One feature of some of King County Metro’s paper schedules is the inclusion of connections to downtown Seattle as part of the timetable. It is also available on the PDF versions of the schedules, which is the same as the paper ones. This is done on certain routes where a transfer to downtown Seattle is common. Here is an example:

The timetable for route 187 includes connections to routes 577 and 578 (image: King County Metro)

While this example makes it painfully obvious that some connections just don’t work very well (such as the 29 minute wait coming from Seattle on the last trip), the fact that this is included does make it easier to use for someone who wants to get to Seattle. They don’t need to open up two different schedules to find how their trip will go; they just need this one. What if King County Metro did something similar for connections to Link?

A great candidate for this kind of schedule would be route 255. Having recently been shortened to UW Station, Metro’s intention is clearly for most riders to transfer to Link, even going so far as to modify the road configuration and add a bus signal to bring the bus stop closer to the light rail station. Surprisingly though, the PDF schedule for route 255 does not include a Link connection in the way that the schedule for route 187 does, despite the transfer to Link Light Rail being much more common. If it did, then the schedule could look something like this:

A portion of the timetable for route 255 modified to add a Link transfer to downtown Seattle

Not only does this seem to be feasible, but for routes like route 255 and many others (and even more beginning October 2), connecting to Link is a very important feature that deserves special emphasis. Riders of the old 255 who are confused by the recent changes can see how to get to downtown with the new 255. And if Metro is considering truncating other routes to a Link station in order to expand service levels, they can offer the inclusion of a Link connection in the schedule as a way to make the transition easier for existing riders.

And though connection information like this is not available on the web-based non-PDF versions of schedules on their website, it could be added with a bit of effort. In fact, the web version could offer more connections than just Link. For example, there could be a drop-down allowing users to select other potential connections, such as to route 70 for South Lake Union.

44 Replies to “Improving Metro bus schedules with Link connections”

  1. As someone who transfers between Link and Metro Route 50, I see some basic challenges to this:

    1. Link runs so frequently that a bus could always wait for the next train arriving in just a few minutes. Link train transfers go in both directions and don’t often arrive simultaneously. At a more infrequent Sunday 15 minute schedule, a train arrives on average 7.5 minutes.

    2. This station can take up to 4 minutes to get from a Link platform to a bus stop or it can take less than a minute. Example: The westbound 50 stop requires crossing two streets at a signal with left turn phases at all approaches to get to or from Link. No pedestrian can cross legally during a double left turn phase. Even when buses are right above or below a Link entrance, it takes time to change levels via stairs or elevators.

    3. Buses in particular are often late by 0-5 minutes. All it takes is a sudden disruption — wheelchair loading, refuse truck collecting on the street, bicyclist on the street, etc.

    While schedule coordination would be great late at night when both Link and bus schedules are less frequent than 20 minutes or less, it’s just not that worthy of exact coordination in published schedules.

    What would help? These things:

    1. I would rather see a column that just lists Link frequencies in the schedule.

    2. I would also like to see a small real-time arrival sign above an Orca kiosk or the beginning of stairs listing the wait time for the next coming bus at the nearby stop. It would advise a rider whether or not to hurry to their stop.

    3. I do think that Metro should idle buses at Link station stops if buses are running ahead of schedule (rather than the stop before), and the scheduling should default to waiting an extra minute at a Link station stop at off-peak times.

    I can’t think of any other changes that should be made.

    1. A slow blink of some platform lights at Link stations as a two minute arrival alert (visible from away) would be a great thing to have too.

    2. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. In a lot of cases (like the one you mentioned) it takes a long time to get from the bus to the train. In contrast, it doesn’t take long to get from one transit center stop to another. The other thing the schedule does is tell you where that stop is. Combine that with an infrequent express run and this offers riders a lot of information. This just isn’t true with Link.

      1. That’s a good point about transit centers, RossB. Having drivers visually see riders getting off another bus is invaluable. Then, it’s more than appropriate to list the connection in the printed schedule.

