Click to enlarge.

Sound Transit’s recently-released Draft 2019 Service Implementation Plan is a data-dense tome covering the next round of ST Express route restructures, ridership and performance data, Title VI analyses, and more. This year’s edition offers a vision of how ST Express service might look in 2025 (pages 85-110), after five more Link extensions and the opening of Sound Transit’s first two Bus Rapid Transit routes, but laid out opening by opening. Transit network efficiency geeks, salivate thereon. It’s time to play Sim-ST!

Once Northgate Link opens (2021, page 93):

  • Some of the Snohomish-County-to-Seattle routes (510, 511, 512, and 513) could be truncated at Northgate Station.
  • Route 522 is planned to be truncated at Northgate or Roosevelt Station.
  • Route 542 is planned to be truncated at the U-District instead of continuing on to Green Lake Park & Ride.
  • Routes 555 and 556 could be restructured between the U-District and Northgate Stations. Since route 555 does not serve the U-District, part of that restructure would presumably be to just have route 556. No specific restructure between the U-District and Northgate is proposed. So, truncation seems to be the default proposal.
  • Route 586 is planned to be eliminated. Past SIPs have mentioned a possible route 591 from Tacoma to north downtown, but this SIP merely says service hours will be reinvested in the I-5 South corridor.

Once East Link opens (2023):

  • Route 540 is planned to remain the same as today. The SIP does not mention the route 544 proposal that would eliminate route 540 in favor of investing its service hours in a restructured route 255 that would serve UW Station.
  • Route 541 is planned to be eliminated, presuming it hasn’t already been in favor of route 544.
  • Route 542 is planned to continue as shortened after the Northgate Link restructure, and run all day and all week.
  • Route 545 could become a frequent peak-only route between Bear Creak Park & Ride, Redmond Transit Center, and South Lake Union, not serving Redmond Technology Center Station or Capitol Hill.
  • Route 550 is planned to be eliminated.
  • Routes 555 and 556 could be eliminated, consolidating north-Bellevue-to-UW service to King County Metro route 271 and Bellevue-Issaquah service to route 554.

Once Downtown Redmond Link opens (2024):

The bus routes are not expected to change, but they will continue to service Redmond TC, which will be several blocks from the new Downtown Redmond Station, and are not expected to serve the station.

Once Lynnwood Link opens (2024):

  • Route 510 would get a huge bump in service hours, and provide frequent all-day connection between Downtown Everett, South Everett Park & Ride, Ash Way Park & Ride and Lynnwood City Center Station.
  • Route 511 would become a peak frequent bi-directional service between Seaway Transit Center, Eastmont P&R, Ash Way P&R, and Lynnwood City Center Station.
  • Routes 512 and 513 would be eliminated.

Once Federal Way Link opens (2024):

  • Route 574 could be extended to Burien TC and Westwood Village.
  • Route 577 would be eliminated.
  • Routes 578, 590, 592, and 594 could be truncated at Federal Way P&R Station.
  • Route 595 would remain as it is today, running express between Tacoma Community College TC and downtown Seattle.

Once SR 522 / NE 145th BRT opens (2024):

Route 522 would remain as a peak connection between Roosevelt or Northgate Station and SR 522 destinations through UW Bothell.

The segment between UW Bothell and Woodinville P&R might remain in the BRT route depending on a ridership study to be conducted after Northgate Link opens.

Once I-405 BRT opens (2024):

  • Route 532 would continue providing peak service between Everett and Bellevue, and add the stop on campus at UW Bothell.
  • Routes 535 and 560 are planned to be eliminated.
  • Routes 566 and 567 would continue much as they are today.
  • Route 574 could be extended to serve Burien TC and Westwood Village.

Frank Chiachiere assisted with this post.

105 Replies to “Draft SIP Offers Vision of Vastly-Different 2025 ST Express Network”

  1. Can we start campaigning right now for the reserved lanes and bus-friendly signals we’ll need to finally stop making “Express” be consumer fraud?

    Mark Dublin

  2. I don’t understand how two big obstacles to 405 BRT will be resolved: The Bellevue TC turn-around and the South Renton TC access. The value of the entire line depends on how the buses will negotiate these two mid-route issues.

    1. My understanding is that 405 BRT will actually be implemented as two routes, with a transfer required at Bellevue Transit Center continue onward. So, the buses won’t actually be turning around there.

      South Renton TC access is going to involve a lot of sitting at stoplights that take seemingly forever to change.

    2. Most riders will be going to downtown Bellevue, or transferring to Link to Redmond or the Spring District, or possibly Seattle, or transferring to a local bus. The number of people going from Renton or Newport Hills to Kirkland or Bothell will be small. And I don’t see the problem: the buses’ turns are worth it for the huge destination/transfer point that downtown Bellevue is, and if they’re continuing they just walk across the platform to the other BRT bus, which will hopefully be waiting or come in 3-5 minutes.

    3. Renton is a basket case, and it all comes down to the tangled knot of highways and the way downtown Renton is laid out. There’s only so much any transit agency can do. Renton ultimately needs to completely rebuild its downtown.

      1. You’re right. Any reason it won’t? We want to be careful. Worst obstacle to healthy change is widespread conviction it can’t happen.

        Marl

      2. I have a job for Sam. Redesign downtown Renton to make it convenient for pedestrians and transit riders. You can move things around as you see fit. Cost is no object. How would you handle the city facilities, businesses. transit service, and highways? Assume 405 BRT and/or similar rail exists.

    4. The Bellevue TC is a block from the highway, with an express exit for the bus. It’s a completely different situation from Renton.

      I don’t know how the turn-around works, though. It might have made sense to put some kind of turn-around facility in the BTC to prevent the need to go on 8th or 10th.

      1. Actually, South Renton P&R isn’t any further than Bellevue TC is – as the crow flies. The difference is that Bellevue TC at least has a special ramp that’s not only HOV, but oriented to keep the stoplights to a minimum. If every bus getting in and out of the transit center had to use 8th St., with all its traffic and interminable light cycles – that would be a situation similar to South Renton.

        The best solution for Renton would be to add bus ramps or, better yet, a freeway station similar to what they’re building for 85th St. in Kirkland. Of course, the money exists to do none of this, so buses will have to slog it out with regular traffic getting on and off the highway.

      2. It’s two lines in all the plans. That was part of the voter information. I guess they call it one 405 because everyone else does. Downtown Seattle has been the end of the line for a century, and earlier it was even more that way, with I-5 designed with almost all lanes exiting downtown and little through capacity. 405 was never like that, because Bellevue was still a rural farm town when 405 was built.

        I went to Maggiano’s in Bellevue today, in Lincoln Square. On its entrance hallway are photos of Bellevue in the 1910s and 1930s, and portraits of Bertha Knight Landes and Charles Meydenbauer (one of Bellevue’s founders). The 1937 photo is an arial view of Bellevue Way and NE 8th Street. I don’t remember if the streets were paved or dirt but they had no stripes. There was only one business, a standalone pharmacy and “super market”. On the other corners were a lot of dirt and a few scattered buildings. Some of them may have been businesses. A block away you could see farmland. It was 405 that catalyzed Bellevue’s growth.

      3. > Actually, South Renton P&R isn’t any further than Bellevue TC is – as the crow flies.

        Interesting. It feels completely different. My biggest dissatisfier about riding the 560 bus to the airport is Renton.

    5. Yes, I-405 BRT will 100% be two routes split in Bellevue, kind of like how Sounder is in two routes (a north line and a south line). I’ve noticed this early on, and it does make sense. It’s not like most of the people won’t get off at Bellevue. But in light of that, I did find the description misleading, because it’s sold as a single line: “I-405 BRT from Burien to Lynnwood.” It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard to describe it as “I-405 BRT North” and “I-405 BRT South” like Sounder is.

      As for stop placement at Bellevue TC, I hope they make new stops on 110th Ave NE at NE 6th St, that are adjacent to and across from City Hall. This would give BRT riders the best transfer environment for both bus and rail, with a very short walk to both and either involving zero or one walk signal (two if you count the one to the BTC island, which can be avoided by using signal-free crosswalks farther up the platform, and is safely jaywalkable if there are no inbound buses in sight).

      There could also be some departure timing and waiting (within reason) between inbound south BRT and outbound north BRT (and vice versa) to ease the transfer wait, if riding through Bellevue becomes a major concern.

    6. Seriously Al, you think that is the worrisome part of the I-405 BRT? OK, I get the concerns about Renton — that might be a struggle. But by and large, the whole idea is to get people to downtown Bellevue. Any through routing (e. g. Lynnwood to Renton) is just a bonus.

      The big problem is that Lynnwood to Bellevue will take too long. That is because the bus will, repeatedly, exit the HOV lanes, get off the freeway, make a stop, sometimes wait for a traffic light, get back on the freeway, and then fight its way back into the HOV lanes. All so that it can make connections like Lynnwood to Brickyard, or Canyon Park to NE 44th. Connecting Park and Rides is not essential, but this particular “BRT” line does just that. A series of overlapping express buses (making low-cost connecting stops at places like Totem Lake) would make way more sense. But ST sees a problem, and their immediate answer is: SPINE! We gotta get us a spine. We can’t afford a train spine, so let’s get a bus spine. Call it BRT.

      The time spent serving Bellevue — which is the main destination, by the way — is not the problem. As Alex said, the question is whether we should add *more* stops in that area, since it is, by far, the main destination along that particular freeway. The problem is that ST doesn’t seem to understand trip pairs, or peak demand, or transfers. As a result, this bus service won’t be nearly as good as a network of overlapping express buses would.

    7. While you guys make a logical point that 405 BRT should be two lines, I can find nothing in ST3 that indicates that. Sound Move clearly indicates two Sounder lines. Since everyone wants to take ST3 so literally, I’m merely assuming it has to be one line per the referendum.

