construction banner in International District / Chinatown Station – photo by Busologist

Link Light Rail service will be partially disrupted this weekend, per an annoucement from Sound Transit:

Link light rail service will temporarily stop running between the UW and SODO stations Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18 to allow for system upgrades.

During the service interruption, free bus service will be available between UW station and SODO station. Light rail riders will need to switch between trains and buses at SODO station stations [sic] to complete their journeys. Sound Transit will provide shuttle buses every ten minutes between the affected stations, and Sound Transit personnel will be available to help passengers with transfers. Trains will run every 15 minutes on the weekend. Light rail trains will return to their regular schedule Monday morning.

Other alternatives to get to or between the northern station areas include:

  • Route 7 between Mt Baker Station and downtown.
  • Route 36 between Beacon Hill Station and downtown.
  • Route 48 between Mt Baker Station and UW.
  • Route 10, 11, or 49 between Westlake and Capitol Hill.
  • Route 49 between Capitol Hill and the U-District.
  • Route 60 between Beacon Hill Station and Capitol Hill.
  • Route 70 between downtown and the U-District.
  • Route 101, 150, or ST Express 594 between SODO Station, Stadium Station, and downtown.

Any work Sound Transit has to do on Link is certainly best to do on weekends during the pandemic, while there are the fewest riders to be impacted.

45 Replies to “Shuttles replace Link north of SODO Station this weekend”

  1. Something that never should have been taken out, and should be no problem to permanently put back immediately.

    It used to be called “The Route 9.” East Aloha and 10th Avenue East to Broadway to Boren to Rainier to “The Valley”. Long ago it used to turn at Rose, but Mount Baker Station would make a perfect terminal.

    If you zoom in close on the Google aerial map starting at 10th and Aloha, you can see by the shadows on the pavement how much trolley-wire is still there. Anyhow, just seems like a cost-free zero emissions “natural.”

    Call it a Bus Bridge and start it today. Then put it Online, name it The Nine and keep it.

    Mark Dublin

  2. So what are the “upgrades”? I agree with AL S.’s comment above; the agency’s statement seems purposefully vague. Why not just tell the public what the work entails? (RQ)

    1. Al S. and Tlsgwm, since the pandemic hit, my own phone and e-mail conversations with Sound Transit leave me with a different “take” on anybody’s motives.

      Impression I get is that I’m talking to somebody recently hired to their first job at all in public transit. While desperately rescuing their slipper from the family dog under the table. “Please don’t file a complaint! He’s not growling at YOU!”

      So I wonder there’s any chance to put a crew-member on furlough or light duty back to work at their own kitchen table writing quick summaries of track and overhead work in layman’s language?

      Would also be a lot more appealing Zoom-gig for that whole school system full of compulsory self-educators AKA “The Class of 2020” than anything their elders have yet come up with.

      “Head Start” is a tried, true, and well-respected educational arrangement between high school and community college. When COVIDIA finally decides she’s made her point and doesn’t have to kill us all….

      The Rooseveltian transit-industry restoration with which we’ll restart economy, our regional transit system, and the Everett-East Marginal manufacture of its rolling stock, will all be glad we’ve got schools-full kids who know a Route 7 Express from a RapidRide!

      Mark Dublin

  3. And since ST makes it all Interagency, phone person has to know whether the “Light” in Link’s “Rail” refers to vehicle weight or degree of necessary reservation for the right of way!

    Reason no public-school child in Washington State should be allowed to touch a computer ’til they can keep an electric train from derailing and rolling across the rug. Sorry Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Lionel was here first!

    Mark Dublin

    1. Well, Sam, given the potential clientele served by Link out of Sea-Tac, banners could say the same thing for Budapest, couldn’t they?

      Which in addition to an impressive streetcar system has a park, undoubtedly near a car-stop, where Communism’s most idiotic statues are permanently on display. Maybe they’ll loan one to Bellevue for Tunnel art-piece.

