A double-decker Sound Transit bus and the Providence/Colby Medical Center in Everett

Beginning this weekend, Sound Transit and King County Metro are once again reducing service to meet demand for essential travel with fewer available drivers. They join several suburban agencies who have done their own second-route cuts, even as federal relief aid is expected to land here.

For Sound Transit, this means another frequency cut for Link, which will now run every 30 minutes all week beginning Monday, April 20. ST will have four-car trains on all Link trips. Several ST Express routes operated by Metro will also see new cuts to the number of trips. Ridership for Sound Transit has down 87 percent systemwide, while Metro is reporting a 70 percent decrease.

Sound Transit is also advising riders to only use transit services for essential trips, and to wear facial coverings. King County Metro has also instructed its security officers to enforce physical separation on buses where possible, and remove riders who are jeopardizing the safety of those on board.

More details on the cuts after the jump.

Sound Transit

The revised schedules can be viewed on Sound Transit’s website. The reductions in Metro-operated ST Express service take effect today, with the following changes:

  • Route 522: 15 cancelled trips on weekdays
  • Route 541: All service cancelled
  • Route 542: 10 cancelled trips on weekdays (mostly during peak periods); 17 cancelled trips on Saturdays
  • Route 544: All service cancelled
  • Route 545: 30 cancelled trips on weekdays (mostly during peak periods)
  • Route 550: 34 cancelled trips on weekdays (mostly eastbound AM and westbound PM); 12 cancelled trips on Saturdays
  • Route 554: Only two trips cancelled (weekday mornings)
  • Routes 555/556: All service cancelled

ST Express routes operated by other agencies will continue with their existing cuts, which are as follows:

  • Route 510: 9 cancelled trips (mostly in AM peak)
  • Route 511: 8 cancelled trips (mostly in PM peak)
  • Route 512: 14 cancelled trips on weekdays
  • Route 513: 7 cancelled trips
  • Route 532: 13 cancelled trips
  • Route 535: 18 cancelled trips on weekdays
  • Route 560: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 566: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 567: All service cancelled
  • Route 574: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 577: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 578: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 580: All service cancelled
  • Route 586: All service cancelled
  • Route 590: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 592: All service cancelled
  • Route 594: No changes to previous cuts
  • Route 595: All service cancelled
  • Route 596: All service cancelled

Sounder trip reductions remain in place, with seven round trips on the South Line and two round trips on the North Line. The following trips are cancelled:

  • South Line: 1502, 1506, 1508, and 1518 from Lakewood; 1503, 1505, 1509, 1517, 1519, and 1523 from Seattle
  • North Line: 1701 and 1705 from Everett; 1700 and 1704 from Seattle
Boarding instructions on the back door of a Sound Transit bus

King County Metro

King County Metro will begin reducing weekend service today and weekday service on Monday, April 20. These cuts will represent 27 percent fewer trips than a typical weekday, 15 percent fewer trips on Saturdays, and 4 percent fewer trips on Sundays. At the moment, two-thirds of Metro’s drivers and operators are available to work. Metro ridership is also down by 73 percent on normal routes, 68 percent on Access, and 97 percent on the water taxi.

The Metro website has a full list of affected routes, cancelled trips, and suggested alternatives for completely cancelled routes. As of April 18, these routes are currently affected:

Weekday service

  • Most trips remain operating (under 2 cancelled): RapidRide A Line, 22, 60, 63, 64, 71, 73, 105, 106, 118, 119, 128, 131, 148, 164, 166, 168, 193, 221, 269, 303, 309, 331, 345, 348, ST 554, 628 (Snoqualmie Community Shuttle), 631 (Burien Community Shuttle), 901, 903, 906, 908, 914, 916
  • Reduced trips/hours: RapidRide B, C, D, E and F lines, and routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 36, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 62, 65, 67, 70, 75, 101, 107, 120, 124, 132, 150, 153, 156, 169, 180, 181, 182, 183, 187, 204, 225, 226, 230, 231, 239, 240, 241, 245, 249, 250, 255, 271, 346, 347, 372, 373, ST Express routes 522, 542, 545, 550, route 635 (Des Moines Community Shuttle), 915, 917, Water Taxi West Seattle and Vashon routes, First Hill Streetcar, Link light rail
  • Full cancellation: 5X, 9, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21X, 29, 37, 47, 55, 56, 57, 74, 76, 77, 78, 102, 111, 113, 114, 116, 121, 122, 123, 125, 143, 154, 157, 158, 159, 167, 177, 178, 179, 186, 190, 192, 197, 200, 208, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 224, 232, 237, 246, 252, 257, 268, 301, 304, 308, 311, 312, 316, 330, 342, 355, ST 541, ST 555, ST 556, 630 (Mercer Island Community Shuttle), 773, 775, 823, 824, 886, 887, 888, 889, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895, 907, 910, 913, 930, 931, 952, 980, 981, 982, 984, 986, 987, 988, 989, 994, 995, Black Diamond/Enumclaw Community Ride, Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Community Ride, Normandy Park Community Ride, Sammamish Community Ride, Juanita Area Community Ride, Bothell/Woodinville Community Ride, Via to Transit, Seattle South Lake Union Streetcar

Saturday service

  • Most or all trips operating: RapidRide A, D, E and F Lines, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 24, 27, 28, 31, 33, 45, 49, 60, 62, 71, 73, 101, 105, 107, 120, 124, 148, 156, 164, 168, 180, 182, 183, 187, 225, 230, 231, 240, 245, 271, ST 522, ST 545, ST 554, 635 (Des Moines Community Shuttle), 901, 903, 906, 908, 914, 915, 916, 917
  • Reduced trips/hours: RapidRide B and C Lines, 1, 2, 5, 12, 13, 14, 21, 26, 32, 36, 40, 41, 43, 44, 48, 50, 65, 67, 70, 75, 106, 128, 131, 132, 150, 166, 169, 181, 239, 250, 255, 269, 331, 345, 346, 347, 348, 372, ST 542, ST 550, First Hill Streetcar, Link light rail
  • Full cancellation: 22, 47, 118, 125, 208, 221, 226, 241, 249, 910, South Lake Union Streetcar, Water Taxi West Seattle and Vashon routes, Via to Transit, Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Community Ride, Normandy Park Community Ride, Sammamish Community Ride, Bothell/Woodinville Community Ride

Sunday service

  • Most or all trips operating: RapidRide A, B, C, D, E and F Lines, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 36, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 60, 62, 65, 67, 70, 73, 75, 101, 105, 106, 107, 120, 124, 128, 131, 132, 148, 150, 156, 166, 168, 169, 180, 181, 182, 187, 225, 230, 231, 239, 240, 245, 250, 255, 271, 331, 346, 347, 348, 372, ST 522, ST 542, ST 545, ST 550, ST 554, 901, 903
  • Reduced trips/hours: First Hill Streetcar, Link light rail
  • Full cancellation: 22, 47, 118, 125, 221, 226, 241, 249, South Lake Union Streetcar, Water Taxi West Seattle and Vashon routes, Via to Transit, Shoreline/Lake Forest Community Ride, Bothell/Woodinville Community Ride

In addition to these cancellations, Metro has rolled out new changes to its Access paratransit service. Riders with disabilities can use Access without being pre-certified, and a streamlined eligibility process has been put in place. Trips are limited to two passengers at a time and fares will not be collected.

