SounderBruce [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

This is an open thread.

75 Replies to “News roundup: worthwhile Canadian initiative”

    1. It’s actually quite simple. When Metro buses are on a regular snow reroute, it’s not free. When Metro buses are on ESN, it’s free. And when you see a Metro driver in a Metro uniform driving a Sound Transit bus on an ESN day, it’s not free.
      The free ESN program is Metro, not Sound Transit. But ST Expresses buses that operate in King County do fall under the ESN network. But, if you ever do board an ST Express bus on an ESN day, or any other day, or a Metro bus on any other day other than an ESN day, you cannot be denied a ride for not having the fare, so it is essentially free, even though it’s not technically free. Got it?

    1. May not be relevant as any tunnel wouldn’t surface in the old industrial section of Ballard, which is where the contamination is coming from.

  1. The Phoenix vote is significant. The anti-transit stop-work measure wasn’t just defeated; it lost by a landslide!

    I frankly think that once a funding measure for specific transit projects is approved, it’s likely that the public won’t pull back unless the cost estimates or constructibility are proven to be seriously flawed.

    1. Wasn’t this like the 4th time Phoenicians had to approve light rail. Opponents just don’t seem to get that the populous is not on opioids when they vote and progress is inevitable.

      Now if they could just hold it together to approve a Tucson-Phoenix commuter line.

    2. I hope Las Vegas is paying attention to what is happening in Phoenix. Vegas has the same “dark forces” weighing them down when it comes to public transit.

  2. It’s still not clear to me whether monorail fare will be included in the orca passport program. I kind of don’t imagine it would be, but I’d have to think hard about another $60/mo even though Westlake to Seattle Center is part of my commute!

    1. Speaking of Seattle center to downtown, it is appalling how there is still a missing crosswalk at 5th and Denny. What will it take to make SDOT understand that, in the middle of the city, every traffic light has to have a crosswalk in all directions? How much extra car throughput are they really gaining by shoving pedestrians under the bus?

    2. The proposal lists a person to whom to submit comments, but she probably can answer the basic obvious questions like that.

      The proposal doesn’t even specifically mention whether ORCA transfer value will be accepted between the monorail and other transit agencies. Past discussions have suggested it will be. But if it isn’t, this proposal will only increase everyone’s fares, and not give riders a reason to use ORCA.

    3. Putting the fare increase and ORCA together makes it sound like ORCA is causing the increase because its expenses are so much higher. Is this true? Is the monorail operator using a “Blame ORCA” strategy to deflect criticism about a fare increase it was going to do anyway?

  3. How come no is calling to extend the bus lane on NE Pacific St by UW?

    18 bus routes use this section, and often just sit in traffic queuing for the bridge. A bus lane would not only allow buses to be faster and stay on schedule, it would also allow ambulances to access the hospital.

    Eastbound, NE Pacific goes from one lane + bike lanes to two car lanes at Brooklyn Ave. The bike lane could be extended one block to the Ave. Westbound, that block is already one car + one bike.

    From the Ave to the existing bus lane, take an eastbound lane from cars and make it bus.

    1. If the bus lane is on the right, it would make things worse for buses that have to be in the left lane to turn left on Pacific Pl. Put the bus lane on the left you screw over buses going straight.

      Short of banning cars on Pacific altogether, I don’t know any other solution besides the way it is.

      1. Good point. One option would be to have the left lane be a BAT lane. But that has the issue of the bus stop ( It would mean the bus has to go back and forth (or could go back and forth). Still, that is pretty cheap, and might improve things a bit. There a couple problems, of course. The first is that it is slower during low traffic times. The second is that turning left is no picnic either. It might not be as bad as going straight, but the left turn light can take a while, and thus back things up.

  4. Has anyone here successfully used a day pass? I attempted to load one onto an orca card during my last trip here, but after tapping it at a RapidRide reader it didn’t load the pass. I was able to get it to load cash balance and had to use that throughout the day. I just stopped at the Everett Transit office at Everett Station and after 20 minutes of fussing about with the card they were able to get it from “expired” back to “pending” stats, but couldn’t get it to load onto the card. I have enough cash balance that got loaded that I am taking the 512 south into town.

    In theory, if I tap at a Link reader it should load the card, right? (Just like it didn’t load it at a RapidRide stop?)