      Though when he gets done shopping for office furniture, I’m sure Tim Eyman’s got time for an Initiative to have Sioux Falls South Dakota moved farther away. See what Facebook says and get back to us.

      Mark Dublin

    2. Lol with Sam!

      I think it’s a revealing ad campaign that demonstrates the narrow — and ultimately arrogant — perception of a few ST staff or leadership who subconsciously perceive that the project is most prominently for their own personal benefit (working at ST and living in Bellevue). They don’t see a broader perspective.

      It would be hilarious if it said Mercer Island was about to get closer!!

    3. Well, I can assure you “the homeless” are a common theme on eastside Nextdoor’s, and whether East Link will bring all the undesirable elements in “Seattle” to the eastside. Which is why Renton thinks it didn’t get a rail line north, but Issaquah did.

      The reality is East Link will be expensive when it opens, probably around $4 each way. Not many homeless have $8 round trip to spend to go to a hostile environment where begging will get you delivered to a shelter in Kent. Which of course is why the eastside is so keen on fare enforcement on East Link, and has complained about suspending bus fares.

      I just don’t see the future Seattle to eastside traffic on East Link, especially after Boeing announced it is selling its complex at the old Longacres site to go to working from home. I just don’t see why anyone on the eastside (admitting it is pretty suburban white bread) would take a train to Seattle to shop or dine.

      First they would drive, and second they would shop or dine on the eastside, from Redmond to Bellevue, except a sporting event they plan on getting drunk at.

      At the same time, absent work, why would anyone take a train from Seattle to the eastside, unless downtown Seattle is unsafe? Again, first they would drive during non-peak times, and second Seattle has great restaurants and bars. The eastside is for mom and dad, and of course that is where mom and dad live.

      Where I do see a lot of use for East Link is between Bellevue — Microsoft — Redmond. 520 and 405 are awful. Being able to take a fairly quick train between Redmond and Bellevue to eat, drink and shop sounds convenient to me, especially if you don’t want to drink and drive. Uber/Lyft to and from the Redmond station on Friday and Saturday night will be hopping. I could see taking the train to Redmond from Mercer Island since I can walk to the station if I wanted to drink. Redmond has a very nice and usable town center.

      East Link will be popular for intra-eastside travel, mostly non-work relate, but I am not sure why a Seattle resident would want to spend $8 per person to take East Link to Bellevue, and vice versa if they don’t have to commute for work.

      1. I just don’t see why anyone on the eastside (admitting it is pretty suburban white bread) would take a train to Seattle to shop or dine.

        No, but that was never the plan. Trips like that will occur a lot more within Seattle. East Link is mostly a commuter/business train. Lots of people commuting to Bellevue. Lots of people commuting to Seattle. A few business types going back and forth in the middle of the day. There will some folks who visit Seattle in the evening (especially the weekend and with sporting events) and even a few the other direction, but mostly it will be for business.

        Oh, and of course there are students going back and forth — that will still happen. But I still think it will be one of the more peak oriented parts of our system, despite it being fairly balanced (unlike the northern and southern suburbs).

      2. Westlake to Bellevue is about the same distance as Westlake to the airport, and that’s $3.25. It’s 25c per 5 miles, so one or two miles won’t make a difference. Even if it’s just past the threshold and turns out to be $3.50, $4 will get you to Redmond.

      3. Well, Daniel, I can give you a very cogent reason why “the homeless” are now a very common theme among Eastsiders. Has to do with their own last “arrears” warning from the collections department of their own mortgage-holders.

        Leaving Ballard with the looming problem of the class action lawsuit that all those kids who ran away from Mercer Island’s bus-induced squalor are going to file on Opening Day. Demanding protection from all their Eastside parents badgering them for shelter space in their clean and orderly tents in the park across from the Ballard Library.

        That Fatal $4 to $8? Remedy called “The Monthly ORCA Pass” has been on-scene for years. Even before I got my fare cut in half for being old, with fuel, repairs, insurance and depreciation factored in, my car’s chief relievers were my trains and trams and buses.

