This is an open thread

60 Replies to “News Roundup: Long Distance”

  1. Route 567 makes a bit more sense after this 167/405 connector, which will save it 4 lane changes per trip, and give it a higher speed exit as well. ST should really be promoting this route heavily to SE King and Pierce country riders because it’s a pretty fast and direct timed Sounder connector to Bellevue and Microsoft, but it’s not immediately obvious.

    I feel like ST should have a separate system map for Sounder that shows all the connector buses, especially on the north side of south Sounder because I don’t think very many people know that you can take Sounder to Bellevue (all trips connect to 567) or Boeing field area (4 trips connect to 154), and the fact that things are timed well and buses wait for trains to arrive before departing makes even 3-seat rides (like Bonney Lake to Bellevue) not that bad.

  2. After Limebike pulls its manual bicycles off the streets, will Seattle once again be left with no real bike-share? WTF?

    1. Lime and Jump both have electric bikeshares, but they are slightly more expensive than Lime’s manuals and don’t have full support for Lime’s low-income program. Overall, a real loss for Seattle.

      If we had followed the hybrid model used in a few other cities, with docked bikeshare for high-demand areas and private bikeshares for the rest of the city, things would be a bit better.

    2. What’s missing other than the low income bit? E-bikes are more expensive to use, but we’re probably better for hilly Seattle streets anyway right?

      1. The price is fine for shorter trips, but quickly escalates beyond reason, whether you’re low income or not. Especially since the bikes aren’t even maintained that well. A trip from, say, Slow Boat Tavern at the very southern end of Columbia City to the Dunlap Safeway can run nearly $10. On a janky, rattling bike with questionable brakes. Car2Go would be cheaper; Lyft roughly the same if not less. (And of course if we had a damned Graham St. station Link would be a fraction of the cost.)

        I’ve yet to see a good explanation of whether pricing regular bikes out of the market was council’s plan or an unintended consequence. Maybe Lindblom knows…

      2. Yeah, the biggest disincentive for riding them more than a couple miles or so is definitely price. $0.15/minute at 15 mph translates to $0.60/mile, which exceeds the IRS estimate ($0.58/mile) for the cost to operate a motor vehicle. But, that’s only when you’re cruising down the Burke-Gilman trail at maximum speed, without any stopping. On city streets, there’s going to be stop signs and red lights, so the average speed will be more like 10 mph, and the cost, $0.90/mile. By comparison, Car2Go’s cost $0.45/minute, so a Car2Go averaging above 30 mph costs about the same as a Lime-E bike averaging 10 mph. For some trips (e.g. Northgate to downtown on a Sunday morning), I can easily see a Car2Go and a Lime Bike costing almost exactly the same.

        Part of the reason for this relates to the business model of how the bikes are charged. Electricity is cheap, but the labor of paying somebody to travel to and from where the bike is to swap out the batteries is expensive. For instance, suppose each charge costs $10 worth of labor and van miles. A full Lime-E battery lasts 50 miles, but the battery needs to be recharged after 40, so each charge only really lasts 40 miles, so that’s $0.25/mile spent, simply on charging, without evening getting into recouping the cost of the bike or the city fees, plus maintenance.

        Of course, if the bikes are packed together downtown, next to a bunch of other bikes owned by the same company, the cost is much less. Which is another reason for the high cost per mile of travel. High cost per mile encourages short trips over long trips, which tends to leave bikes more clustered together, which in turn, means less labor and van miles to charge the batteries.

  3. Imagine Greater Downtown- reads like a total joke or someone’s fantasy, magical thinking vision of Seattle. Let’s begin where the client, Seattle, is at, and then work on improving things.

  4. Since this is an open thread….

    With the 3rd year anniversary quickly approaching for the opening of the U-Link extension, and since that project received a hefty assist from FTA grant funds, Sound Transit needs to submit its before-and-after report for the project in very short order.

    Has ST made any announcements about this that I’m not aware of? I believe the FTA stipulations about this require the recipient agency to submit its report within 36 months of “completion of the (funded) project”.