Suburban agencies

Community Transit made further cuts to their routes last week, which included full cancellation of Route 247 (Boeing–Stanwood) and large cuts to 800-series routes serving the University District. The following routes will have only one trip per direction per day due to low demand: 107, 227, 412, 435, and 821.

Updated April 20: Community Transit has announced that it will restore service for Boeing employees beginning Tuesday, April 21. These restored trips are marked in the Reduced Schedule section and include routes 107, 109, 130, 196, 202, 227, 247, 435, 855, and 880.

Pierce Transit has implemented a limit of 15 passenger per bus. Ridership is down to 8,500 on weekdays, which is about 30 percent of normal ridership levels. The agency has added back a handful of trips on certain routes for essential workers, and has opened a hotline (253-581-8000, option 2) to give free rides to essential workers on weekdays. Trips must be reserved in advance and is meant for areas where routes have been cancelled entirely.

Washington State Ferries will remain on its winter schedule through June 20. All vehicle reservations for summer trips on the San Juan Islands and Port Townsend–Coupeville/Keystone routes will be cancelled. While onboard ferries, drivers are encouraged to remain in their vehicles and walk-on passengers are asked to use physical separation. All galleys are also closed.

90 Replies to “Sound Transit and Metro announce more service cuts”

  1. It seems odd that Sound Transit is ensuring that route 554 (and only 554 from what I can tell) remains at essentially full service, while reducing service a ton elsewhere. I wonder what is so special about that route?

    1. My theory is that it comes down to:
      1) The 554 is the only bus which serves Sweedish Hospital in Issaquah, so could be some essential workers who rely on it.

      2) The 554 has less peak frequency than most other routes in the unreduced schedule (due to most of the I-90 weekday peak load being on Metro routes such as 212/216/218/etc.), so it’s starting from a lower baseline.

    2. The 554’s route covers the 216’s, 218’s, and the 219’s. The 21x routes skip one or two of the 554’s stops at peak to govern overcrowding. My guess is that eliminating those three routes has made the 554 slightly more necessary. This also frees up more bus drivers, as you only have one on the road at peak as opposed to four. I’m not sure why this isn’t the case with other routes/regions, but as someone who lived in East King County, this choice makes sense to me.

    3. The 71 and 73 are protected because they’re already at minimum (30 minutes), so the 554 is probably protected for the same reason. The 216, 218, and 219 are irrelevant because they existed only for crowding and congestion relief and the Sammamish tail.

  2. The way Metro presents their reduced routes is confusing (to me, at least)- it’s not immediately clear if the routes listed are reduced relative to baseline service (a list of cumulative reductions), or relative to the previous reduction announcement (a list of new reductions).

    1. You aren’t alone; I was wondering that exact same thing.

      Also, I don’t really get why the impacted STX routes are included in both the Sound Transit and the Metro sections. (Yes, I understand that these are routes with Metro drivers, but that really shouldn’t matter for these purposes.)

  3. Quick survey: Has anyone on STB either bought a car, or is considering buying a car, since COVID-19 began, due to either transit service cuts or direct fear of being infected as a result of riding transit?

    I have personally been avoiding it, due to 1) much less need to travel in the first place, due to stay-at-home orders 2) reliance on walking an my e-bike for trips I do need to make. 3) Outside of COVID-19, I walk to work, so any car in the garage would remain idle a minimum of 5 days per week, even after the crisis ends. 4) My most common non-work trip (the grocery store) is an easy walk.

    Of course, if transit continues to decline and is unable to rebound when COVID ends, due to lack of money for operations, that decision may have to be reconsidered.

    1. I’ve lived without a driver’s license for a long time, and while this is certainly a troubling time for transit, I have no plans to get one. Like you, I can rely on my own two feet (health willing) for the time being.

      I’m cautiously optimistic for transit – local support seems much higher than 10 years ago, and the federal government seems willing to shoulder some of the costs. In the long-term, we can’t ignore climate change and I hope people and the politicians we elect recognize that transit will continue to play an important role in that fight.

      Transit might very well look different for a few years, or longer: more masks; seats placed further apart; a recognition that SRO buses and trains aren’t acceptable; and maybe even a recognition of the fact that the longer a bus is stuck in traffic, the more likely a pathogen is to spread on it.

    2. Great ask, asdf2. I don’t drive, but am blessed to telecommute from home and I live in Downtown Seattle. I can walk to several grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical facilities. However, to your point – I will not take transit until at least late next year. My world is smaller now, but I don’t think it is safe to take the bus or train. I’ve had friends in the east coast both die and be hospitalized from COVID. One is now on Dialysis. I’m ok with a small two square mile life. Another King County Metro bus driver died recently. The agency needs to provide N95 masks for all operators are risk additional service cuts, as drivers call in sick for fear of their lives.

      1. @Ness, why do you have to be jealous or snarky that someone can afford a car. Hate to break it to you, but millions can afford their own vehicle.

      2. I’ve stopped going into grocery stores and switched to delivery for the time being. Yes, I am lucky to have a job, and I can afford the delivery fee and tip. Yes, I am aware that my carbon footprint may have increased (unless my not riding the bus in nearly a month has caused that bus route to be pared back). Indeed, not being able to eat out and my fear of take-out has enabled me to cover the delivery costs.

        Going into the grocery store is like playing Russian Roulette, with the odds of losing, while still small, doubling roughly every couple weeks.

    3. My family got rid of our last car a couple of years ago and my son, in his 20s, does not have a license. None of us are reconsidering those choices.

      We still take transit today for essential trips, like bringing heavy items from the grocery store or getting to food that’s too far away or too hilly to walk or bike. We take precautions like not touching the handrails and, now that they’ve arrived today, wearing fabric masks to help contain the spread.

      The underlying reasons why we went all-in for transit will be just as true next month as they were in January: cars are expensive, driving is stressful, the environment can’t take it, and we just plain don’t want to drive.

      I am NOT minimizing the risk at all when I write this next bit: there’s risk in any mode of transportation and we’re living through the increased risk of this new virus. We’re doing what we must do now so that humanity can settle into our immune systems and environment living with its existence. But once medicine catches up with the disease, which I’m certain it will, transit will be like any public sphere and will still be there for us, probably with some new social norms but still there all the same.

