17 Replies to “Sunday open thread: The GO Bus”

  1. Does anybody know the men’s store on the west side of California Ave between Alaska and Admiral? A place selling masculine hats, shirts, wallets, etc. I discovered it maybe last year while walking to the theater. Yesterday I went to West Seattle for the first time this year. I looked for the shop to see if it had survived the pandemic and to buy a shaving set, but I couldn’t find it. I asked a few people on the street and in old-looking shops, but nobody recognized it and everybody was a newcomer.

    One shopkeeper looked up the local businesses and said maybe it’s the Mystery Made Co. I’d wondered that too, but the place is, mysterious. A white sheet fully covered the windows, and the sign had very little information. It didn’t say what it made or hours or a phone number. Properly mysterious; it should be in the Seattle Ghost Tour. It’s possible it transitioned from a retail shop to a custom manufacturer after the stay-at-home order. Or did the shop move or close down? There were a lot of new mixed-used buildings on the street, more than I remembered, so maybe the house or small building it was in is gone.

    Does anybody know what happened to the men’s shop, or what Mystery Made makes, or where else to get a fancy refillable razor (the kind with real razor blades) without resorting to Amazon?

    The C westbound was sparse: 5 other passengers downtown, 2 going to West Seattle. Maybe there was a C a couple minutes before. There’s supposed to be transit lanes on Alaskan Way but it looks like they’re not built yet. Returning, the bus was more populated, and it got caught in a traffic jam getting onto the bridge and stopped for several minutes.

    I transferred to the 11 and it was packed. Some twenty people got on at 4th & Pike, and it was a single bus. I thought the 11 was usually articulated, and that would have alleviated the problem. I got off two stops later, but as the bus was crossing Summit Ave a car came from right to left right in front of it. The bus slowed, then had to stop hard to avoid a collision. I didn’t feel a collision or damage, but I couldn’t see the front. The car was still moving left; it was bright yellow and had the ironic words “Safety First Driving School”. The bus remained sitting in the middle of the intersection for several minutes. The stop was a half-block further. The car reappeared coming the other way and parked, and somebody got out with a piece of paper to show the driver. Then the bus continued to the stop.

    1. Are some bus seats still closed/have a closed sign on them? And if Metro is still setting passenger limits, have bus drivers just given up on trying to enforce it, and are letting on as many people who want to ride?

      Also, does every bus now have a shield? And has anyone seen any on-board mask dispensers yet?

      1. The rule as I understand it is that if the bus isn’t full or somebody is getting off, the bus stops and everyone at the stop can get on even if it goes over the limit. If the bus is full and nobody is getting off, the bus passes the stop without stopping. 4th & Pike is the first stop on the route so it was empty, and it’s the primary stop on the route so it getsthe most people.

        Drivers differ in how much they enforce the rule, as they do with every rule. Once a 132 driver said three people have to get off the bus before it will move. Three people did, and then one stop later three more people did so that brought it under the limit. Once on a 49 it seemed to be at the limit but the driver didn’t say anything, then two stops later at 5th half the bus got off as usual. The “Bus Full” sign has only a vague relationship with the bus being full or not stopping. I’ve seen several “Bus Full” buses that appeared to be empty, and I’ve experienced buses with a “Bus Full” sign stopping anyway. So it’s really random: you never know when a bus is going to be full or how aggressive the driver will be about it. It puts you in the position of having to be aggressive in getting on and staying in a seat or you might have to wait 15, 30, or 45 minutes for a non-full bus. It’s worst in the PM peak. I try to avoid that time now. I haven’t seen a mask dispenser yet. I may have seen one but I don’t think it was Metro; maybe it was the 550 or maybe a picture of another city.

        I haven’t seen a maskless rider on a bus since Inslee made it mandatory a month or two ago. Everybody vountarily complied and found masks. it may be different on other routes and neighborhoods; this is central Seattle, SODO, Rainier Valley, northeast Seattle (41, 45, 49, 71, 73), and the 550.

      2. Most of the buses I’ve been on lately have had shields already installed. I suspect that (sadly) with the service cuts, Metro won’t have any trouble taking the remaining coaches out of service for however long it takes to retrofit them. I haven’t seen any with a mask dispenser installed, though.

        On the topic of full buses, I was surprised to see three coaches (eastbound 271 by UWMC, northbound 106 by Mount Baker Station, westbound 13 by University Street) with their “bus full” signs on just this morning, which seemed unusual given that it was a Sunday morning. The 271 seemed especially bad given that it hadn’t even reached UWMC before it was full, and it was in its hourly headways period (really sucks for the people who got passed up), though maybe part of the problem is that getting to Bellevue via Link->550 requires fare right now but the 271 does not.

      3. While riding my bike on the 520 bridge this morning, I saw a 271 going the other way with a “bus full” sign, quite possibly the same bus you were alluding to. I was very surprised to see this on a Sunday morning.

        As to Link->550, I think it has less to do with fares than travel time. Not only is U-district->Bellevue significantly longer distance via I-90 than 520, but you also add in a transfer, with a potential long wait downtown, due to the 550 itself running only half-hourly on Sunday.

