RapidRide C in West Seattle (image: Andy Tucker)

With the September 2020 service change, Metro will restore service to about 85% of pre-COVID levels. However, that’s just a precursor to a series of service reductions Metro is preparing over the next two years, with a cumulative reduction of 20%-30% of service from previous levels rolling out through every service change in 2021 and 2022. Capital spending will be reduced by 30-40%. The Regional Transit Committee is to receive a briefing on Wednesday detailing how Metro is preparing their 2021-2022 budget.

The near-term finances are rough, though somewhat offset by a once-off infusion of $242 million of CARES Act funding, and some dipping into reserves. A little over half of Metro funding is through dedicated sales taxes. Sales taxes for 2020 are now expected to come in 29% short of the forecast from earlier this year. Fares are not currently being collected. Ridership remains 71% below normal levels, so fare revenue will be much lower even after fare collection resumes. The CARES Act funding buys Metro time to restructure operations, but doesn’t address longer term deficits.

The latest King County sales tax forecast, released earlier this month, shows a cumulative shortfall vs the pre-COVID forecast is over $1.3 billion for the decade. Even in 2029, sales taxes are 14% short of the March 2020 forecast.

After sales taxes, the balance of Metro revenues are from a mix of sources including fares, grants, and payments from Sound Transit and the Seattle Transit Benefit District (STBD). The prospects for fare revenue depend on when riders return to transit, which remains highly uncertain.

The voter-authorized STBD taxes expire in December and Seattle has not been clear as to when voters will be asked for a renewal, or what the tax rates would be. The passage of I-976 took away the $60 VLF that accounted for half the revenues. Those could be replaced by asking voters to approve a 0.2% sales tax (currently 0.1%), but the city may prefer not to seek a tax increase in a recession.

If the STBD is not renewed, the reduction in operations would be 20%-30%. Each 0.1% sales tax would add back about 5% of Metro service.

The reduction in the capital program will be coordinated with the service network reductions, and it is likely to include a reassessment of RapidRide expansions and a slowing of electrification investments.

Metro’s new Mobility Framework, though not yet integrated into other Metro policies, is already guiding decisions, and will become more central as service guidelines are updated. There is a fresh emphasis on what Metro terms “priority populations”. These include black, indigenous, and people of color; low-and no-income; people with disabilities; immigrants and refugees; and limited-English speaking. The experience of COVID also points to a reorientation of service toward South King County routes where ridership declines were more muted than elsewhere.

80 Replies to “More cuts in Metro service in 2021 & 2022”

  1. I have a sinking suspicion transit advocates need to collectively demand the Seattle Council get a STBD to the ballot. While you still have online public comment, a tool recently abused so much that Council President Gonzalez threatened its termination.

    You can start this lobbying work today.

    How Joe?

    12 PM today, sign up here: http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/public-comment

    This is why I work with some brighter minds than mine to keep these online public comment tools post-pandemic. There you go.

  2. The transit system we have – designed to move large numbers of office commuters in and out of downtown Seattle and Bellevue every rush hour – is not the system we need right now, or for the foreseeable future.

    METRO’s service reductions should be made in close coordination with Sound Transit. The rail lines provide abundant rush hour capacity to downtowns, and METRO service needs to leverage that by serving train stations more.

    The unemployment here (and around the country) is huge, and METRO needs to start focusing on serving people instead of serving CBD’s and the PSRC’s growth centers.

  3. “There is a fresh emphasis on what Metro terms “priority populations”. These include black, indigenous, and people of color; low-and no-income; people with disabilities; immigrants and refugees; and limited-English speaking.”

    Instead of pitting different segments of the population against each other, why not just serve everyone; the “priority populations” will be included automatically? As a resident of the Eastside, I cannot help interpreting this as code that transit is for the less fortunate, and if you’re not one of the less fortunate, than transit is not for you.

    Ultimately, this type of attitude is not good for trying to get public support for more transit funding at the ballot box. People in general are willing to accept significantly more taxes to pay for services they envision themselves potentially using, rather than services that are strictly geared towards helping the poor.

    1. I agree with your baseline philosophy of proving good service for everyone. However, such a philosophy works well when resources are abundant. The simple reality is that certain areas are populated with “choice” riders more so than other areas and when it comes down to it, aren’t utterly dependent on transit. I work for CT and have basically seen the same ridership patterns as that of Metro’s: 9-5 commuters are non-existent while off peak riders are still riding local service because they truly need it.

      I know shaping transit service in these terms can be off-putting because it characterizes it as a service solely for the needy. But in times like these, I don’t believe we have the luxury to idealize.

      1. “Choice” commuters? Good lord, that’s a great way to encourage people to get out of their cars.

        If you tell me that my neighborhood doesn’t get frequent service because we are “choice” riders, and another equally dense/populated neighborhood gets service because they are “need” riders… well, that’s going to be an awful bill of goods to sell to the voters. Good luck with that.

    2. Somerset in Bellevue, once served by the now cut route 246, is a community with a large percentage of “people of color,” but Metro doesn’t prioritize it. Why?

      “Because, Sam, it’s a single family home neighborhood, and it’s a wealthy neighborhood!”

      So then Metro saying it wan’t to prioritize service to people of color isn’t accurate. It has more to do with density and transit dependency than race. So why not just say that?

    3. Long-term maybe it costs some transit support among the privileged. But transit demand (and mobility in general) is severely down in the most privileged neighborhoods. Why bother leaning into that severe headwind? Those routes would be some of the worst performers in the entire Metro network. We’d argue to get rid of them on purely performance reasons.

      Maybe that’s a double standard (only cut weak routes when they serve privileged areas), but I think most people don’t see it that way. It is an efficient way to manage resources.

    4. Pretty much all agencies balance coverage with performance. If Metro was focused entirely on performance, there would be huge areas without any service at all. Considering historically or currently disadvantaged people as another factor when balancing those interests seems quite reasonable to me.

      1. I think what rankles some people is not higher service for some populations based on current need, however defined (health, income, age, proximity to jobs/services, car ownership rates, etc), but higher service based on historical context. What’s the policy goal? Transit as reparations? We run buses to serve the people are there now, not the people that used to live there.

    5. South King County has needed more transit service for years. It has a large population, high ridership, and many lower-income people. It’s a matter of putting resources where they’d be most effective.

      When King County enacted the 40/40/20 rule decades ago, the goal was to gradually shift bus hours from Seattle to even them out throughout the county so the suburbs could catch up. South King County’s ridership ended up in the middle: less than Seattle but more than the Eastside. In other words, South King County used its windfall well, and still needs more to address remaining underservice. In the Eastside, more hours meant more empty buses. People just didn’t use the new services that were offered, at least not at the levels the rest of the county did. It’s like they’re too rich to take transit. The Eastside continued to defend its 40% share of new service hours as geographic equity, while the county failed to address the needs of willing riders and lower-income riders in other areas who would ride any new service-hours offered.

      40/40/20 ended in 2012 as part of a grand bargain to accept a 2-year tax surcharge for recession relief and end the ride-free area. Metro replaced it with performance metrics, which are based partly on ridership, partly on coverage, and partly on equity, and an annual review of the 25% worst-performing routes in each subarea to consider shifting resources to the top 25% of underservice. It sounds like the new change will increase the priority of equity, although I hope ridership and frequent corridors will continue to get support under “liveable communities”. If there isn’t full-time frequent service between the urban villages that’s reasonably fast and direct, I’d call that an “unliveable community”.

      1. In other words, the Eastside’s ridership underperformed in the 80s, 90s, and now, and it will probably continue to underperform in the future. That’s reason right there to shift hours to South King County.