    4. I’m a car owner and someone who usually drives to work because my workday begins early and the transit options were limited. The March service revision would have improved my transit options tremendously and I was looking forward to driving less. But until there is a vaccine, I will be working mostly at home and rarely riding public transit.

      I’m also driving less with the stay-home policy. I get my exercise by walking, I have masks for the grocery store and my car is getting dusty sitting in the driveway. I did have to drive to work last week to pick up some material and the trip seemed like hell–even with no traffic on the roads. I’ll be happy when the virus goes away, but I’m not looking forward to the return of the rat race.

    5. I have a driver’s license, but I don’t own a car, loathe driving, and with my (currently untreated) ADHD, it’s probably safer for everyone that I don’t drive often.

      After a muscle injury heals, more of my trip (commute included) will be by bike. One of the few upsides of the current situation is that biking feels so much less stressful no that there’s fewer cars to contend with.

      If Metro and Link don’t rebound to the previous baseline of service when we get past COVID, then I’d have to take a look at moving to another city with sufficient transit.

      1. Philip, while I understand your frustration. I think most cities are going to be in the same boat for a couple of years. Until a vaccine is developed, many will avoid cities and that will lead to cuts across the nation in transit. For instance, SEPTA in Philadelphia is eliminating most of their commuter rail service and operating on a Saturday Bus Schedule, during the week – with additional cuts. In Philadelphia, there is already talk that some of these cuts will be permanent. Same goes for NYC MTA, LA Metro, and the MBTA. In Washington, DC they are operating Metrorail trains every 30 minutes now – with discussions of permanent decreased headways. Most transit systems in this country will experience a death spiral in the years to come.

      2. A real threat to transit is if because people start working a significant amount from home and other jobs simply disappear then traffic will continue to flow relatively free. And if that’s the case the time penalty of using transit will indeed induce a death spiral if continued service cuts make it less and less competitive.

      3. The current situation is essentially all-coverage ridership and service. The impetus for peak expresses and extra peak runs has vanished, and all-day frequency is under pressure. Jarrett Walker points out that frequency is important in spite of ridership because it affects whether transit is even viable for many trips in any practical sense. If, long-term, many people telework and ridership returns to 75%, then hopefully car volumes also return to 75% and buses won’t get caught in congestion. That would obviate the need for congestion-relief runs, which is the raison d’etre for routes like the 15 and some of the peak-supplemental runs and standby buses. That would allow them to be reduced without degrading all-day frequency. But that depends on the streets remaining uncongested, which is a big if. Social-distancing will require more buses for the same number of riders, but Metro’s revenues will remain under pressure, there’s a lot of funding to backfill, and there’s a bridge to replace.

        So Metro may be forced to cut holes in the 15-minute floors on core routes, and that would be really unfortunate. It makes a big difference when you know there will always be a bus within 15 minutes vs when you have to time your trips to match a 30-minute pulse, or when your trip depends on a transfer like 48+11 or Link+372 or 49+131/132 or 550+B.

        The death penalty comes if frequency is reduced, not just by free-flowing streets. Ridership increases when frequency is increased, and decreases when it’s decreased. Even low-density suburbs have good ridership when transit is frequent, as Canada shows. The problem is most Amercans never get a chance to ride it because the bus service isn’t there. It’s infrequent, circuitous, doesn’t go to non-downtown activity centers, or doesn’t exist at all.

    6. I just heard on KOMO today that car sales through dealers are illegal right now unless you are deemed an essential worker and currently don’t have a car. That seems a bit severe. I can see not allowing test drives or requiring sales staff to follow protocols. However, it appears you can still buy a vehicle through Dave Smith Motors in Kellogg ID.

      1. No car sales in the ST District is certainly going to hurt car tab revenue.

        At least property tax will still go up as Washington State gets the virus under control, and the rest of the country does not.

      2. Are real estate agents essential personnel, or do you anticipate home purchases where buyers never see the home or the agent in person?

      3. I haven’t bothered to look, but I would assume that someone who really wanted to could still buy a car from Craigslist, or from a company that sells cars online (e.g. Tesla) outside the traditional dealer model.

        Fortunately, I have no interest in buying a car in the short term, even if transit were to shut down completely, partly because there isn’t anything open to drive to, partly because I can take care of all my essential needs via foot, bike, DoorDash and Amazon.

        The issue because what happens when things start to reopen, but the transit system is unable to maintain an acceptable level of service because sales tax/fare collections are in the toilet.

        If that happens, I will try to hold off as long as possible, in part because every month a car purchase is postponed means another $200-300 I get to keep in my bank account. But, in a world where the economy rebounds, but transit doesn’t, I might not be able to hold off forever, at least if I want to have a social life.

  4. I think if Metro and Sound Transit are unable to provide N95 masks to all of their employees on the field, they should plan for further cuts

    1- Hourly Link Light Rail Service only during weekday hours from 8AM to 8PM, with no weekend service.
    2- Reduce King County Metro to just 20 core bus routes, operating hourly service (weekdays only)
    3- Sound Transit – eliminate all express bus service until further notice.

    Partner with Uber/Lyft to provide free on demand rides for essential workers.

    1. @Brentwhite I too am limiting my outdoor exposure. I am one of the millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition. The way I see it, I will not be boarding a bus until 2022. Shame, I was hoping to see the Northgate Extension, assuming that still operates on time. If not, I will ride transit again sometime in 2022, assuming I am still alive.

    2. STX is “Link” service for large sections of the agency’s district for now. So why the double standard in level of service between #1 and #3? Is the safety of the operator (train cabin vs coach driver seat) your rationale for the proposal?

      This is a sincere question, i.e., it’s not meant as some sort of snarky response.

      How do essential workers get to their jobs (in Seattle for example) without STX service? How is social distancing maintained on Link service with trains only running every hour at peak?

      It’s a tricky balancing act and these are difficult decisions being made by our local transit agencies.

      1. My proposal is draconian, but only needed if we have a second wave and or transit fails to protect operators with N95 masks. How many more drivers need to die before they get PPE?! If transit fails to protect their employees, other essential workers should be giving free subsidized rides on Lyft/Uber.

      2. @William, will Uber drivers all be given N95 masks? Why the double standard?

        Also, given how so many people wear N95 masks improperly, I suspect that giving them to bus drivers won’t really protect them more in practice than giving them ordinary surgical masks.

    3. Forget everything else in the world except that all we’re talking about is the public transit system of one sector of a giant gold-stuffed Nation….What in the HELL is our problem getting masks?

      I can’t even claim proficiency in 3D printing, let alone work experience. Terminally bored with circuit boards, Lake Washington Tech kept my course fees and let me 3D print lamps and seashells instead. Too bad that at this date, SolidWorks 2012 might as well be inky feathers and sheepskin.

