Example of how the “1” line could look

Last fall, Sound Transit announced a new naming scheme, and then quickly backtracked after community criticism over the term “red line.” Various schemes have been proposed in the meantime, including here on our site. Yesterday ST unveiled the revised scheme to the public.

STB alum Zach Shaner explains the changes on the Sound Transit blog:

Why are we doing this? Since 2012 our plan had been to switch to line color names for our light rail lines. In fall 2019 we began using the Red Line for Link and the Orange Line for Tacoma Link, and we planned to launch East Link as part of a new Blue Line in 2023.

The community quickly told us that our use of Red Line was insensitive to the history of redlining in our region. From the 1930s–1970s, banks and insurance companies routinely denied loans or insurance to people of color based on where they lived, concentrating people of color in certain neighborhoods and prohibiting them from other neighborhoods. Redlining perpetuated poverty and denied people of color the ability to build and pass down wealth. 

Though dozens of agencies worldwide use a Red Line in their systems, we agree that in English and in North America, the term Red Line unavoidably carries the weight of that racist legacy. We can do without it, so we will.

The agency also provided a detailed FAQ that tries to anticipate many objections and give people some more context. It emphasizes how the agency worked to avoid overlap with other systems like the letter-based RapidRide and Snohomish County’s color-coded Swift BRT.

Now that every agency has created its own naming scheme that doesn’t infringe on the others, maybe the next step could be to integrate them a little better, so that a rider might understand the whole system without having to know which specific taxing authority funds the service.


63 Replies to “New Sound Transit naming scheme favors numbers over colors”

  1. This is good. I’m glad they took the concerns folks (myself included) brought up. Colors – especially 2-4 – could be more different (they aren’t the most colorblind safe), and I hope they get the bus lines to renumber, but those are minor quibbles.

  2. It would be good to get bus numbers 1-4 updated at Metro, but we have a long time to do this. If folks think the trolley numbers are sacred, we have the example of the north half of 14 becoming 47 a few years back. In the short term, all we’d have to do is renumber 1-Kinnear next year and 2-Madrona Park in 2023. The others could wait until 2030 and after.

    Trolley-friendly numbers available are 6, 16, 20, 42, and 46 etc.

    In general, Link restructures should(?) reduce the number of overall routes/increase the route numbers available. It’s ok if they don’t, as I don’t think folks would likely get confused between the 1-Line and Metro Route 1, but it’d still be better to renumber the buses. Toronto is a good example here, subway lines 1-4 and bus routes start at 5. Of course, they’re the only agency so it’s easier to do that stuff.

    1. Everett Transit, Pierce Transit and Metro all have bus routes that use some of the numbers 1-4. And someday, ST may have more than 4 light rail lines. And who knows how many Stride lines? Nomenclature can be confusing, but giving all routes different numbers might be overwhelming.

      1. I think it’s likely that more STRide lines will evolve — likely from ST Express routes. I could particularly see Bellevue-Auburn and UW-Redmond eventually becoming ones.

        I also think the number scheme gives ST the ability to overlay more Link lines in the future. It’s going to be inefficient to take every Line 1 train all the way to Tacoma while at the same time not providing more frequent service inside Seattle to handle overcrowding. Now ST can simply add another number rather than have to focus on the complexities of color logic.

      2. Yes, I think a future 5 Line could run from West Seattle to Ballard. All it would need is the special track work in SODO to allow connectivity between the two tunnel portals, which they’d be stupid not to do anyway. Normally you’d want to optimize transfers rather than creating a whole bunch of branches, but the new tunnel is slated to only have 6-minute peak service due to limitations on MLK. So a fifth line serving intra-Seattle trips probably makes a ton of sense.

      3. I’m still hoping (against current plans) that we will have adjacent same-direction track pairs in SODO for all sorts of reasons. That includes enabling cross-platform transfers at the SODO station between lines 1 and 3, easy emergency platform switching if there is a blockage of some sort or a needed temporary shutdown, fewer design problems with switching tracks generally, and enabling a possible mix-match blending of Line 1 and Line 3 (Lines 5 and 6 as peak-time extra service, for example) to minimize the number of transfers that riders have to make.

