Marketplace, an NPR program, ran an exposé on our local transit recovery, featuring yours truly. Although I wouldn’t necessarily dichotomize myself into the choice rider camp (per Jarrett Walker’s analysis on the subject), the segment does a reasonably balanced job highlighting different aspects of transit ridership. I especially appreciated the renewed focus on all-day travel, in particular Link’s recovery:
Local bus systems are adjusting to shifting commuter patterns. Express commuter routes from richer suburbs have been trimmed, and transit managers are trying not to touch routes in lower-income areas.
Ridership on Link is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels… That’s mostly thanks to riders like Cantero hitting up sporting events or restaurants or running errands throughout the day. There are fewer commuters, but more all-day travel.
It’s what gives local transit enthusiasts hope that the region can still be a model for transportation success. There are plans to triple the mileage Link covers in the coming years.
44 Replies to “Marketplace features Seattle’s transit recovery”
Public radio but technically not NPR
My sister shared the link with me. Well done Sherwin. On the margin, all riders are choice riders. The industry still uses the term “transit dependent” too much; it is not helpful. Even poor households decide how many trips to make on transit; they make choices. Transit agencies should not think they have a market segment in the bag; they should provide good service to induce ridership. Environmentally, auto dependency may be a larger issue.
“Even poor households decide how many trips to make on transit; they make choices”
Sure, low-income people can choose between transit and keeping a job, going to college, or buying groceries, but that’s not a choice people in a first-world society should have to make. “Transit-dependent” is accurate and unambiguous, and I can’t think of a clearer term. What’s even worse is when they feel they have to drive because transit doesn’t work for their trip pairs, because our transit is the most skeletal in the industrialized world.
“Transit agencies should not think they have a market segment in the bag”
Do agencies do that? I don’t see transit agencies being self-satisfied that they have a captive market, and unwilling to expand it for choice riders. Instead I see cities and the public underfunding transit, denying it the resources to expand service to, again, the average of industrialized countries. There can be different reasons for this, ranging from “Nobody wants to take transit anyway” to “I want ultra-low taxes”.
I think eddiew is referring to the fact that, even those without access to a private vehicle often do have choices, but the alternatives often involve significant tradeoffs. For example, maybe you have a friend, family member, or co-worker with a car that you could use, but you don’t want to be a burden on them, nor do you want to arrive where you’re going an hour early, just to accommodate the schedule of the person with the car.
And then, of course, there’s walking and bike. A trip that is two miles long, along a road for which a bus comes just once per hour is extremely common in suburbia. A 10-minute bike ride should be a viable alternative to having to wait 45 minutes for that bus. Except, all too often, it isn’t, not because of hills, rain, or the person’s physical abilities, but because the road you have to travel on is high speed, dangerous, and provides no safe place to ride. For better or worse, standing at a bus stop for 45 minutes at least gets you there in one piece, rather than dead or in the hospital. But, it shouldn’t have to be that way.
To argue Link ridership has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels without noting Northgate Link opened during the pandemic and was estimated to be part of Link’s highest ridership route (Northgate to CID) is a bit disingenuous. Hopefully ridership actually increases with the opening of East, Lynnwood and Federal Way Link, although the real metric is how much Link ridership is simply transferring bus riders tovLink.
Plus the Times has an article today noting Link is losing $100 million/year in unpaid fares and will begin more fare enforcement.
I agree and predicted that limited bus service would be allocated to those poorer areas where ridership remained high during the pandemic because those folks are ckearly not discretionary riders, and away from suburban/exurban commuter routes like the 550 and 554. In many ways the definition of discretionary transit rider post pandemic and WFH is someone no longer riding transit because they don’t have to.
Transit will survive in this region but as I have argued before coverage will shrink to maintain frequency in equity areas as farebox recovery declines.
“Plus the Times has an article today noting Link is losing $100 million/year in unpaid fares and will begin more fare enforcement. ”
I’m glad to see that Kent Keel has asked for staff to brief him in November about turnstiles.
They either need to go ‘free for all’, which would be tricky to make sure it wouldn’t cause more long term funding issues; or they need to enforce the fare, and turnstiles seem to be the simplest way of doing it. Plus the article says Calgary is debating turnstiles, and that St. Louis has already approved them. It seems like the beginnings of a trend.
IMO the feeble touchy-feely approach to fare enforcement they are going with won’t satisfy anyone on either side of the argument and will only lead to more disappointing fare collection results.