        Gullibly liberal, maybe, I’m willing to let my card cost a little more per month so the most fear-stricken of your neighbors can get the same Special Needs consideration as State Legislators. Footwear self-interest. Latest PTSD therapies mean fewer on-board puddles to mop.

        As for what any Seattleite will be willing to pay to visit Bellevue…depends a lot on whether ST’s Arts Project gives its Downtown Tunnel a really lovely art-piece, or one of those running screaming bronze Stalinists from the Budapest sculpture park streetcar-stop.

        So ask me a month or two after this week’s hurtling cataclysmic slum collapse finally puts my Ballard bus-stop back in my price-range. Since my evictors demolished my wife’s kitchen into a little dining-room “island”, my rent should reflect the lost value.

        But from Olympia to everyplace transit-reachable via Mercer Island, here’s what ST really offers me:

        A Region that for the rest of my life will give me the widest possible choices where I reside, work, go to school and just relax and ride through. By the minute, hour, day, week, or lifetime.

        Which of all its inhabitants and interests, Mercer Island’s business community will have the Region’s least hesitation to claim for their own.

        Bet your light-rail-stop’s espresso cafe is already planning at least a cart at the hydrofoil jet-boat dock where the former ferry really did used to tie up.

        Mark Dublin

      4. “I just don’t see why anyone on the eastside (admitting it is pretty suburban white bread) would take a train to Seattle to shop or dine.”

        “At the same time, absent work, why would anyone take a train from Seattle to the eastside, unless downtown Seattle is unsafe?”

        Assuming the pre-COVID situation returns once a vaccine gets the epidemic under control, I can think of several reasons.

        For starters, people’s social life doesn’t just stop at the city boundary. Yes, there are restaurants in Seattle and restaurants in Bellevue, but people are unique; sometimes, people need to cross the lake to hang out with family and friends on the other side.

        There are also numerous large-scale events in downtown Seattle that do not and never will exist on the Eastside.

        But, really, trying to enumerate all the use cases of Link across I-90 for trips other than work is not necessary. You can clearly see, just driving across the bridge that there are other cars on the road, which means people are traveling. If people are traveling across the lake in large numbers, that means, whatever the reason, transit needs to handle trips across the lake.

        I see a lot of people fall into the trap where you try to enumerate each of the specific types of trips that transit for, and say everything else belongs to the private car. In reality, people travel for all sorts of reasons, trying to enumerate them all is a fool’s errand (there are just too many). And any trip along a corridor that is traveled in sufficiently high volumes, that doesn’t involve carrying bulky/heavy equipment (the vast majority of trips do not) is a candidate for transit, assuming the service is sufficiently fast, frequent, safe, and reliable.

        Just like, when people design a freeway, they don’t try to enumerate all the reasons people might want to drive down it, it isn’t necessary to enumerate all the reasons people might take a train either. If there are lots of cars crossing the lake, there’s travel demand across the lake. And if there’s travel demand, there’s transit demand, provided the service is good enough to be worth riding. It’s really that simple.

      5. Daniel, part of why Uber/Lyft can compete with transit is that they’ve baked into their business model the exploitation of private vehicle subsidies, along with the exploitation of their employees as contractors to avoid paying living wages and benefits. If that were to change (like it hopefully will in California) ride-share fares would go up and the competition would be on the grounds of convenience and possibly time. Link and Stride could very well be competitive even on time and money at that point, given that they could be kept separate from traffic to a greater extent than ride-share.

        Another advantage transit still has over ride-share are monthly passes (some of which are employer-subsidized) where the cost doesn’t depend on the number of trips. Very few people can afford to take ride-share several times a day every day, but that absolutely is how transit is designed to operate best.

      6. For starters, people’s social life doesn’t just stop at the city boundary. … In reality, people travel for all sorts of reasons, trying to enumerate them all is a fool’s errand (there are just too many).