    I get the general idea that nobody uses day passes unless they are walking distance to a Sounder or Link station.

    1. Is this an all-mode pass or a Link-only pass? I don’t know anybody who uses the all-mode day passes because they’re so expensive, and I don’t even know how to get one. I see people getting Link day passes at TVMs. When Metro had a paper day pass on weekends I used that.

      1. This is the Regional 350 pass, which is supposed to be good on anything except use the purse as makeup.

        It’s $8, so if you are riding King County Metro 3 or more times at $2.75 each fare it’s worth it.

        Assuming it works.

        I took Link once so far and it looks like it counted it as a transfer from the 512 rather than try to use the day pass.

      2. Second trip on Link and the pass still didn’t load.

        Maybe it’s coded so that it won’t load if epurse funds are already in use that day?

    2. The $8 Orca day pass has always worked well for me (most recently a couple weeks ago), but I’ve only ever loaded it at a TVM or Safeway.

  5. I believe the excuse is that ORCA use will dramatically increase the number of people using the system, and as a result all these infrastructure needs have popped up and must be paid for somehow. It seems pretty ridiculous though. The monorail has multiple escalators and elevators (precise number unclear due to Westlake food court renovation), and a staircase all providing access. Yet apparently this isn’t enough vertical circulation.

    The entire thing stinks of opportunistic money grab.

  6. Key piece of data missing in the Mercer Island Reporter article: “Mercer Island could have between 12 to 20 buses entering it during morning commutes”. That should be 12 to 20 buses per hour, not during the entire morning commute. A similar number would use Mercer Island in the evening as well.

    It’s worth noting that even 20 buses per hour won’t get it done if that’s supposed to be all I-90 buses. There are already more buses than that to Seattle today at the peak from Eastgate, Issaquah Transit Center and Issaquah Highlands if my math is correct.

  7. Speaking of the 23rd Ave projects. When Phase 1 was completed ~2 years ago, it included new strain poles for the eventual extension of electric trollybus wire. When Phase 2 was recently completed, it did not include such poles. The existing wooded poles were kept where they serve the N°4’s wire, and nothing was added between Dearborn and Plum. It seems foolish to have not done this work when they were pouring new sidewalks, curbs and light pole bases. Has the city given up on the idea of the 23rd Ave RR being ETB?

    1. The 23rd road project’s transit features were downgraded due to the usual demands of car-capacity supporters. Separately, ridership on the 48 fell surprisingly far after U-Link and splitting the northern half into the 45. That seems to be because of three things:
      1) Rainier Valley to UW riders switching heavily to Link.
      2) Intra U-District/Roosevelt riders switching to the 45, which runs seamlessly to 65th while the 48 terminates at 45th.
      3) The 45 is on University Way rather than 15th, so it gets the walk-ups on the Ave.
      4) The temporary gap between Link and the U-District adds demand to all routes, and people may be favoring the 45 over the 48 because it runs on University Way, goes north of 45th, runs every 10 minutes during the day, is the first bus coming after Link, or is attractive for some other reason.

      So SDOT and Metro may be having second thoughts about upgrading the 48 to RapidRide, and may be thinking more about strengthening the 45 which was assumed to be “merely frequent” in the pre-U-Link plans.

      1. Those are good observations, Mike.

        I’ll be curious what the awesome Judkins Park Station entrance on 23rd will do to Metro 48 ridership. It may increase local trip-making at the expense of east-west routes in the CD. Still, the distance that these new riders will ride is still under 1.5 miles with many under 3/4 of a mile — so RapidRide changes (fewer stops to have faster buses) won’t have much benefit.

      2. Yeah, nice assessment Mike. I sure wish Metro had stop data, so we could get a better read on this. My guess is that it is mostly items 2, 3, and 4, along with the construction issues that are the focus of this article. No one wants to be stuck in a bus, ambling along, at noon.

        I’m sure there are people who switched to Link, but not that many. Mount Baker station has barely inched up. Rainier Beach has gone up, but only by 300 or so. The last year (that Metro ran a report), the 48 went up that much as well. I don’t think Link has much to do with it. I think the split hurt it, that’s all.