      1. It’s not easy to find, but it’s there. The I-405 BRT overview PDF:
        https://st32.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/InteractiveMap/Templates/July1/Summary/ST3_i405_BRT.pdf

        There is an asterisk stating that it is two lines, and the ridership projections does not double count people transferring between the lines in Bellevue.

        It’s also somewhere in the details overview as well, though I don’t feel like finding it at the moment. https://st32.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/InteractiveMap/Templates/July1/BRT_I-405-1.pdf

        It makes sense to operate it in two lines. What doesn’t make sense is advertising it as “Lynnwood to Burien BRT I-405 BRT,” without even saying Bellevue, or calling it two lines. That should have been clearer.

      2. Thanks! Yes it’s buried in there. I do think that implying that it is one line predominates almost all of the material though.

        I also see that the South Renton access is explicitly listed as going on the Rainier Avenue ramps.

        This is but a microcosm if the ST attitude: Capital projects before logical operations.

  3. What will it take for ST to run Link Light rail past 2AM–at a minimum, Friday and Saturday night? Being on the West Coast we have so many very early/very late flights, not to mention the benefit for everyone of getting people off the road when they drink and attend concerts, festivals or just go out for the night and aren’t well served by bus routes. Not to mention all the service/health/hospitality industry workers who have to get home after late night shifts. I’m sure I’m forgetting multiple demographics and other reasons for the PNW’s largest city to have daily late night rail service.

    I cannot understand why this, by 2025, would not be planned for.

    1. The fundamental problem with 24-hour operation is planning time and space for track work and maintenance. New York has third and/or fourth tracks across much of its system, which means it can keep running while simultaneously doing track work. You’re seeing this time and space problem play out right now in D.C., where WMATA had been running to at least 3am, but consequently had no time for heavy maintenance.

      We could probably figure something out in Seattle proper, given that we’ll have two downtown tunnels, but I’m not sure if they’re planning for the type of interlockings and such that it would require to do different service patterns on a daily basis.

    2. It was in a list of potential long-range goals years ago but I haven’t seen it recently. Whenever we ask ST for this it says it needs the whole time for track-maintenance scheduling flexibility.

      1. You’d think it would be possible on two evenings a week. They could always have earlier closures on occasion. Maintenance for the trains might get more tricky.

        Another reason might be the extra cost for the labor and equipment versus number of riders served. Uber and Lyft have really changed the equation for late night transportation. .

    3. Many American expect that big-city rail transit should be 24 hr/day, because that is what New York has. However, it is very rare around the rest of the world. I was just in Shanghai, and the metro shuts down before 11 pm. Maintenance windows are a real thing, and I don’t want Sound Transit to skimp on long-term maintenance, as DC and NY have done.

      Most cities implement a simple and well-publicized night bus network, which takes the place of the metro system and the daytime bus system in the wee hours.

      For Seattle, ST should run overnight express buses that approximate the rail lines and major ST Express lines, running every 30 minutes overnight. I would nominate the following: (1) a 590-like bus between Downtown Seattle and Tacoma that gets off I-5 to serve TIBS, Airport and Angle Lake; (2) a UW-Downtown-MLK line serving the remainder of Link stops; (3) a 512 bus from Everett to Seattle, and (4) a 550 bus from Seattle to Bellevue.

      1. I’ve advocated for a late night bus route duplicating Link when Metro was discussing Owl service proposals. It didn’t get any support on the blog. It still seems logical to me as Link has weekday ridership 300 percent more than the next most used transit line.

      2. Yeah, I agree, Chad. Although there is late night, and there is late night. 24 hours seems crazy. Ending at 2:15 AM does not. Of course, complicating things is that our system is very long. A train that left at 2:15 AM southbound (going by Capitol Hill a bit after the bars close) would go by Angle Lake at almost 3:00 AM. That is only about two hours before trains start moving the other direction. That is overkill.

        I think you idea is sound, and shouldn’t be that expensive (at least in some cases). Just to break it down:

        1) Tacoma is a long ways from Seattle, and not served well from a 24 hour standpoint. Maybe it should be. But right now, the 590 (actually 594) ends around 10:30 northbound, and 1:00 AM southbound. Having round the clock service would cost you, although to be fair, it would probably gain a lot.

        2) I don’t think you have to much for this section. The 49 already has night owl service. Rainier Valley has the 7, but that might be a long trek for some (especially around Othello) so I could see the 106 becoming a night owl route, or at least night owl to Rainier Beach (which would make a fine terminus if it connected to the 7).

        3) Same issue as the service to Tacoma. To that I mean it would be great, but it wouldn’t be cheap. It would also be weird that a bus like the 512 runs all night long, while the flagship for the county (Swift) a bus that carries more people, ends at around 11:00 PM.

        4) Yes, definitely. It really isn’t that far to Bellevue, so this doesn’t cost nearly as much as the other runs. You are also likely to carry way more people.

        While I can’t get too excited about this proposal from a value standpoint, this is really what ST is all about. This is cross county service that may not be a great value, but would be extremely valuable to those who ride it. It makes sense as Link replaces many of the buses that currently carry the bulk of the riders (550, 512, etc.), and ST scrambles to make ST Express relevant.

      3. These longer bus routes are also ones that wouldn’t be easy to convert to electric power of some sort.

        For what it’s worth, the last MAX train on Friday nights goes through downtown around 1:20 am and the first red line train goes through around 3:53 am. When you include the time taken for the trains to get to the end of the lines plus the later night service at Rose Quarter, it’s almost in service 24 hours on Friday and Saturday nights.

  4. Okie dokie, this looks great but why not an hourly Seaway Transit Center – Mukilteo – Lynnwood line?

  5. Some thoughts:
    2021: Looks good. Definitely consolidate the 555/556 into a single U-district->Issaquah route. There is no reason for buses to fight traffic on I-5, once Link exists as an alternative. Route 586 probably should have already been eliminated in 2016.

    2023:
    545 – Agreed that detouring into Overlake Transit Center is a waste of everybody’s time, but the bus should at least serve the freeway station along 520. There are apartments in the area, whose residents could make use of them (e.g. couples where one person works for Microsoft, another for Amazon). The Capital Hill->Microsoft corridor should also be retained in some form, since it picks up a large number of riders and serves a part of Capital Hill that Link doesn’t go to (halfway between Capital Hill Station and Westlake Station).
    554/555/556 – Eliminating the 555/556 would have some major holes in the transit network, such as Issaquah->DT Bellevue, in favor of one-seat Issaquah->DT Seattle rides, with the majority of the time spent paralleling East Link, including the 20 minute slog from one end of DT Seattle to the other end. Even U-district->Bellevue, the 556 provides a vital service, offering a route that utilizes the HOV lane, avoiding a ramp to 520 that is clogged with cars (off-peak, the 271’s routing is fine). Instead, maybe it’s better to keep the 556 during peak hours, and have the all-day network just run from South Bellevue P&R to Issaquah Highlands, investing the savings from the shorter route into greater frequency.

    2024: Truncation of route 594 feels like a terrible idea, which will double the travel time between Seattle and Tacoma. When it’s not rush hour, I-5 moves smoothly, especially for a bus already on the freeway. It also feels unfair that Gig Harbor gets the special privilege of continuing to have a bus all the way to Seattle, while the much larger market of Tacoma does not. As mentioned in my comment on another post, the longer a journey already is, the less onerous a transfer becomes, all other things equal, so prioritizing Gig Harbor over DT Tacoma for the one-seat ride to Seattle feels quite backwards.

    566/567: Maintaining direct Bellevue->Kent/Auburn service makes sense. However, it doesn’t need to go all the way to Overlake. In 2023, The Bellevue->Overlake segment will become entirely redundant with Link, and, with all the stoplights and traffic, the one-seat ride isn’t really saving riders significant travel time. In addition, the 520/405 interchange makes the afternoon arrival times at Bellevue Transit Center unreliable for people getting on the bus there.

    1. “the bus should at least serve the freeway station along 520. There are apartments in the area”

      Apartments near Evergreen Point, Yarrow Point, and Montlake stations? Where? I guess a few south of Montlake. The other nearest apartments would require feeder buses. Is that what you’re thinking?

      1. 520 actually goes all the way out to the Overlake Transit Center area. asdf2 was referring to the freeway station there (probably at 40th & 520), not at Yarrow Point. The whole quote is:

        > Agreed that detouring into Overlake Transit Center is a waste of everybody’s time, but the bus should at least serve the freeway station along 520.

      2. Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to 40th St, not Yarrow Point/Evergreen Point. 40th St. is directly adjacent to Microsoft, but there are several apartment complexes within a half-mile walkshed of there. In addition, 40th St. also allows transfer opportunities from local buses, such as the B-line.

    2. Any chance of making Northgate into a long distance bus terminal too?

      That 40 minutes the afternoon Amtrak thruway bus takes to get from Northgate to King Street thanks to the express lane catastrophe would be really nice to avoid.

      1. Long-term, a bus terminal in Lynnwood makes of since. It is far more efficient for people to ride the Link to the bus in the direction of travel, than having to ride it in the wrong direction, only to ride the bus right back the other way. Avoiding I-5 traffic in the middle of the city is also a huge deal, especially for buses arriving and departing in the middle of rush hour. Similarly, on the Vancouver side, it makes to terminate at a suburban SkyTrain station, rather than fight traffic all the way into the middle of downtown.

        Of course, getting this to actually happen requires somewhat of a change of mindset on part of the bus companies. The way the current think, they would argue that a Lynnwood terminus is bad because *everyone* is going downtown, and nobody wants to pay for a $40 taxi ride to finish the journey (ignoring Link, altogether). And, they would argue that a Northgate terminus would not connect to their onward service to Portland (since running a Portland bus past downtown, out to Lynnwood would make zero sense).