        It’s relatively easy to accomplish by simply bridging the southbound Line 1 tracks south of SODO to either the new outside or west-most track or the new elevated east-most track that gets built (depending on the alternative). It would be cheaper than building cross-over track bridges north of SODO station too!

        As the interested public becomes increasingly aware of the future lines, I hope more rider advocacy groups begin to “get” why this is important to have and will weigh in.

    2. It would be good to get bus numbers 1-4 updated at Metro, but we have a long time to do this.

      What??? Metro is supposed to confuse their riders just because Sound Transit picked a really stupid labeling system? That is crazy. Sorry, no. Sound Transit buses should continue to be in the 500 series, regardless of what silly color scheme they choose for a handful of their buses. The trains should have letters, not numbers. Metro should get rid of the silly lettering for their RapidRide routes, and go back to using numbers, following their relatively easy to understand numbering system.

      Most of that won’t happen, so people will just have to endure silly and confusing decisions.

    1. that is my thought as well. I imagine most people will simply use colors, but for the colorblind, as mentioned up top, the numbers will help.

      1. My guess is most people won’t use either. They will focus on the direction and destination. You can’t easily do that in more complicated systems like the New York Subway or our bus system. There are express routes, or different routes that end up at the same place, just taking different ways to get there. We don’t have that with our trains. You can only take one train to Ballard, SeaTac, Tacoma, Everett, etc. Where you can take two trains, they both make all the same stops — they just split (which should be clearly marked on the train). This even occurs downtown. Rather than focus on coverage downtown (like just about every transit system in the world) the new line (with a new tunnel) has exactly the same stops. Thus you don’t transfer to the “3” to get to First Hill — none of the trains serve it.

        I could see that people would get to the numbers of the train though. If you are trying to get from Westlake to Bellevue, you will initially take the train marked “Bellevue” or “Redmond”, but eventually you will get to realize it is the “2”, and take that one.

    2. But the shade of pink chosen by ST looks more reddish than pinkish. I would imagine that most people would refer to the line as the RED LINE rather than the PINK LINE, partly due to negative historical connections involving the color pink.

      1. Yay. Pastel colors (for Easter, maybe?). Why do we always have to do things differently here?

        Colors – especially if they are to be the primary indicator of the line – should be bold. Blue, green, yellow, purple, orange – whatever. These colors, at least on their site, look washed out. You shouldn’t get into the pinks/magentas/teals and whatnot until you have as many lines as London.

    3. I think people will just say that the will merely ride “Link” or “light rail” to their named destination. The number of the train will be secondary in conversation.

      That may change when the second tunnel opens Downtown. Otherwise, each line station is at least 1/2 of a mile from another line.

      1. Agreed. With the exception of NYC, I’ve noticed that everyone in the cities I’ve been to in the U.S. refers to taking their train as whatever it’s called. “I’m taking the ‘Metro'” or “take the ‘L’ “, etc. Of course, when giving specific directions, the line number/name is used. Otherwise, in general conversation, it’s often just the name of the system. I think it will be like that here, especially if we’re only going to have four lines.

      2. The difference between the name of the network (“metro”, “L”) and the names of lines becomes more critical the more lines and shared stations it has. In London people say “the tube” in general but when they need to avoid confusion they say the specific line. All the regular Underground lines have distinct names and colors on the map, but the six-line Docklands Light Railway is simply called “DLR” has the same color for all lines. Effectively it’s the “East London area” and only people in that area need to keep track of which line goes where.

        The London Underground also prefers fewer lines with multiple branches, while New York City gives every branch a different letter so it’s approaching twenty-six letters and numbers total. Those are harder to remember, and many stations three lines and a few have even ten lines. So people think more in terms of line numbers. It may also go with neighborhood identity, as people are strongly associated with their neighborhood and ethnic group and “its” line

        Piddly little networks with one, two, or three lines, and two isolated shuttles in the suburbs, don’t have to worry about most of this, so the line naming system doesn’t matter as much..

        The London Undergrou

  3. I’m delighted Sound Transit is trying again with the labeling and getting away from dependence on just colors. Adding numbers will make the system more accessible.

    That said, where is the purple line? Does that go to UW? No, it is the line that doesn’t go anywhere near UW.

    In a few years, if COVID-19 will just put itself out of our misery and allow construction to continue, two lines will go to UW. Why not make one of those purple, not as a form of cheerleading, but as something people will remember and can tell others for how to get there.