        This also raises the issue as to why the 271 is still operated with small buses, if it’s turning people away. Had it been run with a 60-footer, perhaps everyone would have fit. My best guess is that there’s a tight turn somewhere in the Issaquah tail that requires it, but I can’t think exactly where. If so, this is another problem with the 271’s routing. Tight-turn constraints on a segment that almost nobody rides should not be dictating passenger capacity on another section of the route, 15 miles away, with much higher passenger volumes.

      4. It looks like Metro is starting to get ready for collecting fares again. I noticed that in the last few days the divider rope behind the ADA section has been removed and that all the buses I have ridden have had new driver shields installed. Still boarding back doors only except for the ADA folks.
        I am curious if the cost of installing ORCA readers by all doors would be much more than the cost of installing these driver shields. I have heard some drivers grumbling that it is sometimes difficult to see the right-side rear-view mirror with these shields in place.

      5. @asdf2

        My understanding is that it’s a combination between the buses available at that particular base and the sharp, narrow turns within the Bellevue College loop. I wondered about some of the turns in Medina, before, too, but I guess those would be okay – the sharpest one is at 84th and NE 12th St. and that intersection is not _that_ narrow.

      6. “My understanding is that it’s a combination between the buses available at that particular base and the sharp, narrow turns within the Bellevue College loop.”

        In theory, neither of these constraints should apply on weekends. All the weekday-only routes aren’t running, so there’s lots of buses available, plus the weekend 271 skips the Bellevue College loop.

      7. I remember reading somewhere (likely here in an old post) that whatever base 271 runs from has only 40ft (and I suppose 30ft) buses. I’m sure that in theory it is possible to run the week-end version from a different base, but in practice that seems unlikely.

        Even during the Before Times, the 271 was prone to randomly overfilling (less on week-ends but even on week-ends it was pretty full from what I have seen). One large group leaving the UW area can add 15-20 people to a bus, and that’s a non-trivial number of people. Conversely, I’ve seen a dozen or so people get on at the Bellevue Square stop going back to Seattle in the evenings plenty of times – not a dozen random people, but a dozen as one group. Most of these instances were young (19-20 year old) people, who are more likely to engage in similar trips even now.

  2. The new bike lanes on 4th Avenue are mostly finished in downtown Seattle. Some auto drivers seemed to be totally befuddled by the new arrangement as they were driving very slowly while trying to figure out how to make left turns at intersections that are now marked “NO LEFT TURN”. Oh well, adaptation is sometimes a slow process.

  3. Word to GO BUS….you’ve been upstaged.


    But I’d also like to have a talk with that cat. Your human that you’ve got in a crate down below in the baggage compartments, did you check on his food and water before you left Las Vegas? Hell of a night, too. He must be scared. Too bad your bus doesn’t have a driver you can ask to let your owner come sit in your lap.

    From the Number 11 adventure, my guess is that every reputable driving school now puts its every student through the exercise called Dangerous Driving Two, showing them how to Exchange Information and Run. Bus driver did the right thing by not chasing and demolishing that yellow menace . And if that’s the 11, do I want to know what the average run is like on the Route 7?

    But since today’s open-carry “Topic” is plainly “How Weird Everything’s Gotten”, with the English Civil War (please don’t make a movie about it!) still vivid in memory, the authors of the Bill of Rights enshrined Common Sense in the Ninth Amendment.

    Read it and everything from seat-spacing and telepathic street-sign comprehension to Death by Driving-School will sedately fall into place.

    Thanks to Seattle Transit Blog and its loyal Regulars, and everybody in all the uniforms from driving to Fare Inspecting-If-They-Still Do It, low death count proves that between you, you’ve got it under control.

    Mark Dublin

  4. Mike, thanks for the detailed “Events-On-The-Wheels” description of bus loading and spacing. Caution to ATU Local 587:

    Since it looks like you’re now running a worker-MANAGED cooperative, you might want to check and see if KC Metro and Sound Transit have also transferred OWNERSHIP to you. And then forgotten they did it.

    If so, be sure you hire Paul Denison before GO BUS gets him! Because if in fact it’s the CEO of a shadow corporation, whether its next boarding is to the 11 or the 7, that cat in the video could be serious mask-related trouble.

    Mark Dublin

  5. I want to see STB change their podcast from a weekly blog recap, to one that focuses on interviews, and video podcasts of local transit projects.

    I am now an expert on the Comanche Indians because Joe Rogan, on his podcast, interviewed S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon.

  6. Thanks for the referral, Sam. I’d also recommend “Empire of the Summer Moon”, though I’d also like to see some rebuttal space for those of the ethnicity who in their own language called themselves “Well, you know….PEOPLE!”

    “Comanche” was their problem neighbors’ word for “THOSE GUYS WHO ARE ALWAYS ATTACKING US!” Throughout World history, probably by name the world’s most numerous nationality.

    Born on a US fort in San Antonio named for Sam Houston, I’ll leave it to legend whether the delivery room doctor really handed me an Abolitionist Springfield to shoot slavers with. Lucky, maybe, that the Union Army transferred my Dad to Chicago with orders to let me ride the Electroliner in addition to the ‘El.

    Right now, best wait a few weeks to bring it up. And besides:


    Compared to Link-land, lot of track and catenary to take notice of. Fits a pattern: Among people of my politics, Texas, is a place where we just have to be tougher and more combative than our cohorts elsewhere. Not for lack of practice.


    So when COVID finally lets us GO-VID, maybe ST could start sponsoring field trips. So ’til then:


    Mark Dublin

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