        This gets why I’ve been tirelessly advocating for level Link cross-platform transfers at SODO for trains headed in the same direction. ST could time trains to always meet and build an extra 30 seconds to give riders time to walk 20 feet to transfer. That’s on top of providing routing flexibility if one line has a downstream blockage if there are same-direction switching tracks..

        The current WSBLE plans don’t offer this except maybe in one direction at ID/C Station.

  2. For busses that tie in to Link, I think it may be helpful to indicate a range of estimated Link wait + travel times to major destinations like UW, Westlake, airport, but not necessarily specific Link departure/arrival times. The “pessimistic” Link time would give people an idea of how long after you get off the bus you can expect to be at your inbound destination, or, when to get to a Link station to make sure you can reliably catch a specific outbound bus. As said above, Link is pretty frequent, and there is inherent variability in bus arrival times (less for departure times, granted).

  3. At least posting the departure time of the next train feels like the right thing to do, so people know how much time to allow. At least for those that still look at KCM pdfs, rather than rely on a phone app to pull up schedules for them.

    It should be noted that the amount of time to get from bus stop to train can very a lot from person to person. For me, it’s a pretty consistent two minutes, although for someone who doesn’t have Orca or is unable to walk down the escalator, it’s going to be longer.

    Also, the 255 is very often early, as the official schedule seems to assume rush hour traffic congestion 24×7 and has a ton of unnecessary padding attached during off peak hours. So, a train that’s scheduled to depart one minute after the bus arrives, you can actually make if all goes well.

  4. Many of the connecting services are frequent enough you don’t even need a Link schedule. (For the purposes of this post 30 is good enough for me.) Where it would be most helpful to have the Link times:
    -If you have a coverage route that feeds many people from an outlying neighbourhood to the nearest Link station. The portions of the new 20 from Lake City to Northgate and 79 from Sand Point to University would fit this definition.
    -If you have a once-hourly route, it’s be helpful to know how to time your Link trips so you’re not out there waiting for long.

  5. Just to boil it down a bit. As I see it, the schedule above does several things:

    1) Lists the number of the bus that goes downtown.
    2) Shows where you can catch that bus.
    3) Describes when you are likely to have a very long wait.
    4) Gives a rough idea of how long it will take to get downtown.

    The first two are the most important, and yet they don’t apply to Link. They go along with the third. The worst situation is when you have a tight connection, but miss it because you aren’t sure where to make it. For the most part, you won’t have a really long wait for Link, which means that while it is nice to know the frequency, you won’t be left waiting anywhere near as long as some of the times shown here. Furthermore, Link transfers often require a lot of walking, so it is hard to tell whether you will be able to catch that next train or not (it depends on how fast you walk). When Link does run infrequently (at night) the buses should be timed accordingly (with a comfortable, but not especially tight connection). If Link is running really infrequently, we obviously have bigger problems that no amount of bus scheduling or documentation can fix.

    The last item would be nice to know, but I’m not sure if it is worth much effort. Folks who are on a tight schedule probably use Google (or some other software) to figure out the schedule, which can also include walking distance.

  6. Today has Covid traffic and Covid service. It might be more useful to consider fall 2019 service or winter 2022 service. ST should run Link and its key routes on short headway for short waits. This is not the time to save funds; now is the time to make the network sing. Metro and ST could restructure more bus routes to meet Link and consolidate service patterns to provide better service frequency and shorter waits. The agencies appear to be waiting for Link to restructure. But, the south corridor could be much improved through consolidation. Route 594 could serve Federal Way and skip SODO; Link serves SODO. Route 594 could use the inbound pathway of routes 577 and 578; the Metro routes that serve SODO could also shift to Seneca Street. SDOT has provided a bus lane on Spring Street; the Federal Way and Tacoma routes could use that and provide less distribution through the CBD. Reduce waits; feed Link; run all services more frequently. The same approach could be applied to SR-520 service and meet Link at the UW Stadium Station. I-5 will be jammed again soon.