    “I’m trying to get to UW.”

    “Then you can take the purple Link light rail line to get there.”

    The green and blue make some sense, at least until the Seahawks or Sounders rebrand to try to get their fans to buy a bunch of new merch. I hope some color-challenged and other visually-challenged riders will get to be in focus groups to determine how dark those colors should be. Light colors with white numbers seems a bad combo. Black on dark, likewise.

    Consider shapes as well, as a way around language and hue-perception barriers. Triangle, square, pentagon, and hexagon could be associated with lines. Numbering does not have to start with 1. It can just as well start with 3. If you have to start with 1, though, use a circle, something two-side, then the triangle, then the square. If the triangle is found to be too confusing with arrows, the numbers don’t have to be consecutive.

  4. So RapidRide uses letters, even though at this rate they will exceed 26, and there is no pattern at all with them. Our train lines (which never approach 10, let alone 26) uses numbers. Stride will use numbers starting with single digits, even though the 500 series have worked out really well in the past, avoids confusion, and in some cases worked out exceptionally well (the 522, which runs on State Route 522). Instead we will have buses like the “S3”. You can even do all three on the same trip — (e. g. From Kenmore to the Gates Foundation, you take the “S3”, then the “2” or “3” train, then the “3” or “4” Metro bus). Oy Vey.

    To be fair, it is unlikely there will be much overlap in the bus routes. The single digit bus routes are in the heart of the city, while the Stride buses are not (so far). Still, I think it is nuts that they decided to renumber the Stride buses. They should just continue with the 500 series. I’m really beginning to hate the whole idea of “branding” when it comes to “BRT”. It is such BS — money spent doing something meaningless but easy, instead of doing the hard work of improving speed and frequency. In some cases (like both Stride and RapidRide) the branding makes things worse. It is easy to remember many of the Metro buses, because they have categories. I would never confuse the 128 with the 15. The 128 goes outside the city limits, while the 15 doesn’t. But the F and the D? Who knows?

    1. It does make me wonder what RapidRide N, S and T will be.

      Of course, that’s on Metro’s back to sort out.

      1. I’m not too worried about confusing numbers of trains and buses, although it is less than ideal. While I would prefer letters for the trains, I can see the advantage of numbers (as pointed out below, in response to Sam). Numbers are fairly universal, and easily expressed without words.

        It is the bus numbering that irritates me. Metro should never have used letters for RapidRide — they are now meaningless. In contrast, their regular bus system follows patterns. To quote Wikipedia:

        Routes in the city network are numbered from 1 to 78. Because of the scattershot evolution of the system, there is no easily discernible pattern to the route numbers, although there are clusters in certain neighborhoods. 100–199 for South King County, 200–299 for the Eastside, 300–399 for North King County, and 900–999 for dial-a-ride and custom routes.

        In contrast, both Stride and RapidRide are completely scattershot. There is no attempt to create a mnemonic (“A” for Aurora, or 522), nor are there any clustering. The worst part is that things are getting worse. RapidRide is fairly new, and Stride hasn’t even been built yet. They are making the system more confusing lot less.

  5. This is much better than the inane color-only concept! Yay!

    There are a few internal branding concerns:

    – Having S as South Sounder along with S1, S2 and S3 as STRide.

    – Station exits also recently were given numbers. Will they switch to letters?

  6. I’m curious how will people actually refer to, for example, Link on the Eastside? If someone asks them, “How are you getting to Seattle?” Will they say: I’m taking the 2, I’m taking the Blue 2, I’m taking the Blue Line, I’m taking the 2 Line, I’m taking the train, I’m taking Link, or, I’m taking East Link?

    1. My money is on “I’m taking the train”, followed by “I’m taking Link” and then “I’m taking light rail”.

      The numbers are only handy when you are at a station (say Westlake) and can easily see what train to take. Likewise, if someone from out of town asks you what train to take to Bellevue, you can just say “2” (and give them a peace/victory sign at the same time). This is especially handy for folks who don’t speak English very well, as the process can be done without many words. They can point to a spot on the map, and you can show them using your hands.