        That being said, it is still a very successful bus. It gets about 1,000 riders a mile, which is not that far behind our best corridors, while being fairly slow. But it isn’t easy to make it faster. As Frank wrote about the RapidRide+ project, “Much-needed (and welcome!) road diets on 23rd and Rainier will make transit lanes unworkable, so buses will run with traffic in the Rainier Valley and CD”. The main improvements are likely in Montlake. But that is basically waiting for the SR 520 project. Then you have the money situation. Seattle just doesn’t have the money to do the things they want to do (because Kubly and Murray lied to us).

        I’ll be curious what the awesome Judkins Park Station entrance on 23rd will do to Metro 48 ridership.

        You will probably get an increase, especially for folks who figure it is now worth it to take transit to the East Side, instead of drive. It may poach a handful of riders from the 7, especially if they split things the way that they propose for both the LRP and RapidRide+ plans. If you need to transfer to get downtown, you might as well transfer at Judkins Park. But I really doubt it will poach many east-west rides (like the 3/4). Maybe some riders from 14 or 27, but mainly because those buses are woefully under-serviced. Besides, it doesn’t change the dynamic. If you expect people to transfer to another bus, it should be frequent and reliable. That is the goal of RapidRide. The case for a better 48 remains strong, and will remain strong, unless they build a Metro 8 subway (which seems highly unlikely).

      3. “I’ll be curious what the awesome Judkins Park Station entrance on 23rd will do to Metro 48 ridership.”

        I keep thinking it will rise, then I remember that RapidRide 7 will serve the other side of the station, and it will bring riders from Columbia City and Hillman City that the 48 won’t. The 48 has only that low-density area between Mt Baker and Judkins Park. Most of its riders will probably come from north of the station, the Garfield High School area and Union Street and Swedish Cherry Hill.

        “It may increase local trip-making at the expense of east-west routes in the CD.”

        If the station were at 23rd & Jackson or 23rd & Jefferson then I could see that, but it’s not really close enough for downtown-bound riders on the 14, 27, 3, or 2. The 3 is screamingly slow — over 30 minutes in the PM peak — but I’m hoping something will improve that by then. (Metro was going to reroute it to Yesler, but later changed its mind.) The 12 and 2 are also screamingly slow, but the 12 will be replaced by RapidRide, and the 2 is moving to Pine-12th-Union which doesn’t have that bottleneck.

        For those going to the Eastside, Judkins Park Station will be immensely popular.

      4. I don’t think lots of riders will switch from east-west routes to Route 48 — but some will. First, some CD residents live closer to a Route 48 stop than they do to an east-west route. Those that live near corners may play a bus arrival game between nearby stops and take the first one. Finally, some east-west riders go Downtown to catch a 550 to head East across the lake and they won’t have to do that when East Link opens.

        I don’t see riders transferring to Route 48 to get to East Link but if someone can walk to or from a Route 48 stop, it’s very possible.

      5. First, some CD residents live closer to a Route 48 stop than they do to an east-west route.

        Yeah, sure, but not many. There are a lot of east-west routes. The biggest gap is actually being filled by Judkins Park itself. The problem is, it is one of the lower density sections of the 23rd/MLK corridor.

        Those that live near corners may play a bus arrival game between nearby stops and take the first one.

        Yeah, definitely. That was what I was getting at when I said that some may move towards the 48 just because buses like the 27 don’t have nearly as much frequency as they should have.

        Finally, some east-west riders go Downtown to catch a 550 to head East across the lake and they won’t have to do that when East Link opens.

        The 550 has a Rainier Avenue freeway station. I still expect more riders to take advantage of that connection though (as I mentioned). My guess is that will be the most common travel direction, at least until they change the buses, and riders of the current 7 (south of MBS) have to transfer to get downtown. More than anything though, any substantial increase in total transit ridership from Judkins Park station is likely to come from people heading east, not towards downtown.

      6. Uh… the old 550 stop was only reachable from Rainier Ave. Anyone east of 18th and north of Jackson had a hard time getting to that stop because all the buses on Rainier went Downtown other than Route 9X.

        The 23rd entrance is a huge transfer opportunity that did not exist before.

  8. With how hostile Mercer Island seems to be towards transit, maybe they should just propose eliminating all bus stops on the island and having the busses just continue on i90 via the hov lanes ;) Plenty of seattle => bellevue commuters would be thrilled to not waste time on the 550 getting off and on i90 for one stop!