        I would counter that by arguing that the market is big enough to serve both niches. You can have one service catering to those who are traveling onward, or insist on getting all the way downtown, without a local connection, and are willing to pay extra for it. And, you can have another brand of buses whose focus is on rock bottom fares and fastest door-to-door transportation to as much of the broader region as possible. I don’t have ridership data, but my intuition says that far more people who ride Bolt from Vancouver to Seattle are using Link for their ongoing connection than the Seattle->Portland bus, in part because the bus ride all the way from Vancouver to Portland is really long, so the market potential is really limited.

      2. The long slog into the city is a pain, but my guess is most people would prefer it most of the time. Dealing with folks that have to backtrack is a problem, but there are a couple possibilities. First is taking a bus that stops at several cities (Mount Vernon, Marysville, Everett, etc.). A bus like that would certainly stop at Lynnwood.

        Another possibility would be to use the Mountlake Terrace stop along the way. That costs basically nothing — you might as well use it. That would allow everyone north of downtown to avoid backtracking. If traffic is heavy, savvy riders would get off there and head downtown. I think that would be the ideal approach.

        One advantage of terminating at Northgate (instead of Lynnwood) is that you are very close to the heart of the city. Lynnwood to downtown is a fairly long trip (around a half hour) with very little there. It is like a trip to most airports. There isn’t much by Northgate either, but it takes half the time to get to downtown (about 15 minutes) and is very fast to the UW. It might be only symbolic, but it just feels like you are in the city at that point (and probably will feel even more that way as time goes on). Also, while Northgate is not that easy to get to, it isn’t terrible, and the worst traffic is between it and downtown (especially when the express lanes aren’t in your favor). When traffic is terrible Lynnwood would be faster, but not that much faster. When traffic is light, Northgate would be faster. The bulk of the riders, of course, would be closer to Northgate than Lynnwood.

      3. I’d feel differently if the train moved between Northgate and Lynnwood substantially slower than bus. But, the Lynnwood line looks to be pretty fast there, with just 4 intermediate stops (including 130th). Compared to Northgate, Lynnwood has less overhead getting on and off the freeway in a bus, which should make up for those 4 stops. For anyone that needs to get on Link, anyway, it looks like a wash, so which is better comes down to other tradeoffs.

        Northgate is obviously better for headed to Northgate itself, Seattle neighborhoods that are a direct bus connection from Northgate (Greenwood, Lake City), or a short enough Lyft/Uber ride to not be too expensive, considering that this is an inter-city trip we’re talking about, which doesn’t happen everyday (e.g. Phinney Ridge, Fremont). On the other hand, Lynnwood is much better for anyone headed anywhere in Snomohish County (avoids backtracking), it has better connection opportunities to the eastside (via I-405 BRT, although, admittedly, that option would likely require a Lyft/Uber connection for most riders, although, at least the I-405 BRT bus makes the Lyft/Uber ride $10 instead of $40). Lynnwood is superior when traffic is bad. And, it has much more room than Northgate does to build an inter-city bus station without getting in the way of Metro.

        The Greyhound approach, stopping all over the place, definitely, does not worth, though. By the time you get all the way to Vancouver, the cumulative overhead of all of those stops makes for a trip that’s not really any faster than backtracking downtown for a direct ride. And, since the bus is still coming from downtown, its arrival time punctuality is still at the mercy of traffic on downtown Seattle streets, and I-5 near downtown and the ship canal.

        Overall, though, I think the best solution is not a one-size-fits all, but for different services catering to different markets. Some trips would go downtown, others to Lynnwood. People would take whichever option works best for their particular trip.

      4. It is also worth that a similar scheme, with a bus going from Portland to Federal Way, makes lot less since, since the connection (Link) is much slower on the south end, and I-5, much less traffic prone. Nor is a Sounder connection remotely feasible because the Sounder train is too infrequent, and its hours of operation, too limited.

        The south end, I don’t think it makes much sense for buses to anything other than what Bolt already does today – just go nonstop from downtown to downtown.

        Another contrast between the south end and north end is the quality of the competing Amtrak service, which does serve intermediate stops. In the Seattle->Portland market, Amtrak is fairly direct, and using Tukwila or Tacoma Stations as an alternative to backtracking to downtown Seattle and taking the bus makes a lot of sense. In the north end, not only is the Amtrak train substantially slower than the bus, but the stops it serves (Edmonds, Everett) have much fewer connection opportunities. For instance, Lynnwood to Bellevue, you can just ride the I-405 BRT. Edmonds/Everett to Bellevue – by the time you do all those transfers, it feels not worth it – quicker and easier (but still very slow) to just stay on the train all the way to King St. and pick up the connection there.

      5. It won’t happen because Greyhound goes way out of its way to serve New Westminster Skytrain station but it doesn’t terminate there and only one or two people get on/off there. Going to downtown is their marketing strategy and many would-be passengers would be aghast if it didn’t, for the same reason there’s pressure to keep the 25 and 545 going downtown. Some people would be inconvenienced if they terminated at UW, and many people think they would be greatly inconvenienced whether they would be or not. Also for Greyhound and other long-distance, many American passengers have never taken local transit before and would be daunted and flustered at the ticketing system, which they feel they shouldn’t have to learn just for one trip, and especially not just because the long-distance vehicle refused to go all the way downtown. Would their fare also increase and they’d have to pay in foreign currency which they don’t have yet, or would a round-trip ticket be included in their intercity fare?

  6. “Some of the Snohomish-County-to-Seattle routes (510, 511, 512, and 513) could be truncated at Northgate Station.”

    Oh, really?

    “Route 522 is planned to be truncated at Northgate or Roosevelt Station.”

    Roosevelt, Roosevelt, rah rah rah!

    “The [Redmond] bus routes … will continue to service Redmond TC, which will be several blocks from the new Downtown Redmond Station, and are not expected to serve the station.”

    OK for express buses, but what about people coming on Link who want to transfer to a bus to Redmond Ridge, Duvall, Avondale Road, north Redmond, Old Redmond Road, Rose Hill, etc?

    “Route 511 would become a peak frequent bi-directional service between Seaway Transit Center, Eastmont P&R, Ash Way P&R, and Lynnwood City Center Station.”

    That’s kind of that Everett Industrial Center jobs express I was recommending, although the detour to Ash Way sounds slow. I think you’d need another route from LTC straight to 99 and the EIC to really get the maximum ridership.

    “Route 595 would remain as it is today, running express between Tacoma Community College TC and downtown Seattle.”

    Is this for the “Link isn’t fast enough for me” people? What if that turns out to be a large number of people and the bus is overcrowded, will ST add as many buses as necessary to fit them all, or will it say “No room at the inn; take the train.”

    “Route 522 would remain as a peak connection between Roosevelt or Northgate Station and SR 522 destinations through UW Bothell.”

    Oh, it’s peak only. This may be a “Just in case” card: just in case the 145th transfer is noticeably slower than the current route. Metro did a few things like that in the U-Link restructure. Most extensively, all the peak-express routes north of 55th. And keeping the 49 instead of the 43 or an all-Broadway route, and making it more frequent.

    1. “Route 522 would remain as a peak connection between Roosevelt or Northgate Station and SR 522 destinations through UW Bothell.”

      Yeah, I don’t quite get that. The 522 BRT should be way faster than either option, unless it is a complete failure. Northgate requires a lot of twists and turns (and traffic). Lake City Way/Roosevelt is fast in the middle of the day, but clogged up during rush hour. There may be people who want the direct ride, but neither destination is huge (unlike downtown) and there should be plenty of connecting, if not direct service by Metro. Maybe this is about the places along the way, like the stop on 85th and Lake City Way. This is a decent bus stop that is not served by Metro (and kind of a tough walk to the 372). About 300 people get on there each day (about 250 southbound). It is a worthy place to serve, I’m just not sure it is ST’s job to serve it. Peak only service seems like a weak compromise — I would rather Metro run a bus from Lake City to Roosevelt all day long (it seems much more like an all day long time of bus run).

      1. Regardless of the their motives, the practical effect of such is to retain the direct connection between Lake City and Roosevelt/Bothell – mostly a win for Seattle on East King subarea dollars.

      2. Yeah, but only at peak. This isn’t really a peak type run. There aren’t hundreds of commuters trying to get from one end of Lake City Way to the other during rush hour. It is a handful, all day long. I think Metro should run a bus from Lake City to the U-District via Roosevelt (to serve those riders). That would mean that you would have the 372, the Metro bus, and then during peak hours, an ST bus. That just seems like a confusing mishmash of service (although not that different than what exists in many places).

        This leads to some obvious questions, such as:

        What route will it take from Bothell to the Roosevelt Station? I guess it could take the current route, but that is very congested during rush hour. Instead, I would tun on 20th, then go all the way to 65th and turn again. The turn on 20th might take a while, so ideally I would add a trigger so that when the bus arrives, the left arrow turns on.

        What bus stops will this have? For the most part, ST takes a minimalist approach towards stops, while Metro doesn’t.

        This means that the two bus routes (one all day and one not) could be significantly different. Overall, this just seems like another example of how things are becoming quite messy as ST bus runs overlap with the regional agencies runs. It makes sense for ST to run buses from Tacoma to Seattle, Seattle to Lynnwood, or Lynnwood to Bellevue. Those routes all cross different county lines. But now you have buses that stay within one jurisdiction, and look surprisingly like the other buses, except with different colors.

      3. Jut to be clear, I’m taking about the period after Link gets to Lynnwood (and the 522 BRT project is sending buses to 145th). A peak only bus from Bothell to Roosevelt seems like a waste. Most of the riders could just take the 372 for that. Riders close to the Roosevelt Station would just get on Link and transfer to the BRT. So that means only the folks in between there would benefit, and right now that consists of one stop. It would seem silly to me to not add any stops in the area once Link gets to 145th.