      1. You missed “I’m taking the Choo Choo”

        Also I’ve never heard a non-transit aficionado call it “Link”. And if you say Link they have no idea what that means. They always refer to it as “The Light Rail” though in practice it sounds more like “lightrail”

      2. Can anybody tell us where “Link” came from? Linking what? In Stockholm, they call equivalent rail service “tvärbanan”, which Google translates as “Cross Web”.

        But derivation’s very clear: the lines’ main purpose is to connect heavy-rail elevated-subway system. Like San Francisco MUNI-Metro and, these last several decades, BART. In Sweden’s case, its a purpose, rather than a category, which is in Swedish is spårvagn. “Spore Vang”.

        From “spårförsedd” , for “grooved”, like the rail. Stockholm’s Routes 12 and 22 run street track in town, and hit 60 on shared freight track where needed.



        “Light” Rail? Think that’s exclusively US, dating from just-in-time discovery that American streetcar systems weren’t dead, just needing a paint job and a lysol wash. My own “working-term?” Able to run street track, but seldom as possible forced to.

        Now that Julian Assange is in real bad trouble, anybody got Edward Snowden’s address? Because I’d really like some footage whether any of ST’s short-term research travel budget includes a field trip to Downtown Portland just-to-check about street-running through Downtown Everett.

        But anything of mine about pre-Link grooved-rail busway? “Don’t Kill Me I’m Kidding!” Orange-T to Steilacoom, ‘fraid that’s up to State Senator Steve O’ban.

        Mark Dublin

      3. “Link” was ST’s invention. It’s linking communities and stations of course. It’s a good name like MAX. VTA light rail doesn’t even have a name, it’s just “light rail”. Even though nearby BART, Caltrain, and MUNI Metro all have names. But transit is such an afterthought in Santa Clara County that they didn’t even bother to name their premier light rail network that was supposed to increase ridership and be a successor to the lost streetcars.

      4. The Santa Clara VTA light rail is a case study on basic bad rail planning.

        1. Build the central Downtown segment as a transit mall so that trains have to go 10 mph for over a mile. With signals and stops, it takes over 15 minutes to ride through!

        2. Build north of Downtown through a low-rise office park area where the buildings are surrounded by free parking lots that riders have to walk across —Including VTA’s own headquarters!

        3. Build south of Downtown entirely in a freeway median so that stations are hard to reach — even from their own parking lots.

        San Jose has taken many steps to try to overcome these basic mistakes. They try to add residential TOD. Still, the fundamentals are just so bad that it’s still embarrassing.

        It’s a classic case study on how suburban politicians and staff didn’t understand the difference between a productive rail system and a toy train.

    2. In Chicago, they would say they take the L. They wouldn’t say they take the Pink Line. So maybe in Bellevue and Redmond, they will refer to it as Link, not the Blue Line, or the 2.

    3. “I’m taking the Seattle train.” There are only two lines in the Eastside, and one is several times higher volume that the other and will have longer trains and larger stations. So it’s unlikely a Seattle-bound passenger will accidentally get on an Issaquah or South Kirkland train.

  7. “The Platform” this morning was a little confusing at first when Ballard shifted numbers before my very eyes. But on first or second “rerun”, fact that I probably won’t be around to worry about it when it finally happens took a lot of the load off.

    Same year I took my first ride on the Chicago CTA “‘El’ – for- Elevated” though it also went subway downtown, my father’s best friend lost his job in the Federal Government because somebody accused him of being a Red. Probably found out he belonged to a credit union and shopped at the Co-op. Reason the Communists in Eastern Europe and Viet Nam would’ve shot him for being a capitalist.

    Cure for Hereditary-Redline Disease, [OT] this morning not because answer accurately exposes that the Slavers and Secessionists won the Civil War nationwide, but because absolutely nobody can predict to a decade what “Normal” will ever mean again. Frank, Zach and STB, you’re giving it your best.

    But I need some transit history from Portland. Am I remembering right that for awhile bus routes were named for animals and tree-leaves? Think there was uncertainty from the start as to whether a chipmunk or a wombat was approaching.

    But one thing I’d like a straight answer on: What percentage of of the chain-of-command responsible for coloring, numbering, and naming ride transit to work themselves? Or have to answer to or get edited by people who’d rather get Redlined?