    1. Ah, no. I think in reality many Bellevue->Seattle riders will be more than thrilled to get on Link farther up the line and not have to bother with getting off at MI at all, or even have to fiddle-f*rt with the HOV lanes at all for that matter.

      1. @Lazarus — He is talking about the short term. Right now, express buses heading from Bellevue to Seattle stop at Mercer Island. If they didn’t, riders would get there a lot faster.

    2. As hostile as some people on Mercer Island are to transit, whenever I’ve taken the 550/554, there’s always a bunch of people getting on or off at the transit center. Despite its reputation as an out-of-touch luxury community, there’s also a number of low-income renters that deserve to have good transit access. I have a feeling that a noisy few with easy access to lawyers are setting the agenda.

    1. Even with the Link ridership growth, it still is way below the ST ridership targets for the year by about 10 percent. The boardings south of Seattle are really declining!

      1. Yeah, I noticed that. Frankly, the Link ridership numbers reported for the second quarter are disappointing imho. ST missed targets on several metrics both for the quarter and YTD actuals. For example, the cost per boarding number has surged since 2018:

        Q2 2018 Actual $4.16
        Q2 2019 Actual $5.02
        Q2 2019 Budget $4.55
        YTD 2018 Actual $4.32
        YTD 2019 Actual $5.03
        YTD 2019 Budget $4.98

      2. Cost per boarding should go way down with the addition of Northgate. Not a lot of operational overhead added for extending a line 3 stations yet adding a lot of new riders.

      3. @Tis…

        Ya, Link missed its cost per boarding target by $0.05. Oh the horror. The horror.

        It what is really shocking is what is happening with ST Express. It only is overall ridership DOWN by 4.7%, but the cost per boarding is a whopping $8.44! Ya, that is not a misprint.

        With cost and performance like that one has to wonder if ST should be looking for opportunities to cutback and consolidate ST Express service? Does it really make sense to keep spending at these levels on a service that is underperforming so severely?

      4. One way oriented commuter buses operating for 30 miles are expensive per boarding. They probably should look at what it would take to change Tacoma Dome station to allow double talls there. Two 590s in quick succession isn’t a great value.

      5. I’d like to see the Sounder cost per boarding broken out between the north and south lines.

      6. Cost per boarding should go way down with the addition of Northgate.

        Yep, that is what happens when you build an urban subway. Imagine if we had more stations (like First Hill). Unfortunately, we are building more long distant stations (like Fife).

        One way oriented commuter buses operating for 30 miles are expensive per boarding.

        Yep. It is quite similar to the coverage versus ridership conflict that Jarrett Walker wrote about (and has written about a lot in the past). It often isn’t thought of that way, because the buses are quite full. But it is very expensive to run them, because very few riders board them per hour. A typical midday 7, for example, is a much better value, because it picks up way more riders per trip. It just doesn’t feel that way, because the bus is never full. That’s because riders are getting on and off at each stop. You want this (in both a bus or train system) if your goal is to provide the most value for the least amount of money.

        These long distance express buses are like coverage routes, in that they are expensive to run, but those that use them very much appreciate them.

        They probably should look at what it would take to change Tacoma Dome station to allow double talls there. Two 590s in quick succession isn’t a great value.

        Yeah, they could probably cut down a little on the number of buses. It seems to peak at about a bus every five minutes. You could probably change that to every 7 or 8 minutes and still seat everyone comfortably with double-deckers. That is a very minor change for customers. But then again, I don’t think it is a major savings. That route is not the worst in ST’s fleet — it is pretty much in the middle.

        The interesting thing is that 596 from Bonney Lake to Sumner has the highest ridership per hour, and the lowest subsidy per boarding. If ST really wanted to save money, they could push people towards the Sounder Tacoma station during rush hour (with lots of runs like the 596), and then just run buses like the 594 in the middle of the day. That bus is still subsidized (big time) but it leads to higher ridership since riders know they have a way home when the train isn’t running.

      7. Anyone know why the 550 got hammered? It is down by about 3,000 riders. Where did they all go? Maybe they went to the UW, and decided to go around, but at least from an ST Express standpoint, that doesn’t seem to be happening. The 555/556, which included Bellevue to UW, is down too. Is it just everyone working from home, because the bus is now so bad?