      But for the honor of the State of Washington, the salvation of both its Democratic Party and anything Republican Lincoln would’ve recognized, I’m onto my State senator and representatives to sponsor Lake Washington Technical Institute and the rest of our trade schools into a program to 3D print all the face-masks that every one of our State’s transit systems needs.

      Read somewhere that “depression is learned helplessness.” Now that we’ve earned our certificate, time to boot up our sets and start making ourselves our masks. Thanks for the reminder, Mark. Olympia Supply and Ace Hardware close at 2.

      Mark Dublin

      1. The current 3D printers in the DIRT lab at LWTech aren’t up to the job of doing anything on a production scale. Masks aren’t something that can be 3D printed but Boeing is using their equipment to produce face shields. There’s also the issue that the campus is completely shut down right now and all classes requiring hands on instruction (like auto body, welding, etc.) are doing the classroom portion of the program spring quarter and planning to complete the training summer quarter. I don’t know if the Nursing program is exempt from this or not. Seems critical we get more nurses trained ASAP.

      2. “What in the HELL is our problem getting masks?”

        We have become so specialized and simultaneously unskilled at basic tasks or problem-solving outside our specialties, that we don’t know how to put a shoestring inside a cloth, and make our own masks.

        Heck, if electricity shut down tomorrow, many of us would not know how to put flint to steel.

      3. You’d be surprised how much of a mask you can make with a 3D printer. All of it? No. But an impressive amount of it. That said, most home bought 3D printers do not have the speed for mass scale production.


      4. We have become so specialized and simultaneously unskilled at basic tasks or problem-solving outside our specialties, that we don’t know how to put a shoestring inside a cloth, and make our own masks.

        There are masks, and then there are masks. N95 masks protect both the person who is wearing it, and the public at large. A regular cloth mask only does the latter. You can make a cloth mask quite easily, and lots of people have. (I personally like the mask made out of a jock strap — very clever). But a mask that will actually protect you is a far more sophisticated project. It really comes down to the filter (which as A Joy points out, can be done with a 3D printer if you have one).

        @Bernie — Anecdotally, I’ve heard that nursing students are learning remotely, which is kind of a scary thought. On the one hand, we need more nurses (of every kind). On the other hand, I’m not sure I want a nurse who has graduated in that manner in the operating room. Maybe they will graduate, but then have to go back and do extra aseptic training later (which is not a bad idea in general).

    4. Operating LINK service hourly basically useless service, so might as well shut it down if that is the case. I think 30 minute is the bare minimum for non commuter rail service.

      Also killing off STX bus service is going to leave some riders totally with no alternative.

    5. 3. No. Just no. Did you miss all the pleas by health and elected officials to stay six feet apart? Do you know if the car you just jumped into was thoroughly sanitized after the previous passenger? I’m surprised Lyft and Uber haven’t been banned for the time being. The drivers will still have jobs, btw, doing app-based delivery. And there aren’t enough of them doing delivery, based on my growing wait time to get groceries delivered.

      Alternative 1. Rope off the portion of the end LRVs between the operater cabin and the end door, plus a few feet. Only the operator gets to enter that space. (Yeah, they still have to enter public space in between, but this is all about bending the math.) Tape off a zone on the platforms around the end doors clearly demarcating “Operator Only”. Don’t reduce service below 30-minute headway, because then riders who need the service will be pushed onto more-crowded buses and rideshare subject to the perilousness of suggestion 3. As it is, the trains only need four operators at a time to run the new schedule.

      Alternative 2. Look at what Intercity Transit is doing, and whether it is meeting demand. But try it out just in the suburbs first. Make paratransit vans available for big-bus drivers to use, to meet demand for rides booked, say, 48 hours in advance. That could include recurring rides. Some of those rides may be life-sustaining (e.g. dialysis), and for people who might not normally qualify for paratransit. Yes, this has been tried somewhat in the suburbs, pre-pandemic, and was mostly a flop, even with the ability to book now-rides, but if the feeble suburban core routes are being eviscerated, this may be the affordable, workable, and safer alternative to them.

      Alternative 3. Recognize that express bus service involves having a lot fewer total people on the bus than milk runs have. Milk runs are more likely to be the super-spreaders of the virus, especially if they get too crowded during rush hour. I’m not saying keep all the express runs, but weigh virus-spreadability along with operator availability and budget.

      Bonus 4. Keep the diesel and CH4 buses mothballed as much as possible. Let’s see if we can take a break from running the doomsday clock on the CO2 crisis.

      Bonus 5. ST isn’t using all the electricity it has purchased from the wind farms. Store excess in batteries where possible. Sell some of the excess to other agencies, so they can reduce their CO2 emissions.

      Bonus 6. Shut down air travel to all but essential trips. This shutting down of transit shouldn’t just be for the working class and poor. That will also help a good chunk with immediately reducing CO2 emissions. Why should we have to stay at home if the rich can cross state and international borders at will?

      1. The study was flawed, to say the least (https://pedestrianobservations.com/). Your summary of it is worse. If you know anything about transit in New York City, you know that the infection map looks nothing like the transit use map.

        The people making the study simply found a correlation and they drew an erroneous conclusion. They looked at the areas which had the biggest decrease in regular transit use (ignoring overall use). The areas where transit use didn’t change much had the highest infection rates. Of course they did. Those doing the study just had it backwards. The areas where people stopped taking transit are (of course) the places where people stopped doing other things (e. g. not going to restaurants and bars). This is as you would expect, yet they drew the wrong conclusion. You could pick any metric (number of candy bars sold) and probably find the same thing. That doesn’t mean candy bar purchases were a main vector for the disease.

      2. “The study was flawed, to say the least.”

        Yeah, and that’s putting it mildly. Frankly I wasted about 20 minutes of my time the other night reading that paper and doing so quickly raised all sorts of red flags for me with regard to the authors’ methodology, assumptions and, as you said, flawed conclusions. It seemed to me like the authors had an agenda so I quickly dismissed it as a serious study.

      3. Brent, as of this last Monday, April 13, Intercity Transit makes you call in advance for any bus service at all.

        Sort of nice to have a system as good as this one checking out experimental changes. We just “kicked off” (seems like forever) a cross-town 5-stop express bus called Route 1, and local a “Suburban” connector called Route 65.

        Old news? What we call “Zero Fare”, not “Free”, but financed by taxes rather than bills, coins and cards. Pencils out in black lead, not red. Spirit of the Agency…..Major “Just-when-we-were-starting-to-rock!” Syndrome.

        New news says tomorrow is supposed to treat us to a big, loud, angry demonstration at the State Capitol demanding a “right” of space-occupation that our Founders and the rest of the Age of Reason would’ve locked you in the “Stocks” and pelted you with raccoons had you asserted it.