        I think it makes sense to have a bus connecting Lake City to Roosevelt (with several stops along the way) but I think extending it to Bothell is overkill. I would rather see an express version of the BRT line (if the buses are crowded during rush hour) while Metro handles the all day connection between Roosevelt and Lake City.

    2. So it looks like the intention is to reroute the 522 to Northgate-or-Roosevelt for Northgate Link, and reduce it to peak-only for Lynnwood Link. That wasn’t quite clear in the article.

      We need to push hard for Roosevelt when the time comes. As I thought about it over the day, Northgate would be really bad. The bus would have to go up the steep hill at Northgate Way, which articulated buses are slow at, rfun on a narrow street, and then it would get caught in the Northgate traffic. Or it could use the 41 routing, which avoids the hill and has wider streets, but it would still get caught in the Northgate traffic. ST needs to avoid the Northgate traffic like the plague, especially for the 522. The only people who would directly benefit are the small number going to Northgate Mall or a route like the 40, but they can easily take Link north from Roosevelt. The vast majority of people are just transferring to Link and don’t care about Northgate, but they’d be forced through a long detour and the Northgate traffic, just to catch Link one station further north.

      1. I agree, but I think a lot depends on what Metro does. Just to be clear, there are two periods. The first is after Northgate Link, while the second is after Lynnwood Link/522 BRT. My opinions on the latter are up above.

        When Northgate Link opens up, the 522 bus should go to Roosevelt. There are several reasons for that:

        1) It is faster most of the day. Lake City Way experiences rush hour traffic problems, but Northgate has a lot of congestion all day long (and traffic lights, turns, etc.).

        2) It is what folks are used to. The traffic problems along Lake City Way are tough, but no one will be surprised by it.

        3) There are some alternatives that could be explored. As I mentioned, it might be faster to go down 20th and 65th. That would mean moving the bus stop between 85th and 86th. There really is no fast way to get to Northgate. Speaking of that bus stop between 85th and 86th, that leads me to the next point:

        4) It would serve all the existing bus stops. A fair number of people use that stop (the one between 85th and 86th). About 10% of the southbound boardings (towards downtown) and 50 riders heading north. Metro could provide alternatives, which may be what ST is thinking.

        5) Northgate will have plenty of buses headed to it (from north along the freeway). That means congestion there will be significant.

        As much as I agree with you, I think it is possible that ST is thinking that they will be the one providing the essential service between Lake City and Northgate along Northgate Way (currently handled by the 75), while Metro backfills that stop. That is not a bad idea, really, and not that different than what I had in mind when I made this map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KDWI_ZGvzkoGxA6Z9DPeQr9EtQw&usp=sharing. Take that yellow line (what I call the new 41) and then extend it towards Bothell. Everything else stays about the same.

        The problem with that, though, is that then the 522 is no longer an express. If it is the only bus along Northgate Way, then it has to make all the stops. Otherwise, you have very redundant service (two fairly frequent buses running along Northgate, both clogging up the section between 5th and the transit center). I think you have to serve those stops, which means three extra stops (15th, 19th, 23rd) minimum. You might need to add a stop if you go to Roosevelt, but those are easier politically (you are adding stops, not taking them away). In other words, you might be able to get away with not adding any. There won’t be any crossing buses, and while I personally would add stops at both 15th and Roosevelt, I don’t think it would be horrible if it just kept going, all the way to the station. The only people who would lose out are those who don’t have anything right now.

        Anyway, while I agree with you, I think it is a good example of why we can’t look at this by itself. A lot depends on what Metro does, and I’m sure they will be communicating.

      2. Still screwing over poor Lake City. Glad I got out of there on have a chance to move to someplace with good transit service. Like Issaquah. Sprawlsville begets sprawl.

  7. One thing that I find a bit disappointing about this is that aside from making ST Express connecting to a Link more frequent, the whole theme of these restructures is very much less ST Express hours overall, rather than expanding the scope of service. Even after making service more frequent, there would be service hours left to cover many new areas and upgrade some peak only areas to all day service, but it seems that ST would rather just not utilize these extra service hours.

    Some examples would be to kill the 594 and make the 592 DuPont to Federal Way all day, with stops in Tacoma, giving DuPont 15 minute all-day service. Or reintroduce route 582 from Bonney Lake to Tacoma via Sumner and Puyallup (timed with Sounder at Sumner, eliminating the need for route 596), except half hourly all day, giving Puyallup a weekend connection to downtown Tacoma (yes, today on weekends, you need two buses to get between downtown Puyallup and downtown Tacoma).

    Dissilving the 550 will be way more than enough to fund the frequent Issaquah – Bellevue route. Why not also make the deadhead Sammamish trip full time, and make a new connection between Sammamish and light rail in Redmond? Why would they want to just reduce service hours as opposed to doing something like that? (Especially since Sammamish was complaining that ST has nothing to offer them)

    That kind of thing.

    1. In some sense that was decided in the ST2 budget, and the 550’s hours presumably went into building Link. But ST had an ST Express planning study in January 2016 which laid out three scenarios: fewer hours than currently, the same number of hours, and more hours. Since then ST3 intervened and invalidated some of the route concepts, but ultimately what ST chose for ST3’s budget was a “fewer hours” scenario, and that seems to be guiding this too. As for peak-only routes, aren’t all those based on lack of ridership rather than costs? Which ST Express routes are peak-only where there’s all-day demand?

      1. Which ST Express routes are peak-only where there’s all-day demand?

        From an ST standpoint, not much. From a system standpoint, quite a bit, I’m guessing. That is what is so weird about this whole thing. There are some buses that make sense for ST to run. Tacoma to Seattle, Everett to Seattle, Lynnwood to Bellevue or Seattle. Take the last one. A fair number of people want to get from Lynnwood to Seattle. But Metro doesn’t want to cover that and Community Transit can only afford to run that during rush hour. So it makes perfect sense for ST to do the dirty work, and provide a very good bus that happens to cross jurisdictional lines (quite a bit).

        But ST also operates the 550, which just so happens to lie *entirely within King County*. The most popular bus within the ST Express system, and Metro could easily cover it (I’m sure you remember what the old Metro bus was, Mike, I don’t). That is the part that is weird. ST has not only built cross county runs that make sense, given its mandate, but they also have somehow helped out Metro, and just taken routes that should be theirs.

        They also have created weird routes, that lie completely within King County, but Metro would find silly. Issaquah to Northgate, for example. Issaquah to the UW I can see, but Northgate? Really? Or how about Redmond to Green Lake? Green Lake?

        The point being, ST has way more flexibility when it comes to longer routes within the county. So how about Totem Lake to the U-District. You have a hospital and a mall at one end, and a major destination (and Link connection) on the other. Of course ridership will be peak oriented, but I think an all day route like that would have decent success (way better than some of the ST exurban routes they have tried out).

      2. I suspect the 542 goes to Green Lake because that’s where they could fit bus layover space for it after hitting 15th Avenue back when it got started. Redmond U District destinations makes plenty of sense.

        More to the point, I think at some point (possibly behind closed doors) it was agreed that ST would be the one in charge of hauling people from the Eastside into Seattle like it does for Pierce and Snohomish. the 560’s another weird one in this vein but it still falls under ‘Eastside to Seattle-ish destination’.

        Things are just getting muddier these days as Metro has taken a few more of the long haul-ish routes (255 and most of the Rapid Rides). Though the pre-RR 174 makes me wonder if it wasn’t more of a class-based delineation.

      3. 226. The 226 ran hourly from Redmond, Overlake, Northup Way, NE 8th Street, Bellevue Way, 108th (Enatai), East Mercer Way, Island Crest Way, North Mercer Way, I-90, 4th Ave. Then it became a 255. It was my route throughout junior high and high school.

        The 235 ran the other half hour from Totem Lake, Rose Hill (124th Ave NE), Lake Wash Blvd, Bellevue Way, 104th (Beaux Arts), and the same in Mercer Island and downtown.

        Both of them got on the freeway at the last possible moment and took the first possible exit, and stopped at three exits on Mercer Island. So they were slow, but all buses were slow.

        When the 550 started it replaced the 226/235 between downtown Bellevue and Seattle, and stayed on Bellevue Way and made only one Mercer Island stop. For several years it was half-hourly, and because it ran almost the same route as its predecessors and wasn’t any more frequent, it charged the lower Metro fare rather than the higher ST fare. It was the only ST route that did that. That led to a lot of fare disputes, so ST tried at least once to switch it to the ST fare structure but backed down after community opposition. But after it went up to 15 minutes weekdays ST felt it gave enough “enhanced” service to switch it to the ST fare structure, and this time it stuck.

    2. “Which ST Express routes are peak-only where there’s all-day demand?”

      Besides the short ones like the 520 and 542 which are arguably Metro’s responsibility to replace.

    3. “Which ST Express routes are peak-only where there’s all-day demand?”

      Well it’s kinda hard to know if it’s peak-only today, isn’t it? Not to mention that it won’t be the demand of today, but the demand of 6 years from now. It’s also worth noting that ST provides baseline service to Federal Way, Tacoma, and Snoho past 10 pm even though there isn’t very big demand. If we want a usable network, there will have to be some low-demand trips right?

      592 has expended over the years to 15 minute frequency at peak. Seems like a good candidate for at least half-hourly off-peak connection to Link. Off-peak ridership probably won’t be gangbusters, but it will be higher than it is now, which is zero.

      Reinstating the 582 will make the system a LOT more useful in East Pierce, a region which votes heavily against all transit (including ST3) because it’s very conservative, but also because they don’t see their tax dollars coming back as transit service. Tacoma seems like a major regional destination that ST could focus on with ST express now that trips to Seattle will be very well served with light rail. I’m sure a lot of people in the Bonney Lake-Puyallup corridor go to Tacoma a lot, but don’t take the bus because there isn’t one except the 400.