  5. I’ve got news for all of you that are complaining that Ballard Station is not going to be the bullseye center of downtown Ballard. Many Link Stations aren’t in the cores of neighborhoods. Northgate Station isn’t in the center. Bellevue, the same. Ditto Rainier Beach. Overlake Village Station is way off in the corner of Overlake. Tukwila … nope. UW Station is well removed from central campus. Mountlake Terrace Station is in the middle of the woods. So quit your whining already.

    1. So because every other station is in terrible locations we should continue to put every new in one similarly terrible locations?

      1. Centers move? How often does that happen? Please, give me some examples of when the residential/cultural/employment center of a neighborhood moved about a half mile (roughly the distance between the station and the center of Ballard)? Do they grow? Certainly (South Lake Union is now a big part of downtown). But move? I really can’t think of anyplace. At best the 14th station would provide a suddenly significant neighborhood with a station. But it would leave the old neighborhood — as big and as regionally important as it has ever been — with the same type of service Ravenna will have. You can take a bus to the train, or (if you are lucky) Metro will run a direct bus to your destination. Again, that is at best.

    2. Context matters. Ballard is a close-to-ideal urban village like the U-District or Broadway (or at least as close as Washington state gets to an ideal village), with a variety of shops and nightlife and services and a farmers’ market and small employers that a large cross-section of the region wants to go to, and it’s a walkable cozy prewar-style neighborhood that pedestrians like to be in, and it has multifamily housing mixed in so people can live there and take Link to other neighborhoods. It’s the kind of place that attractive for people without cars, who use transit/walking/bike/rideshare for all their trips, and are inclined to vote for transit and did vote for transit. The region has only a few really successful urban villages like this, with only a limited number of housing units within walking distance of the station. So it matters a lot how close the station is to the center of Ballard.

      Bellevue TC: A much larger downtown and ridership. The station is within the highrise district, and in a growing part of downtown. It’s adjacent to City Hall for those who have business with the city or are attending a hearing or event. It’s a couple blocks from the second-largest library in the county. A lot of the riders are transferring to another bus or train including the upcoming Stride, so they don’t care whether the transfer is exactly in the center.

      Northgate: Has people who go there because of the mall and chain stores and offices and transfers rather than because they want to be in Northgate and linger there. (Unlike Ballard, the U-District, or Broadway.) It’s a mediocre but OK distance from the mall, typical of American planning. The neighborhood is only semi-walkable and car dominant, and the zoning limits prevent it from reaching its housing potential. (Compare the highrises at Vancouver’s Metrotown or New Westminster and other stations, even though Northgate is one of only three urban centers in Seattle.)

      Overlake Village: I don’t know where exactly the station will be relative to the Safeway and Sears plazas and 156th, but the area is worse than either downtown Bellevue or Northgate, so no matter where the station is it’ll be mediocre.

      Rainier Beach: A hard-to-evaluate lower-income outlying neighborhood. Link is on MLK because Rainier was considered too narrow and congested. MLK diverges from Rainier the further south you go, and at Rainier Beach they’re somewhat wide. There’s still potential for a mixed-use village round Rainier Beach station and smallish jobs center like has coalesced around Othello. The zoning is going slowly because of fears of displacement, and it’s not one of the most-necessary village areas because of its distance from downtown or any major city in the other direction.

      TIB: The station exists for the park n ride. It’s better to have a P&R outside a neighborhood center rather cutting out half the walkshed. A corollary of this is that you need P&R stations if you want to have P&Rs. The South Bellevue station is better than the P&Rs right in downtown Renton, Burien, and Lynnwood.

    3. Mountlake Terrace: The station is not in the woods. The city is planning TOD adjacent to the station. It’s a pleasant 5-minute walk through the woods, even if it’s inaccessible to wheelchairs. Mountlake Terrace has only a tiny downtown with 1-2 story buildings and a limited number of businesses (because it doesn’t have narrow storefronts like Ballard), and the city has been minimal and procrastinating in upzoning, so it’s hard to say how much value a station on 56th would ever have. The indications are, “Not as much as Othello or Overlake Village.”

      1. Have you been to Mountlake Terrace Transit Center? I have. And if you do a 360, you see 90% trees and 10% roads and parking. I call that in the middle of the woods.