        Yeah, I agree. But I think the point that Daniel made (and certainly the point I made) is that there won’t be that many spontaneous trips like there are on other parts of our system. Bellevue and Seattle will be a lot closer to each other, but sill not that close. To be clear: there will be people that take those trips. But in general it is a pretty long trip.

        Now that I think about it, I’m not sure. If we are talking about restaurants, the most attractive restaurant neighborhood in the state is the International District. There aren’t a lot of people within walking distance to the Mercer Island station, but enough to make for significant ridership. With a travel time of less than 10 minutes, this is exactly the type of trip I’m talking about. Downtown Bellevue and the Spring District have a lot more people, but at that point you wonder if the travel time starts eating away at the ridership.

        And any trip along a corridor that is traveled in sufficiently high volumes, that doesn’t involve carrying bulky/heavy equipment (the vast majority of trips do not) is a candidate for transit, assuming the service is sufficiently fast, frequent, safe, and reliable.

        In theory, yes. But the difference between a freeway and a subway is that a freeway seamlessly integrates with the rest of the transportation system. If I want to visit the south end of Mercer Island by car, I drive on the freeway, take the appropriate exit, and get there very quickly. That is why the success of the Link is so dependent on the rest of the transit system. If you run frequent buses on the island, then maybe transit could make a significant dent in mode share there.

        But there are other factors. One is speed, relative to the alternatives. Unfortunately, since our train lines often follows the freeway, driving is often faster. [This is why the sign is silly — in the middle of the day driving is faster than transit from Seattle to Bellevue. This is another argument for lines like Ballard to the UW, which would be faster than driving at noon.]

        But that isn’t the only factor. Another is the hassle of parking or congested driving. If I’m headed to Capitol Hill, or the UW, or downtown Bellevue or anywhere in downtown Seattle, this is a big issue. But if I’m driving from say Sand Point to Mercer Island, it isn’t an issue. All of this suggests that only a small portion of the people driving across that bridge will drive Link (unless we provide some other disincentive to drive).

        It also means that it is hard to predict how many people will ride (hard for me, anyway). There will be a lot of people who go from say, Roosevelt to Capitol Hill. There are a lot of people who live in Roosevelt, and a lot of those people don’t own cars. A transit trip between those two neighborhoods is very short, and likely to compete well with a (more expensive) cab ride. I really don’t have a strong feel for East Link, and the same thing might happen with the Spring District. It could also happen in reverse. I wouldn’t expect downtown Bellevue to be a major area for clubs, but it could, and as it stands now, it does have the occasional show (I saw Craig Robinson there — he was great). The downtown Seattle population is booming — so even if a tiny portion of people visit there (and everyone else stays downtown or at Capitol Hill) it could add up to a fair number of trips. Or, as Daniel wrote, maybe most of those trips will be within the East Side. It will be interesting to see what happens (hopefully Sound Transit will release the data).

    4. Sam, a better troll would be, “Are there any riders going to Bellevue who will actually see this banner?”

      I’m pretty sure all the I-90 buses were out of the tunnel before the banner went up.

  4. One of the best ways to improve the passenger flow between East Link and South Link is not a capital improvement, but a policy improvement combined with a minor algorithm update. (This is on topic because I hereby deem it to be. It’s good to be an associate editor.)

    If I board the train at SeaTac Airport Station, and my final (at least for Link’s portion) destination is downtown Bellevue, I don’t want to have to stand in a queue at International District / Chinatown Station to tap off, and then stand in another queue to tap back on. I should just be able to get off one train and walk onto the other. Indeed, maybe I will get to do that at Pioneer Square Station, judging by the fact that the center platform has not been jackhammered and carted off to the nearest cement recycling facility.

    Of course, that raises the question: Do I then get charged for the distance (taken by the two trains, not as the crow flies) between the two endpoints of my trip? This is kind of a trick question for those of you advocating distance-based fares on Link (which I happen not to be).