‘Free for all’ doesn’t have a funding problem, it has a brand and public perception problem. If something is free, it loses it’s value. When bus or train services are not valued they become scapegoated, blighted, and eventually defunded.
And turnstiles are soooo last millennium. http://www.turnstile.com/history/
Although “turnstiles” is a broad term, I think most people envision them as the old fashioned rotary devices with three prongs. I’ll be trying to use the term “fare gates” instead, like what DC Metro, BART, MARTA and other have. The simple open and close gates are quicker, can be ADA compliant and can automatically be switched to “open” if there is a fire.
Just a note too that SF Muni has POP rules with fare gates under Market Street but not out in the Avenues.. It can discourage fare evasion without having to give up on POP.
Free for all is just another way of stealing from those who are already being held at gunpoint. Enough with free stuff. It won’t get society as a whole anywhere but more debt.
Here Here buss_man, first thing we need to get rid of is free parking. Free bridges, free tunnels. Free road use, Free emergency response, free highway patrol. Free noise and air pollution. Car drivers are afforded $10 of government handout for every dollar they pay. It is absolutely time to stop the free car driver handouts.
That’s where “The High Cost of Free Parking” and Donald Shoup’s other books come in. Society is structured to hide the cost of car infrastructure from drivers and make it appear free or inexpensive. Oil subsidies, sales tax exemption, half of cities dedicated to roads and parking, free parking costs hidden in retail prices and rents, the state patrol, air pollution, collisions harming non-drivers, etc. Society is structured that way so that drivers and advocates of non-walkable neighborhoods can pretend their lifestyle is natural, low-cost, sustainable, and the American Dream.
Sorry you are being held at gunpoint, man. Should we send help?
Northgate extension has been open almost 11 months now. Sound Transit had not posted station boardings to explain its impact to date in any documents that I can find online. The Quarterly Ridership Reports prior to 2020 had them — but ST quit publishing the data and report publicly.
So we are all left to speculate on how much Link ridership has recovered versus how much is from new stations.
There really is no excuse for ST to suppress station boardings from public disclosure like they did for years! It’s endemic to the agency culture set by Rogoff to not disclose things until forced. Consider that the East Link delay was also an internal secret for months if not well over a year.
A savvy Board member (or perhaps a political opponent) could even get notoriety for calling the ST information suppression a “cover up”. Is a Freedom of Information claim possible against ST for not providing station boarding info?
Actually Al ST knew about the issues with East Link as early as 2019, or three years before disclosing them to the public (and apparently the Board although I wonder about that) when ST could no longer conceal the delay in opening.
“The agency also admitted it had known about some of the East Link construction issues since 2019, but opted not to inform the board until this year mistakenly thinking it had a handle on correcting the issues without jeopardizing timelines. This concealment will likely play into ongoing frustrations from boardmembers about being kept in the dark, particularly when it comes to bad news. Likewise, journalists, including those from The Urbanist, who pressed the agency on project timelines were generally given the run around and not clued in on the extent of issues. Incoming CEO Julie Timm has pledged to increase transparency and tighten up project delivery, but it appears the agency has a long way to go.”
The culture of secrecy during the Rogoff era will take time to fade. Let’s hope that the new CEO can use the initial honeymoon period to reveal the many ST secrets to the Board and public without carrying blame for them and reset the agency’s reputation. If not, Constantine could be really damaged in his next campaign for the weak or bad oversight of ST.
Daniel, you are forgetting the firehose of sales tax revenues when it comes to Metro. While, yes, ST probably has a problem since it has been relying on fare box projections paying for 40% of Link operations, total fare box revenue on Metro barely covered the cost of running the express overlay network. King County is on a tear, and there’s no sign that it will stop, especially with 120 degree days in “Aridzona”.
Since you have predicted, rightly I think, that the rush-hour peaks are likely to be much smaller in the future, there will be no need for the express network. The sales tax revenues — which are county-wide and therefore not Balkanized by “Sub-area Equity” and it is County Council edict [and practice] to allocate service where needed and used — the base network will be funded.
Of course, that does not solve the driver-availability issue, but semi-automated “truck trains” — four or five tractor-trailers running nose-to-tail under the control of a single driver in the lead unit with synchronized acceleration and braking — are going to make a lot of heavy-vehicle operators available over the next decade.
Will they wantto drive buses? Maybe not, but they won’t have much choice.
It would not surprise me if the first major automobile automation is for long distance trucking. From North Bend(WA) to Minnesota the trucks would run without drivers. From North Bend to Seattle they would use them.