    1. The problem with having the 594 skipping the SODO area is that some riders do use that route to get to the Stadium area for events there. Doing the 577/578 routing means backtracking to get to the stadiums. Going back south, those attending events at Lumen Field will simply take the bus at 2nd and Jackson. Those attending at T-Mobile park will have to go uptown to catch bus at 2nd and Jackson

      1. The SODO busway was built to get buses out of I-5 traffic downtown. Returning them to I-5 means returning them to congestion and a road over capacity.

      2. Mike, the problem is that now the buses have to turn at Royal Brougham and make that quarter mile of hell on Fourth South. When the busway was opened and for twenty years after most simply cruised into the tunnel. The busway is great; there’s no doubt about that. But it is significantly less great than it was before Link-only tunnel operation.

      3. In their infinite wisdom, the planners for ST3 will eliminate the Stadium station from the new tunnel being built that is to connect to the MLK/Tukwila/Federal Way branch of Link (once called the Blue line, no idea what it has been renamed.) So T-Mobile park event attendees either need to crowd onto the other Link line and ride one stop to Sodo or ID if they want Ballard or MLK/Tukwila/Federal Way destinations. Not all that different than what you describe for the 577/578 routing.

        Events that draw big crowds like concerts or full stadiums and that let out all at once would have been best served by both lines having a stop at or near Royal Brougham. It’s also where Greyhound located their terminal. It’s too bad that they didn’t work harder to put a station at or near the tunnel portal.

      4. Stadium Station is little used except when it isn’t. I think Yogi Berra said that ;-) Point being that if it’s a surface line, sure put in a platform. But I don’t think you can justify an underground station. Bellevue did the portal thing to save money which I think was a big mistake.

      5. It doesn’t need to be a tunnel station. The tunnel surfaces in the bus base, so it would be straightforward to have a surface station, even if it isn’t directly connected to the existing station. Just provide a walking route to Royal Brougham.

      6. The ability to reach Stadium Station is one more reason why we should be strongly advocating for level cross-platform transfers at SODO as well as interoperability of train tracks with flying junctions near SODO station. That would give ST the option of running special trains from either branch (West Seattle or SE Seattle/S King on game days) or simply make it easy for riders to walk across the platform to connect to the next transferring train. Why we are not planning a level cross-platform transfer — giving a 20 foot walk to transferring riders at every train door on the platform (as opposed to forcing riders up and down using lots of narrow stairs or smaller elevators) — is short-sighted from both a rider effort as well as station platform capacity standpoint.

        As it now stands, game days will see big escalator and stair congestion at Westlake, ID or SODO because those rider surges will be forced to use the stairs or elevators when transferring to a train headed for the station.

        As I’ve pointed out before, there could even be regularly alternating trains between the two northern lines and two southern lines. If a train line doesn’t go to the desired destination station, a rider can get on the first train and transfer at SODO or wait for the second train.

        Once Judkins Park Station is open, it would be possible to run bus shuttles between Mt Baker and Judkins Park during track reconfiguration around SODO Station.

  7. It seems like this would be a particularly important change going the other way. E.g., you are on one of the last Link trains from the airport and you have to transfer at Beacon Hill to the 36.

    Link has a timetable, even though the perception is that it doesn’t have one. I see no reason to not add it to the timetables like this.

    Pre-pandemic, Jefferson Transit had a schedule on their web site of SeaTac (Link) Seattle (Washington State Ferry) Bainbridge Island (Kitsap Transit) Poulsbo (Jefferson Transit) Port Townsend so that it was possible to have the entire connection series needed to get from SeaTac to Jefferson County in a single schedule. I don’t see what the problem would be for Metro to include Link in some of its timetables.

    1. For the fall service change – LINK trips that are in service to Beacon Hill will be extended to Stadium Station instead. Some night owl trips on the Rapid Ride “E” line will be extended to Stadium Station to meet with these trains.

  8. Are Metro and Sound Transit schedule changes always simultaneous? Otherwise you have an issue with printed schedules with wrong information (especially if using exact times).