    1. Why would a rider need to tap-off-tap-on while transferring platforms at ID or PS? Yes, a rider may need to exit the station to then re-enter the station on the other side, but they still have a valid tap-on from tapping at SeaTac, so if inspected by an FEO they would have a valid fare no matter where in the station they happen to be.

      Let’s say you tap into the station and then realize you forgot something at your desk. You can return to your office and then come back and board the train without tapping off and tapping back on, as long as you are still within the (2 hour?) time frame.

      In your example, when they exit at Bellevue and finally tap-off, the system reads “SeaTac to Bellevue” and calculates the fare accordingly.

      The lack of fare gates means ST doesn’t need to worry about creating a pathway ‘within’ the station to cross platforms, which greatly simplifies station design where there isn’t a center platform or mezzanine.

      1. A rider would need to tap on and off at ID/CS if they are going to be given a warning and threat of a fine for failing to tap on for the second trip. That’s one of the policy angles to which I am referring.

        Assuming ST doesn’t make that basic blunder, the next issue is would lots of riders gum up the queue at the ORCA readers if they knew their trip would be less expensive by choosing to tap off and tap back on?

      2. I’m with AJ. I don’t think you need to do that. Fare enforcers don’t care where you tapped on — they just want to make sure you did. In AJ’s previous example, the officials could check the data and say “Wait a second, this says you tapped on at the UW. But this train is heading to the UW. This is suspicious, come with us”.

        That’s not how it works. You tap, then you have two hours to go wherever you want on the system. The enforcers may not even be aware of where you tapped. Then, when you tap off, the math is pretty trivial, and ST doesn’t care how you got there. Maybe you overshot the transfer by accident. Maybe you overshot it on purpose, and went to the first station with a center platform (because of all the luggage). ST doesn’t care.

        Of course now I’m curious as to whether you can joy ride Link, and if so, whether it charges anything. What if I tap on, ride the train for a while, wwitch trains and go back to where I started, and tap off? Maybe it charges me minimum fare (based on some time limit)? Or nothing at all?

        Regardless, I bet if I do the same sort of thing but get off at a different station, it charges me as if I took a direct route. In other words, I could tap on at the UW, ride to Angle Lake, switch trains to head back, then get off at Capitol Hill. I think I would be charged the fare from the UW to Capitol Hill. In short, ST isn’t worried about it. I don’t think any agency works that way. As long as I don’t ride for over 2 hours, I’m OK.

      3. would lots of riders gum up the queue at the ORCA readers if they knew their trip would be less expensive by choosing to tap off and tap back on?

        Why would it be less expensive? If anything, it would be more expensive. If I ride from the UW to Angle Lake, it would cost me money to tap on and off in Rainier Valley (or anywhere else for that matter). Either that, or it is exactly the same, since it just treats is as one big trip (within the two hour window). I don’t see why the fees would be different for the other line. That doesn’t make any sense.

      4. If you tap out and in again at the same station it says “CONTINUE TRIP”. To start a new trip and keep distance-based fares from accumulating, you’d have to wait fifteen minutes before tapping in again. Talk about long transfer waits. So ST would have to reprogram the readers if it wanted to force people to tap out of one line and into another, or have different readers for different lines.

        Even if ST reprograms the readers, the idea that everybody would get the procedure right is laughable. Eleven years after Link’s opening it’s still common to see people who don’t realize they have to tap in, tap out, or the reader is outside their line of vision so they forget about it. Some reader locations are on the side or behind you when you walk or take an elevator into or out of the station, and people have to go out of their way to tap. If we had turnstyles, everybody would have to go through the turnstyle and tap to open it. But when you have a proof-of-payment system with readers not in the line of sight, people will be walking every which way to tap in, tap out, tap transfer, walk through with their day pass, and reach the multiple entrances. So the confusion would be even higher than it is now, and a lot of people wouldn’t transfer-tap simply because they don’t understand the process. Most other cities have moved away from subway transfer fees: you tap into the entire subway network, and you don’t tap out until you leave the network (if at all). So people from other cities would not thing of transfer-tapping, especially in the multipurpose mezzanines we have where people are going every which way simultaneously rather than going through a turnstyle.