      8. @Lazarus I always get a chuckle out of silly comments like your reply above, i.e., “the horror”. The miss is significant when considered in context. The agency budgeted for a notable increase from the prior year and still missed their target. Additionally, for the second quarter the variance was statistically significant. You can poo-poo this all you want, but these are real dollars when one considers what a $.70 increase in per boarding cost means for a full year of ridership.

        These negative results were exacerbated by the very large misses on Q2 and YTD Link ridership results:
        2019 Q2 Actual 6,484,227 2019 Q2 Budget 7,377,430
        2019 YTD Actual 12,264,524
        2019 YTD Budget 13,635,698

        There were misses on many other metrics as well; I was just highlighting this particular one, i.e., Link cost per boarding, to serve as an example.

        I do agree with you in one aspect. The significant increases seen in the ST Express per boarding cost numbers, as well as the budget misses, are equally concerning to me.

      9. @RossB “Is it just everyone working from home, because the bus is now so bad?”

        I definitely think that is indeed part of it. Anecdotally, I have two work associates who take the 550 and both have been working from home more frequently lately. The drop-off on the routes you’ve mentioned is quite alarming, so I too would be interested in hearing what other insights folks out there might have.

      10. @Tlsg,

        Ah, no. A $0.05 miss is not a large miss.

        And from what I’ve heard it can be solely attributed to the poor play of the M’s this year. Everyone thought they had hit rock bottom last year, but they always find a way to surprise. I’m not going to fault ST for not anticipating that.

      11. The 590s serve much of downtown, so if you wanted to push more people toward Sounder one thing to do would be a few stations further north to increase its catchment area.

        Sounder could also be made a bit more cost effective if it were an all day service. Right now BNSF has to pay its crews for 8 hour days, even though the nature of the trip is only 2-3 or so hours. Sadly, doing that creates other issues with BNSF and freight traffic, so it will probably never happen.

      12. “Is it just everyone working from home, because the bus is now so bad?”

        Instead of some of the stupidly expensive freeway interchanges they are funding on I-405 ST should start saving funds to replace the bus tunnel. Expect similar drops for the 255. And no, I don’t think people are working from home; they’re driving or finding a job/home situation that doesn’t involve busing across the Lake.

      13. RossB, re the 550, I wonder if a bunch of them switched to 271+Link, given that Metro recently had to add a number of runs to it to accommodate demand. IIRC 550 has had reliability problems due to being kicked out of the tunnel and Link construction in South Bellevue. Even before that, it was already a gamble as to whether the 550 would be faster than 271+Link, especially if your destination isn’t actually downtown.

      14. @Lazarus Your replies are reading like ST press releases. Lol. Now you’re going with the crappy Mariners’ season excuse I see. While it is true that the M’s’ home game attendance is down this season, the funny thing is that 2018’s home game attendance was actually up over 2017’s and yet Link’s cost per boarding still increased between those two years. Hmmmm.

        For the record, you might want to go back and reread what I actually stated above. I never said that the $.05 for the miss on the YTD target was large. I said it was significant when taken in the total context of how the budget and ridership markers were drawn up. Secondly, you have conveniently ignored the target miss for the second quarter, which was LARGE, as well as significant ($5.02 actual versus $4.55 budget). Hmmmm.

        These are the facts as of the second quarter performance report:

        Link cost per boarding metric
        2017 Actual $3.83 (full yr)
        2018 Actual $4.43 (full yr)
        2019 Actual $5.03 (YTD 6/30)

        Again, you can poo-poo these increases all you want but I think they should be very concerning for the agency. If I’m not mistaken, ST has projected Link’s boardings to reach 28.4 million for 2019 and as of the second quarter report they have a lot of ground to make up in the current quarter in order to hit this target. Failure to do so will ultimately have the impact of creating a negative variance (i.e., greater than budget) on the cost per boarding metric, even with the target being adjusted upward from the previous year.

        Finally, one can estimate the operational expense ST used to compute the cost per boarding figure by simply doing the math:

        2017 – $3.83 × 23,000,263 annual boardings = $88,098,667
        2018 – $4.43 × 24,416,411 annual boardings = $108,164,701
        2019 – $5.03 × 12,264,524 boardings thru 6/30 = $61,690,556 (6 month total)

        Thus, one can see the magnitude of the impact on cost per boarding by ST actually hitting the aforementioned ridership target for 2019. I will also note that the number of trips operated has been fairly unchanged since 2016*, so thats not the relevant factor for the reported increases in operational costs.