      2. So, the theme is, if you want good transit, you need to live in either Capitol Hill or an underprivileged neighborhood. Even Eastside areas that are very walkable and pretty dense don’t deserve good transit because they’re too wealthy.

      3. Mike Orr second paragraph misstates the 40-40-20 financial rule; it concerned the allocation of NEW hours and did not shift hours from the Seattle, Shoreline, and LFP subarea. in the early 90s, the debate in the old Metro Council did include a position from Barden to shift service from Seattle, but the 40-40-20 rule was a compromise to forestall the shift. the rule was in the context of debate about high capacity transit; then, there was discussion of the RTA measure including funds for local service; it did not. Service hours did not grow that much; there was no windfall. the suburban subareas did not catch up; the former Seattle subarea still has about 60 percent of the countywide service. there are relatively high and low ridership parts of the network in both suburban former subareas. in the East, the relatively frequent routes 245, 255, and 271 and the B Line are strong; in the South routes 101, 150, A and F, and the Kent local routes are strong. there are several one-way peak-only South routes that are weak. the end to the former financial rules was in summer 2011 with the adoption of the new service guidelines. in 2012, the ride free area was killed and pay on entry fare collection in downtown Seattle implemented.

      4. So, the theme is, if you want good transit, you need to live in either Capitol Hill or an underprivileged neighborhood. Even Eastside areas that are very walkable and pretty dense don’t deserve good transit because they’re too wealthy.

        Don’t be silly. That isn’t what anyone is saying. First of all, the Eastside is going to get very good transit here very soon, and some of those areas are extremely wealthy, and have very low density (https://goo.gl/maps/6Z4qme8YWgYGNYydA). Second, if you want good transit, go to someplace that can generate it. Cost effectiveness is still a major factor, if not the main factor for determining routing. What Mike is saying is that unfortunately, much of the East Side simply doesn’t have the ridership that other parts of the city do. But as I wrote up above, cost effectiveness is not the only consideration. Coverage is another one. Overall wealth is yet another. But to be clear, these are all just factors that are balanced. No one is killing off the 44 because it has too many wealthy riders and replacing it with frequent service to Auburn.

      5. “the 40-40-20 financial rule; it concerned the allocation of NEW hours and did not shift hours from the Seattle”

        Correct, it was for expansions only and did not take existing hours away from Seattle. But there was a converse rule which I didn’t mention because I couldn’t remember the numbers; I think it was around 50/40/10 or 60/30/10. So when service hours contracted Seattle lost the largest share. So even though 40/40/20 didn’t directly take hours from Seattle, the long-term intention of the proponents was to de facto shift hours from Seattle to the suburbs from the cumulative effect of both these rules over time.

        The end of 40/40/20 may have been slightly earlier than the other things but they were all around the same time.

      6. There’s different parts of Eastside service. I have no problem with suspending routes like the 226 and 249 and 246 that very few were using even before COVID, especially when remaining alternatives exist within a reasonable walk. Where my objections arise is in cutting to the bone basic bus service connecting the Eastside’s most walkable neighborhoods to each other, and to Seattle. Routes like the B-line, 250 and 255, for instance, are muscle, not fat.

      7. “like the 226 and 249 and 246 that very few were using even before COVID, especially when remaining alternatives exist within a reasonable walk”
        With no 249 the walk the nearest bus goes from 10 minutes to 30 minutes and that’s to catch a 15 min freq bus that takes me to a transit center that might have a bus going to where I really need to go. You can’t count on finding a parking spot at S. Kirkland so transit is essentially useless.

      8. The 249 has so many twists and turns that virtually anywhere you can go with it, you’ll get there faster with a bicycle. Some sections, such as along Overlake, South Kirkland P&R, and downtown Bellevue, have other routes. Link will provide coverage to yet another section of the 249 in a few years (at least with a 10-15 minute walk).

      9. @asdf2 Certainly, not all areas covered by the 249 are within 10-15 minute walks, and bike riding is not always a safe thing to do in dark neighborhoods in winter. So while I agree that the 249 was a good candidate for elimination based on usage, we should not delude ourselves that the transit riders in all its areas have options. As Bernie said, walks can often go from 10 minutes to 30, due to hills and disconnected streets (not all grid problems in Bellevue are due to design choices… some of them really are due to geography). Most of the residential streets in the Enatai/Beaux Arts area have no sidewalks, and even the streets that do have sidewalks are not great to walk on at night. And that’s even before considering that not all riders are able-bodied and thus capable of walking well in such conditions, let alone ride a bike well. Transit should serve all people, not just those who have other options, and it’s those people who will likely suffer from these cuts.

        Having said that, the 249 was always on the chopping block; the 2025 plan excluded it. So this just sped up the inevitable by up to 5 years. Also worth noting that the 2040 plan does include a replacement for it in the Enatai-Beaux Arts area, and I think the same is true for the East Bellevue loop. So presumably Metro does see some value in keeping it around in the long run.

      10. Metro keeps reducing coverage routes even when there’s no clear benefit. Example, the new 250. The 235/236 combo provided the same benefit of connecting BTC to KTC but served a wider area of Kirkland. If I’m going to use a bike or a car I’ll just use it for the whole trip. As you said, even a bike is faster than taking transit. Outside of the RR-B corridor virtually everyone on the eastside was already looking at a transfer penalty of 15-30 minutes to go anywhere. As marginal as transit was on the eastside it didn’t take much to tip the scales to Useless.

        Yeah, in a few years I’ll have a shinny new Link station complete with free parking that will be nice for trips to Seatac or DT; making Metro completely obsolete. It will even take me to Redmond which will likely be my commute by then making a bike/train option really sweet.

        FWIW, I was seeing a lot more ridership on the 249 than there was back when I was using it to commute. I think this is largely due to construction workers using it to get to sites in Bel-Red. Is it really too much to ask they retain peak hour service at 30 min headways?

      11. The reason the 249 gets no love is because it’s the dog’s dinner of all sorts of strange leftovers. By eliminating it though it leaves no service on Northup/20th (also affected by axing the 235/236). This is a major arterial and eliminating transit options seems like the start of a death spiral. A somewhat different subject but I think the complete elimination of Peak Fares was a mistake.

      12. Mike Orr, yes, there three companion financial rules; you paraphrased one, 40-40-20, about the allocation of new hours. a second, stated that reductions would be taken by subarea proportionally to the hours in each; at the time, it was about 60-23-17, W-S-E. a third, stated that redeployable hours would stay in the subarea of implementation. example: ST implemented the initial Link segment; SE Seattle hours stayed in that subarea (even the dumb SLU streetcar); Route 194, as 50-50, was divided between South and West. The 2016 and 2021 Link station openings were and will be without the financial rules. the last example of the use of the 40-40-20 rule was the F Line; new revenue was raised to fund RR and the partnership routes; Transit Now had five RR; the F line was the sixth to add hours to the South.

      13. There’s a King County Housing Authority apartment complex called Parkway at 40th and Lake Sammamish Pkwy that is now completely cut off from public transit since the 249 was cancelled. It’s over a one mile walk, all up hill, from the apts to the nearest transit at the OTC.

        If you are pro-spreading homeless shelters and low income housing out into the deep corners of the burbs, then you also have to be for having transit go to the places.

        Sam. Foremost Authority on Public Housing.