      5. “That’s not how it works.”

        Are you sure? I have always wondered that, and ST has never said whether it’s OK to turn around or do a short stopover (e.g., to return a library book). Sometimes I miss my stop or I decide the trip will take too long so I switch to a different destination in the opposite direction, and I’ve always wondered whether an inspector would cite me if I don’t tap out and in. Of course, you can’t physically tap out and in at the same station without waiting fifteen minutes or so in between as I said above, so there is that. And I assume inspectors wouldn’t say anything if you’re going back just one or two stations. But if you go from UW, pick up a library hold at Rainier Beach or stop at some unique taco truck, and go back to Beacon Hill, happily paying the lower UW-Beacon Hill fare, the inspectors may frown at that and accuse you of theft. Or would they? ST has never said what exactly you can and can’t do in these situations.

      1. Yes, if price is irrelevant (e.g. a business trip) rail won’t compete. But unless you are in a large group or have lots of luggage, I think most people would happily save $30 for 20 additional minutes of their time. And some frugal corporations (like Amazon) might tell their employees they will only reimburse the cost of transit.

        For some of the Eastside, Stride to TIBS is also a good option.

      2. Problem is, Daniel, how few of your fellow Smith Tower workers, and their clients, can afford a helicopter from Harborview, even if they’ve got the “connections” to get one of those red and white Coast Guard ships.

        And there’s still the chance your cab will get stuck in traffic on your way up Jefferson to Ninth. Though, if you happen to be deputized to a certain recently-formed Federal police force, your car trip to the Airport may very well give you the necessary unmarked car, flasher, siren, executioner’s license and all, to outpace the train.

        So Link will just have to learn to live with the fact you don’t like it. Don’t fret. Those LRV’s don’t hold grudges. Even if the audio message does keep saying “Everett” all the way to Angle Lake.

        Could be a problem, though, if your clients’ books start telling them your train-aversion is costing THEM serious money, but guess that’s cost of doing business. Name of the game is to always make the cost be THEIRS.

        Fairness does demand, though, that I face the fact that those KIRO crash-reports every single morning are exactly the kind of FAKE NEWS that a certain alphabetical “Anon” was created to defeat. In real life, is “Dave Ross” really GEORGE SO-ROSS?

        And that guy with the pizza parlor in NYC had still really better watch it. Same for the Kosher Deli that’s being sneaked into U-District Link Station to illegally turn it into Brooklyn.

        Anyhow, you’re right about the need for a Bellevue-SeaTac Link line via Renton. Will write the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce to back you up.

        Mark Dublin

      3. “If rail ran straight down 405 to the airport …”

        No way Jesse Tanner would have let that happen.

      4. So my nearest Link stop is TIBS, and pre-COVID when I was heading home I’d fairly regularly encounter business travellers obviously heading for the airport, and even discussing company business openly between them.

        anecdotal to be sure, but short of sending out surveys we’re not going to get actual data on this point. It may not be common for the ivory towers to whom cost isn’t remotely a consideration, but I wouldn’t say it’s uncommon at all for businesspeople to use Link to get to SeaTac.

      5. “ Rail to the airport from the eastside won’t be worth the time. You still have to get to the station,, then catch East Link, then transfer in Seattle for the milk run to the airport, then walk several hundred yards to the terminal. . Easily over an hour, maybe 90 minutes.”

        I would suggest that the wait time between trains has a big impact on using Link. If trains are every 10 minutes or less, it’s not as long as 90 minutes unless it’s sometime like late on a Sunday evening.

        ST says it’s 55 minutes here but I’m thinking it does include waiting for a train: https://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/bellevue-downtown-factsheet-aug2020.pdf

        At worst, it should be no longer than 75 minutes most of the time.