        I trust the State Police to save me taxes to fix a damaged Capitol, though resent the loss of my right to my half hour walk around the beautiful grounds, “Essential” doctor’s word, not mine. Only Social-space reachable by either singly-occupied car or foot depending on temp and pre-cip.

        Their motto says as their actions verify: “Service With Humility.” Not every uniformed force in the world lets anything digestive hang over its uniform belt! Though two local lady business-owners, I will not stand by and watch get trashed.

        Sheriff’s department just now said on the phone forget getting deputized. Local police? Know one seven feet tall and Bicycle-Strong! They’ll all be fine.

        Make it a point to bring my 36 x 48 inch US flag from Ballard to anything called by the anybody political. Only trouble tomorrow could be getting that much Glory disinfected considering the source of the exposure.

        Washing itself is treatment I’ll always substitute for burning. For transit agencies as well as flags. Since I never got to vote on its existence, proud to disobey the Flag Code’s own stricture that if a flag gets disgraced, it HAS to be burned. I’ll take a couple blisters any day stopping Code-Bullies in their muddy tracks.

        Can see the Founding Fathers’ ladies wearing white robes and laurel leaves like Roman goddesses- our Founders really did think they were restarting the Roman Republic- and washing the spite out of it with perfume.

        In their honor, out every demonstration should offer “Sweets to the Sweet.”

        Mark Dublin

    6. William, your recommendations are in a vacuum if you don’t study the number of essential workers and where their homes and workplaces are. Hourly service is very inconvenient, and may require you to arrive 50 minutes early or leave 50 minutes late. That adds almost two hours to your day. And what if you have to transfer between two hourly routes? That adds a potential third hour.

      “20 core routes”, where did you get that? Which routes? We’d have to know that to evaluate it.

      If you eliminate ST Express there would be no way to get from Bellevue or Redmond to Seattle except the 255 and 271. Federal Way to Seattle would take over an hour. Lynnwood to Seattle would take two hours when the 4xx aren’t running. And some of those Seattle janitors and hospital workers live in north Lynnwood and Everett and Tacoma.

      Uber/Lyft can’t scale to all essential workers, and many of them come in waves, the exact reason we have buses in the first place. And the space between a front-seat driver and back-seat passenger isn’t very large; it’s smaller than the space between a bus driver and the first all-access row of seats. And it would be much more expensive, especially if investor-owned companies are in the middle.

  5. I worry about transit falling into a “death spiral” when it comes to service. Because fares are about 20-30 percent of revenue, wouldn’t any cutbacks greater than 20-30 percent be already paid through our taxes and fees? I can understand further cutbacks due to driver shortages or recovering costs from the few weeks of over-service due to stay-at-home orders, but severe cutbacks will shift the market structurally for the worse and it may take years to get those riders back.

    Cutbacks = hopelessness

    1. My concern isn’t the 20-30% of costs that are paid by fares, but the 70-80% of costs that are paid by other sources, mainly taxes and governmental investments. I think that those sources at most at-risk in the coming years. It’s going to take years to rebuild the economy and overcome the revenue shortfalls that local, state and federal governments are going to be facing.

      1. Agree, and we should be prepared to make sensible transit cuts. We might live in a world where in 2022, link is running every 15 minutes during peak times, every 20 minutes on weekends and evenings. A world where King county metro operates fewer buses during peak times, and ends service earlier on Sundays. I do expect ridership will be down, and that will help make the difficult choices to “right-size” transit in 2021. Employers will choose to have fewer employees working on site, major conventions will be canceled, tourism will be dramatically down. There will be significantly less nightlife in Seattle with fewer restaurants and bars. Already Gay pride has been canceled for this year, and sporting events will go without crowds. There will be no need to operate at 100% of normal for this year and next. We just have to figure out what the new baseline normal will be for us.

      2. A bit of a bright spot is fuel costs are way down. Gas today at FM in Totem Lake $2.43/gal before using an fuel rewards. OTHO, if it’s really cheap to drive that might further persuade people switch away from transit.

    2. I doubt this will have a lasting effect on rider habits. Those that can drive are driving right now. Those that can’t are taking transit. Oh, there might be a handful that are transitioning to owning a car, but the virus itself (not the level of service) has more to do with that than anything else.

      The key is ramping up service when this is all done. The problem is, no one knows when that will be.

    3. The biggest threat to transit is sales-tax revenue. It’s extremely sensitive to economic booms and busts. The vast majority of Metro’s funding comes from sales tax. Sound Transit is more balanced but still a large part comes from sales tax. The state won’t allow many other options, and there are constitutional and ceilings to property tax.

  6. There is a good chance of a death spiral for the next two years or so. Even when things reopen, transit will continue to be depressed. Many schools will opt for remote learning. More employees will telecommute, those that need to go into the office may choose to drive. People are going to be very hesitant of crowds or being around other people, particularly strangers. Wouldn’t surprise me, if ridership remains down +50% in December 2020.

    Metro will likely make some temporary cuts to service permanent as ridership stays down.

  7. Another thing to keep in mind, Seattle May experience some population loss. A large % of the population has moved here, due to employment, in the last ten years. We are talking about 100K people. While, I don’t expect all of them to leave – I do expect some of the more recent transplants, might decide to move closer to family in the coming year, especially if employers allow for more remote work. This could have the net effect of decreasing the population in Seattle by 20K or so within the next few years. That will also contribute to an overall need for less transit in the short term.

    1. On the other hand, after the 1918 flu the cities that shut it down most aggressively also rebounded the fastest economically. Seattle seems to have done a pretty good job of slowing down the spread – when things get better we may do better than a good chunk of the rest of the country.

      1. I agree, and I hope that takes some of the wind out of the anti-urbanist sails. Despite relatively high transit use for the US, despite relatively high density for the US outside the NE, Seattle has (so far, and hopefully going forward) seen a relatively mild COVID19 outbreak. Some of that is that we got early warning but, more importantly, *we did something with that warning*. Hopefully people can see that not all US cities are NYC, and that the benefits of urban living outweigh the costs, perceived and real.

    2. In 2008 many people left and rents stabilized for four years. That would be the silver lining if it happens now. This situation is different because companies aren’t traditionally downsizing; they’re in suspended animation; so many people are waiting it out hoping their jobs come back soon, or don’t want to move when the contagion risk is so strong. It’s looking more and more like there will be massive bankrupcies, and that would presumably lead to population loss, but it’s unclear when or how much.

      1. There is still the question of what happens to the eviction ban. If it stays well beyond the “re-opening”, don’t expect developers to submit any more plans for apartment buildings for the foreseeable future.

      2. The halt in construction will make things worse too. People are still being born and turning 18. The silver lining would be if population loss exceeds population growth.