      2. Funny, I thought “in the woods” meant dirt under your feet, trees all around you, and dim light because the trees shade the sunlight. That’s what the wood between the transit center and downtown MT are like. Have you ever been in it?

    4. There is a valid point in there. A one-story commercial district can be quaint and vibrant, but it’s not got the same appeal for generating riders as a 10 or 20 story building with the same amount of ground floor square footage has.

      Every time I see an argument that the station is not in the heart of the village I want to ask “Are you happy tearing out this quaint block and erecting tall buildings instead? Are you happy demolishing à block or two for station construction — five years for aerial and ten for a subway?” If not, they don’t have a conpelling reason for a station in that heart.

      I think it’s reasonable to first look at zoning height maps first to see where that center is. Then debate if the station anchor should be in the middle or at one end.

      1. Come on Al. No one is crying over the fact that U-District station isn’t on The Ave. It is one block away, next to a skyscraper. There are new skyscrapers going in a block or two away, while the heart of the U-District (The Ave, AKA University Way) will likely remain the way it is. No one would complain if the Ballard station was at 20th and Market instead of on Ballard Avenue, even though it wouldn’t be at the absolute “center”. Hell, they were willing to accept 15th and Market even though it was a long ways from that center. What they are complaining about is that the proposed station is not only a long ways away from the cultural and historic center of the area, but that it is long ways away from residential and employment center as well. Both population and employment density lie to the west — something Sound Transit seems willing to ignore.

        Yes, this could change, just like Magnolia could build Toronto style residential towers next week. But that would still leave one of the most important neighborhoods in Seattle — the moniker for this line, for heaven’s sake — without a station.

      2. There’s nothing incompatible with preserving a few blocks of historic lowrise storefronts that form the most dyamic part of the neighborhood, as has happened on University Way between Campus 41st and 45th and Ballard Avenue between Market Street (55th) and Ballard Way (47th). There are taller buildings on the blocks around it. Link is so close to the University Bookstore and Varsity Theater that everybody thinks it’s an easy walk, even if some wish there were ideally an entrance right on the Ave. Roosevelt Way is the new darling for large buildings and growth, and it will be the geographic center of the U-District’s density when the new zoning is built out, and some might imagine the center would “move” to it. But 21st-century architects and planners have shown that they can’t build centers as cozy and comfortable as the prewar ones that people want to linger in. Who wants to hang out in Northgate, especially outside the mall? Who wants to hang out in U Village or Overlake? Yet people love going to central Ballard and doing more than one thing like watching a movie and having dunner, or seeing a band and going to a pub and looking at the architecture and people. If Ballard’s 14th station were in the U-District, it would be at 52nd, and the University farmers’ market would be at 43rd. I lived at 55th so I know the primary part of the Ave is Campus Parkway to 45th, then it gets fewer people to 50th, then fewer people again to Ravenna Blvd. So the ideal location for a station is on University Way between 45th and 43rd. The actual station is one short block from there, and on the right side of 45th.

      3. If Sam has a point here, it is despite his best effort not to. Go ahead, Al, and look at the zoning maps. Others have done so. Sans a major upzone that is unlikely to happen, 14th Ave NW Station is a huge nine-digit waste of taxpayer money.

    5. Mountlake Terrace station isn’t in the woods. The plan is to cut a lot of the woods down along the route from Northgate (a shame). So it will be….in the open?

    6. Hey Sam: How often did ST actually spend extra money (say, $100 million) to move outside the center, to an inferior location?

      1. Again, outside the center doesn’t automatically mean it’s an inferior location for a station. The center of Northgate isn’t 102nd street and I-5. Nobody’s screaming the station should have been at 5th and Northgate way.

      2. Oh, and if you say nobody’s complaining about Northgate Station not being in the center of Northgate because it’s next to the transit center, then you are agreeing with my point. It’s perfectly ok not to put a Link Station in the center of a neighborhood, depending on the circumstances.

      3. Nobody’s screaming the station should have been at 5th and Northgate way.

        Only because it would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars more. Obviously the Northgate transit center location is worse than 5th and Northgate, but it is a lot cheaper than putting it in the right place. That is a normal trade-off. It is why building an elevated line to 15th is less than ideal, but perfectly reasonable. It is the same thing. People obviously would prefer the station be moved to 20th, but are accepting that a station at 15th is much cheaper, and therefore an acceptable compromise.