Ross, maybe, but they’ve already run entrained multis in tests and they achieve huge labor efficiencies without the liability dangers of not having a “friendly witness” present when there is a crash.
I believe the carriers will prefer a sixty-seven to eighty percent reduction in labor costs to being at the mercy of hostile survivors.
Ross, I grant that autonomous trucks will probably be festooned with cameras, so there will probably be some “testimony” protecting the carriers.
Union Pacific and TuSimple are already working on automated trucking on the automated highway thing between Tucson and Phoenix.
Are these truck-trains programmed to pass each other at .5mph speed difference?
So, if I’m reading correctly, TuSimple has made six uneventful runs between Phoeniz and Tucson, presumably on I-10. Six. Yes, these are “early days”, but that’s a proof-of-concept, not a service.
The public will be up in arms about this, bank on it. And of course, they’ll be angry about the truck-trains as well, [cf Jim’s accurate and funny snark] but at least there is an operator visible in the front cab.
When does Julie take over?
Something seems seriously wrong with that claim of $100M/year in lost Link revenue.
The article says 39% don’t pay. That suggests “potential revenue” of $250M/year. But if you start with total Link boardings for July 2022, you only get total potential revenue of $73M, and “lost revenue” of $28M. That also overstates the amounts, as clearly not every boarding is a fare due to transfers, etc.
Similarly, if you look at revenue data for Link:
It confirms that there’s nowhere near enough revenue for $39M to be “lost”.
Or am I missing something here? I’d love to know what it is!
Napkin calculations here:
Monthly Boarding 2,185,700
Daily Boarding 72,857
Daily Revenue $200,356
Annual Revenue $73,129,879
“Lost” revenue $28,520,653
Also, some of the 39% who are supposedly not paying could actually be passholders who are simply not bothering to tap, since fares are not enforced. There really isn’t a way to know.
It’s important to look at monthly data rather than average weekday data when calculating anything with fare revenue. Saturdays and Sundays are almost always getting fewer riders than weekdays do.
That said, that would only create about a 5 percent variation. However, it’s the pass use that’s also in the mix. Plus if there is a transfer not all of the trip fare is credited to Link. The latter is probably a bigger factor than unlimited pass users forgetting to tap.
Then there are reduced fare users like students, seniors and low income riders. That also affects the fare revenue math.
Well those napkin calculations are based on monthly data already. And I agree with you about the other variations, but those would all reduce the amount of fare to be collected. My point was that “if there’s only 73M in potential fare, how are you losing 100M to fare evasion?” If those adjustments change the 73M to say 71M, the overall point stays the same.
Based on the huge crowds I used to see get off Sounder trains, with only several tap noises ( why was it necessary for ORCA 1 readers to be audible a block away at King Street?) I’m guessing there’s a fair amount of non-tap of passes.
I agree, Ken. My guess is they are lumping together revenue lost due to fewer riders with the loss due to evasion. They are different things.
Unfortunately, the Seattle Times piece doesn’t stipulate how they arrived at this $100M figure. Here is how they worded it:
“And if fare collections collapse, Sound Transit could wind up forfeiting close to $100 million per year in revenue…”
One possible calculation is as follows:
Total fare revenue in 30-year financial plan (YOE$): $8.326B
Average per year: $277.53M
39% fare evasion: -$108.2M
But it’s anyone’s guess really how the Times did the math.
According to Tisgwm’s calculations annual estimated farebox revenue is $277.53 million/year probably assuming all lines open along the way.
According to Ken annual fare revenue today is $73.129 million/year assuming a 100% fare paying percentage, using boardings X a full $2.75 fare.
That is a gap of $200 million/year before non fare payment.
Plus ST has recently admitted that based on new estimates today future maintenance costs were estimated $3 billion low.
Anyone see any problems with this picture?
Sorry, Dan, but your reasoning here is flawed. You’re ignoring the timeframe involved:
“According to Ken annual fare revenue today is $73.129 million/year…”
The key word there is TODAY. The figure calculated by Ken isn’t static. It is assumed in the financial plan to increase substantially as the system expansions come online and ridership increases. There will inevitably be periodic fare increases over the 30-year cycle as well.
With that said, the Seattle Times article really should have clarified how it arrived at the figure cited.
So it looks like the Seattle Times updated that article. The original version read:
“Sound Transit says it is forfeiting close to $100 million per year in fares.”
while the article now says:
“And if fare collections collapse, Sound Transit could wind up forfeiting close to $100 million per year in revenue”
That may or may not still be inflated, but at the very least it seems like a more plausible claim.