      1. The fact that ST3 appears to have not put one additional dime into ST Express route has been a big disappointment. It’s a large reason why ST Express ridership has been stagnant or declining the past few years, while Metro ridership has been increasing.

        Even with Link fully built out, you still need a robust express bus network to connect the regions that Link doesn’t (or doesn’t connect with service that’s direct enough), and Sound Transit should be directly running buses to connect the regions that don’t make the cut today, with so budget eaten up by crawling through downtown Seattle. This means not only more frequent service to Issaquah, but also running some buses to the outlying areas, like Sammamish, which pay taxes to ST, but don’t get any service in return.

      2. Yes, this is a very good point. Sound Transit has a service area that is different from the service areas of the agencies (usually a perfect subset, but in the case of Pierce, it goes farther east, hence why Pierce Transit was able to hand off the 496 to ST as the 596). And possibly the MOST cost savings from truncating buses is in Pierce County, because not only does the bus not have to drive through downtown, but it needs to go 20 miles less and stop in FW, which means it saves a bunch of time idling in freeway traffic. That’s a TON of aggregate miles. This not only means that it could (and should) bolster its current network (including upgrading frequency and making peak-only areas all day), but it should expand it’s actual service to the edges of the service areas, even at a lower frequency. This may look like the 578 every 15 minutes breaking off into two tails in Puyallup every 30 minutes, one to Bonney Lake and one to South Hill and Orting. Both places will have a 30 minute connection to Link, and neighboring communities like Puyallup.

        And there should be enough room still for express service to Tacoma, because not all people work in Seattle. With no buses to Seattle eating the whole operating budget, then it makes perfect sense to add a bus to Bonney Lake to Tacoma every half hour, especially when you think about the population growth and density that Tacoma will have in 2024. Instead, ST seems more interested in just having less ST express, which is a shame.

      3. The Pierce subarea is significantly different from the others. It includes lot of exurban land in southeast Pierce. Spanaway and Orting are in, but Covington, Marysville, Snohomish (town), and Monroe are out. That’s becoming a serious problem in Marysville because of all its growth. So basically Pierce played ST to get vast sprawl lands and more service outside the county tax structure, while Snohomish did the opposite and didn’t go far enough (or, let growth occur where it hadn’t planned for it). King County looks about right. Certainly in Issaquah and Redmond. Covington and Maple Valley look like they maybe should have been included (And Covington even has a microscopic amount of density on Wax Road.) Woodinville I might have excluded and not allowed it to grow.

        So now southeast Pierce is emerging as a lot of car-dependent sprawl, and it’s the home of tax-haters and paradoxically demands direct ST service. The biggest complaint I’ve heard is, “I have to drive an hour to get to the nearest ST service.” Where can you possibly live that it takes an hour to drive to Tacoma Dome or Puyallup? When we used to go to the church in Wikleson near Buckley, I’m sure it took less than an hour from Tacoma, probably forty minutes. And that’s beyond the furthest corner of the ST District I think.

      4. The 594 is extremely inefficient south of Tacoma Dome. The loop up to downtown Tacoma and back takes some twenty minutes and forces the bus onto less-direct roads than it would do if it were just going to Tacoma Dome and Seattle. The 574 is a better pattern, and I’m glad it’s being expanded. Downtown Tacoma should be on a separate route, which is the 590. So whatever they do there should be one route to Lakewood, and another route to downtown Tacoma, not one route doing both.

      5. “Which ST Express routes are peak-only where there’s all-day demand?”

        “Well it’s kinda hard to know if it’s peak-only today, isn’t it? Not to mention that it won’t be the demand of today, but the demand of 6 years from now”

        I was thinking of routes like the 566, which have midday service but no evenings or weekends. I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard it has low ridership. And I’ve seen the low ridership on the 560 and 554 so I think they’re borderline. In contrast, the 550 and 512 are bustling all day and evening, and the 545 has huge daytime demand but it drops off precipitously weekends and evenings. So I think ST is mostly right with its distribution of all-day, daytime, and peak-only service, and some of the all-day ones are borderline. If the 560 is persistently low, six years seems too short for it to grow substantially. Ten or twenty years would be a better target. It’s not like Auburn and Kent are about to sprout highrises and a Spring District to generate all those riders, because they’ve been steadfastly refusing to do much.

      6. You have to have some kind of reasonable baseline of service to make getting around the region without a personal car viable, even if it means running some routes where not enough people are currently willing to ride a bus to completely fill up a bus. From the perspective of a carless person living in Seattle, the Sound Transit all-day(*) network basically determines the places you can go without needing to cough up $70-$100 on Lyft/Uber and/or rental cars.

        Obviously, there needs to be some minimum ridership threshold. But, there are tons of people driving down I-405 every day, so it is reasonable to expect some bus service there. The 560 ridership is not exactly bursting at the seems, but it’s not nothing, either. And, more people would ride it if it came more frequently.

        Ultimately, passing ST3 without funding more bus service was a shortsighted decision. (I suspected this when I voted for ST3, but I ultimately decided it was better to get something passed, than have the Ballard/SLU line get delayed for 4 more years, while we debate further). The money allocated to Issaquah->Kirkland light rail could have paid for a ton of extra bus service hours, that could be having an impact right now, rather than one rail line in 25 years, and nothing before then.

      7. “If the 560 is persistently low, six years seems too short for it to grow substantially.”

        Yet ST is converting it to a 7-day frequent BRT line. Since we’re clearly not working in the realm of proven high-ridership demand routes, I think low ridership peak-only corridors should get a chance. Even with just an hourly all-day bus. Clearly our beefed-up 560 needs riders from other lines to make it worth our while.

      8. Again, which corridors? I’ve never wanted to go somewhere where ST had peak-only service so there was no bus when I wanted to go. How much is this a real vs theoretical problem? The only thing that has been mentioned is routes where the 594 exists. Is that all?

      9. Also. remember that the budget had to be stretched really tight to fit all the light rail projects. ST really did not want the political fallout from a “$54 billion” price tag — the “anti-” adds practically write themselves. But Everett really, really really wanted Paine Field and Everett Station, and North King really, really, really wanted West Seattle and Ballard (and not a Ballard streetcar!), and Issaquah really, really, really wanted Link and convinced the rest of East King to go along. Pierce was the one that didn’t have any expensive extras like that (since it already had a large down payment for Tacoma Dome saved up), but it kinda wanted a Tacoma Link extension too and didn’t want to be left out of that. So with all that the project period swelled from 15 to 25 years, which ST didn’t want but it was the only way to fit it all in. And you’re expecting more ST Express hours on top of that?

      10. Also #3, remember that this is a long-term planning section; it’s not a Board decision to do this. The 574 change is also worded as “could”; that gives even more leeway to reject it or route it differently when the time comes. So that sounds like one route where there’s still room fo influence the routing. I’d write to ST now about it, even though there’s no comment period now, just to let them know that part of the community wants something else instead. It may be a placeholder simply to replace that 560 service as I said, something to be evaluated later, or maybe ST itself is not so enthusead about it, especially since it says “could” rather than “would”.

      11. I caught the timezone change! Usually when I post a followup to myself only the last one has the blue line indicating “new”, but this time the last three ones have a blue bar. At first I was confused, did the software think they were all simultaneous? But the timestamps are “1:13am”, “1:24am”, “1:07am”, so it did go backward! And the blue-line algorithm must not be prepared enough for that.

      12. Another argument. People have a threshold of convenience before they’ll take transit, and different people have different thresholds. Some people will drive to Sounder or an express bus and won’t take a local bus to it, but demand larger P&Rs instead. Some people won’t take a 60-minute bus but will take a 30-minute bus; others won’t take a 30-minute bus but will take a 15-minute bus; and others won’t take a 15-minute bus (especially when transferring) but will take a 10-minute bus. That’s why you see so many people taking Uber and taxis to the airport even when there’s a bus alternative.

        So it all revolves around whether making an ST Express route all-day or doubling its frequency is enough to make a lot of people change their minds. Generally, increasing it to from 60 to 30 minutes gets a few people, increasing it from 30 to 15 minutes gets significantly more, and increasing it from 15 to 10 gets the most. That’s my experience because the 30-minute evenings on the 5 and 358 were enough to make me postpone most trips or forego them, and the 30 minute evenings/Sundays on the 11 is also a burden. 60-minute routes practically don’t exist because I’ve had enough times waiting forty-five minutes for them, arranging my schedule to fit them, or having the round trip take such a large chunk of the day that it wasn’t worth it. And 15-minute routes get to you when your first bus arrives just in time to see your second bus leaving and you have to wait 15 minutes for the next one, especially when there’s no place to sit.

        So the question becomes, who do the 566 and 560 have such low ridership, and would adding more ST Express runs make much difference? Why is 405 BRT being installed when the 560 and 535 are so lackluster? I think the reason is that a 30-60 minute route in those corridors is below people’s convenience threshold, whereas a 10-minute route with inline stations is attractive enough to compete with driving. And for Auburn-Bellevue, it’s curious why it should be so low, because aren’t people in Auburn and Kent as eager to go to Bellevue/Redmond as people in Seattle are? But people who live in Auburn. Kent, and Renton self-select to have a higher threshold: they expect to drive to most places and won’t take transit if the inconvenience is more than a little bit. There are people in the 167/405 corridor who don’t have cars or have a low threshold for transit, but there are few of them. So to get them to substantially increase ridership you have to do more than just increase ST Express from 60 minutes to 30 minutes or peak-only to all day: you have to do something like a 15-minute route or rail or transit lanes and in-line stations. And ST knows that and it shows up in their statistics, so it puts the resources where a lot of people will use them (550, 512) and doesn’t try as hard in the more car-oriented corridors.