      14. “a third, stated that redeployable hours would stay in the subarea of implementation”

        Metro seems to have continued that ideal in post-2012 restructures. And it makes sense for the most part. Southeast Seattle shouldn’t lose a route’s hours to northeast Seattle just because it deletes a route; instead it should get a better route that more meets the district’s needs. Linewise, northeast Seattle shouldn’t lose a route to the Eastside when it reorganizes, and vice-versa. But the anticipated shift of Eastside hours to South King may be a justifiable exception to that, given South King’s acute need for service and willingness to ride it.

        I assume Metro will generally preserve hours in the district during the Northgate Link, Lynnwood Link, RapidRide G, East Link, Federal Way, and Rapidride I restructures. (if the I is still on.) Shoreline may end up with more hours than it needs, but in that case I’d expect them to switch to adjacent routes on the other side of 145th rather than miles away.

      15. “Outside of the RR-B corridor virtually everyone on the eastside was already looking at a transfer penalty of 15-30 minutes to go anywhere. ”

        Depends where you live. Downtown Bellevue, downtown Redmond, and downtown Kirkland are the three general exceptions, along with the Microsoft campus, which has at least a few apartments nearby. From my neighborhood (downtown Kirkland), for example, I can reach Seattle (UW), DT Bellevue, Microsoft, Crossroads Mall, DT Redmond, Totem Lake, Juanita, DT Bothell, even Woodinville, all with a single bus, taking something resembling a direct path. Bellevue College is also technically reachable on one bus, although the route is circuitous, and a transfer at Bellevue Transit Center is often faster.

        Bottom line, if you want transit to a lot of places, you have to live around a lot of people. That’s just a fact of transit, in general. Otherwise, you get the one route that happens to pass by your house, and to go anywhere else, you’ll have to transfer at whatever bhub that route is going to.

      16. I think all of us here understand that fact, yes. The issue is that by cutting the neighborhood milk runs like 246 and 249, a non-trivial number of households (including some that transit normally targets, as Sam pointed out) no longer have that connection, since no route runs near their homes anymore. None of this is unexpected given the situation, but it is nevertheless an unfortunate consequence, and one that will not go without its own repercussions in the longer term. I cannot speak for anyone else commenting on this, but as for myself, these comments are mostly lamenting this issue to an audience of mostly like-minded people :)

      17. Eastside areas that are very walkable and pretty dense don’t deserve good transit because they’re too wealthy don’t use them.

      18. Routes like the B-line, 250 and 255, for instance, are muscle, not fat.

        No one is cutting the B-line. The C, D and E lines is now seeing a reduction of service, while the A, B and F are operating as normal. So it isn’t like the East Side is suddenly getting a raw deal with their big routes.

        The only major issue on the East Side is the aforementioned 249. That is the result of bad routing, as Bernie mentioned. The 249 is a weird mix of different routes, all thrown together in an odd way. Metro desperately needs to restructure that route, but they just ignore it. The 249 is basically four routes, cobbled together:

        Beaux Arts Loop — Extremely low density coverage route that is also low cost (because of the loop). Ideal as the add-on to another coverage route from the north, although it could work as a low frequency stand-alone route (especially since it connects well with downtown Bellevue and the South Bellevue station). Like all low density routes, it gets cut in bad times, or — like the 17, covering the much higher density Sunset Hill — can run only during rush hour.

        Bellevue Way — This is by far the best corridor in that area (north of downtown Bellevue, west of 405, and south of 520). 112th is not that good, as it is too close to the freeway, and low density housing almost immediately as you head north (although it does have a handful of businesses). 100th isn’t bad, but it doesn’t go through (and it isn’t that far of a walk from 100th to Bellevue Way). Everything to the east is extremely low density — they make Magnolia look like Manhattan. It is a land frozen in time, pretending that downtown Bellevue was nothing more than a mall, a few buildings and some houses. Bellevue Way is by far the best part of the 249.

        Overlake to South Kirkland — This is a tough section. Part of the problem is that it doesn’t work well as a stand-alone route, while it also doesn’t work well connected to the other pieces. Overlake to South Kirkland sounds OK, but then what? South Kirkland really isn’t a big destination. There is something there, just not much. South Kirkland is mostly a low end destination that serves as a crossroads. It is like 23rd and Madison — there is a little bit there, but what makes the place special is that you can get other places from there. From South Kirkland you can quite easily get to Seattle, downtown Bellevue, Juanita, or downtown Kirkland. But if you are coming from Overlake, you can get to those places in other (typically faster, more frequent) ways. Meanwhile, the routing is squirrelly, which means that even if you manage to time it just right, this means-to-an-end trip will still take too long.

        East Overlake Area — Pure coverage.

        I would do the following:

        1) Have the 271 use Bellevue Way. This is so obvious, it drives me nuts. It is probably the single biggest flaw with the Metro bus system.

        2) Run a figure-8 coverage route for north and south Bellevue. I realize this is generally a poor design (loops are bad) but the density is so low that the only other reasonable option is no service for those areas. So basically something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/SawjtJavAtgn3avC7. I realize it is ugly, but it does run to downtown Bellevue as well as South Bellevue Station, and just enough places to carry along the occasional suburban rider who wants to take the bus. One-way travel cuts down on the cost, yet the trips aren’t too time consuming — no matter which direction the bus is going, you can be in downtown Bellevue fairly quickly.

        3) Run a bus from Overlake to Kirkland, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/GLuk3GDbZDwNyYHe6. That is short enough that it could easily be extended through Microsoft campus and on to Redmond Technology Station. As the best connection from various parts of Redmond to various parts of Kirkland, it might be able to scratch together decent frequency.

        4) Have one of the other coverage buses pick up eastern Overlake (West Lake Sammamish). For example, the 226 could continue and loop around (https://goo.gl/maps/ipgSPTrPCrXrN7mu7). That would then set off a cascade of coverage routes backfilling other routes, but you would have balance (all fairly low coverage).

        If push comes to shove, the coverage routes (like 1 and 4) get cut. Maybe 3 gets a reduction in frequency, with 2 the last thing to go, because Bellevue Way is clearly the best route “on the way” between downtown Bellevue and the UW.

      19. I like your #3 route. It’s a great way to get that northup way segment while following a sane route that someone might actually drive.

        The only not ideal factor is the redundant service on Lake Washington Blvd., but that stretch is pretty short. The new 249 could also stay on Lake Washington Blvd. to Kirkland Way, providing a small improvement in coverage over today’s service.

      20. “if you want good transit, you need to live in either Capitol Hill or an underprivileged neighborhood.”

        “The 44 has wealthy riders?”

        “In the East, the relatively frequent routes 245, 255, and 271 and the B Line are strong”

        Yes, I’m making generalizations about entire subareas and ridership is mixed within them. But Metro is not contemplating deleting all Eastside service, and it will protect frequent routes like the B, 255, and 250 as much as possible. All of those upgrades are experiments to generate long-term ridership increases, the same way the 31/32/65/75 was so successful on N 40th Street and U Village. It takes years for the benefit to accumulate, and downgrading them would hinder that virtuous cycle.

        You don’t have to live “in Capitol Hill or an underprivileged area” to have good transit. The 40, 44, 45, and 65/67 are all full-time frequent, and the 31/32/75 are weekday/Saturday frequent.

        My experience wtih Eastside buses on many routes over many years is that their ridership is less than proportional to Seattle and the core South King routes. Some of the difference is natural because compared to Seattle the Eastside has fewer apartments and businesses along its routes and some storefronts are pedestrian-hostile. But that doesn’t seem to be enough to explain the gap in ridership.