        Also, driving and taking a shuttle from a remote lot takes time. Airport traffic is awful much of the day. The close garage is better but very expensive.

        The biggest trip drawback for the transfer is the missing down escalators at the Downtown transfer stations. That means carrying a roller bag down about 50 stairs or waiting for a slow elevator that can’t hold more than 2-3 people with bags in one trip. Only an idiot or an arrogant non-riding jerk would think that this penalty will be unimportant to users — like the Board members and senior staff that never bring the topic up.

      6. I’m not sure the transfer at IDS is really going to be the fastest way from DT Bellevue to SeaTac. Intuitively, I would expect a STRIDE->Link transfer at TIBS to be faster, except when I-405 is a parking lot.

        The reverse direction transfer at IDS makes more sense for other trips (e.g. Rainier Valley->downtown Bellevue, or Overlake->SeaTac).

      7. I’ve ridden the 560 from downtown Bellevue to the airport before. It’s a comfortable but slow ride. Probably more comfortable than Link, and not much slower overall. Not sure which I would prefer if I lived in (downtown) Bellevue or worked there. Quite possibly the 560 because you can just chill on it and it’s not too crowded. Once it changes into Stride, not sure if I would prefer Link after all.

      8. Let’s be clear about Stride. It only stops at the BTC and every other Stride stop is over 1-2 miles from Downtown Bellevue.

        Link stops at six Bellevue Stations and a seventh is just beyond the city limits in Overlake. By 2025, there will be three more in Redmond. While Stride is convenient in Downtown Bellevue, anyone else riding Link won’t hop off to catch Stride across a street then catch Link again from a stop in the middle of the freeway sunk at an elevation below the ground level — especially with bags. They’ll just stay on the train and transfer once. That’s one station for Stride and every other Link station for staying on Link.

      9. People will likely take whichever mode is most convenient to their starting point. For most, that is Link, but for others that will be Stride.

        What’s more interesting is if someone is arriving at Bellevue TC by another means (such as a local bus). I think Stride will actually be the better transfer except for perhaps the afternoon commute (bus will be more crowded and 405 HOT will have some congestion). There are only 2 stops between Bellevue and TIBS, which should make for a quick trip when 405 is free flowing, assuming the diversion to the Renton TC is quick.

    2. I’m not a fare technology expert , but here are some answers:

      -I thought that tapping on makes your fare active for a period of time. The instruction needs to be merely made to transferring Link riders using automated announcements and fixed signs to not tap off. I believe that the orca system is coded to deduct a fare and give you a length time regardless if you have tapped off and on again or not. At least that’s how it should be. Once you tap on, you can tap on and off as many times as you want in the time window should be the policy coded into the system, right? It would help if there were three beeps if your fare was still active.

      – Fares can simply be set to be “as the crow flies”. That’s an easy thing to calculate and implement. I’m not sure if ST would do that. It would be unfair to charge someone going from Mt Baker to Judkins Park for the length of the two-train path, for example.

      1. Al S., I’ve been assured by a source I trust that next Thursday’s ST board meeting will create an ORCA card arrangement I can live with. By electronic fare’s very nature, this shouldn’t be a hard one.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Correct – if you tap off and then tap back on in the time window , it’s not a ‘new’ trip but a free transfer.

        I always read “distance based fares’ as ‘fares that go up the further you travel in the system’ not literally a mathematic function of distance traveled. The fare table is a 2-D grid where you match the column & row with your station start & end and determine a fare. This is how it seems to work for WMATA and BART?

      3. – Fares can simply be set to be “as the crow flies”. That’s an easy thing to calculate and implement. I’m not sure if ST would do that. It would be unfair to charge someone going from Mt Baker to Judkins Park for the length of the two-train path, for example.

        I can’t come up with any reason why anyone would get on the train at Mt Baker, go to ID/CS, immediately transfer, and head to Judkins Park to get off the train, other than to enjoy the ride.

