After over three months of pouring concrete along the bus loop at Tukwila International Boulevard Station, the project is complete, and buses have returned to the loop as of 4:30 am this morning.
Riders on Metro’s A Line and route 124 are likely rejoicing. Riders on the F Line and 128, not so much.
Route 124 and the A Line both terminate at TIBS, so stopping below the station makes sense, and provides off-street layover space.
The F Line would have originally had stops on Southcenter Blvd in front of the station lot, but the City of Tukwila wouldn’t allow them.
The pavement project became a three-month reprieve for F-Line through-riders annoyed at having to go through the loop. It was also a reprieve for other F Line riders happy to walk a couple minutes to the street and catch the bus there instead of having to wade through traffic to get out to the street, where they could have already been waiting.
Consider the math of what Metro could have done with the platform hours it now has to use to have the F Line run the TIBS loop-de-loop:
The F Line runs 1060 one-way trips per week. The TIBS loop adds roughly five minutes to the trip (keeping in mind the bus has to wait at the light at the station entrance, twice). So, the cost of running the loop is approximately 87 platform hours per week. Each trip, including recovery time, takes roughly an hour. 87 trips spread out across the week is about 12 extra trips per day, which would be a 7-8% service bump.
That would be enough to extend 15-minute headway all the way from 5 am to midnight. Or it could have extended the PM period of 10-minute weekday headway by four hours to start before noon.
Whether Metro would take the opportunity to keep the F Line out of TIBS with stops on Southcenter Blvd if Tukwila were to allow it is an open question. But I, for one, grieve for the loss of the streamlined F Line.