Tisgwm, I did try to note that total farebox recovery (but not percentage of costs) would increase as more lines opened. Although most of those lines are delayed now the irony is that probably helps ST’s operational shortfall since farebox recovery is suppose to be 40% of operations.
2018 was the high water mark for farebox recovery at 30%. It dropped in 2019, then plummeted, and arguably UW to CID will have the highest ridership and should come closest to ST’s farebox recovery percentage goal. Lines like Federal Way, Lynnwood and East Link will probably be closer to 20% recovery post pandemic at best which is what Northgate to CID is today if the fare paying percentage were closer to pre-pandemic and can be restored.
I don’t know how ST calculated annual farebox recovery in the $8.2 billion figure you cite or whether that includes the five year extensions in opening some lines. Al is spot on when pointing out ST refuses to release meaningful data, and when ST refuses to release info it is usually bad, like waiting three years to point out the issues with the plinths.
Although it is impossible to calculate actual shortfalls in farebox recovery because ST does not give us the data Rogoff did raise this as maybe ST’s major issue in his last presentation to the Board on June 1.
From the beginning ridership estimates were inflated and a 40% recovery rate probably double actual recovery when all lines are open, with 30% likely on the UW to CID route as in 2018. If farebox recovery today using Ken’s very generous formula that assumes 100% payment is around $73 million on Central Link is it likely the other lines when open will result in $277 million/year farebox recovery which is the AVERAGE using your $8.2 billion total figure? That is $200 million/year in farebox recovery for those remote lines. I don’t think so, although I can’t give you the precise shortfall year by year because ST won’t release the data.
Pre-pandemic ST’s farebox recovery rate was inflated to lower general taxes to sell levies. Post pandemic that only got worse. Going to a no fare enforcement policy made things worse. So ST is beginning in a deep hole. But I don’t see a way out of the hole because the ridership will never be close to estimates, fare paying percentage is much lower than estimates, and future maintenance costs much higher (40% of total estimated farebox recovery — $3 billion/$8.2 billion).
Meanwhile ST recently announced its estimated future maintenance costs were estimated $3 billion low.
So although I — and none of us — can give you the precise shortfall in farebox recovery, just using 20% instead of 40% of $8.2 billion gets you in the ballpark of the shortfall overall, ASSUMING around a 95% fare payment percentage and ASSUMING ridership much closer to estimates. Then divide by years of operation.
To be honest I think the Times’ article is close: $100 million/year, although there is now $3 billion in additional future maintenance to factor in.
What do you estimate the annual shortfall in farebox recovery to be today and in the future.
I think it’s important to mention that the big predictive failure is not the ridership forecasts but is instead the capital and operating costs. It’s almost laughable at how easy it is to get sucked into things like one station location theoretically attracting 200 fewer daily riders than another while costs to build things have been off by as much as 50 or 75 percent. Ridership models are based on current behaviors projected into the future, and behavioral changes could result in demand shifts. Heck even the popularity of the Mariners from one season to the next can result in demand shifts! The last two reported Link months showed about a 5 percent increase in ridership between June and July and that is just in a single month!
Curiously, the station forecasts from the WSBLE were wildly different between the DEIS and the forecasts provided to STB in 2020 (https://seattletransitblog.com/2020/01/27/sound-transits-station-ridership-in-2040/). The difference was barely discussed.
Al, the underestimated project cost estimates in ST 1 are already baked into the route. ST 2 which mostly had to do with East Link is significantly over budget due to the bridge span but ST tax revenue in the Eastside subarea has soared so East Link is easily funded. N. King Co. had the revenue for its part of ST 2.
ST 3 has a few specific subarea issues.
Although Issaquah to S. Kirkland may be the least necessary line the subarea can afford the cost of construction even with the 30% contingency.
N. KC can afford Graham St. and 130th and probably another $8 to $10 billion. What it can’t afford is DSTT2 or WSBLE with or without DSTT2 at around $20 billion.
The other subareas have reasonable project designs even if not the ridership for light rail. Especially if they are not required to contribute to DSTT2.
Link to Everett and to Tacoma Dome might have to be abandoned or reconfigured. But if WSBLE is eliminated that leaves N. King Co. in good shape financially. Issaquah to S. Kirkland needs to be eliminated and the $4.5 billion used some place better, not because it is not affordable but because it is unnecessary (and I understand some on this blog don’t believe any expense for transit can be unnecessary even if no one rides it).
