 lanes into 2 sounds counterintuitive but it eliminates lane-changes and passing, which are two significant causes of congestion and accidents. A car switching lanes back and forth has more impact on both lanes than a car that just goes straight, because of the buffer around it. When it’s in the middle of changing lanes, the buffer prevents any other car from using either lane or turning into the road. Likewise the left-turn lane gets the slowest cars out of traffic so they aren’t slowing people down and making people pass on the right around them. All that is why two lanes with a left turn lane can carry the same volume of cars as four lanes without slowing down. Anyway, study the topic rather than just dismissing it out of hand.

      1. This project allowed DOT to put left turn lanes at the major intersections (Yesler, Cherry, Union) so the traffic lights now can allow north and southbound traffic at the same time. Much faster than the old signal phases which had to allow left and forward moving traffic only one direction at a time.

    5. I think that the section from John to Jackson works better. That’s because those awful split phases at Yesler, Cherry and Union went away. The extra time spent waiting for the other side of the intersection get a phase was taking more time than the additional penalty of getting past a slow-moving vehicle is.

      The section from Jackson to Rainier is also pretty lightly travelled. The big difference for this section is however that there is no split phase at any intersection. Losing a travel lane here won’t make things “work better” because there is no excessive delay today.

      The section north of John seems to carry lots more traffic. It also is a fairly steep climb, so heavy vehicles really crawl up the hill for quite a distance. I could see a three lane section as far north as Aloha but after that, I think that there really needs to be a second passing lane southbound up the hill.

      The article points out that there is not funding to change the street anyway. Rather than rush, I would like to see SDOT wait until the Judkins Park Station entrance opens on 23rd before finalizing the segment south of Jackson. There is going to be lots of activity at this entrance where there is no activity today — not only for buses but also people getting dropped off and picked up. I could see the need for lots of curb space for the segment over the I-90 lid where this entrance will be. Given how SDOT doesn’t really seem to care at all about curb space and loading/unloading at Link stations (not enough at Capitol Hill, UW and Columbia City), I think there is plenty of reason to not trust that they get how to design for issue yet.

      1. I will admit that there is a split phase at Rainier. Still, with pedestrian safety in the mix, the angle of the intersection and the high percentage of turning vehicles, I don’t see how a redesign would make this split phase go away.

    6. And you think making it easier to drive is going to improve traffic?!? It’s going to encourage more people to use their cars and clog up the streets.

    7. Every road diet, someone like you comes out of the woodwork spouting how it’s going to reduce traffic flow/volumes/speed/safety/whatever, with no evidence, observations, studies, etc. Within weeks, it’s always very clear that you are horribly wrong.

      Both anecdotal evidence and SDOT traffic studies of post road diet roads will show you are wrong. Take a course in traffic engineer or just read up on the science and theories of traffic flows to understand, rather than just posting some emotional comment.

      23rd will be fine, traffic will flow and everyone will be a lot safer for it. 23rd may even become a vibrant, walkable commercial center.

  10. Does anyone know a good alternative to to the One Bus Away app? I was having trouble with my phone and it turns out it was the app that was causing the problem.

  11. Maybe it’s a problem with the link (not the light rail one, the internet one) sticks a little. Or maybe my priorities are so badly out of line I need to find another blog. Because to me, fact that we had a brand new streetcar lose its brakes with passengers aboard takes some precedence over every single paragraph above.

    Warranty, Hell. We’ve got a 30 year line of credit for $54 billion. So let’s use it to repurchase the equipment we need, and keep them running with our own people. Including old guys with gold buttoned uniforms to run the elevators. Meaning our litigators have three decades to get our money back with interest.

    And anybody legislative or local who doesn’t like it? Let them sue US. Or send deputies and Federal Marshals to shut us down. Doubt “our own dime” won’t be very many gondola cars (the freight ones, not the Route 8 aerial tramway replacements) full of silver, out of 54 billion.

    Somebody psychological once defined clinical depression as “learned helplessness.” Watching the Sound Transit Board suffer miserably about how many consultants we’ll need to deal with the elevators- let City of Seattle with the streetcars, and King County Metro with the fare machines-

    Everything involved here is machinery. Who’s left in the world that can actually design, make, assemble, and run it? Have read that an Afghan mountaineer can turn an AK47 on a foot-powered lathe. And been told that the Somalis are good with optical equipment. Since we’re a Sanctuary City, we should have our pick.

    Maybe if they haven’t got time to teach us, at least they’ll let us watch. Some of them probably do consulting too. And are used to warranties where it’s death to default.

    Mark Dublin

    1. As I understand it the streetcar did brake — when it lost power the parking brake engaged, as it was supposed to, but the wheels locked up on the slope and the ‘car slid down the hill. This suggests that streetcars in a city this hilly need a mechanical braking system so the driver can actually control the vehicle in the case of power loss. This sounds to me like something we should be able to design, test, and build here.

      1. Track brakes. Look at a picture of the San Francisco Bredas. Between the wheels is a stretch of steel that actually looks like a rail pointed downward. It’s held in place by big springs but inside the springs are big magnets that cause the assembly to slam down on the track, essentially tripling or quadrupling the contact between wheel and rail available for normal braking.

        I’ve was on one of the old PCC cars back in the late ’60’s running along Market when something got in the way and the operator “big holed” the car. We were probably bouncing along about 30-35. I swear we stopped in less than a car length; people were sprawled all over the place.