        The 550 has slowly become a high-ridership route, with standing room only crowds some Sunday afternoons and a dozen people getting on at 4th & Bellevue Way. The B is disappointing, although it has somtimes reached a good off-peak level in the past year, so it’s slowly improving. The last time I rode the 255 and 234/235 was before recent reorg, but they’ve long been very disappointing off-peak, and I doubt that’s changed much. The routes on Bel-Red Road and Northup Way have always been extremely low ridership.

        Asdf2 reported on his experience the past two weeks on the 255 and other routes during Kirkland-based trips, where he was the only passenger on the bus on all of them. In Seattle I’ve see that on the 50 and 73, but manifestly not on the 10, 11, 49, 45, 40, 8, 131/132, or 522, to name just the routes I’m most familiar with. The Eastside routes will naturally be lower due to the lower density and single-use zoning and lesser frequency, but their ridership is even less than that, so there’s another factor too. I call it “being too rich to take transit”. That’s a generalization too, but I think it describes the average. There are working-class people in the Eastside, some of them take transit regularly, there are wealthy people along 45th, and working-class people can’t afford the housing along 45th so all residents are at least middle-class. But more people gravitate to the Eastside expecting to drive, and more people gravitate to 45th expecting to take the bus and walk, even at the same income levels. Even many lower-income people in the Eastside drive if they can, even if there’s a one-seat bus route practically door to door. That’s what I’m getting at. These attitudes show up in the ridership numbers for the B, 255, 245, 226, etc — the county provided the service-hour increase and frequency upgrades but people aren’t riding them in the proportion they do elsewhere. This has been a long-term trend four four decades. It’s getting better in the Eastside but not fast enough, and not on a wide-enough number of routes. So if the county decides to shift some hours to South King County where they’ll be more used amidst limited resources, that’s a reasonable decision in some ways, even if it’s regrettable for Eastside riders who will have hardships. Use it or lose it.

        South King County is also uneven. The 159 is well-used, as are all Kent routes. (Although the 168 drops off precipitously east of 132nd.) Renton, however, is a sad case. The F consistently underperforms east of Southcenter, as do the 106, 105, and 560. The 101 is better but still nothing like the 150 or 41. Every time I’ve been at Renton Transit Center it’s been practically deserted, and I can count on one hand the number of people on all buses during a 15-minute period. The Renton Highlands is lower-income like Rainier Valley and Kent, yet its ridership is like Factoria. The 169’s highest load is in East Hill, second between Kent Station and East Hill, then it’s much lower in Renton, even with Valley Medical Center in that segment. Some of this is doubtless due to the level of bus service (infrequent, circuitous, forced transfer at Renton TC even though most of the population is east of it), but it shows up in the F between Grady Way and The Highlands even though it’s full-time frequent and is a one-seat ride through the TC I hope Renton eventually gets a better network and will rise to the occasion with more ridership, but it’s going the way of the Eastside.

      21. The 159 169 is well-used. (I always get the 15x, 16x, and 26x confused.)

        the F between Grady Way and The Highlands Landing. (Likewise with the “The”‘s sometimes.)

      22. Some of the difference is natural because compared to Seattle the Eastside has fewer apartments and businesses along its routes and some storefronts are pedestrian-hostile. But that doesn’t seem to be enough to explain the gap in ridership.

        No, because some of the difference is due to different types of development. Here is a simple comparison: A neighborhood in Clyde Hill versus a neighborhood in Magnolia. My source for data is this map: https://arcg.is/1n59CK. While I think this is a great map, there is no way to link to specific census blocks, so I’ll have to describe them.

        First up is a Clyde Hill neighborhood known as WA block group 530330241.004. If you click around on the map, you’ll find it (it is two in from the far left). The NSEW borders are NE 24th, NE 12th, 92nd Ave NE and 84th Ave NE. With the exception of a very small pond — Clyde Lock — it is all residential.

        Next up is a neighborhood in Magnolia, known as WA block group 530330057.004. It is also two in from the left. It’s borders are Emerson, Barrett, 31st Ave W and 35th Ave W. There is a similar dynamic. With the exception of a church — taking up almost the exact amount of space as the loch — it is all single family housing.

        In general, they are identical. Nothing but houses, other than a tiny section, that is pretty much the same. Yet the Magnolia neighborhood has 7,300 people per square mile, while the Clyde Hill neighborhood has 3,400. The Magnolia neighborhood has twice the density! Maybe it is more shared housing, more ADUs, smaller lots, smaller streets — who knows? The point is, it has way more people — more than twice as many per acre.

        But wait, there’s more. Now look at the street maps of the areas. Magnolia is a classic, old fashioned grid. It is not a square — the distance between streets is a bit long — but every street goes through. If you think of 1/4 mile spacing (from the classic Jarrett Walker post — https://humantransit.org/2010/11/san-francisco-a-rational-stop-spacing-plan.html) it works out just fine. You are balancing speed with coverage — but every bus stop is easily accessible from the side (perpendicular to the path of the bus). You might put the stops a bit too close together (and speed will suffer) or too far apart (losing coverage) but no matter what, you get riders from every direction. In contrast, look at Clyde Hill. Holy Cow, along 84th, between 20th and 12 — a distance of roughly 1/2 a mile — there are no pedestrian cross streets. It is pointless to have standard stop spacing. To put it another way — if you follow the main road, many in your community will be too far away from a stop, no matter where you put the stops. It is this https://goo.gl/maps/D4mWor3jxVy6cVxw5, versus this https://goo.gl/maps/pGwc8xhrN4wrLXfD9. Of course Walker mentioned that very scenario in that same post.

        There may very well be cultural differences between the two areas. Someone in Seattle may be more inclined to take the bus, just because it is good for the planet. But I think it is quite likely that the difference can simply be explained by the number of people who can easily get to a bus stop. On the surface these two neighborhoods look almost identical. Both are extremely suburban — a very long distance from the nearest shop (even though, ironically, they are both fairly close to a major urban center). But in terms of access to the nearest bus stop, they are worlds apart.

      23. In addition to Ross’ points about land use, density, street grids, etc., there is also the fact that the ratio of service quality to ridership is not linear. There is a positive feedback loop in Seattle where better service and higher ridership support each other, and a better network supports more ridership than the quality of a single route would suggest.

  4. Sooo, goodbye RapidRide G, H, i & R?

    If conditions are truly dire as the forecasts, even a transit enthusiast like myself would have to concede that forgoing all the bells & whistles of RapidRide for the sake of maintaining just plain frequent service is a must (sadly).

    1. Like everything else, there are a lot of variables. It is quite possible that the federal government will eventually fund some or all of those projects. Likewise, the government may just give block grants for transit service (as with the CARES act). Then you have the virus itself. You can’t have a recovery unless the pandemic is over. Since so much of our funding is reliant on the general economy (i. e. sales taxes) a lot can happen in the next couple of years. Finally, there is 976 as well as the prospect of a new Seattle funding initiative. It is highly likely there will be another initiative, but it could be entirely a sales tax, or the same sort of mix as before.

      It makes sense for Metro to assume the worst, and plan accordingly. But it is quite possible that help will come from various directions.

      1. the Jordan point is valid. it is not just the SDOT and FTA capital. the G and J lines also require service hours. for G, does it make network sense to provide six-minute headway service on a hybrid under trolley wire that misses Link? for J, does it makes sense to provide very frequent service on the Roosevelt couplet that misses the Brooklyn station. have we not heard enough about long walks for transfers (e.g., SeaTac, Mt. Baker, UW, MI)? yes, First Hill and Eastlake should have excellent electric transit. but does SDOT have a good design for either one? yes, we want recovery.