If capital funding could be converted to operations most subareas would be ok even though future maintenance is now estimated to cost $3 billion more and operations revenue based on ridership and farebox recovery will likely be around 50% of pre-pandemic levy estimates.
But again that is subarea specific because N. King Co. and East KC dwarf the other subareas in ST tax revenue. East King Co. is $600 million in debt but almost finished with East Link and it’s annual ST tax revenue is $600 million/year through 2044.
It is Snohomish, S. King Co. and Pierce that will run out of operations revenue because their capital projects will likely exhaust their capital revenue leaving nothing left over for operations (as will N. King Co. if it builds WSBLE).
I don’t think the Eastside subarea would get too worked up if ST asked the powers that be for other ideas to spend the money instead of the Issaquah line, especially post pandemic. I do think Seattle is much more political and tribal and cancelling WSBLE would require selling a better alternative first, or ST just saying WSBLE can’t be completed as desired without an additional $10 billion from Seattle taxpayers.
Although the Eastside is made up of many different cities in reality Seattle neighborhoods are like separate cities too. People in Madison Park don’t have a great interest in paying for tunnels in West Seattle.
Seattle is much more political and the communities interested in what benefits them (and many Seattleites tend to believe money grows on trees, which would be bad considering how rapidly Seattle is cutting down its trees). Transit is just a bigger issue in Seattle.
So if some rational person looked at the situation they would see there is a total ST revenue pie for each subarea for capital projects and operations. So you begin by fully funding operations and maintenance based on the true costs and see how much each subarea has left over for capital projects.
For N. King Co. that means eliminating WSBLE and finding something less expensive. Unfortunately for East King the Issaquah line would still be affordable except very bad transit. I am not sure about Pierce because it really hasn’t begun drawing down its subarea reserves although it’s annual ST tax revenue isn’t much compared to the cost of building light rail, or SnoCo that has bigger problems than Pierce based on its current burn rate and ST tax revenue. SnoCo, S. KC and Pierce will also likely have farebox recovery that is quite low.
The money is there for operations if that funding is prioritized over capital projects. Unfortunately the Board is made up of politicians so they prioritize capital projects and leave maintenance and operations funding for their successors.
“I don’t know how ST calculated annual farebox recovery in the $8.2 billion figure you cite or whether that includes the five year extensions in opening some lines.”
I don’t know how the agency makes this calculation in its 30-year financial plan either. I guess one could inquire and perhaps ask for the detailed ledger supporting the long-term financial plan, i.e., the one that ST used to publish that had the sources and uses by year for the entire plan period. (Actually at one time, ST used to publish their long-term financial plan that went out to 2060 I believe.) Unfortunately, the last year the agency published the financial plan in this format, with the year-by-year ledger as well as the actuals from 1997 to the most recently closed year, was with the 2017 financial plan. That report showed the cumulative fare revenues from all modes from 2017-2041 at $6.026B. The fare revenue started at $88M in 2017 and then escalating each year until it reached $416M in 2041.
The $8.2B figure cited in the most recent financial plan does indeed include the five year extension approved by the board in its latest capital program “realignment” decision.
“Al is spot on when pointing out ST refuses to release meaningful data, and when ST refuses to release info it is usually bad, like waiting three years to point out the issues with the plinths.”
I agree. Hopefully the Rogoff era of empty talk of transparency and accountability will become a distant memory.
Additionally, I think in your reply you may be conflating total fare revenues with Link only revenues. It’s important to keep that point in mind while having this discussion. The $8.2B figure refers to fare revenues from all modes. I believe Ken was attempting to make a calculation on fare revenues, and lost revenues from fare evasion, based on Link only data, if I’m not mistaken.
For the sake of argument, I went back and reviewed the annual fare reports* dating back to 2011. This data is presented here for reference:
In 2011, total fare revenues for Central Link light rail were $12.0 Million. Total operating costs were $49.8 Million, yielding a farebox recovery ratio of 24.2%.
In 2012, total fare revenues for Central Link light rail were $14.0 million. Total operating costs were $52.7 million, yielding a farebox recovery ratio of 26.6%.