        Track brakes can be brutal, but they would have been the right thing then.

        And to the point that the cars sometimes run unpowered, the batteries are plenty powerful to apply track brakes.

      2. @Richard: Some kind of track brake would probably be good, yes… I’m not sure what our ‘cars have or don’t in this regard… my understanding is that in this case the streetcar’s power system failed completely, and the failsafe mechanism is to engage the parking brake, which is a fine failsafe for a level surface but didn’t work so well on the hill, because it locked up the wheels. I don’t know a lot about how the wheel braking works on a streetcar, what sorts of better human-controlled mechanical wheel-braking systems might be plausible… or whether human drivers would be able to train themselves in its operation well enough to do any better than the existing failsafe!

        I read somewhere that SF’s cable cars have a mechanical track-braking system that’s used routinely. An emergency track brake can damage the track and vehicle, and of course decelerating that fast would have roughly the same effect on passengers as a crash. In a scenario like we had, that would clearly have been worse than what happened! I guess you probably want to have both modes…

      3. Al has it mostly right here. The streetcars have a number of additional brakes including a track brake, and even a sanding system, but the electrical failure disabled the controls for everything.

    2. The whole streetcar story needs much more thorough reporting. After a week, “indefinitely” is not an acceptable answer. Are we talking days or weeks or months? Exactly what is being tested, how is it being tested, how long does each test take, and what constitutes a satisfactory test result? Do we need improved braking, and if so do we need to suspend service until a new system is installed?

  12. The “Finally” picture of UW Station lasted half a day after publication, if it was not already false. The northern surface down escalator has broken again. Also, the persistent outage of the UW escalators has shifted to the Cal Anderson Park elevator at Capitol Hill stati0on: it has been closed since the UW escalators were fixed two weeks ago. And that SeaTac elevator, still waiting.

    1. Stairs tend not to break down. Maybe ST needs to make a prescriptive directive in their manual that all station entrances shall have one set of stairs.

      1. Both stations do have stairs all the way down to the platform, they’re just locked behind emergency exit doors that sound an alarm when opened. Sound Transit screwed up with the design, but maybe the agency could mitigate it by allowing access to the emergency stairs during long term outages.

  13. Just sent in an e-mail to Intercity Transit regarding the future of a couple of their routes as Route 609 and ST Route 592 are at risk:

    Dear Intercity Transit;

    I just used Route 609 yesterday to get from Tumwater and the State Board of Health to get back to SeaTac Airport and the Bellair Airporter back to Skagit County. I would really appreciate very much if there was a RELIABLE public transportation connection for the folks .

    Considering how both Sounder North (Seattle-Everett) and Amtrak Cascades are stopped by mudslides and last night’s Amtrak Cascades did not have replacement coaches; we desperately need a good reliable mass connection up and down the I-5 spine. If that means spending over $28 Billion replacing the rails between Seattle & Everett as per https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2017/03/09/seattle-vancouver-high-speed-rail-part-2-everett-to-bellingham/ , so be it.

    But for a lot less money and more value, I would like to see Double Tall buses serve Everett to Seattle to Tacoma to Olympia. I don’t care if I have to pay Airporter-level fares, I care about having a reliable & affordable means to access my state government when I need to access my state government. That’s why I’m e-mailing.


    Joe A. Kunzler

    P.S. It was a real pleasure riding InterCity Transit to testify at the State Board of Health, drop off an appreciation bouquet to [a Puyallup state legislator], hop back on and watch more State Board of Health deliberations and then start the trip home. Please keep two way service on these routes for Washingtonians.

    Sharing for your enjoyment.

  14. I see Public Notices up around UW for their master plan update, seems like a good opportunity to hammer them on horrid bus-Link transfer at UW station and the terrible environment around the station

    1. I just remind myself that the comment section is really just a circle jerk of the same 100 people that post and like each others comments to seem like there’s a bunch of them. On election days, it’s clear that they are a vast minority.

  15. Interestingly, trimet’s card automatically switches caps it so you never pay more than the equivalent daily or monthly bus pass would cost.

    I would love it if orca did that. I don’t think most people even realize orca has a monthly pass. The way it works is kind of confusing honestly. Even the name “puget pass” vs “e-purse” makes it unclear what the difference is. When I got my orca card I just picked one at random.

    1. The TVMs do a really bad job of explaining what is going on when you buy an orca card, generally speaking; they just assume you already understand their unique terminology and the details about how the orca system works.

    2. It’s a trade off. TriMet cards will do this, but ORCA lets you pay for two people. TriMet decided the cap would be more popular. I think because the phone tickets work that way.

    3. I vaguely recall that the idea of a daily or monthly fare cap when you tap a transit card is patented, which would mean paying more money to the patent troll who owns it than it would be worth.

    4. This would be incredibly useful for me. I usually pre-plan and buy a $8 day pass, but it doesn’t load all the time (because of the 24-48 hr variance). I have to pay an extra fare to get myself to the nearest ORCA vending machine and load a new pass, in that case. Even then, I’m not sure I squeeze all the value out of the pass on some fairly heavy trips around the region, so it would reassuring to have this.

  16. Please tell me the idea of an app that shows which escalators and elevators are out of service, and where stairs are available, has not already been patented by someone in the Netherlands who has no idea how to write apps.

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