  8. Since I know I’ve got one steady reader whom I’ve actually flown with, so I’m not worried he’ll straighten out any wrong thinking before I click my seat belt. Like my “take” that “Death Spiral” is an outcome, not a maneuver.

    Been awhile, but remember hearing or reading that major remedy for a “stall” – speed inadequate to maintain necessary airflow over the wings to keep lifting the plane- is to maneuver and accelerate the plane into a controlled downward spiral.

    So with full confidence I’ll get control of this afternoon’s “ship” grabbed out of my hands if I’m wrong, here’s my “read.” After a very long time in the air at the controls of an aircraft with major well-known design flaws and maintenance deferred for legally-chargeable decades, we’ve finally flown ourselves into some heavy weather.

    I’m getting tired of these 1950’s memories too, but it’s permanently pertinent how often Korean War news was interrupted for a report that another Douglas DC-3, maybe finest airliner ever made, had just gone down with all its passengers in weather the pilot couldn’t out-climb.

    Reason to add hands-on flying to our every school-district’s graduation requirements. Exactly like the Government, Public Administration, and combat training that also needs to be US mandatory. So next move your choice….tighten seat-belt or long deep breath?

    Mark Dublin

  9. Why are the ST light rail cuts more substantial than peer systems that have worse frequency during normal peak operation? Many peer systems have dropped to 15-20 minute service. And many of those systems only have 10-15 min peak service to begin with (not the 6 minute peak that Link has). The 30 minute service for ST seems like an outlier.

    Is there another reason for this specifically? The funding streams are similar (sales tax and CARES act recipients). Is the HVAC in the driver cab a concern? Why not run Link at better frequency to increase the social distancing for passengers?

    1. It’s not an outlier. Washington Metrorail is running 30 minute headways I believe Atlanta is as well. Miami has taken it a step further by running both 30 minute headway, cutting the number of stations served by the Orange Line, and ending service at 10PM.W

      1. I don’t view WMATA as a peer. I’m talking cities in the West with light rail.
        Sacramento Regional Transit and Phoenix Valley Metro are both running better light rail frequency than ST which seems odd to me given how much better the ST frequency normal is compared to those systems.

      2. It may have to do with the extreme shutdown. WA is only one of two states to close down most private construction. In California and Arizona, significantly more of their economy is still functioning, which presumably translates into higher ridership.

        Could also be influenced by the fact that Link Operations is still buried within a bus agency. Light Rail drivers are effectively 100% isolated from riders, but Link drivers pull from the same labor pull as bus drivers, so as KCM bus drivers get sick, or are unable or unwilling to work, that could spill into availability of Link drivers? It’s unclear to me how much of the decrease is due to lack of demand vs lack of resources. Cutting light rail headway has a negligible impact on ST’s finances; the constraint would be around availability of labor or ability to operate safely (such as how many cars can be deep cleaned overnight), not financial.

  10. Format makes conversation, let alone a good argument, tricky. So:

    Bernie, if I wasn’t trying so hard to cut my word-count, would certainly have added a few conditions, starting with the Federal, State, and major Private Industrial Gift to LWTC and its whole educational sector of the cost of one deeply bargain-price war.

    Headlines-Grade-Example? Get with our Turkish allies…historically maybe most solid on Earth…and alleviate their own worst existential terror by prudently throwing open our own immigrational doors to the thousands of Kurds and their families who’ve just lost thousands fighting at our side against ISIS.

    Tough equipment, Turkish buses. Too bad if you get thrown under one by my own worst Problem Renter. Phone call to ICE at Sea-Tac? My credit card’s got room. But also this week’s most important non-fiction: a transit district that can’t handle the partnership I’m suggesting really needs to die and come back as a worker-owned cooperative. Too bad Mike Lindblom can’t get an ST-IT ride to Olympia Food Co-op to see Social Spacing gone Professional.

    But Brent, the two of us are at same page, paragraph, sentence, and exclamation point as to the magnitude of the ineptitude that’s a far more dangerous pathogen than COVID-19. Should be CORVID because their favorite food is something dead.

    Exactly like the eons of operating revenue the DSTT lost over twenty years of bus-only and joint-ops, real energy of the present defect lies in its ease of accommodation. Really do think failure’s addictive. “Loser’s” not a birth-defect but a career choice. In either “The Black Obelisk” or “The Road Back”, German author and WWI vet Eric Remarque has a character repeatedly start a work-motivation as follows:

    “PRECISELY BECAUSE I DO NOT FEEL LIKE IT…!” Good thing he got out before the Nazi’s got him.

    Mark Dublin

  11. What’s the point of 30-minute Link? At that point they might as well shut it down. The reason many people take Link is it’s more frequent than buses and doesn’t get caught in congestion. Both of those are non-applicable now. Many corridors have 20-minute Link but 15-minute buses, and congestion is mostly absent. In those conditions the 7, 36, 49, and 70 aren’t that bad. Visitors like the simple subway map, but there are no visitors now. You could replace Link service this way:

    – Keep the 7, 36, 49, and 70.
    – Reinstate the 43 to all-day to fill the UW Station gap.
    – Extend the 124 to the airport on its night route, to avoid the one-mile-away transfer-and-wait at TIB.

    There is an argument that Link is better because the drivers are more isolated from passengers. But that breaks down when people shun Link because it’s running every 30 minutes and the next-arrival displays are all wrong.

    1. Oh, and put a sticker on the “Link light rail” signs at the airport saying “Bus route 124 to downtown Seattle”.

      1. Doesn’t that require that the trains make every single 124 stop? For comparative speed, reliability, comfort, and especially Social Spacing, isn’t Rail generally Roomier?

        Reason I’ve been after the 43 to reactivate is temptation to think of every nearby bus route as an emergency Bus Bridge.

        Factoring how much better at least some Link stops are weatherproofed, I think what I’d do would be to clearly post, in the same place, not only both sets of schedules, but description of passengers’ choices.

        Somebody who does know, please tell us all: How much transit-riding experience is the person who writes these schedules required to have?

        Mark Dublin

      2. There are only five or six people per bus now, At least I never see any more through the windows downtown. If there is crowding it must be on a few routes peak hours. At that rate the 124 has no on/offs at most of its stops. It’s slow because it meanders and turns in Georgetown, but it’s not too slow for the current situation. Now is the least time we need express trips to the airport.

      3. 15-minute 124 service with half-hourly Link service is bizarre. It should only take two more operators at a time to get back to 20-minute Link headway.

        I’d love to hear the reasons why Link is getting de-prioritized.

    2. The last time I took Link, from SODO northbound Saturday afternoon last week, the next-arrival sign said “31, 41, 51 minutes”. I almost abandoned Link to take a busway bus, except that that might also take as long, I had heavy groceries, Link would avoid an uphill walk across I-5, and sometimes when the sign says absurd things a train comes soon anyway. The audio announcement kept repeating, “Link is running every 20 minutes”, contradicting the sign. I wondered if there was a breakdown.