2013 Actuals $14,845,952 $51,120,882 29.0%
2014 Actuals $15,876,943 $56,697,490 28.0%
2015 Actuals $18,211,873 $59,776,097 30.5%
2016 Actuals $30,789,791 $83,914,674 37%
2017 Actuals $38,019,746 $88,054,264 43%
2018 Actuals $41,637,005 $109,125,540 38%
2019 Actuals $43,241,285 $127,727,513 34%
2020 Actuals $11,330,360 $136,977,450 8%
2021 Actuals $15,591,469 $152,752,633 10%
To your larger points, in general I am in agreement with you. Sound Transit has a big problem on its hands with regard to the amount of fare revenue it expects to collect compared to its own plan. The other side of the ledger is a big problem as well as operational costs have been increasing faster than planned for. Rogoff’s parting message as he was packing his bags was a sobering one. I’m just not sure how much it registered with the current board.
*I would encourage readers to peruse these annual reports as they are chock-full of data that can be quite insight-provoking. For example, the reports show the breakdown of the type of fare received for each mode. Collectively, in 2019, the fares collected were as follows:
ORCA Business Passport 50%
ORCA Puget Pass 13%
ORCA E-purse 22%
Daniel, for N. King a Ballard to Westlake automated line would be much better in line with the financials and East King could build a Kirkland and Factoria/Eastgate gondola instead of an Issaquah light rail line as a gondola could serve 2 of the stations for far lower cost (construction and operations).
Those are very interesting ideas Martin. N. King has around $8 billion left after Graham and 130th considering ST keeps increasing its future maintenance costs. N. King should be able to do something good with $8 billon considering East Link to Redmond cost around $5.5 billion. Maybe the best bang for the buck is a different technology, but the tunnels need to go unless they interline with DSTT1 and that is it. Little point to spend $4.2 billion on DSST2 if you only have $8 billion. I know Al is a big proponent of at least studying this alternative.
For East King Co. anything is better than Issaquah to S. Kirkland, in large part because there is nothing in between such a long route. Renton seems like the natural spot but Renton is … Renton, or as Kemper would say why the Eastside built Factoria Mall.
So maybe Link north to Bothell. It makes sense on the Eastside for Link to follow the freeways because unlike Seattle that is how the cities have grown. A gondola from downtown Kirkland to the top of the hill is interesting enough that Kirkland might go for it in its downtown. No way surface Link is ever going to downtown Kirkland. If it isn’t good enough for Bellevue it isn’t good enough for Kirkland.
But a scenic gondola up the hill to a Link station sounds like a perfect match for Kirkland.
Thus quoteth DT: “According to Ken annual fare revenue today is $73.129 million/year assuming a 100% fare paying percentage, using boardings X a full $2.75 fare.”
Anyone transferring between routes with an ORCA card has their fare split between modes, so a significant number of riders would only pay a fraction of that into Link.
With the continued discussion about altering the plans for DSTT2, don’t forget there are 2 reasons to not build DSTT2:
2) the passenger experience will be terrible because the stations will be extremely deep and thus time consuming to use.
The whole point of dumping tens of billions of dollars into light rail is to improve the transit experience (less crowding, faster and more reliable service, etc), not make it worse,
A Ballard stub can be built within North King’s budget, with tunnels through SLU/LQA and under the Ship Canal. Once you’re deep enough to underrun the Canal, it makes sense to have the Ballard stations in tunnel as well. The way to make it work is to disturb the City and thereby save some money. Westlake is unimportant enough for traffic that it can be cut-and-covered, allowing New Westlake to be a center platform with direct connection to the southbound platform. Northbound connections would have to go up a level to the Mezzanine. Stairs and escalators could go directly to the New Westlake center platform. Just north of the platform a non-revenue track would connect via Stewart and Third to the existing tunnel at the Third and Pine curve. A cross-over and center layover track would go into the center of University-Seneca for access to the new tracks from Forest Street.
Shorter automated trainsets would have to run at standard Link voltage, and have small driver cabs in order to operate on the main stem, but they come that way as standard options.
All is not lost, naysayers.
Daniel, I wonder whether it makes more sense to serve Renton on the Eastside or via Rainier Valley and rather build a Duwamish bypass to expand service to Southwest Seattle, Seatac, and Tacoma.
Tom, rather than adding a cab to small automated trains, I would rather upgrade the DSTT signaling technology to allow for automated trains and higher frequency.
Great exposé! I listened to it on my regular Marketplace feed, not knowing I was going to be treated to a Seattle transit segment before it started, which was a delightful surprise.
RM_Transit did a great video on the pitfalls of American subway operations: https://youtu.be/Vk1vlKVdE9M which could support a Boren line.
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