        But spending extra money to put the station at a worse location is stupid. Yet that is precisely what they are thinking of doing.

        By the way, you replied twice without answering my question. When did ST spend so much extra to move the station to an inferior location? For that matter, since you are such an expert on such things, please tell me when an agency — any agency — has done that. Feel free to answer in any of the half dozen languages you are fluent in.

      4. There is also the option of building a walkway above I-5 from Northgate to access a whole bunch of parking lots that could be redeveloped, making it not such a bad location.

        Nobody is going to build an elevated pedestrian bridge above Maket from 14th to 20th to feed the Ballard station.

    7. One of the problems with our ‘organic growth’ that happens in the modern car-centric environment is that a lot of municipalities have no center.

      They have to invent one.

      Mill Creek was the name of a housing development near the strip mall at 164th St SE and SR 527.
      After they incorporated, one of the things that came up at the city council meeting was that in the town, there was no creek named ‘Mill Creek’. They were going to rename another local creek to satisfy the ‘history’.

      Kenmore is another invented ‘City Center’. again, the confluence of two roadways – SR522 and 68th Ave NE.

      Any other old, pre-auto downtowns were usually defined by walking distances from either rail stations, or water access. (Bothell – Bothell Landing, which was actually the northern tip of Lake Washington pre-Ballard Lock days)

      So, yes, city centers can move, or be wherever the cities want them to be.

      Except no one wants to live next to the Freeway, which is why it was disappointing another ‘invented’ town – Shoreline, decided Doug’s Cadillac better defined their city center. And they even had the Interurban ROW.

      It’s why the data was massaged to favor the freeway route, since ST wasn’t going to get into another fight with another local municipality.

      For all the frustration everyone has, they have to remember that ST is taking the path of least resistance to get the system built.

      We’re In Love With Our Cars.

      1. It’s not “organic growth”. It’s the growth the zoning allowed. The only thing organic about it was how much pressure the rising number of population and jobs would exert. If you take the simplistic view that everyone wants to live in Seattle or Bellevue, then the growth in Mill Creek or Kent depends on how much total growth pressure there is, and how much is allowed closer the city. Of course, there are people who prefer to live in a place like Snohomish, and people who grew up in Snohomish and don’t want to leave, but they’re probably a smaller factor. The combination of both is what causes the zoned capacity to be built. And the self-serving finance industry that gins up artificial demand and wealthy cash buyers looking to park their money somewhere, of course.

    8. Mountlake Terrace was set up as a rural area with some clusters of businesses—Alderwood Manor. We really have no “downtown.” Ballard was built literally as an independent urban city and is dsignated an urban village, with the development to back it up. BIG difference.

      1. Why can’t the Spring District development that’s sprouting up around the two future Link stations in the Bel-Red corridor happen in Ballard in the area of 11th to 15th, and Market south to the canal?

        It’s interesting to observe some of you over the years say light rail sprouts development when it suits you, but when it doesn’t suit your agenda (Ballard), you backtrack from that claim.

      2. Because zoning. The Spring District didn’t “sprout”; it was planned by the City of Bellevue, who arranged deals with the main developers to get them to channel growth where the city wanted it and in the shape the city wanted. The smaller developers are just filling in around them. The developers would be just as happy to build in Crossroads or Surrey Downs or elsewhere but the city won’t allow such large buildings anywhere except downtown, the Spring District, Overlake, and Factoria, and the latter two the city hasn’t really addressed as much yet.

        “some of you over the years say light rail sprouts development when it suits you”

        That argument is mostly by people who don’t understand transit and think of rail as an economic development tool. Put a streetcar in SLU and lots of high-paying jobs will come and generate a great tax base. Put Link stations in northwest Issaquah and Totem Lake and they’ll become big central business districts that everyone will want to go to.

        There’s another argument that you should leverage and serve existing density first. That’s why Link should be in Ballard, the U-District, the Central District, and Lake City. Because they’ve proven they can attract people and keep them over decades (see “recruitment and retention” in a Human Resources manual), and they’re a large number of people that need good transit and are paying taxes for it.