        Regardless, while charging for the distance the crow flies may seem intuitively more fair (and using subjective definitions of fairness is a poor way to build a fare system) consider that riders going from Redmond to UW will have their fare reach a peak at ID/CS, and come down as they stay on the train to UW.

        The question then is whether ST wants those riders to opt to ride ST Express 542 instead. If they want that, then charging for distance the train traveled makes sense. If they want riders to opt for riding Link, then having a flat Link fare that is less than the ST Express fare makes more sense.

      4. Whenever you pay a fare or transfer surcharge, it gives you two hours for free transfers or tapout/tapins.

        When Link reaches Everett and Tacoma there will be the possibility of trips longer than two hours. Tacoma to Everett would be around 2:20. Tacoma to Redmond would be right around 2:00. ST hasn’t said how it would deal with this.

  5. There sure have been a lot of Link closures this year. This is at least the 2nd or 3rd titled “System Upgrade” – if it’s software they should be able to do that overnight without shutting down the system.

    I’m sure glad that with Covid I’m not trying to ride the route 255 from Kirkland to Seattle. Seems like almost every weekend there is a disruption that makes a 15-20 minute trip into an hour. We’ve had several Link system upgrades, we’ve had 520 bridge closures, we’ve had Montlake offramp closure, we’ve had Montlake Bridge closure. In every case it’s meant either a huge route 255 detour, still to U-District (sometimes ending at NE 15th, not even at the Link stop) or else a Link closure. Not once has there been a reasonable Kirkland-Seattle travel time. The duplicitous messaging was that UW truncation would make service more reliable. It makes it craptastic. The only reason no one is complaining is that no one is riding. But it has proven that no one at the agencies cares to think about providing reasonable service when there is a disruption, and adding 520/MontlakeBridge/Link has meant lots of disruption and then blithely providing ridiculous inefficient s**tty service. It reminds me of the joke Boston MBTA ads: “We don’t care. We don’t have to.” The other ad was “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”

    1. On the contrary, the 255’s truncation is the only reason the route has frequent service at all. If the route continued to go downtown, we’d likely be looking at hourly service replacing 30-minute service at least some of the evening/weekend period. I would personally much rather put up with a transfer between two 15-minute routes than have to deal with hourly service.

      And that’s not even getting into the fact that not everybody who rides the bus is going downtown. Travel between Kirkland and anywhere in Seattle north of the ship canal has become much, much easier with the restructure. Not only do you get more frequent service, you also get all the bus connections at the UW, without having to backtrack downtown.

    2. There sure have been a lot of Link closures this year.

      This is probably the best year to have those closures. Ridership is down in part because of Covid, and the train runs infrequently. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are avoiding Link for both reasons.

  6. Carl, we’re six months into a worldwide medical and economic collapse, that those who expected kept their mouths shut about ’til it’s too late.

    Is there any chance that, all things considered, and especially compared to people whose office includes the US Presidency, at every level our transit system is doing the best anybody can?

    Mark Dublin

  7. But luckily, in a few hours, [OT] will mean [OPEN THREAD]. So we can start having a long-overdue discussion as to how we start exercising the ownership over our transit system to which our votes and taxes entitle us.

    There is a reason, though, why worker-owned cooperatives are so few in America. If you’re the owner, not only is your name on all the “papers”, but you’ve got even less union protection than the average US worker.

    Maybe, with complete respect for Black Lives Matter, whose intransigence is its real contribution, where we need to start is with a Movement.

    Wherein we assemble Lawfully and Meaningfully to put our knowledge and experience to whatever use we can to get our trains and buses straightened out. What can we repair, and what and whom must we replace?

    Perhaps our first order of business can be to figure out what we can all do to make The Seattle Transit Blog work as well as it can. As the Movement’s leading means of communication. Or other Courses anybody thinks might lead to Action.

    Since Western State’s so very likely full, we’re really got no choice.

    Mark Dublin

  8. Somebody needs to check tomorrow morning to see if the center platform at PSS is still there. This undefined closure raises real questions.

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