      One minute passed, two minutes, five minutes, yet the “31 minute” display didn’t budge. I wondered if there was a breakdown because that would explain a long gap and then train bunching.

      A train came in ten minutes. The entire time the sign insisted on “31 minutes”.

    3. I can’t imagine anyone taking LinkLight Rail, beginning this Monday, with 30 minute service. You miss a train, and you have to wait a full half hour in a corona infested subway station (assuming you miss it in downtown). Yeah, I think I’ll pass. What is ridership going to be on Link, 300 daily riders starting on Monday?

      1. It depends on where you are, and where you are going. Capitol Hill to downtown? No. Through downtown? No. UW Medical Center from downtown? Maybe. MLK in Rainier Valley? Sure, although you might catch the 106 instead. Likewise Beacon Hill and the 36. You would definitely take Link to the airport, but I’m not sure how many people are doing that now.

        Mike is right, with a little bit of effort, you could just eliminate Link. I’m not sure if they will do that though.

      2. My 132 is already half-hourly most of the time. My 60 is half-hourly most of the weekend, which is when I am most able to (but not actually doing so right now) use it. For those of us not lucky enough to live close to Link, this been the damned world.

        Half-hourly is usable, as long as I don’t have to be somewhere in a hurry. 20-minute headway feels a whole lot more useful though.

        I’m concerned about the lack of extra service during peak, as that is when crowding can lead to super-spreading. For me, the most important service addition right now is making sure there is more than ample room during the heaviest daily ridership times. I realize staffing availability may be driving the inability to do that. I also want drivers to be able to take turns isolating for a couple weeks so we have them ready to come off the bench when other exhausted or infected drivers have to be pulled.

      3. You can do your every reader a serious favor, William. Tell us one single place in the State of Washington you can prove is Corona-Clear. Starting with the average hospital ER.

        All my own survival-mechanism, which lifelong has contained as wide band of skepticism, is telling me is that because of the comparative size of a railcar versus a bus, if three dimensional distance means anything, trains let me live longer.

        But my Dog-Whistle-Detector (DWD) ™ has started telling me some time ago that Corona-reference means high-power cure search for Public Transit itself. Trains first because kids like them so much that first ride means max 18 years ’til first vote.

        What’s exact ridership guaranteed not to get killed in a truck crash any give mile-marker on I-5? KIRO radio always tells me it’s worth a shotgun blast from State Senator O’ban to head for Tacoma via Dupont and Grandview.

        Mark Dublin

    4. I see a 30-minute Link system as the worst resource decision ever. A base of staff is required to run the system no matter what the frequency is. Substations are needing to be active. The incremental cost of better service is negligible.

      Link is also much easier for social distancing. Drivers can completely avoid others. Every car has four exits to choose from so a rider can stay away from others. Platforms are wide enough to insure six-feet of social separation — as opposed to a narrower sidewalk at a typical bus stop.

      Many bus routes feed only Link. Waiting for those routes becomes really punitive.

      I could see measures at stations that could help. Things like making bikeshare free at designated stations and have a disinfecting setup for those stations.

      As it is, I see no reason to use Link at this point. I feel sorry for essential workers who do. slogging several miles on a bus is just wrong for them.

      1. I agree. Having Link running at all means at a minimum, paying for security guards at the stations, frequently disinfecting them, etc. It doesn’t seem like it’s worth going through all that effort just to run the train every 30 minutes. Also, at 30-minute frequency, many trips that involve train->bus connections become unusable.

        On top of that, we still have a lot of bus routes running (mostly) every 15 minutes during the day. In some cases, routes that feed Link are actually running more frequently than Link itself. This feels backwards. Given the choice, a 30-minute 255 connecting to a 15-minute Link seems to make more sense than a 30-minute Link connecting to a 15-minute 255.

        And, from a driver safety standpoint, Link is better than a bus because the driver is in an enclosed compartment.

        I do think at 30-minute frequency, Link is still usable for a handful of trips, particularly trips starting or ending at the UW Med Center. Even that is largely true only because Link is so fast once you finally get on it and that bus service has been restructured around Link, leaving alternative options subpar. For instance, UW Med Center to either Capitol Hill or downtown, without Link, would require either a long walk or a transfer.

      2. Yep, pretty much what I’ve said all along. You get real savings by just shutting it down for full days. And for Link, shut down operations entirely. And no, rail is not cheaper than buses as previously floated. Everybody knows that Link costs were quoted based on a per car basis which distorted things to make it look good.

      3. As long as all the employees are still getting pay and benefits, you don’t save any money by shutting down Link, except for the electricity. To the extent that shutting down Link means running additional buses, it puts drivers at greater risk because, unlike buses, Link has enclosed operator cabs that passengers cannot enter. Also, replacing Link with buses requires running more buses to connect the same station pairs (unless the intention is to just run routes like the 7 and 36, leaving station pairs like Mt. Baker->Beacon Hill unconnected).

        On the contrary, I think Sound Transit should have made larger cuts to the bus routes, as necessary, to keep Link at 20-minute frequency.

      4. Good point asdf2, we don’t know the particulars about how people are being paid. Theoritically, Bernie is right — it is a lot more expensive to run the train than a few buses. If you shut down the train, then you can shut down every underground station.

        But my guess is, for example, you are already paying the security guards even if there is nothing to secure. I think it is a third party contract, and there is nothing about recouping money if the services aren’t needed (I’m just guessing here). Likewise with the drivers, who are actually fairly well isolated from people (more isolated than bus drivers).

        Then you have to backfill with bus routes. There are some trips that can be done just as well with the bus. Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill and downtown have lots of alternatives. Rainier Valley has the 106 to get downtown. That really only leaves two spots. As Mike mentioned, you would need to restart the 43, and run it every half hour to get from the UW Hospital to Capitol Hill and downtown (without a transfer). The big challenge is on the south end. You need a bus to the airport, TIBS and Angle Lake. Prior to the pandemic, there were about 2,500 riders going from the MLK stops south. Some of those might have been traveling within the valley (e. g. Mount Baker to Rainier Beach) but my guess is about 2,000 people from the valley were headed to the suburbs, mostly to the airport. The airport is still operating, which means that there are still people working there (although obviously a lot fewer — the shops have all closed down, and there are a lot fewer planes flying). So that means you need a bus that goes down MLK and then gets on the freeway after Rainier Beach, and goes to the three southern stops (or at a minimum, the airport). That seems like a fair amount of work, and you’ve basically given up on the 1,000 or so riders who went south on Link from Beacon Hill.

        That is two buses, and you still lose some of the advantages of Link. Unless you can save a bunch of money by closing everything down (and you might be able to) it probably makes sense to just keep running the train.