    Mark Dublin

    1. I love Tri-Met’s sector symbols. Why did it move away from them? I wouldn’t mind them here.

      1. As clever and artistic as the sector-based marketing and branding was, I saw the old sector-coding for Tri-Met as relatively useless and problematic. Routes in the same sector could be miles apart so it didn’t help a rider. It made crosstown service confusing. It made through-routing confusing. It’s best use would be if all buses going to the same sector stopped at their own exclusive stops — but even then it would hamper a scheduler from moving stop locations if a particular curb was overused. It’s probably good that they walked it back.

  8. My proposal for other services by CT and Metro/City of Seattle:

    Swift BRT should use S (or I guess they could pick their own letter)
    Swift Blue Line -> S4
    Swift Green Line -> S5
    Swift Orange Line -> S6

    All other streetcar-like rail services should use single letters (like T for Tacoma Link)
    First Hill Line -> H
    South Lake Union Line -> L or U

    1. I think it makes way more sense to use numbers that don’t conflict with Metro. I would go with the 400 series, even though CT has been using those for buses that are express to downtown. I would add the numbers after Lynnwood Link, when (presumably) Community Transit stops running buses downtown. Either way I would have a range that is new (e. g. 490s).

      The streetcar numbering system is just fine. The number doesn’t conflict with anything.

  9. Can someone who is actually color-blind give us help us understand how a visual transit map can best serve you? Many thanks.

    Mark Dublin

  10. I do find the assignment of T to Tacoma Link curious. It could have been given a number. By doing this, ST has reversed the recent prior approach of making it just another Link line.

    1. It’s good because Tacoma Link is a different level of service from the rest of Link. its right of way, vehicles, and stations are more like the Seattle Streetcar or San Francisco’s MUNI. Calling it Line 6 would be misleading. “T Tacoma” makes sense. (MUNI’s “T Third” is also not in its J-N series.) And we can reserve letters “E Everett” and “L Lynnwood”.

      It will become a problem if Tacoma’s multi-line vision is ever realized, although they could be T1, T2, T3, etc. So far ST has avoided this by extending the initial line twice rather than building a distinct line, but at some point that won’t be feasible.

    2. Just call it the Tacoma Streetcar, so everyone is clear it’s just the Tacoma version of the Seattle streetcar.

    3. It won’t because of branding and agency distinction. Seattle’s and Portland’s streetcars are municipal add-ons. Tacoma Link is about giving the appearance that Pierce County is getting as much out of ST as King and Snohomish Counties are. So they give it a streetcar and pretend it’s the same as the big brother subway. It clearly isn’t — it’s slower because of the extensive lane-sharing, stoplights, inability to go faster than cars, and upcoming U-shaped route, and its one-car trains can’t hold many people . But both ST and Pierce County residents seem to prefer this fiction rather than calling it a streetcar. Probably because they can market “You can take Link to UW Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, and soon the medical district” rather than “You can take a streetcar to UW Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, and the medical district”. Suburbanites who drive aren’t very interested in streetcars, which they think are too slow to be worth taking.

      1. Bad rap, Mike. Though who-all you’re talking to who either over-brag it or really hate it, I don’t meet them at either Corina Bakery or my Indian restaurant at Freighthouse Square.

        I think the way a lot of Tacomans look at the Orange Line is like I see Seattle’s Monorail serving Seattle Center and lower Queen Anne: an elevator connecting Regional trains and buses at Freighthouse Square to first the Theater District, and now headed uphill for Wright Park and the hospitals.

        But which counts for a lot, the streetcars have always had a green signal ahead of them. When’s arrival date for that in Seattle? If Tacoma Link needs more speed, its up to voters more than engineers to make it happen.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Well said Mike. Having rode Tacoma Link a few times over the years I agree. It’s very convenient for Tacoma’s downtown.

  11. Here goes the thoughts of Mr. “Go Sound Transit”…

    The new nomenclature works. It’s simple, it’s rad, it’s also easy for wayfinding. Something Sound Transit has gotten massively better at in the past year as I saw at Westlake Station last winter.

    I do appreciate very much the attempt to make peace with minority communities and remove “Red Line” from Sound Transit rhetoric. I “get it” why Sound Transit did that, it’s cool Sound Transit did so and I’m sure Sound Transit can just yank the color red to say Sound Transit LOVES transit and the angels who actually deliver the goods eh?