        *Total trips:
        2016 – 102,312
        2017- 102,250
        2018 – 102,463
        2019 YTD – 50,647 thru 6/30
        (versus 51,081 for 2019 YTD budget and 50,886 for 2018 YTD actual)

      15. I point the issue at over-projecting ridership. That was possibly done to justify additional costs — I suspect to cover administrative costing shifts from other services more than to cover small projects.

        The question remains: Why did ST over-forecast ridership by 10 percent? Will staff blame the Mariners or their own unrealistic guesses?

      16. “Why did ST over-forecast ridership by 10 percent?”

        Again, you can’t predict the future. You can only change the conditions to make transit more convenient. Link doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it exists in a changing environment. It’s based on the bus service around it, who moves where, where their next job is, whether SDOT gives buses lane-priority or let them continue slowing down and becoming unreliable, whether the businesses you prefer go to Link stations or other businesses go there instead, what the city council does with zoning (it should have done what Vancouver did in the 60s and 70s), the economy and public mood, etc.

        I don’t know how to reconcile Tisgwm’s “annual ridership is flat” with other articles “Quarterly ridership is increasing quarter after quarter for years surprisingly long”. That escalator expense Julie B mentioned sounds familiar. We know ST is planning to replace the UW Station escalators with the heavy-duty ones it should have bought in the first place, so that the total cost including the maintenance of the poor escalators is almost as much as buying heavy-duty escalators twice.

        Ridership trends were pretty stable for years, with, as I recall, Link and Sounder South going up, ST Express sometimes gaining, sometimes losing, Tacoma Link consistently losing, and I don’t remember Sounder North. Then STEX started falling at the same time as the downtown mess increased.

        The 550 has lost not only its tunnel, but its SODO lanes, South Bellevue P&R, travel time quality, etc. It’s not surprising its ridership reversed. I don’t know if the 271 is picking it up; if so it must be peak-only because it seems just as light on weekends.

        In Snohomish we keep hearing reports that 60-minute STEX trips are taking 90 minutes. That’s partly because of the downtown mess and partly because of worsening conditions on I-5. When transit gets bad enough, people start looking for alternatives to it.

      17. Link is still adding riders at 4-5 percent and that’s still amazing! What’s off is the staff projections of over 10 percent. I don’t think it’s “hard” to see that Link’s increases in 2017 were coming from the benefits of first-year openings to UW and Angle Lake and that the other services except for South Sounder were slow growth or flat. Even in 2018, there were same-month ridership data that we’re in the 4-6 percent range.

        It’s all relatively academic as we are preparing for major increases in ridership soon. After the Connect 2020 disruption (with a ridership drop) for two months this winter, we will see four-car trains and 520 truncation adding Link riders in 2020, Northgate extension in 2021, East Link in 2023, and three extensions in 2024-25. It will probably be 2026 before a Link returns to 4-6 percent annual ridership growth and by then it will have around 200K weekday riders rather than 80K.

      18. I think your going to see an uptick in subsidies for “East Link in 2023”. Unlike Northgate, Lynnwood and FW, you will have an entire new line which will require additional maintenance and separate operations. Not a lot of opportunity for leveraging expenses against existing operations.

      19. @Mike Orr. “I don’t know how to reconcile Tisgwm’s “annual ridership is flat”…”

        I never made such an assertion above, so I have no idea what you’re talking about. I did note that the total number of Link trips has largely remained unchanged since 2016 (per the quarterly performance reports’ data).

        @Al S. “…I suspect to cover administrative costing shifts from other services more than to cover small projects.”

        I would tend to agree with your suspicion. Additionally, any major vertical conveyance replacement program is not going to get charged to operations. The overhead costs for the vertical conveyance director and program manager(s) may indeed be charged to operations however.

      20. @Al S. “What’s off is the staff projections of over 10 percent. ”

        Bingo! And, yes, this will all become academic, as you put it, when the various extension projects come online in the next five or so years and ridership numbers increase dramatically. Still, I have to wonder if ST can adequately control/budget its ops expenses as the entire system grows (and ages).

      21. “I did note that the total number of Link trips has largely remained unchanged since 2016”

        Isn’t that the same thing as ridership being flat?