        The 594 is puzzling. The 550 is pretty full at 11:30pm and is standing room only some Sunday afternoons, and has a busy 15-minute schedule weekdays and Saturdays. The 512 manages to fill up an articulated bus most of the day and it even has double-deckers, and is also 15 minutes weekdays. When the 594 is 30 minutes it gets quite full and sometimes standing room only. The 594 is always 30 minutes, is a single bus, and not that full. Why? Is it because the distance and longer travel time dissuade people from coming to Seattle or taking transit? But the difference is larger than the proportional distance and time would suggest. Is Tacoma just on the wrong side of most people’s convenience threshold, a little too far, in ways that Lynnwood and Everett are not? That will be a long-term issue. And the gap between Tacoma Dome and downtown Tacoma and the residential neighborhoods is another issue.

        The 545 is also a bit curious. It comes every five minutes between 7:30 and 10:30am and still all the buses are packed full. But evenings and weekends ridership drops precipitously to levels like the 594. And the 540 has never been that successful. That’s completely different from the 550’s ridership profile. Are people in northeast King County that much more transit adverse than people in east-central King County? The cities are only a few minutes apart yet the all-day ridership difference is striking. And it’s not apparent from the surface. If I were deciding whether to live in Bellevue, Kirkland, or Redmond, they’re so similar that it wouldn’t occur to me that they’d have such vast rideship differences, making it easier to have a frequent route to Bellevue than to the other two.

      13. The 540’s ridership is limited by reasons unrelated to the actual market it’s supposed to serve:
        1) It’s notoriously unreliable in keeping to its schedule. Combined in 30-minute service, it means long, unpredictable wait times
        2) During the hours when it’s running at all, the 255 is running every 10 minutes. The frequency of the 255 attracts many riders who would otherwise take the 540 – especially in the westbound direction, when many people waiting for the 540 will see the 255 come by first.

      14. @Mike I think the main difference in Lynnwood vs. Tacoma is the former really only feels “far” when there’s bad traffic, whereas Tacoma is always going to be “far.” (Kent/Des Moines is probably the limit of “not too far” for most people? And the Mariner area of Everett to the north?) And I’m afraid it won’t seem much closer even with Link to the Dome, because of having to go through the Rainier Valley portion. As it is, downtown to the airport already feels like a “long” ride, anything further than Kent/Des Moines would be much more comfortable on a more frequent Sounder train, IMO. Sounder should really be like 20 minutes peak/30-40 off peak into the evening — both north and south. Also, addressing the mudslide issues and getting Sounder North up to Marysville would be a good way to serve that rapidly growing area.

  8. Though not the only one, this morning’s mention of the 590 series best example. I’m not reading any grasp at all of the amount this region is going to change over the lifetime of every reader here this morning, starting with me.

    Any reason there won’t be Link’s fastest trains from Port Angeles to Bremerton to Tacoma to Olympia? With a definite station on SR16 uphill from Gig Harbor? And jetboats serving both Gig Harbor and Southworth?

    What I’m especially not seeing is the way the Central Puget Sound Region is going to replace its present counties, cities, and subareas as chief reference for its whole transit system.

    Undergirded by an economy, and a population, whose industries, and everything else human-related will require- and make desirably possible- a transit system able to deliver the freedom we used to be able to trust to cars.

    There’s nothing wrong with discussing details of what’s going to happen with the express buses these next ten years. Some transit lanes the length of I-5 to at least Centralia, will take care of a whole lot south of Seattle. So nothing mentioned here will, or should be permanent.

    My idea of putting some “Streetcar Suburbs” around to the front of accelerating development – doubt somebody else hasn’t already got the permits.

    Mark Dublin

  9. One thing that is interesting about the plan is that you see a threshold to how aggressively ST would want to run ST express buses that are (in effect) a shortcut to riding Link through many stations. Setting aside routes like 577 and 594 that are faster than link but follow roughly the same route (which ST is the most aggressive on), you see the most interesting example in the eastside.

    With Link running from Redmond to Bellevue to I-90, continuing to UW and beyond, you could reason that all ST Express routes in the eastside that don’t go to Issaquah are duplicative with Link. 550 is almost exactly the same as East Link, and 545 riders can take Link for trips downtown as well. But 541/542 can also be considered duplicative because it is a shortcut to a very circuitous one-seat ride on Link from Redmond to UW. Routes 555/556 north of S. Bellevue are also like this, since it’s one train ride from Bellevue to UW and even Northgate.

    With this you see several different “levels” of duplication and “shortcut-ness,” and where ST draws the line. In order of shortcut-ness, here are the levels, and whether ST is keeping buses along with Link:

    550: No
    545: Peak yes, off-peak no
    555/556: No (ST is combining these with the 554, but the section from Bellevue to north Seattle is not included)
    542: Yes

    Though not an ST-endorsed shortcut, I think (at least off-peak) trips from Bellevue to north Seattle may be quicker by taking 271 and transferring to Link than taking the one-seat but very circuitous route on Link through downtown Seattle. Doing this will take 31 minutes to get to UW (which ST touts on a sign at City Hall as a good thing), while the 271 in rush hour is scheduled (subject to unreliability of course) to take 28 minutes to get not to UW Station, but to U-district station (one station past UW Station on Link).

    1. Alex, the routing you’re describing was doubtless conceived on same planet as a lot of similar suggestions from Information sites in a different space/wasted time continuum.

      Easy answer isn’t the 271, which has its own local service area, but an ST Express bus non stop to the Bellevue Transit Center. Starting tomorrow morning. Definitely and terrifically necessary now.

      Could be called 550 520 or something, essentially letting LINK take a very large amount of strain off the regular 550- which eventually gets slowly to Bellevue, while also still serving Mercer Island and South Bellevue.

      So nothing lost there, but excellent emergency substitute using DSTT and new temporary non-stop shuttle to supplement I-90 during construction.When the Blue Angels need the Lake, I-90 buses are often diverted to 520 for duration.

      No excuse not do to it right now.

      Mark Dublin

    2. Metro is taking over the 577 in the 2025 plan. And a downtown-Kent-Auburn express replaces the King County part of the 578. The Issaquah expresses are replaced by two express routes from MI/South Bellevue: one to North Bend and the other to Sammamish. Sound Transit will not offer Federal Way service that duplicates Link, so it’s up to Metro to replace it if it wants to.

    3. Link was predicated on deleting the 550, 577, 510, 511, 512, and 594, so that’s why it’s certain those will go away or be transformed beyond recognition. Others like the 522 ST is not so sure about. And Tacoma-Seattle will inevitably have pushback with the longer travel time so it may not be politically feasible to delete all duplicative routes.And other cases like Star Lake may just have not had enough debate time for ST to feel certain about yet.

  10. asfd2.

    The idea of truncating any I-5 service at Federal Way needs testing by somebody within that day’s termination for late reports. Those routes should all terminate at Sea-Tac Airport Station.

    Routing from I-5 to the Airport could be faster climbing the hill on SR518- though been told not. But whether that or present 188th Street, needs diamond lanes between freeway and airport.

    Intercity Transit now ends its I-5 routes at SR512 Park & Ride, with timed transfers to the 590 and 594 and the 574. Right now, south end of the 574 is at Lakewood Mall. Which terminal should be relocated to Lakewood Station tomorrow morning.

    But I think the 574 should run half hour headways from Olympia Transit Center to the Airport, with one stop at Tacoma Dome. Special passes for legislators, with “Vocationally Disabled” in very small print. Or whatever font, like they can tell? ‘Til Tacoma’s freeway adjustments finish up- about same time our planet does- I think that while a Tacoma Dome stop might cost the 574 five minutes, it could cost the 592 fifteen.

    Just an impression- field test tricky re: rush hour only schedules. But bottom line is that for Tacoma Dome passengers either direction, 574 will have same north end terminal, same speed, so nobody loses. And 592 from Gig Harbor, non-stop to same Airport terminal, for same reason.

    Because important thing about both these routes is that between them and all other service,there’s a purpose far from equal.

    Only forgivable thing about Seattle’s unsanitary housing market is that thanks to it, neither Olympia nor Gig Harbor belong to our older brothers. Let alone our grandfathers. Routes like these can swiftly start leaving our evil-little- brother- the SOV’s own territory without his lunch.

    Oh, and…Really sweet STREETCAR line can go between Gig Harbor Park and Ride and a Harbor of the same name. Which could maybe also extend into a scenic interurban to Southworth, where same ORCA card will get you a ferryboat ride to an actual BRT from Fauntleroy to the CCC.

    Thanks for the [TOPIC].

    Mark Dublin

    1. Doesn’t Federal Way have a direct access HOV ramp? Seems like that makes it a much better truncation point for I5 buses than SeaTac?

  11. Does it not seem rather timid? First, it seems ST could spend much more on bus service, especially in Pierce and Snohomish subareas. Yes, there first priority is Link, but it is distant in time and riders need service today. The bus budget is a narrow sliver of the ST budget pie. Second, the changes are not bold; they do not provide much frequency nor connect well with Link. South. Could Route 574 have 15 minute headway at all times and be reoriented to Angle Lake? If the airport is worthy of Link, should it not have good bus service in the meantime? Why extend further north and duplicate other service? With U Link, Route 586 be deleted and merged into the revised Route 574. for more speed, Route 574 should skip Star Lake and Kent Des Moines; I-5 is too congested for that weaving. Routes 590, 594, and 595 could skip SODO and use the Seneca and Spring Street ramps; note the SDOT transit lanes. Route 594 could use the minutes saved to serve Federal Way. Perhaps routes 574 and 594 could specialize in Tacoma; they are transfer adverse now. Link serves SODO. North. Could Route 535 also have 15 minute headway? East. Is Route 550 mortally wounded by I-90, South Bellevue, D-2, and the DSTT? Perhaps a frequent Route 556W between BTC and UW Link is needed. Route 545W oriented to the UW Link station would avoid the congestion of I-5. Route 542 could serve SLU. Post Northgate Link, could Route 522 run all-day and serve SLU via the reversible lanes in the peak direction and maybe SR-99 in the reverse peak direction? Is the connection with Northgate necessary any longer; the urban center more Eastside riders want is SLU. Should Route 560 exist? Its hours could improve Route 566.