    1. PS: Longtime reader but first post!
      Formative childhood along Green Line in Newton Center; first Metro #6 along Aurora to science center summer camp; took Amtrak coach from Seattle to Miami (via NYC) with my future wife. Now love taking my 2 kids on transit rides all around the city. Love the site and discussion of transit and related issues, keep up the good work! :)

    2. Metro and Sound Transit have simultaneous service changes every March and September. Next September’s change is postponed to October to coincide with Northgate Link’s opening. Previous Link extensions started before a regular change, but this time it’s simultaneous. Which means we’ll have to hope the opening goes smoothly because the bus network will assume it’s there.

  9. It would be nice if Metro had any timed transfers. In my many years of riding the bus around the Seattle area, I have never encountered an infrequent Metro bus route that was timed with connecting routes.

    If I had a nickel for every time I had to wait 30 minutes (or more!) to transfer between Metro buses…

    By contrast, Intercity Transit is very good at timing their routes.

    1. Past a small network size, it gets really hard to time transfers reliably, since there’s multiple, competing route pairs that could be timed, and those pairs would have to be re-evaluated potentially every service revision. Throw in traffic, and it’s basically impossible.

      1. I agree. I think for Metro, what is critical is matching up routes that go to the same places. Not only overlapping routes (that like a spine*), but also routes that serve the same big areas, but in a different way. For example, the 65 and 75 both serve Lake City, Children’s Hospital, U-Village and the UW. Thus it would be really nice if they were timed. They aren’t, unfortunately, because the 65 runs every 10 minutes, while the 75 runs every 15. They should both run every 12 minutes, and be synchronized, giving riders an effective 6 minute frequency between Lake City and Children’s/U-Village/UW. Even worse, the 65 and 75 take different paths through the UW, which is nuts, as you’ve lost any opportunity to get good frequency.

        This can get complicated though. For example, I think the 45 should line up with other buses covering the very popular segment between Roosevelt Station and the UW on the key corridor (Roosevelt/Ravenna/Ave). The 45 should also be timed with the 44 for service to UW Hospital. If we finally add a 61, then it should be timed with the 45, so that riders along 85th can use either bus to get to Link, or just along that popular corridor. There can be a domino effect, and it could easily be impossible to improve every combination.

        For some areas, you should have enough frequency so that it doesn’t matter. Third Avenue is the obvious example, but the same is true from 5th and Northgate Way to the Northgate Transit Center, or Uptown to downtown. Once you get enough buses, you should be able to get below a two minute wait, making it very difficult, and far less important to time things.


    2. I think Bonney Lake has a timed Sounder->bus connection on weekday evenings, to the point where if the train is late, the bus will wait. Offhand, that’s the only example I can think of.

  10. There is no real reason to show connections to Link on the route 255 schedule. At virtually all times of day and days of week, it’s 10-15 minutes faster to change to/from a bus that still goes downtown at one of the freeway stations. The 255 truncation is a disaster as to its inconvenience including constant construction disruptions.

    1. I wonder if this will still be true in a few months after things are open and I-5 between the U-District and downtown is a parking lot for 8+ hours per day. By October, there will be Link connections to the north as well, which would be more convenient in the U-District than downtown.

    2. Some of those routes will go away when East Link opens, particularly the 545.

      1. There is no good reason for the 545 to go away. Unless you think that all travel from Redmond to Seattle needs to go across Mercer Island.

        Also, we are spending $$$ to build an HOV connection between SR-520 and the I-5 Express lanes. Remind me again why the new SR-520 bridge project was called something like “The SR-520 HOV and Transit project” if we don’t plan to operate transit service. Sure built fancy stations and lanes.

        Maybe it’s time to toll I-5 through Seattle or to dedicate a lane to transit, rather than make it an SOV free-for-all and send transit on indirect routes through unreliable bridges that have to open for pleasure boats.

  11. One of the issues for East Link is it will not access S. Lake Union or First Hill. The other issue is the farther north of Bellevue you live and the farther north of downtown Seattle you are going to the more circuitous the route Link takes to Seattle, and the farther northeast East Link runs the more commuters who live towards Sammamish and Issaquah are not served by East Link.