        Ballard is growing, so if the city allowed a Spring District in East Ballard/West Woodland, it would happen, and more quickly than Issaquah or Totem Lake. The issue is the city allowing it. The city is voting on general upzone amendments next week as part of its citywide plan update. Nowhere in those plans is an upzone of 11th to 15th large enough for six-story buildings, let alone midrises. And many of the amendments are designed to scale back growth currently in the plan.

    9. Ross B, for the first part of Bellevue’s history, the commercial district was centered around Main Street. The neighborhood is now called Old Bellevue. Everything north of that was farmland. Now downtown Bellevue is where that farmland used to be. The center of town moved.

  6. A pair of thoughts:

    1) The long distance routes Amtrak runs frankly need to go. Ensure coaches can serve these towns… because we need a lot more frequent Amtrak Cascades. Like a train that will get me to Vancouver by 9 AM. Because I gotta say folks with business in Vancouver need to get there by 9 AM – preferably 8 AM, not 10:30 AM (BOLT) or 12 PM (Amtrak)!

    2) Speaking of Canada, Victoria BC is about to have their buses massively upgraded. GPS real-time tracking for riders and electronic fare payment according to the article. Quoting the article, “As a part of the soft launch, passengers will already notice updated location announcement displays on some buses, and by late spring 2019 they will be able to track their bus live through their cellphones. The update comes as part of a $27 million smart bus upgrade program from the federal government, which is part of the $136 million joint funding put forward by federal, provincial and local governments to upgrade 790 buses.” Also will be using smartphone apps to collect fare. Very interesting and exciting times for public transit!

    1. > The long distance routes Amtrak runs frankly need to go.

      Isn’t that where Amtrak actually makes money? If anything they need to go upscale and move more toward the model.

      1. No, Amtrak makes money on short-haul corridors, not long-distance routes. The only Amtrak routes to turn a profit are the Acela and Northeast Regional. If Amtrak were to provide service on routes that had decent revenue, their network would consist of Northeast/Mid-Atlantic services (Regional, Acela, Keystone, Vermonter, Downeaster, Empire Service, Virgina services, the Boston leg of the Lake Shore Limited, and the Peidmont), the Illinois (and maybe Michigan) services, the California corridor routes (Capital Corridor, Pacific Surfliner, and San Joaquin), and the Cascades. The only long-distance route to make the cut would be the Auto Train, between near-DC and near-Orlando.

    2. Joe, I’m shocked that’d you’d advocate for axing the long distance routes. No, they don’t make money, but they serve a very important purpose: providing transportation for rural communities. These long distance routes serve as a reliable transportation link for people in small communities. Could you imagine how many coaches it would take to provide the same (usually) daily, year-round service to every town that Amtrak serves? Given how often you advocate for (very expensive rail) transportation to the boondocks of the Seattle metropolitan area, I figured you of all people would be sympathetic to the transportation needs of rural America.

      1. Paul,

        I am, “Sympathetic to the transportation needs of rural America.” NOT towards running expensive trains to run expensive trains. Rather more coverage, more frequency with the same amount of limited odollars.

        Please also refrain from calling Mukilteo and Everett, “The boondocks of the Seattle metropolitan area”. Thanks. They aren’t remote and they aren’t isolated. Skagit is.


    3. How about actually improving rail in this country? Not cutting, but actually adding service. That’s intercity passenger rail and metropolitan rail transit.

      There are so many hurdles standing in the way of passenger rail service whether its the anti-rail FRA, NIMBYs, general bureaucracy, scope creep (you wouldnt believe how much of highway 99 was fully rebuilt by CA HSR), bloated construction costs, BS “mitigation” of impacts, hostile politicians, required voter approval for rail but immediate legislative action for highways, endless decade long studies (check out MBTAs South Coast Rail project), BS environmental requirements that do anything but improve the environment, lack of adequate governmental authorities to help build/operate rail (DOTs arent transportation departments but highway departments, orgs like ST have limited authority), initiatives to strip already approved funding sources, lack of any state support to even leverage voter approved funds to build sooner, Amtrak being a weird entity with little authority and requiring annual funds from the nuts in congress, brief operating windows to run trains, unfunded mandates on PTC, hostility from freight railroads, I could go on but its literally all a trainwreck… look no further than fiascos such as Point Defiance Bypass, CA HSR, Transbay Center, its amazing any piece of rail gets built in this country.