    As always: GO SOUND TRANSIT!

  12. I’d like to commend ST for a well-written FAQ piece. It’s pretty thorough and explains why other strategies were not chosen! It’s way beyond the typical ST justification that is very brief and effectively says “… just because we want to”.

    1. The FAQ really is well-reasoned, if not perfect. Like other comments in this STB article, I’m interested to see if they create additional truncated lines to spell crowding within Seattle. Their lack of concern about conflicting with other agency buses with the same numerals does leave the door open to it.

      Perhaps this will get some attention when ST culture shifts from general contractor to service operator?

  13. How long has it actually been now that you can pull a touch screen telephone out of your pocket- without the cord getting tangled and ripped out of the wall- and get both transit information and San Jose weather- without needing to find any coin-change at all?

    And then (judiciously re: eavesdroppers) check your bank account to be sure you have enough to summon and pay for “ride sharing”, which now means a non-union taxicab ride whose driver wears same uniform as yours at the office? While verifying your sister’s flight-arrival time into New York City?

    Leaving chief system-comprehension skill old as Time and Location themselves: Knowing what to ask in the first place. Which generally always requires help. Last trip to Vancouver (BC), before their life’s mission became riding transit to bankrupt Government and spread COVID, (where’d-I-just-read- that-and-thanks-for-not-ever- printing-it-again) people of flexible address would stand at SkyTrain stations and politely offer system information. Explanation and perspective included, as only on-site human assistance can.

    Now that the Horizon’s only believable future certainty is need for depression-recovery employment that could pale Franklin Roosevelt’s though pray without a war, those Canadians really showed me a powerful push for a solution. Needing only to reasonably replace insurance with medical care and a new job description at ATU Local 587.

    Soon as Jay Inslee says it’s not only Essential but survivable, I’m back on IT 612 to ST 574 to Link-to work- retraining. Federal, State, county, city, or Regional,”Station Agent” has always carried same respect as “Conductor.”

    Mark Dublin

  14. Yaay numbers! This is the second-best proposal I’ve seen. The first is the German system, with subways U1/U2/U3, commuter rail S1/S2/S3, trams probably T1/T2/T3, and rail-line bus lines something else.

    Link’s 1/2/3 is forward-compatible with L1/L2/L3 in the future. On platform signs a plain “1” is OK because the only thing there is Link trains. “T” correctly shows that Tacoma Link is a unique level of service. S1/S2/S3 are fine for Stride. “N” and “S” are OK for Sounder because additional lines are unlikely. (And anything in Maple Valley, Orting, or Marysville/Bellingham we can worry about later. Olympia can simply be an “S” extension.)

    There is overlap with Metro’s 1-4, PT’s 1-4, and ET’s 2-4. But Metro’s 1-4 are in a small area and are well-known by their riders, and ET’s 2-4 are similar. PT’s 1-4 are more problematic because they’re longer like RapidRide, but they only minimally overlap with Link 3. Colors or letters wouldn’t help because colors overlap with Swift and letters overlap with Metro’s RapidRide. People are used to numbers overlapping: everything has a first, second, third.

    Moscow in the 90s had lines named after most important neighborhood/station in the segment, but they were unusable by foreigners who could hardly read the alphabet. So foreigners called them by color. In the 2000s Moscow numbered all lines M1/M2/M3, while keeping the same colors. It was already using T (3-legged) for trams, T (1-legged) for trolleybuses, and A for autobuses, so it was like the German system.

    I thought of naming Swift S4+ but that would leave Stride with no room for expansion. We should advocate more Stride lines, not box it in a cage. And with Link abandoning colors, Swift’s colors are fine.

    Metro’s subarea-number system is good, and arbitrary RapidRide letters throughout the county is bad. Link’s numbering system sidesteps the issue so it doesn’t affect ST. I’m ESPECIALLY glad that the “B Blue”, “R Red”, “G Green” plan is dead as a doornail. Single letters don’t connote colors! They connote a series A-Z. The DC Metro has secondary letters for the color blind but it’s two letters: “GR Green”, “YE Yellow”. That’s ten times better than single-letter color abbreviations.

    Both London, Moscow, New York, BART, and Vancouver have colors but they’re secondary. The primary designation is numbers/letters/names, and the colors are a secondary visual guide. Link will be like that too. Some people will use the colors instead, and that’s fine, it happens in all these other cities. But it’s better for official primary identifier to be something else.

