The already-unburied ramps at the south end of the former viaduct (photo by Bruce Englehardt)

Some buses were reported to be skipping stops yesterday when they were “full”. Not all “full” buses are really full, because riders don’t always fill the standing space in the back. So, please be kind to your fellow riders down-route who also need to get on the bus. If you are standing, move all the way back. Fill up that back section where people don’t like to stand. Tell the jerk blocking the aisle to either move back, or let you by. Operators: Please don’t just assume your bus is full. Ask the passengers to please move back so more passengers can board, and tell them you aren’t moving until they move back. If nobody moves, get out, walk to the back, knock on the window, and wave at the aisle-blocking passengers to move back.

And if you are sitting, don’t put your bag on the seat next to you.

Graphic courtesy Sound Transit

This is an open thread.

31 Replies to “Post-Viaduct Day 3 Open Thread: Please Make Space for Your Fellow Riders”

  1. Shit, you just ruined my day. My pack is too important to not have its’ own seat. Besides, the last person that sat next to me had extreme BO. And moving to the back is not an option, I need to discuss the state of affairs with the bus driver, such as should Barr be nominated or not, and is Putin a friend or foe. And I think operators moving before passengers are moved back is a good way to get the passengers to the back, the driver only needs an exceptional burst of acceleration to get the job done. Coffee should be shared by all!

  2. I’ve been curious about those white blocks sitting around the construction site, which appear to be used for ramp building now. Anybody able to describe how those are being used?

    1. The article LB posted does a good job explaining, but long story short: geofoam as strong as gravel backfill, but much lighter, easier to place and no need to compact it. Helps out when you’re constructing on poor soils that tend to settle, like the entire Seattle waterfront.

      1. I see that the blocks are made of polystyrene. From wikipedia:

        “Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. In expanded polystyrene, these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane, which may pose a flammability hazard in manufacturing or storage of newly manufactured material, but have relatively mild environmental impact. Extruded polystyrene is usually made with hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a), which have global warming potentials of approximately 1000–1300 times that of carbon dioxide.”

        Rep. Fitzgibbon has introduced a bill that would phase out use of hydroflourocarbons for most mundane commercial uses, but apparently not for construction.

  3. Ugh. I’m a regular sounder rider. To have to ask someone to move their bag on a train that is approaching standing room only is rediculous.

    1. It’s much worse on buses that are well past SRO, and passing people up. Getting a seat on Sounder is a first world problem compared to the getting on the 120 at all along northern Delridge in the morning.

      At any rate, I suspect the aisle blockers are causing more people to be passed up than the seat hogs are. That, and that some bus routes with fewer smartphones on board just don’t get the love from the county council.

    2. I got fed up with those people years ago: both the 2-3 seat hogs and those that don’t move all the way back. If I’m standing, I automatically move to the trailer. If there are people between me and the end, I tell them to keep moving too. (Trained by the old 71-72-73x rush hour packed buses obviously!)
      Only one person has gotten mad at me for saying to move back: I was sitting on the 590 and we were delayed because we were picking up Sounder transfers. Had she kept moving back, we could have gotten like 5 more people on.

    3. It’s ridiculous but it happens all the time on ST and Metro. I’ve seen one person take all 3 seats on the bench reserved for the handicapped while a person in a wheelchair in literally in front of them.

      Usually when you ask people will move their bag but they do not generally offer.

      1. To all: If you see someone coming on board with a wheelchair, and you are behind the reserved seats, alert the oblivious people in those seats, and free up the operator to focus on assisting that passenger in the wheelchair. Offer your seat up, and move further back, if that helps.

  4. I blame some interior design flaws on the OG hybrid 60′ buses (the 2600-series buses from the mid-2000s) for people not wanting to move back on those buses. Despite their age they still represent a solid chunk of the fleet, especially on peak routes. I’m usually on one 2x daily.

    1. There are no handholds in the “accordion” part of the bus. When the bus starts to move there is a ~8′ gap in handholds that people are less willing to wade through when the bus is moving. I once mashed my knee into a woman while trying to navigate this section – she was (quite rightfully) very mad at me. So I won’t move through if people are sitting on both sides there until the bus stops moving.

    2. There is only 1 vertical handhold in the back section adjacent to the side-facing seats above the rear wheels – one side is missing a handhold. That limits how many people can comfortably stand there.

    Fortunately the new buses eliminated both flaws which I’ve noticed does improve internal circulation substantially.

    1. “There are no handholds in the “accordion” part of the bus.”

      Exactly, it’s why I don’t go to the back of the bus to exit if there’s no third door in front of the articulation. It’s hard to walk across the articulation when the bus is moving without falling into the people sitting in the adjacent seats. Especially if you’re carrying a backback, and even more if you’re carrying two bags, as i do every week or two for grocery shopping.

    2. Tall people with good balance, do your part and move through the accordian. I can usually make it fine with about a second between handholds, but I know shorter people who can’t reach the tall rails have a much longer time where they don’t have a handhold.

  5. Part of the problem is our two door buses and rider habits of exiting the front of the bus. People get anxiety about being able to exit at their stop and therefore want to stay in close proximity to the door instead of moving towards the middle to make room.

    I get irritated when I have to wait for people to exit the front door before boarding when there is a perfectly good back door (or on many coaches now a good middle door too!). The only reason to exit through the front door is if you need to use the ramp or if the bus is so crush loaded you can’t make your way to another door, or if the back door(s) can’t be used due to obstructions. Yet operators rarely urge people to exit through the rear.

    1. I usually exit from the front when I’ve got a bike on the rack up front, since I want to make sure the driver knows when I’m getting off and doesn’t drive away before I can walk up front to take it off.