      2. “does it make network sense to provide six-minute headway service on a hybrid under trolley wire that misses Link?”

        It doesn’t miss Link; there’s a station adjacent to the Seneca entrance to University Street Station. It will live-loop around 1st Avenue (turn around without pausing to layover) so that those who can’t walk to the station in the other direction can ride around the loop.

        I could turn your premise around and say, “If we don’t have RapidRide G, is the status quo acceptable?” No, because First Hill is a huge employment destination and tons of medical services and highrise residential. It clearly needs a major upgrade, so we might as well go all the way with RapidRide G as planned. Otherwise you’re telling tens of thousands of people up there that they’re unimportant because they don’t have a closer Link station. It’s the opposite. We need RapidRide G even more because there’s no First Hill Link station for them to use.

        The trolley wire is too short. It ends at 19th but the transfer to north-south service is at 23rd. The 12 always missed that, which was a hole in the transit network. It also goes to Madison Valley because the the community pushed hard to extend it there. That gives 2/3 of Madison ultra-frequent service, which is better than half of Madison.

      3. Bad transfers is a weakness of Link stations, not these routes. Downtown is the biggest destination in the state, and thus generates its own ridership along Madison. Link will not replace all bus to bus transfers, and bus to bus transfers are huge downtown. Even if Link had a stop at Madison, it wouldn’t dominate transfers for the route, let alone all transit use.

        Meanwhile, the Roosevelt RapidRide will connect to Link downtown and at Roosevelt. Detouring to connect at Brooklyn is overkill. That would only help Capitol Hill to Eastlake riders, and that’s it. Those riders would be better off taking the 49, or hopefully some future bus that runs on Lakeview. Like the other bus, even if the route deviated to serve Brooklyn, Link transfers there would be a subset of the transfers, and a subset of overall ridership.

      4. The original proposal for RapidRide J terminated at U-District Station (43rd). There was an option to extend it to 65th, and the community strongly favored it, just like they favored extending the G from 23rd to 29th. They wanted the most length and the most access to urban villages that they could get. I wondered how they would reconcile a detour at 43rd vs stopping 3-4 blocks from U-District Station. But there’s a lot of overlapping trips across all parts of Eastlake/Roosevelt, and that’s the primary transit market for the J. I wrote earlier about how I lived on 56th and all the destinations I’d been to on that corridor: 65th (shopping), 52nd (Scarecrow Video, the Monkey Pub, library, Seven Gables Theater), 45th, Louisa (my dad’s office & apartment), two different physical therapists at different locations. Some of those were so short I walked, but people from other parts of the corridor would have taken the bus. Now there’s even all that stuff on Fairview and SLU that wasn’t there then. That’s a whole lot of destinations and trips. And even more I didn’t mention, nightclubs and bars along Eastlake, some of which might still be there. And there’s no supermarket in the Eastlake neighborhood so you have to take the bus out of it or drive. When the U-District upzone plan is fully built out, Roosevelt will be the center of it, and then the alignment will make more sense.

      5. It would be so useful to pair RapidRide G with RapidRide R using Third Avenue.

        1. It creates a direct bus between SE Seattle and First Hill. There is none today even though the areas are just a mile from each other.

        2. It would send RapidRide G by a Link station.

        3. The left-door equipment would allow for some median stations on Rainier (optional but not required).

        The drawbacks:

        1. No ferry service. Of course, I bet more people go to First Hill from SE Seattle than Kitsap County. If the CCC gets built, ferry riders will have direct service anyway. It would seem to be most effective to have a few routes actually meet a periodic ferry in the staging lot; ferry riders still will have to walk a few blocks to RapidRide G or the CCC.

        2. RapidRide R would turn before the Westlake area. Of course, the route would pass by five Link stations and use a part of Third Avenue before turning.

      6. Drawback 3: Any delays or bus bunching on the J would spread to the R and-vice versa, and the effects would be amplfied due to the longer line. The 7/49 and 48/45 were split because of that unreliability. The 26/27/131/132 are through-routed and are notoriously unreliable: they’re almost never on time between 10am and 7pm and are regularly 10-20 minutes later or more.

        If Metro can find a way to through-route the J/R while maintaining reliability, it would be feasible. They’re not like the C/D where the C’s routing robbed the D from serving southern downtown and Pioneer Square, where many D riders work or attend ballgames.

    2. The G will probably be completed because it’s so far along, and First Hill is a major employment center that has no direct Link service, and 24-hour hospitals, and a lot of elderly people, and high density. For the others, Metro has already been downgrading the RapidRides that weren’t in the first tier — e.g., the 48, 44, and 40 — saying they’ll get some improvements but not probably all of them or the rebranding. That may extend to the H, I, and Eastlake (J?). The I is outside Seattle so it depends on how much Renton, Kent, and Auburn contribute to it. They haven’t done much for their bus service in the past but I can’t predict the future.

      1. Yeah, I seriously doubt that the G will cut short. Same with the H (120) and J (70). They are all pretty far along. The other routes could see cutbacks.

        I think in terms of priority, I would fund:

        1) HOV lanes.
        2) Off board payment.
        3) Branding.

        I think the RapidRide moniker is meaningless. The whole idea was one of the bigger mistakes made by Metro. There is a rough correspondence between off-board payment and RapidRide, but very rough, especially now. There are plenty of buses that now have off-board payment, and some stops for RapidRide that require paying in front. Not only is the branding a waste of money, but it limits restructures. For example, swapping the tails of the 40 and D would require painting a bunch of buses. It also leads to confusion — the letters are meaningless, and follow no pattern at all (unlike the numeric system, which is fairly easy to remember). No one would confuse the 120 and 245, even if they don’t know where they go. The 120 serves the south end, while the 245 serves the East Side. But someone could easily confuse the L and the M, even if they are in entirely different parts of town.

        On the opposite side of the spectrum is painting BAT lanes. 45th in the U-District should have BAT lanes from at least 15th NE to the freeway. Doing that would go a long way towards speeding up the buses, and cost very little. It is crazy that the street has four general purpose lanes and no BAT lanes considering the importance of the area from a transit standpoint.

      2. I can see RapidRide G being reconsidered or delayed. That’s more likely if the costs or difficulty increase, or the capital funds are needed elsewhere (like bus-only lanes on a new West Seattle bridge). The project doesn’t seem to offer any operating cost savings as the route restructures required will supplant and possible savings of one bus at most on the project.

      3. It’s not intended to save costs; its purpose is to improve the mobility of central and east Seattle. It’s not the big bad G devouring the poor little surrounding routes that never did anybody any harm. It’s the G in shining armor coming to the rescue.

        1) The 12 goes partway down one of central Seattle’s largest east-west coridors, then absurdly turns to its least-used north-south artierials, four blocks short of a major north-south corridor, which it’s also uphill from. It will be more frequent than any existing east-west corridor, thus making 48+G transfers more viable than the exiting 48+11 or 48+2, or certainly 48+12.

        2) There’s no east-west route between Pike Street and Jackson Street that doesn’t get extremely bogged down crossing the I-5 entrance traffic. The 2 takes half an hour from 3rd to Broadway in the afternoon, the 3/4 is horrible all day, and the 12 isn’t great either due to the turn at 6th & Marion. The G’s street improvements and reroute promise a 10-minute trip between 1st and 23rd, which is astounding if you’ve lived through the existing service. The G, along with the planned move of the 2 to Pine-12th-Union to consolidate the 2/11/49, creates two ultra-frequent corridors and spaces them out more sensibly between the 2 (Pine), G (Madison), and 3/4 (James), rather than having four less-frequent corridors, three of them two blocks apart. The current setup prevents you from taking whichever of the 2 or 12 comes next because you have to choose one stop or the other ahead of time. As a result, I usually take a Pine Street bus and walk because they’re more frequent (and don’t get bogged down with I-5 traffic).