    4. Joe, if you want a train that gets you to Vancouver by 8am (or any specific time), best chat with the fine folks in the Lower Mainland who have done absolutely nothing to promote and improve rail transportation once you cross the border. Trains are frequently so late both arriving and departing Vancouver that there is no point in using Cascades as anything other than a tourist train. Amtrak staff are not shy about telling passengers exactly why this is when you are stuck at a siding in New Westminster waiting for yet another freight train to go by, or outside Pacific Central Station waiting for a train needing to use the ONE track into the station (again per Amtrak, but it’s fairly clear on a map this is true just north of the E 1st Avenue bridge). The Canadians have really dropped the ball in this regard.

      Due to Canada’s extremely high air passenger fees, flying to Vancouver is considerably more (on the order of 2.5x) than flying to Portland – which would put dependable, consistent rail transportation right in the sweet spot for business and other time-sensitive travelers. It’s also a real shame for people like you in between the two cities for whom this service would be the best way to get to and from Vancouver. Unfortunately, Canada/BC have decided that the only reasonable way to travel between the two major cities is to drive. I worked for several years for a firm with large offices in both Seattle and Vancouver, and not once did any of us traveling between the two ever consider doing anything other than driving.

      Even for non-business travelers, the horrible service can cost Vancouver businesses tourist dollars. I recently took a friend to Vancouver for a day trip, and we probably spent a couple hundred less than we would have once in Vancouver because the train was two hours late – all of that once over the border – and we had to cut out a decent part of the visit (the return train was over an hour late for the same reason). As tourists it was an annoyance; as a business traveler it would be right out.

  7. For those of you ready for a deep dive into the Operations and Maintenance Facility in South King, the technical memorandum printed on Monday of this week is posted on the ST site:

    There are some curious “assumptions” in the criteria that I think raise some concern.

    1. The operations benefit of the sites are just how close they are to the rail line, and not how well the trains would operate with a particular service plan. In other words, any site from Tukwila southward within 0.5 miles of Federal Way Link would apparently get the exact same scoring.

    2. After identifying 9 sites south of the Federal Way Transit Center initially, every single one of them is tossed because of an assumption that they needed to be operational for testing in 2026! That just seems counter intuitive. Under that logic, the East OMF would have be built in North Seattle and not on the Eastside! I don’t see why a more southerly site can’t be chosen, used to test rail cars until the tracks get connected to Link and made live in 2029.

    The window into the ST thinking is really curious here. It’s as if none of these design “experts” reallly get how to operate a rail system efficiently. They obsess about a measly mile of deadhead track to get to and from the OMF, but ignore that the same train may have to travel 10 minutes of deadhead track before they can reasonably go into service. They are willing to toss reasonable sites because of a three year gap only required for testing between 2026 and 2029 (and limited testing could be done around an unconnected OMF) and completely ignore the additional out-of-service or low=productivity trains that they will have to run for 100 years.


    1. It’s as if none of these design “experts” reallly get how to operate a rail system efficiently

      That’s because the expertise is in giving the politicians on the ST board their desired outcome. That outcome has little to nothing to do with rail operations and everything about moving this revenue killer to someone else’s district. One dirty trick is to load the required options list with ridiculous sites; like the Fred Meyer site in Overlake being “seriously” proposed for OMFE.

  8. Per this comment on Reddit (accompanied by an awesome photo of a bus at Snoqualmie Pass) Sound Transit is mothballing some older buses somewhere in Eastern Washington after removing ORCA readers and video surveillance equipment.

    ST is mothballing a bunch of their older artics and Phantoms in the desert. I’ve been contracted to move them out to these remote lots. Except today when I got there, the other ones I brought over a few weeks ago were stuck in a few feet of snow. I had to leave this one in the main driveway because artics in snow=sucky bendy straw noodle.