      5. While I know nothing about the specifics of their contract, Link security is contracted out to Securitas Security Services.

      6. Even if I was a regular bike rider (which I am not) I would be very wary of bikeshare bikes, even if they were free. What sanitization has occurred on that bike since the previous rider? Only what the next rider performs before hopping on it. Maybe I’d learn how to sanitize a bike properly, but I doubt most people will. Just getting my own bike would be worth the risk reduction even if I have to spend my stimulus check on a good new one, plus spare parts and tools.

        Realistically, transit faces a long recovery time, well beyond restrictions being lifted. Bikes, OTOH, simply need a wider berth so people can ride them without fear of their 6-feet perimeter being invaded every few seconds. We need a continuous network of veloways, and we need it NOW. Help our carless essential workers have a safer way to get to work. If we had the continuous veloway network, I would get a bike and start using it today as my new normal mode of mobility.

        I appreciate the two non-automobile-through-traffic fragments SDOT has set up, but West Seattle would be a great place to actually start the network, so people can not just head downtown across the lower bridge, but also get to services within West Seattle.

        Issue the order for the Seattle emergency continuous bike network, mayor.

  12. The problem coming up is how many transit operators will want continue to work in the next several weeks with the death of a Metro operator because of the virus. Metro has said that operators are essential but if you are an operator how long are you will to put yourself at risk.

    If more operators start to decline to work Metro will have a difficult time to continue with the service they are currently providing and that would include the Sound Transit routes and Link Rail where Metro provides the operators.

    1. Yes, ST said that’s the reason for its reductions, and it’s probably true for Metro too. Since we don’t know what drivership will be in two or four weeks, it’s impossible to tell whether there will be more reductions.

  13. The service reductions given here are already out of date. Checking the Metro web site, I found that my local route, the 249, is entirely canceled, not just on weekends.

    1. Where did you find that? The 249 is “my bus” even though I haven’t used it in several years since changing jobs. I go to the Metro website (via search by route number) and see nothing but the normal schedule.

      1. Great, buried in everything else:
        “Routes, services, and programs fully cut
        22, 47, 118, 125, 208, 221, 226, 241, 249,
        But if you just search based on route it still has the regular schedule. I get Metro is between a rock and a hard place and am willing to cut them some slack on the web front; which hasn’t been great in normal times.

      2. The 249 was a joke of a route even before the coronavirus, with all its crazy twists and turns. It is a route you can’t ride more than a mile or two without detouring somewhat out of the way and generally requires either a transfer or a really big detour to reach a useful destination. Any transfer involving the 249 is effectively useless with the 249’s terrible frequency.

        A good bus route should follow a path that one might reasonably drive, with any additional time in riding the bus being the result of actual passengers getting on and off. A bad bus route has what I call “structural slowness”, that is, a route that guarantees your trip will take a minimum of 2-3 times as long as driving – even if you time the schedule exactly right and don’t have to wait – even if you are the only person on the bus and it never stops for anyone. The 249 is full of “structural slowness” outside of a handful of trip pairs.

      3. It’s a chain of five coverage routes:
        – West Lake Sammamish Parkway to the two Overlakes.
        – 24th to the two Overlakes.
        – Northup Way to Bellevue TC and Overlake Village.
        – North Bellevue Way to Bellevue TC and Overlake Village.
        – Beaux Arts to Bellevue TC.

        When Metro restructures it joins the abandoned tails of previous routes to make a coverage route. It’s more efficient than running each of them separately.

      4. Totally understand. It’s basically eating the cost of running one hourly bus route so that you can get a restructure of the routes you really care about through the county council, without having them complain about loss of coverage.

        The other thing about the 249 is that ideally, you’d only have to ride a route like that a short distance, to where you can transfer to a straighter route. But, when the buses only run once or twice per hour, you end up sitting through all the detours because 15 minutes of looping still beats 20-30 minutes of standing at the bus stop.

        That said, somewhat surprisingly, the ridership is not zero. Once I tried jogging the CKC and catching the 249 to watch a movie at Lincoln Square, rather than riding the 234/235. To my surprise, there were a good 5’ish people on the bus. It’s an example of what Jarrett Walker and RossB repeat many times – that even the worst bus routes still manage to serve more riders per hour than what microtransit is capable of.

  14. Like I’ve mentioned today regarding some of my town’s expected visitors, it’s much on my mind how the people affected, all of us, will respond to hardship past, present, and yet to come system wide. And over what space of time.

    Reason I keep asking to hear from the ATU is precisely because it’s already able to function as an organization. Giving it a very strong place in the exact political system where some really tricky decisions will have to be made.

    My opponents, at their last gathering here at Evergreen State, I watched conclude a gathering by, when the closing warning sounded, all forty of them pulling back to a single very small hill. Letting the video audience see attendance that looked five times its real size.

    Year or so later, watched the same group treat Westlake Square to a dramatic stand-off between their founder, who’s like his numbers is not really very big, and an actor in People’s Army uniform on stilts like a literally flag-robed Chinese acrobat twenty feet tall.

    Both very short acts in an ongoing drama already lasting most of all our lives. Landmarks our lives depend on knowing? At least three wars as preventable as they were/are/will-be nationally disastrous. In the World’s real top language, “First” also translates to “Now-All-By-Our – Selves.”

    For Seattle my own Best Final “Cliff-top Fence?” Look up “Boeing 737 Max.” And if you want your faculty adviser to get all your student debt gone in advance, add a second chapter called “Dupont Derailment.” Striped splintered boards in the wind five hundred feet in the air and five miles out past
    Neah Bay.

    And for the legendary Third Time Charm? The West Seattle Bridge is literally “Ripped from the Headlines!” PhD Thesis and Chase-ward “Cut?” Person, family, voter, trade, business, union, district, county, State, nation, party, and religion….It’s life and death which ideas you think about, you ever allow to be come the ones you think with.

    Step One toward cure? Take a leaf from Scotland awhile back and make the voting age 16. Same age we put student council representatives on King County Metro Transit and the Sound Transit Board. With votes.

    And honoring Ballard with reference to Joe Hill whose execution owed to bad pun about chains and furniture: “You Have Nothing To Lose At All If Your Chairs Fold Up And Go In A Bag From IKEA(tm)”

    Mark Dublin

  15. All of the busses should be shut down! All they are doing is transporting sleeping, sick homeless people right now! Drivers are dying because of the non essentials that are out. Stay home people!

    1. All they are doing is transporting sleeping, sick homeless people right now!
      Stay home people!

      Just wanted you to see those sentences next to each other.

    2. I’m a nurse, and I have to use the bus to get to work. I always have, but now, with the West Seattle Bridge closed down it’s even more crucial. Not all of us can stay home.

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