      4. the distance between USS Link and Madison and Seneca streets is not a short transfer walk. the distance between Roosevelt Way NE and the Brooklyn Link is not a short transfer walk.

        There are better options for First Hill service that would cost much less. the Gee outcome seems very dependent on the FTA funds and they are not impressed. Route 2 uses the SDOT bus lane on Seneca Street and serves the 23rd Avenue transfer point. Yes, folks have been working on Gee a long time; should they get credit for hitting the wrong nail? in carpentry, one should measure twice and cut once. the budget for Gee was never there; now there is less funding.

        the original Jay line play was a streetcar under the McGinn SDOT. it was revised to electric trolley bus that might reach Northgate, but was shortened to Roosevelt. others have suggested a NE 45th Street terminal, but not SDOT.

      5. the distance between Roosevelt Way NE and the Brooklyn Link is not a short transfer walk.

        Who cares? The distance from the E Line to Westlake Station is not a short transfer walk. Should the E Line cut over to 5th, and make that an easier transfer? Of course not.

        If the bus ended at 45th, then it would run close to the station, just like every other bus that ends at 45th. But it doesn’t. It ends past 65th, which means people coming from the north will transfer at Roosevelt Station — where the transfer will be about as good as possible.

        The only people that have to walk extra distance are those coming from Capitol Hill. It is very similar to going from Capitol Hill to somewhere on the E Line — it is an awkward transfer. You either keep going to the next station, walk a few blocks, or find some other way to get there. Look at how Google suggests taking the bus as a reasonable option even if you are starting literally at the Capitol Hill Station — https://goo.gl/maps/D124C3twqbJ3RBkZ8. A few blocks away, and people take a bus. The same thing holds true with this corridor. If you are going anywhere north of Harvard and Eastlake, you are taking the 49. Even if this bus ran right to the front entrance of the U-District Station, people would take the 49. If you are going to south of there, you probably just take the 8, then this bus. Or you take the 49 and backtrack. Or you hope that Metro adds a bus going over the freeway at the north end of Capitol Hill (like so https://goo.gl/maps/9xhycDTQHXqF8p6G6). The bus would extend across Aurora on Harrison (when the work there is done) and then go over to Lower Queen Anne. That means that between the 8, that bus and the 49, a lot of Capitol Hill riders would have a one-seat trip to most of the locations along that corridor. Very few would take Link and then backtrack.

        Meanwhile, riders from the south (on Link) would have a couple choices. If you are headed north of Harvard and Eastlake (where the 49 and 70 overlap) you would just take the 49. If you are headed south of there, you get off downtown, and take the bus north.

        There really aren’t that many trips that benefit from the bus going to the Brooklyn Station as long as the bus goes past 65th. Someone coming form the north will get off there, and get to Eastlake at about the same time as if they took a bus from Brooklyn (just because of all the twists and turns involved with getting to the station). Everyone else was going to transfer downtown, or take some other bus to their destination.

        Madison BRT has similar issues. There would be great value in having the bus closer to a downtown Link station. But again, it doesn’t matter for riders coming from the north. If you are coming from the north, you are bound to get off at Capitol Hill, and either walk or take a bus (or streetcar) south. Even if Link had a station right at Madison, riders probably wouldn’t get off there to take this bus up the hill.

        However, riders from the south or the east (on Link) will get off downtown, and they will have to walk a couple blocks. This is unfortunate, but there aren’t that many riders from Link coming from the south. If you are coming from Pioneer Square or I. D., you will probably just stay on the surface. The buses are fast enough (given the distance), far more frequent and don’t involve big tunnels. From Beacon Hill you would probably just take the 60. Eventually there may be a bus from Rainier Valley to First Hill and South Lake Union, which means that riders from Mount Baker would just take it. Likewise, riders from the East Side would get off at Judkins Park and take that direct bus.

        Again, it isn’t ideal, but there wouldn’t be that many riders transferring downtown from Link. The big transfers will come from other buses headed downtown, or within the greater Central Area. For example, everything west of Eastlake (and including Eastlake). That means Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne and everything that funnels into Aurora. Likewise, all of the West Seattle/Burien/White Park buses. That is way more than the south end of Link, and it is all handled by buses, until ST3 gets built out. And when it is built out — when West Seattle and Ballard have Link — there will be a station right on Madison.

        More than anything, though, it is just a very strong, stand-alone line that works well with a future bus network. It is an extremely urban area. They had to spend the money to make it fast. Just adding BAT lanes wouldn’t do it — there are too many cars taking right turns, and they are waiting for too many pedestrians. With very good speed, the service levels are justified — an urban area like that should have six minute (or better) frequency.

        As a result, it changes the dynamic of the greater Central Area (everything in Seattle with “East” in it). The 43 finally gets killed, and the 48 becomes even stronger. The 12 likely goes away as well (we really don’t need a bus line very four blocks north of Thomas). A Queen Anne-South Lake Union-First Hill-Mount Baker line would be strong right now, but it would be especially strong with a perpendicular, very fast, very frequent bus. It would essentially form the backbone for transit in that region.

    3. The idea of an effective RapidRide route is that it’s supposed to be faster — hence the name “rapid”. That can allow Metro to keep the same frequency but do it with fewer buses because a bus’ round trip should be less. Alternatively, Metro can have more frequent bus arrivals with the same number of buses.

      One big “we don’t want to talk about it” aspect is that the new routes are generally not discussed in these productivity terms in lots of the current development literature or at meetings. Instead, it’s increasingly turning into a bus stop beautification project driven by making sure every area has a pretty stop to call their own. The objective of much faster buses has seemed to have shifted to bus stop beautification.

      I can’t say for sure which routes after getting RapidRide are truly faster to “save a bus” or not. I do think that unless the original objective floats back to the top, the motivation for it won’t be very strong —especially as compromises to operations get made as each project moves forward.

      1. Honestly, I would support a delay/re-envisioning of several of the Rapidride lines. In particular, I think that Metro should consider IMC Trolleybuses for several of the Rapidride lines. With IMC, you wouldn’t need to (but still could) extend the wires for RR G, H, R, 44, 48, and other non-RR corridors.

      2. “it’s increasingly turning into a bus stop beautification project”

        It’s called “keeping costs down” and “not angering those who don’t want to lose a GP lane or parking lane”. All Seattle bus corridor projects run into this resistance and get watered down, and the transit lanes are the first to go, the beautiful bus stops the last. It’s just a question of how much we can keep it from being watered down. The G will have transit-only center lanes in the middle, which is better than any current Seattle bus route or the other RapidRide corridors, and will be an example and test of how well it improves circulation.

        It is woth re-evaluating the other corridors, because some of them have already been downgraded out of RapidRide, and if future revenue will be less then we need to rethink our capital projects.

        All this started with Seattle’s 2012 Transit Master Plan, which recommended: (1) streetcars on Westlake, Eastlake, and the CCC; (2) BRT on Madison; (3) priority bus corridors on a half-dozen other streets. Murray replaced the all the streetcars except the CCC with buses as more cost-effective. Move Seattle branded all of these RapidRide+, with the understanding that Madison would be the highest-quality and the others would be something between the current RapidRides and Madison. Then it turned out the budget was too optimistic and several would have to be downgraded to just better frequency and a few street improvements. Most of the 10-15 minute frequency now exists through the TBD supplement, so the remaining work is street improvements to speed up the buses.