    Post Federal Way Link, Mark’s question might be answered by a Metro service between the FWTC and the deep bore.

    1. “it seems ST could spend much more on bus service, … The bus budget is a narrow sliver of the ST budget pie.”

      I just wrote about that above. The budget is already stretched extremely thin. More STEX would have just pushed the “$54 billion” figure higher, when it was already politically extreme.

      “Could Route 574 have 15 minute headway at all times and be reoriented to Angle Lake? If the airport is worthy of Link, should it not have good bus service in the meantime? Why extend further north and duplicate other service?”

      The Westwood extension puzzled me too. The I realized that what it’s doing is replacing 560 service that will be deleted when 405 BRT takes over the 560. 405 BRT will not serve SeaTac, White Center, or Westwood Village; so it will leave Burien-SeaTac and West Seattle-SeaTac connections. The 560 is pathetically underused there, but it is the only ST service in southwest King County or West Seattle and ST feels it has to give them something for their ST taxes.

      As for “Should the airport not have good bus service in the meantime?”, I don’t understand. The 574 already serves the airport. Angle Lake is so close that routing it to there would not save any money, and it’s impossible to get to Angle Lake from I-5 without building a new overpass or going way out of the way on side streets. Forcing people to transfer at Angle Lake that practically zero people from Pierce want to go to when it’s just one mile further to the airport itself is being excessively pedantic. Routes should be anchored at a strong destination at both ends if possible; that’s how you generate two-way demand.

      “Route 574 should skip Star Lake and Kent Des Moines; I-5 is too congested for that weaving.”

      I wished that too. Not because of I-5 but because of the significant overhead in getting off to go west to Star Lake and back. The Federal Way detour is already a lot of overhead. But I suspect it’s futile to try to get ST to do it so I didn’t mention it, because “P&R riders” and not wanting to abandon a P&R and make it useless.

    2. Well, I suppose West Seattle isn’t paying for it since West Seattle is in North King. But to West Seattlites that’s a distinction without a difference, since they’re still paying ST taxes at all, and at the same rate as South King. And ST has entitlement, I tell you, entitlement! Ask anybody in West Seattle, they’ll tell you. Sam could do a survey of West Seattle residents and find out how many of them personally agree that West Seattle should have the same thing that anyone else is having even though they’re smaller and less dense.

    3. Currently, the limiting factor on additional bus service isn’t money, it’s bus base capacity constraints. ST doesn’t have its own bus bases, it uses KCM’s, CT’s, and PT’s, so it faces the same capacity issues those agencies do, particularly KCM. ST can’t deliver more peak bus service for all the same reasons KCM can provide Seattle with all the bus service SDOT is willing to pay for.

      1. Bus base capacity is really only a constraint for adding new peak service. Off-peak, the buses are already there, it’s just a question of finding the money to pay someone to drive them.

        At least for the East King subarea, the obvious place to find the money is the Issaquah->Kirkland line. The bond payments for the construction cost could fund a ton of new ST Express service hours, which would serve all parts of the subarea, not just Issaquah. And, we could see the benefits today, rather than having to wait 25 years.

  12. The 271 is an awful bus between Bellevue TC and Issaquah with peak awfulness happening between Eastgate and Issaquah TC.

    Issaquah TC to Eastgate is scheduled for 25 minutes on the 271 during the AM peak.

    This compares to 9 minutes for the 554 and 556.

    To Bellevue it gets worse, 48 minutes scheduled for that same 271 from Issaquah TC to Bellevue TC versus 24 minutes for the 556.

    When I had classes at Bellevue College early enough to take advantage of it the 556 was an easy choice.

    I’m for consolidating the 555 and 556 into one route, it never made sense to me that they were separate, but to optimize it you would have to solve the problem of connecting Eastgate to I-405.

    Right now the 555 and 556 both route through West Bellevue along Bellevue Way, which is duplicative with East Link service.

    The 556 uses the Eastgate Freeway station and can’t get over 4 lanes of traffic to make the I-405 exit. It’s dangerous to cross that many lanes and stripped to be illegal last time I checked.

    The 555 uses SE Eastgate Way and the Richards Road ramp to get to I-90 and there is no ramp to get on I-405 from that area.

    Together the above is the hard part about implementing a Bellevue TC to Issaquah bus.

    I suppose you could bypass Eastgate, but that would mean missing out on a Park and Ride and more importantly Bellevue College (Which some commenters in the past have underestimated the size of, the most recent number I saw was 32,500, which is equal to about 72% of all 3 colleges combined in the Seattle College District.)

    Perhaps the easiest looking option is to connect the existing I-90 ramp on Richards Road to the adjacent existing I-90 to I-405 ramp for buses only and get off on the Factoria exit going the other way.

    1. The 271 is an awful bus between Bellevue TC and Issaquah with peak awfulness happening between Eastgate and Issaquah TC.

      The entire 271 is an awful bus. It needs a complete overhaul. It is so bad that something new should just replace it. Two buses, not one. Buses like the one you describe should handle the Bellevue to Issaquah section. The other piece needs to be way more frequent, with a much better routing. Bellevue to the UW is a *major connection*. It is one of the biggest connections in our system, and probably the biggest one that won’t be replaced by a train. Yet it has a horrible route. It wastes a huge amount of time covering an area that should have hour headways, like its neighbor to the east (the 246). Not only does this route waste time, it eliminates the possibility of connections to the UW. No freeway stops, no connections to the frequent buses that serve Kirkland — nothing. It is horrible, and needs to go.

      1. Bellevue to UW is being replaced by a train – it’s called East Link. Post-East Link, the 271 shouldn’t be viewed as a connection for those two nodes, but to provide coverage for all the stuff in between and connect all those lower density areas to UW and/or Bellevue.

      2. The 271 will probably be slightly faster than Link, and will remain for those who don’t want to go out of the way.

        In Metro’s 2025 plan the 271 is reduced to a 30-minute Local route from downtown Bellevue to UW. In the 2040 plan it’s replaced by two Local routes (so combined 15-minute service): one to Beaux Arts and South Bellevue, and the other to 123rd Ave SE (“Woodridge” on the map) and Eastgate P&R.

      3. Post East Link, I think the *right* all-day option to get from DT Bellevue to Issaquah should be to ride Link to South Bellevue P&R, then transfer to a truncated version of the 554 that runs at double the frequency of today’s 554, since it’s only going have the distance, and avoids the interminable slog through downtown Seattle. South Bellevue feels like a good connection point to hook up Issaquah to the regional transit system, since you can continue onward, on Link both west and north, without too much backtracking.

        Peak-hours, I would expect Issaquah to be served by additional buses that connect to Link at Mercer Island, for faster travel downtown, but, for the all-day network, you want to consolidate everything into one bus, so you can run it at maximum frequency, and the place to do that is South Bellevue P&R.

      4. Bellevue to UW is being replaced by a train – it’s called East Link.

        It will take over 30 minutes to get from the downtown Bellevue station to the UW. It takes about 20 minutes for the 556 to make that same trip, *during rush hour*. To get to the U-District the bus is still about five minutes faster all day long. That is while making extra stops in the UW/U-District area. The bus serves Campus Parkway (along with an extra stop along Pacific and 42nd) while the train won’t. That means that a lot of riders would avoid a lot of extra walking, or an extra bus transfer. When you add in the platform time, the bus is significantly faster for most trips (around ten to fifteen minutes).

        UW to downtown Bellevue is a very important regional connection (since they are the second and third most important areas in the region). Asking riders to spend an extra ten minutes for that trip so that we can cover areas that normally have weekday-only service every hour is how we got into this mess in the first place. It is how people are arguing hard for the 255 to serve the UW (thus forcing all the riders headed downtown to make an extra transfer) even though they know that a very similar bus (the 540) is “notoriously unreliable in keeping to its schedule”. Moving the 255 is not a crazy thing to do — the UW needs service — and would make sense if the problem was unavoidable. But it isn’t. The 271 is wasting an enormous amount of time watching people play golf in Medina, instead of connecting to other bus routes. It should be moved now, so that folks have a better option for getting to the UW, and should continue that way even after East Link is complete.

      5. Certainly, going from BTC to Husky Stadium would be faster on a direct bus. The choice will be more dispersed than those two points. As you allude to. For example, transfer hassles to get to a 520 bus but not transfer to use Link (day Spring District or Main St) will entice those riders to use Link. The UW end will be affected by where on campus one is going; Pacific Ave destination seekers may use the bus but U Dustrict seekers will use Link.

        Of course, the decision will also be affected by train or bus frequencies. Wait for a faster but less predictable bus trip, or ride a few minutes further to have less waiting and more travel time reliability? I think most riders will generally choose the latter but the actual walking distance will matter.

        I’ll add that redundancy isn’t a bad thing to have. Operational delays will occasionally occur on either path so that a rider will be greatly pleased to have options when that happens.

      6. Link is not really intended to be the primary mode for Bellevue-UW trips because it makes a big out-of-direction loop. It’s two miles south from Bellevue Transit Center to I-90, and then two miles north to compensate, which makes up a large part of a Bellevue-UW trip. Link is primarily meant for Bellevue-downtown and Redmond-downtown, while Bellevue-UW will be more like half-and-half. Link may achieve 60-70% of the Bellevue-UW ridership but probably not 90%. For Redmond-UW it’s harder to say because a Redmond-UW bus would probably have an even larger speed advantage, but on the other hand the overhead of going south from Bellevue TC and then north again is a smaller percent of the trip so it might seem like less of a burden.