      22. “I think your going to see an uptick in subsidies for “East Link in 2023”. Unlike Northgate, Lynnwood and FW, you will have an entire new line which will require additional maintenance and separate operations.”

        I agree that East Link will increase cost per rider significantly. Frankly, every extension will likely increase cost per rider somewhat . Why? Because the most productive extension is U-Link. Northgate will also should be pretty productive. After that, the cost will grow because the per-mile/hour productivity of operating a suburban extension usually can’t compare to an urban core extension in terms of productivity.

        Another factor is the potential merger of Tacoma Link with these Link data. ST is apparently moving to dub it as the Orange Line — and moving that into overall Link data seems inevitable.

        On the other hand, I expect the bus transit operators will push long distance riders to Link. If a board member sits on ST and a local transit board, it’s a win-win to do that. They can improve farebox recovery to both systems — more riders on Link and less service hours on the local buses.

      23. @Mike Orr “Isn’t that the same thing as ridership being flat?”

        No. You’re just looking at the denominator only (in the riders per trip metric).

        @Julie B. Thanks for the link. I had forgotten about that excellent piece from Martin from last year. Thanks for the reminder.

        @Al S. I wasn’t aware that ST was planning to do that with theTacoma Link segment. Do you have a source you could point me toward? Thanks!

      24. I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing the Tacoma Dome Link light rail as part of the green line and the Tacoma Link Streetcar as orange.

      25. It’s so subtle that it’s easy to overlook:

        “From St Joseph Hospital the Orange Line will extend to Tacoma Community College.”

      26. Ah, your getting the Tacoma Streetcar which starts at the Freighthouse Station confused with Seattle Link light rail which will end at the Freighthouse Station. It will be orange from Freighthouse streetcar west and green from Freighthouse light rail heading east.

      27. I’m not confused. I was simply saying the Tacoma Link (“streetcar”) is apparently being renamed the Orange Line — and that renaming it would probably mean that ST will eventually merge its ridership and operating cost data into the overall Link data.

      28. Oh, ok. I hope they don’t merge the two systems. I like seeing how the streetcar’s perform separate from the other modes, kind of like what Portland does.

      29. Lots has to do with how the fare entry system will work at Tacoma Dome Station after the two systems both reach there in 2030. It may be that tapping on or tapping off anywhere in the station will get a rider on either kind of train. It may be that fare machines will not register changing modes as an item. If that’s the case, it becomes much harder to assign the fare revenue to one mode or another.

        The same tracking issue could emerge for STRide depending on its setup. Transfer points like 145th and Lynnwood will be just a level change away with no street crossings for Link and STRide.

        While on-board counters now count people boarding and leaving vehicles, ST can’t determine how they are paying their fare. So I expect them to release data by line, but they will perhaps publish summary operating cost/ ridership/ revenue data as merged.

  9. If only the Pacific Ave portion of route 1 is being upgraded to BRT, is the 6th Ave portion going to be renamed back to route 25?

    1. It won’t be part of the line. I don’t know what PT plans to call it, but I think it will run down Pacific to Tacoma Dome. PT’s long-range plan may have more details. Maybe PT will interline it with something else.

      1. Route 1 was created by combining the 6th ave (25) and pac ave (46 I think) routes together. I’ll have to check out their plan to see if they address this.

      2. found my answer! this is covered in their BRT page: “The portion of Route 1 between downtown Tacoma and Tacoma Community College would continue to operate using the same schedule and routing as the current service. The Route 1 would connect with the BRT service at the Commerce Street Transit Center.”

        so it sounds like they are not reverting it back to the 25 and it will stay the 1.

  10. RossB re Route 550 ridership decline. from what year? South Bellevue lot was closed; the center roadway of I-90 was lost to East Link; the D-2 roadway was lost to East Link; the DSTT was lost to the convention center. Route 550 is 10 minutes slower in each direction than two years ago. travel time matters. all the former DSTT routes lost CBD circulation trips; the DSTT has more waiting, so it less attractive; intending riders may use surface buses or walk more. all CBD buses are slower. highway routes are slower. one might expect transit ridership to decline.

    1. one might expect transit ridership to decline.

      OTOH, during the period of maximum constraint one would expect that a decent transit option would result in an increase in ridership. The fault seems to be with the emphasis on automobile through put instead of people. Its said highway engineers job is to make cars happy.

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