    In my own Metro/Link fantasy maps I call the streetcars “FH” and “SLU”.

    1. Yep! Leaving the color as the only line designation is the best decision ST could have made!

      I could foresee a scenario where Tacoma Link becomes known as the “tram” that it realistically is — and becomes T1. Then the Seattle trams (SLU and FH) become T2 and T3 if they ever get handed over to ST to own and operate.

    2. Yep! I wrote the L# piece a few months back, and I think this is fine. While I like having mode-letters (L for link, T for tram, S for sounder), given that Link is the top of the food chain for now, I think the numbering is perfectly reasonable. I hope metro renames buses with overlapping numbers, and the colors aren’t the easiest in colorblindness simulators, but it’ll do.

  15. With you on all points except one, Mike. What for me, the “T” really stands for on South Lake Union track. From my pre-transit working-years in Michigan and Maryland, I was really fond of southerners from the mountain states, especially coal-country Kentucky.

    Lot of their people fought for the Union in THAT war, and the one called “United Mine Workers” in the personally-possessed firearms exchanges called “Labor Relations” that followed. Could spend a whole day logging or quarrying next to someone skilled and silent. Just that when he said “Look Out!” survival meant mid-air before the rock or tree found its target. Their daughters also of few words, but best everything male 100% listen respectfully and obey real fast.

    Childhood in Tennessee- Confederates murdered that State’s finest by the dozen at Fort Pillow- Dolly Parton pointed out a lovely woman on the street to her mother. To be scolded: “Pay her no mind, she’s the Town TRAMP!” Dolly? “But she’s so pretty, Momma…..THAT’S WHAT I WANNA BE!”

    Net-stocking wrap with a frilly garter stretched around the car-body, [OT] me ’til the South surrenders like it means it. But please, can we just never abbreviate and make the last word still rhyme with Dolly?

    Mark Dublin

    1. You can make it happen a lot quicker than that, Jay. This afternoon Frank whacked down a slur on the Amsterdam streetcar system that would’ve put us into a war with the empire that used to rule Indonesia.

      The Geneva Convention is silent about close air-support slinging wing-tanks full of hot fudge and melted cheese. And not only universal conscription, but for hand-to-hand foot-ware, Dutch women troops are universally issued wood shoes with a lot of nails and splinters. So can’t bad mouth New York City’s real owners.

      But just in case the pro-Slavery side of our country’s Age of Reason ever requires COVID-safe provocation, you might pass along to them a measure which will certainly deliver me a duel via Doordash. And also be 100% [ON] a mile of [TOPIC] for STB.

      In many States, protected by State Law, thousands of bus stops contain monuments to the thousands of Confederate soldiers who fell in battle in 1932. Heavens, Not Suppressed! but just sort of mislaid, between Fort Sumter and Appomattox, thousands more took Confederate shrapnel and musket-ball for the Union.

      So thanks to the Lord’s present promised response to our National behavior, there’ll be no lack of enough State transit money to be sure that every stony-eyed Confederate sculpture looks straight into the muzzle of a real Union cannon.

      Sent that suggestion to a newspaper in North Carolina awhile back. Meantime, indignationary movie for you:


      Talk about historic accuracy: Actual proof of what, when roasted, does not taste like chicken.

      Mark Dublin

  16. Oh please. I’m color blind the colors are killing me. Can you please fix the legibility of the bus LED signs too. They are not big or bright enough for low vision ppl on bright days.

  17. I just wish ST, KCM, PT, ET, and CT would get together and come up with a unified naming scheme. In a vacuum I’d like what ST has come up with but when you throw in all the other services it gets confusing. Why should Tacoma Link and Seattle Streetcar be any different, naming wise?

    1. Isn’t Seattle Streetcar actually considered a City transit operation? At some point, it will almost certainly be given over to a bigger transit operator although it will take a few years if not a decade or two. The same is true for the monorail.

      I could see a political deal to hand it over to ST. In the new ST branding scheme, the streetcar (or “tram”) would seem to become T2 and T3 (Tacoma Link as T1) and the monorail would seem to become an M. I don’t see that happening until ST is restructured to be a more directly elected board.

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