  9. SCOTUS’ decision on Timbs v. Indiana could have wonderful affects on the affordable housing supply crisis. It brings into immediate question whether towing away cars and RVs that people are living in, because they haven’t moved the vehicle in the past 24 hours, is a clear violation of the “excessive fines” clause, and suggests it probably is. The SCOTUS decision is not subject to SEPA, last I checked. Call the elimination of mandatory vehicle movement enforcement a credit against Seattle’s carbon footprint.

    1. People like Tyson Timbs will have a fighting chance of getting their stuff back when the states seize it for profit.

      Seattle doesn’t make a profit ridding the public ROW of rolling drug sites. The vehicles, usually not worth the cost of towing, are sold at auction. Many were being purchased for a dollar by an enterprising middle man and then returned to the street. Others are deemed hazardous waste and sent to a recycling facility which the City has to pay for. Hardly a scheme to profit from seizure.

  10. The results of Finland’s Universal Basic Income trial are in. It did not change how much the participants worked. It’s unclear whether it had any other effect. Naysayers fear UBI would cause people to become lazy. Boosters hope that some of the recipients might take more entrepreneural risks. The two-year trial, giving 2,000 low-income people an unconditional €560 ($634) per month, did neither. But Finland’s base line is a stronger social safety net that already makes it safer to take entrepreneural risks, so it could be that the extra amount is insignificant in that background. Others say the purpose of UBI is to increase happiness, so these work factors are irrelevant.

  11. King County Metro is changing how it handles bus riders who don’t pay
    While I see the logic in not pursuing a fare collection policy that costs money I’m also sympathetic to issues that were prevalent with the RFZ. I agree that the low income population should be given a discount but I’m concerned that the policy changes will encourage selective enforcement aimed at people who appear to be able to pay. It’s not an easy issue. Are there still “flash” passes which allow boarding when shown but have no ability to scan or “tap in”?

    1. Neither the article nor the video say anything about changing who the inspectors target or site. All it says is there’s an across-the-board fine reduction, it won’t involve the courts or criminal penalties that could have indirect repercussions and it can be hard to get to a court hearing in Shoreline or South King County during the day to contest it, there’s an alternative of community service, and all existing fines are canceled. Some of these are things several STB commentators have advocated for, particularly the fine reduction and moving them out of court. Others are things they might have advocated if they’d thought of them. What we really need to do is get ST to likewise reduce the fines and get them out of the court system. The only reason for the $124 fine is it’s the smallest the courts will enforce. But when traffic tickets are half that, why are we telling people it’s a bad idea to ride the bus or train because you’re more likely to get cited for forgetting to tap?

      1. 1st, in searching for an online reference to this story I’d heard on the loco news, there were far more hits to fare evasion policy revisions from previous years than this one. In fact it seemed to be the only online reference. It may have been covered by STB but I couldn’t find it. Has the idea of revising fare enforcement become so common as to not be news? 2nd, like I said it’s a difficult problem. If you do nothing then people just stop paying. My take on the piece was that instead of trying to extract a pound of flesh from people who can’t/won’t pay they would “ban” them from riding for a period of time. How do you enforce that?! If you don’t then you have targeted fare enforcement which includes the ridiculous fines to people who have a monthly pass but don’t tap in..

      2. When ST cites somebody they take their picture, and if they see them again when they’re banned (assuming they remember the picture) then they can charge them with trespassing.

      3. Metro banning people is nothing new; it’s just more associated with people who are belligerent. I think ST bans people for a year after their third fine. And a few years ago there was an article in the paper about how Metro owns the bridge over MLK and Rainier and it banned some people from it for misbehaving. The people were complaining it’s a social equity issue and how are they supposed to cross the street if they can’t use the bridge?

      4. Yeah well this article was,I believe,Metro not ST but the question remains the same. Suppose they do get a picture and facial recognition identifies said person as an offender; the driver isn’t/ shouldn’t be in charge of enforcement. Anyway, it’s a hot mess.

  12. Why doesn’t Amtrak Empire Builder make a stop in Snohomish? If someone who lives in the eastside and wants to ride a train to Spokane, he/she needs to go to Seattle, Everett or Leavenworth when the Amtrak track goes right through Snohomish.

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