      7. Bellevue TC to UW should be 30 minutes on the nose. East Main to University of
        Washington Station is listed at 28 minutes.

        The “out of direction” loop is what supports the all day high frequency. Running an express bus between Bellevue and UW to save 5 minutes is a bit like building the Dwuamsih bypass to save 10 minutes to get to the airport. By breaking the ridership in two, it’s harder to support high frequencies.

      8. In that case Link will win because the 271 is also 28 minutes.

        The fact that Metro plans to reduce the 271 to a coverage route suggests it’s mostly about Medina. Although the overlap of two routes in 2040 suggests an attempt to reestablish frequency long-term. But that may be just a placeholder until the future political fight of whether to reestablish that frequency after all.

        I’m also not sure what the full-length 2040 routes are intended for. South Bellevue can take Link directly to UW, and Eastgate will doubtless have a frequent feeder. So it must be about Beaux Arts and 123rd. Maybe Metro is just attaching them to the best coverage routes it could find.

      9. East Main to University of Washington Station is listed at 28 minutes.

        Since when? The 255 leaves “UW Station Bay 1” at 2:38. It arrives at “Bellevue TC Bay 8”, at 2:57 (https://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/st-express-bus/556). That is 19 minutes.

        “UW Station Bay 1” is across the street from the train stop. It takes 6 to 8 minutes to get from the bus stop to the train stop (according to ST and Metro). To get to a real destination (e. g. the hospital) means you are already somewhere between 17 and 19 minutes ahead. But again, that isn’t the only destination. Link only has two stops in the area.. The bus has six*. So even though the bus is significantly faster, it serves a wider area. That means that a typical trip will be much faster. For ridership on the 556, the two stops closest to the two stations make up a minority of the stops around the UW (ridership is spread out amongst the stops). There are three stops between the two stations (Pacific and 15th; 15th and 40th; Campus Parkway) that combined carry more riders than the two stops next to the train station combined. Those stops are also quite a ways from the train stops. 15th and Pacific is especially tough — more than ten minutes away from the nearest train station.

        Thus the difference for a particular trip is significant. You save around 10 minutes in travel time, plus 7 minutes to get to the surface, and another 10 minutes of walking to get to your destination. The U-District station will likely be a little bit more convenient, so shave off a couple minutes. But even then, it is well over 20 minutes, for more trips. Even when rush hour shrinks the difference, it will be closer to 15 or so.

        But most of the day, for most of the trips, you would have a savings of well over 20 minutes.

        * One of the bus stops is the Montlake stop, which will go away soon. Speaking of which, eventually the connection between 520 and the U-District will be much better, as the buses won’t have to leave the carpool lane to get right to the edge of the bridge (and that is assuming they don’t build a second bridge). That means that except for the bridge itself (maybe) the bus will be in an HOV-3 lane the entire way (thus making rush hour travel very fast).

  13. I take issue with ST talking up the “connections to the Boeing Everett Plant” by moving 513 to the Seaway Transit Center. As long as it’s peak direction only, it is moving the wrong way to provide a connection for employees trying to get there. It wouldn’t be until a bidirectional route opens up there that the Boeing Plant would actually be served.

  14. Once Federal Way Link opens (2024):Route 577 would be eliminated.

    Ouch. From Downtown to Federal Way, Link gets half as far in the same amount of time.

    1. Metro will take it over. Metro’s 2025 plan has an Express (half-hourly) route that’s basically the same as the 577. Of course, budgets and later decisions may affect this. I don’t know whether Metro seriously wants to pursue it or just put it in as a placeholder for later consideration.

  15. Most of these changes are fairly obvious, which is a good thing. But there are some changes that don’t make sense to me, or as eddiew put it, are way too timid.

    First, as I said up above, if we are to “consolidate north-Bellevue-to-UW service to King County Metro route 271”, then the 271 needs to change. It should change even if we don’t consolidate anything. It just needs to change.

    For Snohomish County:

    Route 511 would become a peak frequent bi-directional service between Seaway Transit Center, Eastmont P&R, Ash Way P&R, and Lynnwood City Center Station.

    That is a terribly disappointing route. Eastmont is a terrible stop. It has very low ridership.

    Seaway looks like a loser as well. No one lives close to there. That means anyone who wants to ride that bus to work in Seattle has to first find a bus headed there, which means at least a three seat ride, with the first bus headed the wrong direction. It has employment, but most of that is spread out, a bus ride away. That means a lot of extra transfers. Link has a handful of stops in neighborhoods, but it is also highly dependent on connecting bus service, or park and rides. Someone who lives in Lake City or Ballard, for example, will have to catch a bus to a Link station. That means that commuting to a Boeing plant would involve a bus ride, a train ride, then a bus ride to this transit center, followed by one more circulator bus ride (that probably won’t be that frequent). That is a four seat ride. The same is true for those that use the park and ride lots. Drive, take the train, take the bus, then take another bus. Sorry, that just isn’t going to happen — not for a reverse commute that is painless by car right now (unless you live south of the ship canal).

    This just looks like a dog. A horrible, ugly dog. OK, not the whole thing, but it has a very ugly tail. Meanwhile …

    Route 510 would get a huge bump in service hours, and provide frequent all-day connection between Downtown Everett, South Everett Park & Ride, Ash Way Park & Ride and Lynnwood City Center Station.

    Not a bad idea, but timid. The problem is Ash Way. From the south, the connections are great. From the north, they are terrible. Drivers spend a huge amount of time getting out of the HOV lane, getting over into the exit lane, looping around the station and then heading back out again. It takes over five minutes to do that, not counting the stop itself. One option would be to just skip Ash Way, and let Community Transit handle it with the existing 201/202. But I have a better idea.

    I would start by truncating the 201/202 at Ash Way, which means it would continue to provide good service from Everett to Ash Way. The 510 should skip Ash Way. That leaves a bus from Lynnwood to Ash Way. ST calls this a new 511, I call it a new 514. Except don’t send that bus back on the freeway to serve Eastmont, but send it to where the people are.

    Have the bus go along Ash Way, picking up the riders that used to take the 201/202, but keep going through the neighborhoods, to pick up the biggest set of potential riders in Snohomish County. That is basically the idea behind this: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jSsFs-bi6avJgCRGRRQBzbqIKfMHUiwv&usp=sharing

    For Lynnwood to Everett it is much faster, while other connections are just as good. But the big benefit is that there is a one seat ride for most of the densely populated parts of Snohomish County (https://arcg.is/15a1Ku). There is overlap, certainly, but that overlap allows for fewer transfers, or more frequent service to areas that have a lot of people.

    1. Truncating the 201/202 at Ash Way would mean that riders from Marysville would have a three-seat ride to Seattle, with a gratuitous gap in the middle like the gap between UW Station and the U-District. Marysville is the fastest-growing part of Snohomish County and it’s outside the ST District, so it really needs the 201/202 to connect directly to a route to Seattle and Bellevue.

      It may be possible to convince ST to do the Ash Way, non-Ash Way variation you suggest when the time comes. These changes haven’t been put out to a public hearing yet.

      1. Do you really think there are large numbers of riders from Marysville all the way to downtown Seattle? The 201/202 is a very long route, serving various trip pairs. But I doubt very few people ride it end to end, and I think even fewer go on to Seattle. Marysville is growing, but it is sprawling (and still relatively small). It is about an hour to get from Marysville to Lynnwood. To get to downtown Seattle would be another half hour, not counting the wait time. That is 90 minutes each way, not counting the time it takes to get to the 201 (I doubt very few riders from Marysville walk to a station). So that is well over 3 hours of commuting each day. There are very few people who do that, and those that do probably wouldn’t care about that little section in the middle. In fact, the 510 would be so fast and frequent (by avoiding Ash Way) that a savvy rider might get off in Everett, catch the 510, and arrive in Lynnwood before their friends on the 201/202.

        But if you really want to keep the 201/202 as is, that works too. The only reason for the truncation is to remove some redundancy. But if you keep the 201/202 as is, then the 510 should still skip Ash Way. That would mean the 201/202 still covers the Ash Way to Lynnwood section. That is easier, as it wouldn’t require Community Transit (CT) to change their route.

        Then the addition of a new bus that goes from Lynnwood to Ash Way and beyond is more redundant, but still a solid bus. It means someone waiting for a bus in Ash Way can take ST or CT to Lynnwood. The same is true all the way up to 128th. The big benefit comes, though, as that ST bus heads towards 99, providing folks with a one seat ride to Lynnwood (and thus a two seat ride to Seattle).

        Otherwise it isn’t distant Marysville looking at a three seat ride to Seattle, but folks who live closer to Seattle than Everett Station. These are folks who live in apartments, and will definitely walk to a bus (if it gets them there). Along 128th, for example, it would be a three seat ride to Seattle.

        Right now there are folks that this bus would serve that would otherwise be looking at a four seat ride to Seattle. If you live on Evergreen Way between Casino Road and Airport Road you would take Swift Blue, then Swift Green, then the 202/202 before Link. That is a lot of buses for a trip that is tiny compared to Marysville to Seattle. OK, you would probably take Swift Blue and then transfer to a bus to Lynnwood, but that is a very time consuming bus trip for a trip that should be relatively fast. It takes 16 minutes to drive it (https://goo.gl/maps/USR2DnR6mQ52) and it will run in a bus lane most of the way (using both Swift corridors). Swift is fast along SR 99, but it isn’t as fast as the freeway (and you still have to get from 99 to Lynnwood). Meanwhile, the folks up around Casino Road are still struggling with a tough trip to Seattle. They have to catch a bus to get to Evergreen Way, then ride it all the way south, then take another bus to Lynnwood.

        The point is, ST seems to ignoring the apartments. The best chance of bus to train transfers involves areas with relatively high density, and that is along the route I sketched out. Otherwise, those people will just drive to a park and ride (and if it is full, just ignore transit).

Comments are closed.