    Like Northgate Link, I still believe some express buses will run from the eastside to Seattle after East Link opens. It was only recently ST decided to eliminate all buses to Seattle (at least across I-90) after East Link opens (after Mercer Island and ST entered into the Nov. 7, 2017 settlement agreement), which many thought was just ST’s attempt to come close to its fantastical pre-pandemic ridership estimates for East Link.

    Adding a second seat to many commutes once East Link opens for areas and park and rides that do not directly serve East Link is one issue, the second is adding a third seat for those who work in SLU or on First Hill, (which today looks like a zoning error if the PSRC’s dream of TOD is the goal).

    The rub is the point of the bus intercept on Mercer Island is Bellevue’s desire to not serve as the bus intercept for non-Bellevue residents at the south Bellevue Park and Ride, which has 1500 stalls. But if someone in Sammamish or Issaquah or Renton commuting to Seattle is already in their car heading to a park and ride not served by East Link they will simply continue down I-90 or 405 to S. Bellevue. It is exactly what happens on Mercer Island today with the 550, especially when it accessed the transit tunnel, except that park and ride is 453 stalls. Bellevue residents are not going to be thrilled with a new 1500 stall park and ride that is full by 7 am, and like Mercer Island the license plate survey shows a majority of cars are from different cities.

    If Bellevue and Issaquah tell ST/Metro to continue some express buses during peak times into Seattle ST/Metro will. After all, the eastside subarea has paid 100% of the express buses despite ridership eastbound from Seattle, at a cost of nearly $1 billion by the time East Link opens, so money is not the issue (a legitimate concern Ross raises for non-peak riders on Northgate Link). Otherwise Issaquah and Sammamish will argue for expediting the $4.5 billion line from Issaquah to S. Bellevue due to open in 2041 that I think ST is having second thoughts about (for good reason, especially if East Link isn’t transformational on the eastside).

    Either AJ or Al said it well earlier: Northgate Link is suppose to be one of ST’s biggest successes when it really needs a success, with few other opportunities left, and it makes sense to run some express buses directly to Seattle for those who will face a two or three seat ride on Link so those riders don’t spoil the party.

    If later on it turns out bus truncation and Link are better than express buses riders will shift and the express commuter buses can be eliminated (although how does a commuter or rider get to SLU or First Hill).

    Same on the eastside with areas not directly served by East Link, except I doubt express buses on the eastside will go away because many commuter trips start with a drive to a park and ride, and I don’t think a bus after the drive to a park and ride to a train to Seattle (that does not serve SLU or First Hill) will be better, and eastside commuters don’t like transit to begin with, but can’t afford parking in Seattle so will be more critical. But so what: the eastside subarea can afford it, and my guess is the impact of East Link on the eastside will be meh.

    ST’s existential issue right now is either telling West Seattle and Ballard they don’t get rail, or selling ST 4, or something like a ST 4. Northgate Link and East Link are the last two opportunities IMO to positively affect important rider and voting blocks, so it has to work. If that means some express buses for commuters who otherwise will complain about the one thing Link was suppose to provide — shorter commute times — so be it. If that includes the 545 to avoid going around the lake then keep the 545.

    1. I’ve pointed out many times that there is no direct frequent bus from Judkins Park Station to First Hill and Cherry Hill. All East Link riders must first go Downtown to transfer once to get to these places. (The same lack of service also afflicts SE Seattle residents also trying to each these places directly.)

      The closest route to these places is Route 4, when ci stops just a few blocks from the station. Because it’s a trolleybus, it runs on wires and is challenging to reroute. It could run off-wire with battery power but that isn’t a good permanent solution. Plus, many STB supporters and to some extent Metro want to remove Route 4 entirely – calling it a waste. Meanwhile many Route 3 buses would continue to a very pricey single-family Madrona neighborhood.

      This is a major gap in direct service. Hopefully, the issue gets some love as East Link gets closer to opening.

    2. This is one on the reasons why there should be a bus-Link transfer point at Mercer Island. Buses from some location could get off at Mercer Island, allowing those commuters to go into Seattle on Link, and the bus could then continue to First Hill or some other location. Moving the transfer point to South Bellevue gives riders a great one seat ride between to park and ride lots.