        So several of these corridors have been downgraded and modified multiple times since the original vision in 2012. And we’ve gone from shiny streetcars to full RapidRide to some unspecified improvements. That’s a persistent trend of evolving to more modest features in order to spread some improvements to more neighborhoods more quickly than cadillac streetcars would have done, and to get at least some improvements into more neighborhoods as resources shrink. So if we do it again, it would be part of a trend.

        Reprioritizing would run into two issues: the neighborhoods that are next (Delridge, Eastlake) don’t want to lose their advantage, and the city and Metro won’t want to go through another excercise of redrawing corridors. So the inertia will be to keep the same order, just extend it out or spread the resources more thinly. Metro is moving to four tier brands: “Rapid”, “Frequent”, “Express”, “Local”. Rapid means RapidRide. Frequent means routes that are frequent and maybe have some RapidRide-like improvements but not the whole shebang. Current examples are the 36, 48, 49, and 65/67. So the H and J could be downgraded to Frequent, keep their street improvements and future alignments, skip the red buses and ugly modernist stops, and save money to spread to other would-have-been RapidRide corridors (7, 48, 40, 44, etc).

        The 48 may deserve a rethink. It was one of the promising stars of the RapidRide+ plans. It only needs a mile more trolley wire to fill the middle gap, and the wire-holder things were installed as part of the 23rd Avenue renovation. When the 45/48 split, the 48 was expected to be the higher-ridership portion, but instead the opposite happened. That may be an illusion because the 45 fills the temporary gap between UW Station, U-District Station, the Ave, University Heights, and Roosevelt Station, who are only riding it because Northgate Link isn’t open yet. But if the 45 is genuinely more popular long-term, it raises questions about how urgent the 48 upgrade is, and whether it should let other corridors come before it. Oh, and it won’t get BAT lanes because the neighbors raised a stink about not wanting to lose GP lanes.

      3. Mike Orr, point two. that is why Yesler Way, 8th/9th avenues, and Jefferson Street should be used for very frequent service connecting the DSTT Link stations and First Hill. Yesler Way has no I-5 related congestion. this pathway serves Yesler Terrace, Harborivew, Swedish, and SU.

        Seneca, Madison, and James streets all go through I-5 interchange traffic congestion. Yesler Way does not.

        the Yesler Way corridor had a desire line in Transit Now; it did not get funded.

      4. @MikeOrr
        Regarding all the places you mentioned that you used to visit along the route of the not-yet-opened Roosevelt BRT J line:
        Sounds like you used to ride the 66. I still can’t for the life of me figure out why that route could not have been kept running until the J line opens. So much easier and faster to get downtown from Roosevelt area than the now cumbersome transfer to Link or to the 70 on Campus Parkway.

      5. Continuing to run the 66 would require either discontinuing the 67 or 70 (which would piss off a lot of people) or having multiple redundant routes on Eastlake and Roosevelt. The latter, of course, means that the operating budget funds less frequent service.

        Before U-Link, the 66 was not very well used, which is part of why it didn’t survive. I occasionally used it to go downtown to take Link to the airport, and tolerated its 30-minute frequency to avoid having to carry luggage on the very crowded 71/72/73. Essentially, the 66 was attractive precisely because it was unpopular. When U-Link opened, I simply caught Link at UW station and didn’t stop downtown at all. I never really missed the 66.

      6. eddiew, everyone here agrees that Yesler is better than James. Apparently neither the City nor Metro was willing to hang the 3/4 mile of wire necessary to make it work. Penny wise, pound foolish is a common phenomenon.

      7. “everyone here” may prefer Yesler, but the people who actually organized wanted to keep serving the low-income housing on James. It had nothing to do with money.

      8. Yeah, and that’s a very good combination:

        1) Frequent fast service on Madison (in its own lane most of the way).

        2) The 3/4 using the Yesler bypass. That way it avoids the worst of the traffic, and adds service to Yesler Terrace (while connecting Yesler Terrace to various places on Jefferson).

        3) Keep the less frequent 27. That doubles up service to Yesler Terrace, while less popular places to the east still have coverage.

        4) Service on Jackson (of course). The spacing between Jackson and Yesler is a bit close, but it doesn’t matter much, because the east part of Yesler has less frequent service. The only place that has frequent service is the area that has lots of people, and lies separated from Jackson by a steep hill (e. g. https://goo.gl/maps/oecvKPYoUFCpRH2F8). As the slope between Jackson and Yesler eases, the frequent buses are further apart. Someone who wants to go from downtown to 23rd and Yesler prefers the 27, but if they miss it, they will just take the 14 and walk a few (relatively flat) blocks.

        Overall, that would be very good spacing that matches the demand as well as the topography while avoiding much of the freeway traffic. It just needs money.

      9. “I still can’t for the life of me figure out why [the 66] route could not have been kept running until the J line opens.”

        It was an underperforming route because the 71/72/73X was more frequent, got closer to UW, often used I-5, and skipped the few stops on Eastlake the 66 made. Its most effective part was the 67’s segment. It wasn’t effective on Eastlake because the 70 and 71/72/73 local served that area better. Trips between Eastlake and north of 50th were few, and many people avoided that route because it was half-hourly.

        RapidRide J has a complex relationship with the 66 and 67. It’s not really either of them, it’s a 70 extended to 65th. Keeping the 66 in the interim period would have still underperformed because it’s half-hourly and many people don’t want to wait for it or schedule their lives around it. The number of riders who cross the University Bridge is much fewer than the number of riders within North Seattle or Eastlake/Fairview, which the 67 and 70 adequately serve. RapidRide J will have the same profile, with most trips wither south or north of the Ship Canal. However, the increasing density of Roosevelt and SLU and the higher frequency of the J will strengthen the connections between North Seattle, Eastlake, and SLU more than the 66 could.

        The choice to drop U-District Station and a 2-block walk to UW was a tradoff with having a straight corridor between 40th and 65th. The community strongly favored the latter. UW students walk a half-mile between classes anyway, and maybe some people didn’t fully realize they’d lose a 43rd & Brooklyn stop. But the decision has been made and the overall community supports it. The U-District was recently rezoned and in 10-20 years its center and tallest average height will be along Roosevelt, exactly where the J will travel.

  5. It’s time to privatize metro transit.This agency has pissed so much taxpayers money away with their total over staffing of management that do nothing but get 100,000.00 plus yearly.Maintenance is a total joke at this company–3 chiefs at each base except the nav shop, some bases have 6 leads -2 per shift a parts lead plus a base supervisor for maintenance..That is pushing real close to 1 million dollars per base for just management??????this transit agency needs a Hugh downsizing and the fat from management totally trimmed

    1. Metro successfully operates thousands of buses a day, and delivers full-time frequent service to many parts of Seattle now. That’s a huge accomplishment and worth a significant amount of money. It’s not pussing away the bulk of taxpayer money. As to overstaffing and high management salaries, what’s an objective standard to compare it to that would still allow Metro to deliver the aforementioned service without difficulty? I see no detailed analysis in the comment of what Metro needs, or experience with transit operations and budgeting that would give credibility to such an analysis. It sounds like the calls to deunionize Metro to save taxpayers’ money, even if it ends up with drivers making minimum wage (which the propopnents would like to reduce too).

    2. By “privatize”, Larry, do you mean turn it over to a hedge fund? While back, didn’t a lot of people get burned to death when California did that with its electric power system? And having driven both types of transit, one of which I helped manage, balance sheet points public every time.

