Metro bus changes, weekday #5: Rider updates; RR buses to be added next week

October 5, 2012 at 7:19 am | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 126 Comments

7:19 AM: As the first week of RapidRide C Line and other Metro changes wraps up, we’re tracking the bus commute again today – comments are open on this story for bus riders’ experiences, and we will add to the story during the day if there’s any bus-related news. Yesterday afternoon, Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer told WSB that two standby buses would be available again today with a transit coordinator tracking whether they’re needed. Here’s our coverage from the past week:

Thursday rider reports
Wednesday rider reports
Tuesday night: Updates from Metro
Tuesday rider reports
Monday pm reports
Monday am reports
Saturday informational event
Saturday morning: 1st RR bus

There was some slow going earlier this hour on 99, because of a stalled vehicle blocking a lane (thanks to those who messaged us about it!), but before we could even mention it here, we saw live video of WSDOT’s incident-response truck pushing it out of the way.

ADDED 10:32 AM: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen rode RapidRide on Thursday and writes about the experience, and his recommendations, here.

ADDED 11:21 AM: Metro is adding buses to RapidRide C Line. Just received the announcement:

Starting Monday, Oct. 8, King County Metro Transit is adding two morning and two afternoon peak commute bus trips to the new RapidRide C Line – a move intended to ease overcrowding and meet rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle.

As a result, riders will see more RapidRide C Line peak service with trips running every 8 to 9 minutes, increased from every 10 minutes, during the highest ridership commute times – about 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m.

It’s clear that adding two bus trips in the morning and afternoon schedule will help ease crowding, said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager.

“We understand that it was a challenging and frustrating first week for some commuters who rode overcrowded buses, or watched as full buses passed them at bus stops,” Desmond said. “As the week progressed we learned where to use standby coaches to best address these high ridership demands. The results support our decision to make those additions part of the regular schedule.

“We have heard customer feedback, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to make sure the C and D lines operate as smoothly as possible,” Desmond said.

Metro launched RapidRide C Line service Sept. 29 with buses scheduled to travel between West Seattle and downtown Seattle every 10 minutes during the morning commute.

Higher than expected ridership demand emerged this week during the peak commute times. Customer reports, early ridership data, and field observations helped to confirm that there was strong transit demand to justify adding two morning and two afternoon commute trips to the RapidRide C Line.

Metro noted hundreds of additional commuters on RapidRide and other bus routes from West Seattle compared to tallies from this spring. Metro transit planners and service coordinators will continue to actively monitor ridership, transit operations and performance and make adjustments to service as needed.

“This transit service is still very new and daily ridership can fluctuate and evolve, however we were seeing full buses passing riders at bus stops at about the same time each day,” Desmond said. “By adjusting the frequency of service to this emerging pattern we will ease overcrowding and reduce delays.”

As part of the Sept. 29 transit service change, Metro has a contingency budget to pay for the additional RapidRide C Line trips and will continue to operate two standby buses for the RapidRide C and D lines. The red and yellow RapidRide buses needed for the additional trips are available in Metro’s reserve fleet, which is set aside in case of mechanical problems. Metro will continue to assess the maximum fleet use that can be sustained on an ongoing basis.

Metro also is taking steps to maximize and fine-tune transit signal priority and other transit priority measures, as well as operator training and customer communications about transit conditions and commute options.

We will keep the daily comment centers going again Monday to get your take on how it affects the service.

126 Comments

  1. I take the RR-C (then RR-D) to Lower Queen Anne every morning. This morning vehicle #6062 refused to stop at my regular stop at West Mercer & 3rd N. Instead it proceeded, despite my hitting the signal repeatedly and shouting out to the driver… All the way to Prospect Street. I had to walk (uphill and through a section with no sidewalks) all the way back to the area where I normally get off. I have chronic bronchitis/COPD… and a specific start time for my job. I was ill and late to my job today, which is generally not a well tolerated thing. Luckily I carry a rescue inhaler.

    I called Metro customer service immediately. At least I had the wherewithall to grab the coach number so I could report it effectively. They took my info, but I suspect it will just go into a circular file. I’m truly upset and fed up. This RR bus was NOT standing room only and there was NO excuse to pass a well marked regular RR station/stop – for which I properly signaled.

    Ok. Just had to vent along with everybody else.