      1. Problem is there isn’t good HOV access between MI station and buses heading to/from Seattle now that Link is in the center lanes. There is excellent HOV access between MI station and I90 for buses coming to/from the east, and the station area is designed for quick(ish) turnaround, but if a bus stops at the station and heads onward, I believe it will re-enter the freeway with GP traffic, plus the exit at Rainier Ave doesn’t have any bus priority. The significant delay between MI and Seattle is one of the reasons ridership on the 550 dropped off in recent years (in addition to the closure of the S Bellevue P&R)

        Even with the double-transfer, during peak it will faster to switch to Link to quickly move in/out of downtown, so this type of 1-seat route won’t be an improvement. Off-peak, I think KCM would be better investing in good frequency on the Madison RR and whatever route is running between Judkins Park and First Hill … it will be slower for riders from Issaquah, but they are a small fraction of riders going to/from First Hill.

        This is very different than an STX route from Redmond to UW, which is both significantly shorter distance than the comparable bus-Link option and has good bus infrastructure on the Seattle-side and therefore is may continue post Redmond Link.

      2. If the Rainier Ave exits are used, it could be useful to have transfers at MI rather than JP for First Hill connectivity. The advantage of JP is that SE Seattle connections are easier. It’s hard to have a stop that get a bus to/ from I-90 to/from First Hill as well as Link at Judkins Park.

    3. “the one thing Link was suppose to provide — shorter commute times ” … there’s more to good transit than speed. For trips between subareas, Link is more about reliability and capacity than speed; for some trips where Link is bypassing major congestion, notably getting in/out of downtown Seattle, crossing the Ship Canal, and crossing Lake Washington, Link will be considerably faster than alternative modes. But for many other trips, Link will not be faster than a point-to-point car trip, particularly if the driver has access to HOV/HOT lanes. Some people will choose a 45 minute drive over a 1 hour bus-train-bus trip, but many others will take the longer mode if it means saving hundreds of dollars on gas & parking and a much more relaxing, reliable, and healthy daily commute.

      Focusing on speed of commute trips is the same flawed framework that results in spending billions on High Speed Rail that runs hourly rather than a modestly slower train that runs every 15 minutes. It will be a bummer when a bunch of people find out their commute isn’t shorter post-Link, but then again a bunch of people are surprised to find their commute isn’t shorter every time WSDOT widens their freeway so not sure this disappointment could be avoided.

      1. Reliability X Capacity = Trip Time.

        No one is riding transit on the eastside because they want to. Yes, the partners drive and park, but the others riding transit to Seattle are doing it because they can’t afford parking (although that may be subsidized post pandemic), and in some cases congestion. All they care about is trip time. East Link is suppose to make trip times faster, and life better, not worse.

        Few things in life are more aggravating than a transit transfer for a commuter. They will avoid them by driving directly to a park and ride served by East Link. Problem solved. Or demand to work from home, or to a location on the eastside. They are not sheep, with ST the shepherd.

        “It will be a bummer when a bunch of people find out their commute isn’t shorter post-Link”.

        I take it you are not a politician on the eastside. When a bunch of commuters complain loudly to their elected officials and employers their commute is longer post East Link those elected officials — if they want to stay in office — are not going to tell them life and commuting can be a “bummer”. It is this kind of thinking that is why so many think ST and Metro are arrogant idiots, and waste so much money. I know it is an alien concept to Metro and ST, but they are suppose to serve the customer, even if they are not rich.

        Even worse they will begin to demand the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line be accelerated.

      2. Those elected leaders are the ones that insisted upon the current mess being what everyone on the Eastside wanted.

        Look up the BRISK concept that Ross B put together on this blog some years ago.

        Sure, transfers can suck. But what makes someone living in Issaquah and working in your building get priority treatment over someone living in Issaquah and working in Kent who might not now be able to get to their job at all because the frequency on their bus route has been cut back to the point it’s overcrowded, in order to pay for additional trip time for your favorite route to avoid a Link transfer?

  12. “Even with the double-transfer, during peak it will faster to switch to Link to quickly move in/out of downtown, so this type of 1-seat route won’t be an improvement”.