      My choice? Worker-owned cooperative. Long tradition world-wide. Like with farming and fishing-boat-fleets, by the balance sheet they trend Webster’s-Dictionary “Fiscally Conservative.” Chief problem being that if you’re the owner, you’ve got no work-hours protection and all complaints are your fault.

      And wasn’t Hugh Downsizing the British general who on Mayor Paul Schell’s orders did the WTO Gas-Mask Massacre 12-1-1999? Well it WAS just on twitter a minute ago!

      Mark Dublin

      1. Mike Orr, point two. that is why Yesler Way, 8th/9th avenues, and Jefferson Street should be used for very frequent service connecting the DSTT Link stations and First Hill. Yesler Way has no I-5 related congestion. this pathway serves Yesler Terrace, Harborivew, Swedish, and SU.

        Seneca, Madison, and James streets all go through I-5 interchange traffic congestion. Yesler Way does not.

        the Yesler Way corridor had a desire line in Move Seattle; it did not get funded.

      2. No,Not a hedge fund.Via or transdev,private companies that are running numerous agencies through out the country

      3. And running those numerous agencies quite poorly. What private companies currently operating public infrastructure would you point to as examples of a successful model?

      4. First Transit seems to do well running most (but not all) of Community Transit’s bus service, and has been able to keep cost/hour growing slightly slower than KCM and PT. Switching to a private provider sometimes is less about taking cost out and more about bending the future cost curve, as private providers have more incentive to innovate in small ways that save money (if the contract is well structured).

      5. Innovate in small ways like being non-union and paying less than a living wage?

    3. RossB, to quibble with your terms and not your message: BAT lanes or bus lanes, not HOV lanes; all-door boarding and alighting, not off-board payment. Branding could be further down any priority list. what is the marginal ridership gain from using a red bus rather than blue, green, or purple one?

      1. I tend to use the terms “BAT”, “bus” and “HOV” lanes as interchangeable, but they are different, obviously. I wish there were a shorthand to incorporate all three, without specifying the exact type. HOV lanes are almost always on the freeway, while BAT lanes are almost always on city streets. Bus lanes can be found on both. In this case I should have specified “BAT lanes” or “bus lanes”. Realistically, it would be BAT lanes, just because the buses won’t run in the middle of the street, and the city will allow regular cars to turn right.

        All door boarding is certainly an improvement, but off-board payment is also huge. Consider, for example, what will happen at Northgate Transit Center in a few years. A bus pulls up, full of people, ready to get off. A big crowd gathers to get on. People get on and off both doors. People get on both doors, but in both cases they stop and tap the ORCA reader. That would certainly be an improvement over the current system, but it would be even better if no one bothered to tap anything. You would still have readers at both doors (for other stops) but off-board payment is ideal, which is why it is pretty much standard for every subway system (either they have gates, or off-board proof of payment).

    4. You do know that the reason Metro couldn’t provide enough service to use up the STBD hours was that it couldn’t hire enough drivers, right? So you’re going to get more drivers to sign up by paying them less money? Right, then.

      You may get takers for a year or so while the Covid unemployment works down, but once things return to near-normal your Holy Capitalist bus company would be driverless.

      1. The reason is that its bases are full, so it can’t buy more buses to provide the target frequency because it has no place to park the buses overnight and maintain them. The driver shortage was temporary due to the recession cuts and was solved in the first year or tow, so it only led to a temporary delay in ramping up. The bus-base limitation is longer-term until a new base opens in the late 2020s.

  6. asdf2, jordan, and everybody else, we might all want to check the “Needy-Needle” on our lives’ own dashboard. How many billionaires this morning are only kept out of their closest HOOOOOMMME-less camp by nothing but the kindness of THEIR creditors?

    Bells and whistles kind of personal, because from 1955 on, major drop in quality of life as street rail went to buses which only had horns, and those magnificent steam engines….should’ve still been a noise-ordinance forbidding air-horns at those midnight residential Canadian National grade-crossings, from Detroit all the way to Royal Oak.

    Wish it really was [OT] how our income distribution is the industrial world’s unfairest, and our public health the lamest and most overpriced. And same times ten for the Union (Civil War, not Labor) surrender that restored slavery in 1877. And that in willfully-mis-trained hands….to the wrong gun, ALL OUR LOVED-ONES’ LIVES ARE BLACK!

    Meantime, call it “RapidRide” or even better “BRT”, what you’ve got is a BUS, running in a LANE on a STREET whose intersections have SIGNALS capable of being RESET or hand-controlled by SUPERVISORS or TRAFFIC POLICE. Who can work on SHIFTS as necessary.

    Also, transit’s most-needed personnel are already on-staff waiting to be used. As many of them have been doing all along, fare-inspectors can re-purpose to personal real-time on-board passenger information. Since they’ve so long had the WILL, ST Board, the WAY’s all clear for YOU.

    Mark Dublin

  7. We are just a year away from ST opening the first of a number of light rail stations in the next 4-5 years , including four inside Seattle and six inside Bellevue (and nine in other King County cities). Significant restructuring by Metro should occur as a result of that. The result is supposed to be a tripling of Link boardings.

    Looking at reductions is always a disappointment. However, this gives a lower baseline from which new service can be added to serve the new paths created by Link opening when more funds become available. That’s on top of needing to adjust service to respond to a likely huge shift in work-at-home — which reduces peak hour surges.

    As proposals to increase funding to add service hours emerge, I hope that these give Metro the flexibility to restructure its service to match the new realities that we don’t yet know.

  8. Your phone bill, AJ. Would you complain about that being “Reparations?”

    Mark Dublin

      1. Damn straight. The service you’ve used, you’re being billed for. Millions of people now classed as “Needy” have put in a lifetime of work paid far below grade to provide you with the lifestyle you’ve had lifelong.

        “Reparations” never my word. If you think capital punishment’s fair for one murder – and recent gun-swinging racist mass-killings are finally inclining me toward case-by-case approval- our troops should’ve decorated every telephone pole in Germany to good use. How many really got hanged at Nuremburg- three? In the world’s guilty mouth, the “R” word denoted a real unwanted nuisance of a “Payoff.”

        1950’s. Seattle. Look up “Restrictive Covenant”. Applied also to us Jews, difference being we could take our revenge by moving to a much better neighborhood and founding country-clubs where the food was edible, instead of being just expensive. The LAW, including FEDERAL said the MARKET had to obey IT.

        My years driving the 7, Seattle’s record economy repaid me with an eviction notice. Transit scoped to The Greater Puget Sound Region….lucky that out of my own credit union upbringing, I like my transit paid for by cooperation, not collections.

        Mark Dublin

  9. I seriously doubt all these pessimistic projections about the long-term economy and feel this recession will be short-lived and end abruptly once the Covid problem is solved.

    The drop in sales is something being forced on people, thru the closure of so many businesses, with a lack of funds only a secondary factor. As businesses open, and people go back to work, customers will rush in to purchase all the stuff they couldn’t while in quarantine.

    In this way, this recession is comparable to the WW2 era, where rationing meant that people couldn’t purchase things despite having the money. As the war ended, many economist predicted that the Great Depression would resume. They were completely wrong, as people throughout the world immediately purchased the items that they couldn’t during the war, hugely stimulating the economy.

    1. I’m optimistic as well, but believe that much of it depends on the next election, and how effective that administration is in helping the economy rebound. It will require a lot of spending — something we failed to do last time, which dragged out the recovery. But there isn’t much point in spending money to restore the economy before the pandemic is over — the economy can’t recover until then.

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