      But simple pedestrians, yes, should exit from the rear.

    2. You’re ignoring the difficulty of walking across the articulation with no handhold when the bus is moving. It may be easy for you but it isn’t for everybody. And maybe you never wear a backback which makes balancing harder, or carry grocery bags that prevent you from using your hand to stop you if you start to fall.

    3. Sometimes when you’re moving from the front or near front to the back to get to the back door, you tend to deal with too many passengers who aren’t aware that you need to move back to get off and are way too slow on the uptake to move ( or just too many passengers to wade through period causing you to get the doors closed on you before you get to them.) Not to mention the occasional jerks who continue to lean on the siding behind or in front of seats that face the back door entry that you have to slither through since they won’t get further inside or off the bus:/.

  6. How hard would it be to rearrange seating in a bus? I ride the 8 and it is always ridiculously crowded around doors, particularly the back one. IMO at least in articulated buses everything from the accordion to the end of the low floor section at the back should be aisle seating since everyone congregates around doors, and there should be no seats at all in the accordion.

    An old New York fishbowl with aisle seating: https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/new-york-transit-museum-vintage-bus-bash-iconic-fishbowl-style-windshields-two-tone-green-color-scheme-jackie-gleason%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-56579239.jpg

    A bus with without bench seating, but with only single seats throughout the low floor section: https://vmcdn.ca/f/files/tbnewswatch/images/local-news/2018/february/transit/bus1.jpg;w=960;h=640;bgcolor=000000

    A bus with more room around the exit door, but not totally abandoning double seats: https://3kpnuxym9k04c8ilz2quku1czd-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Seats.jpg

    Look at all the room for activities!

    1. The biggest problem is Metro’s design preferences. Many transif fans have been arguing for a decade for aisle seats like your first picture or 2+1 seats like in Vancouver, but for years Metro wouldn’t do it at all, and now it has finally gone halfway on RapidRide and the new bus fleet.

      Many buses aren’t that full, like RapidRide B, and when I get on I feel disappointed it I can’t get a forward-facing seat, and I don’t want to take the ones that are reserved for the elderly but there only a few other ones. Sideways seats also make it harder to look out the window for your stop, you have to continually turn your head sidways like in the first picture. So if a transit fan who understands the advantages of all-side seating still tries to avoid them, how much more resistant are the bulk of passengers who think forward-facing seats are a basic part of bus service. Also, many of those Vancouver buses are on short inner-city routes with full-time frequency and are busy all day. In that case people are making shorter trips and the bus is fuller — and the rear door is wider and more in the middle — so side seats or a side full of single seats has more acceptance.

      1. At the same time we have a fair amount of routes with decent on/off activity, or lots of standees during the rush, like the 8 and 62. Given how expensive adding new buses during peak is, we should maximize existing bus capacity at least on busy city routes like those.

        Maybe not bench, but the reduced 2+1, or even 1+1 seating at least around the rear door would be very helpful.

        I have a pretty low opinion of 2+2 seating on buses, mostly because it makes the aisle way too narrow, and because of how hard it is to fill every seat. People hate sitting next to other people, so buses actually have to have quite a bit of standees before every seat is taken, which to me is wasting space.

  7. Going through the Dexter/Mercer intersection at 8 AM a large truck blocked half the box, forcing a couple dozen cyclists and another dozen pedestrians to enter the motorized lanes to get around while crossing Mercer. Several people were nearly hit by oncoming cars that were also navigating around the truck. It was scary to watch.

    I realize this is an old problem. However, I thought the Durkan administration said they would deploy traffic cops at key intersections during the 99 shutdown to keep this kind of thing from happening. Given that they’re encouraging people to take transit, walk and bike, and given Dexter’s key role in moving bikes, pass and buses, I want to know why this intersection isn’t getting more help from the city.

    Any thoughts on this?

  8. Going through the Dexter/Mercer intersection at 8 AM a large truck blocked half the box, forcing a couple dozen cyclists and another dozen pedestrians to enter the motorized lanes to get around while crossing Mercer. Several people were nearly hit by oncoming cars that were also navigating around the truck. It was scary to watch.

    I realize this is an old problem. However, I thought the Durkan administration said they would deploy traffic cops at key intersections during the 99 shutdown to keep this kind of thing from happening. Given that they’re encouraging people to take transit, walk and bike, and given Dexter’s key role in moving bikes, pedestrians and buses, I want to know why this intersection isn’t getting more help from the city.

    Any thoughts on this?

  9. Best instructions I’ve ever heard on a crowded bus from the driver: “move back and put your backpacks and bags at your feet.” Backpacks take up a lot of space that could be used by people standing in the aisle. That phrase should be in the driver training manual, but until it is we should all get more comfortable with asking/suggesting our fellow riders do it. A PR campaign on this by transit agencies might be a good idea too…

  10. I wish they had eliminated the $5 ORCA purchase price for 2 weeks prior to this with a minimum e-purse of $10. A very good time to get people used to this card.

    1. Another good way to not let a good crises go to waste would be to increase cash fare to $3 even. Speeds up boarding and incentivizes ORCA use.Metro might even make a buck or two on the deal.

  11. Link has a big problem with door hogs (riders who stand at the doors but don’t get off for several stops)! Unfortunately, many wear ear buds so they don’t even hear announcements which ST drivers rately make anyway. However, if enough riders know that door hogs are being jerks, they will start taking the initiative to apply peer pressure.

    Tonight was the first time I saw a passenger standing in the doorway actually step onto the platform to let us off. I thank this anonymous guy!

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