    Perhaps. That is what they said about commuters from Lake City, and yet express buses will continue. Plus the sheer aggravation of adding a transfer. A lot of eastside commuters are going to SLU as well. That means three seats, four if you count the drive to a park and ride.

    What you are missing is the number of commuters who will access the “feeder buses” from a park and ride to to get to a station served by East Link. They are already in their cars, and these are people who generally hate taking transit. History has shown they continue to the park and ride that avoids a transfer when commuting (they drive during non-peak times). That means S. Bellevue, which is exactly what Bellevue does not want, but can’t stop, as Mercer Island has learned.

    “Problem is there isn’t good HOV access between MI station and buses heading to/from Seattle now that Link is in the center lanes.”

    It is true the HOV lanes run in the outside lanes, but even pre-pandemic the buses were able to use the HOV lanes on the bridge span effectively to and from Seattle. Ridership fell off on the 550 nearly 1/3 when it lost access to the transit tunnel, and it will be interesting to see what ridership on the 550 is in Sept. when the S. Bellevue Park and Ride opens but the 550 does not access the tunnel.

    Of course, that raises a meta issue Anon raises, and that is what will the commuter ridership east to west be post pandemic. More and more on Mercer Island there is a feeling the litigation with ST is moot because the intensity Metro wants (20 articulated buses per hour peak hour) was based on ST’s fantastical pre-pandemic ridership of 43,000 to 52,000 riders/day (more than Northgate Link), which post pandemic will likely be half that figure, if that. Which solves most of the issues for East Link on the eastside, especially if the workers are working from home or working now on the eastside.

    Still that doesn’t solve the basic issue, which is I don’t think commuters to Seattle from Issaquah/Sammamish/Renton will drive to a park and ride to catch a bus to a train station to take a train to Seattle, and then some kind of transit to SLU if necessary. They will drive to S. Bellevue, because as you note they want the safety and convenience of access to the transit tunnel, but don’t want an extra seat (especially if they have to go to SLU or First Hill).

    In the end, it was naïve to think you could run a single rail line through east King Co. and design some kind of mandatory bus truncation around it, especially to meet inflated and artificial ridership estimates.

    ST and Metro do what Bellevue and Issaquah want on the eastside, and my guess is they will want some express buses. Or accelerating the start of the $4.5 billion line from Issaquah to S. Bellevue, which is not something ST probably wants to deal with right now (or in 2023). If I were ST I would rather run some express buses to see what works best and avoid the public complaints, rather than tell West Seattle and Ballard it is accelerating the start of the Issaquah to S. Kirkland line but no rail to those communities.

    For the same reason don’t be surprised if the 545 continues after East Link opens. Eastsiders are not keen on “truncation”.

    1. What math AJ? Each commuter or rider will determine whether their trip is faster or slower with Link, plus the aggravation of a transfer at either end. I don’t remember East Link being sold on longer trips or extra transfers, and I wouldn’t suggest telling the voters that crap about reading the fine details before voting, like car valuations.

      If their trip is slower plus a transfer or two they can raise that issue with their elected officials. As Ross has noted before, these commuters — especially Eastside commuters — are very good at organizing and publicizing their dissatisfaction. Just read Nextdoor, because every Pol does. After all, this is a city of 35,000 that demanded a $4.5 billion light rail line, and ST gave it to them.

      I can’t really believe the Issaquah and Bellevue councils, and ST, would let it get to that if they didn’t let it get to that with Northgate Link. If I know there is a problem with bus truncation from Issaquah they do. I thought I was so smart only I saw the same issues with Northgate Link, but they were way ahead of me.

      Transit — certainly if you spend $90 billion — is suppose to make peoples’ lives better. Otherwise you will never get them out of their cars.

      1. Everyone is not going to wind up with a single seat ride between all destinations in Puget Sound.

        How would you prioritize who has to transfer and who doesn’t?

        Just because you would prefer to stand for an hour on an overcrowded bus that runs once per hour, rather than actually get a seat on a much less crowded half hourly bus that transfers to Link, doesn’t mean that is everyone else’s preference.

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