    Comment by daPuffin — 7:40 am October 5, 2012 #

  2. SRO on 7:17 C to DT. I think we skipped the lower Avalon stop. Plus wifi not available for some reason.

    Comment by SeattleDad — 7:40 am October 5, 2012 #

  3. Tracy, do you know if Metro is monitoring comments here? And thanks for everything you do!!

    Comment by daPuffin — 8:02 am October 5, 2012 #

  4. Fed up with what Metro is calling RR! On the bus now and bus stops of 3 minutes saying that we are early for this stop. How is this rapid ride…there is no time schedule at least not that I have been able to find that even tells me what time the bus is to arrive. It is like a stab in the dark when I walk our the door in the am if I will catch the bus or have to wait for the ever changing time on the reader board that has yet to be correct! Hope you can get this figured out quickly Metro b/c there are a lot of frustrated riders this week!!!! Tax dollars not being spent wisely in my eyes…so much for your slogan “a-b-c-d-e-z, your tax dollars at work for you”….yeah right!!!

    Comment by West Seattle Mom — 8:04 am October 5, 2012 #

  5. There were 2 RR buses stopped on Alaska east of the junction because of an accident of some kind – can you investigate? Thanks!

    Comment by Beth — 8:06 am October 5, 2012 #

  6. I think that its time that Dow and others make some type of public comment. This is completely unacceptable, and I am not even a Metro rider!

    Comment by coffee — 8:09 am October 5, 2012 #

  7. Ridership is going to go down because many people have given up. This was/is a disaster. Pure and simple. rapid ride was a term dreamed up by a pr firm. All it means is reduced and unreliable service. It was a way for metro to mask massive route and service cuts.

    So let’s do metro a favor. Let’s cut their budget by 80 percent and build mass transit down Avalon, over the west Seattle bridge, along Spokane and tie it into the current mass transit.

    Comment by Yikes — 8:12 am October 5, 2012 #

  8. Does anyone know why the RR goes under the viaduct and then up Avalon if it’s first stop isn’t until 35th and Avalon anyway. I am wondering why it just doesn’t stay on the bridge and take a left at Taco Time onto 35th like it used to. Same with the 57 heading the other way up Admiral.

    Comment by Sunny — 8:14 am October 5, 2012 #

  9. Beth – there was an aid call at 7:50 at Alaska/42nd. Not marked on the log as a crash but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t. Somebody texted us about it and co-publisher Patrick is headed over to take a look.

    Comment by WSB — 8:15 am October 5, 2012 #

  10. daPuffin, I am so sorry for your troubles this morning. I rode the RR to Queen Anne on Sunday, wanting to get off at 1st and John. The driver told me that there was much confusion at Metro about the lower QA stops and that the stop markers and shelters weren’t complete and kept moving location and that it was a crap shoot (my words) as to where the drivers would (or would not) stop. He told me on my return I should either walk to 3rd and Cedar or get out in the street and flag the bus on Mercer. I’m 60s and neither or these options sounded too good, since I have breathing issues too. Now, this was almost a week ago, and you would think they would have the situation fixed by now. No excuse.

    Comment by iggy — 8:15 am October 5, 2012 #

  11. 8:15…RR C passed by Avalon & Yancy without stopping. Third morning in a row…

    Comment by Laura — 8:16 am October 5, 2012 #

  12. Puffin – They *have* monitored – I have received some unsolicited responses – BUT that is **not** mandatory on their part and we can’t assume that they are, so please don’t anyone let that stop you from using formal feedback channels too. A couple people have CC’d us on official e-mails they have sent to Metro. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:17 am October 5, 2012 #

  13. Rode in on the 56 @7:15, it was running only a couple minutes late. Traffic was really backed up on WS Bridge and NB99. At least today’s driver knew to use the bus lanes!

    Comment by Jeff — 8:24 am October 5, 2012 #

  14. Yikes – I agree with your diagnosis. But I say we just roll back RR and put the old routes and old coaches back in service.
    .
    Somehow I connect RR with the money we spent on sound transit and the major upzoning and development in WS.
    .
    Like, “hey, sound transit isn’t doing anything for West Seattle”. “don’t worry, we’re getting RapidRide”.
    .
    “there sure are a lot of new apartments going into West Seattle”. “don’t worry, we’re getting rapid ride”.

    Comment by Rich — 8:24 am October 5, 2012 #

  15. I think my 120 tried to fit twice as many people on. It felt like Monday’s 7am bus. Either the bus before was early, or this was because we were JAMMED full.

    Comment by jedifarfy — 8:27 am October 5, 2012 #

  16. I was on the bus at 42nd and Alaska. A pedestrian foolishly walked onto Alaska when he did not have the light. The driver had to swerve and brake hard. Three people had minor injuries as a result. The ped walked away. There were multiple witnesses.

    Comment by flowerpetal — 8:29 am October 5, 2012 #

  17. “…with a transit coordinator tracking whether they’re needed.”

    Seriously?! I can answer that one for them.

    Hint: if you’re going downtown, take the 50 to sodo station and transfer to the light rail or any one of the 9 northbound buses. It’s much faster and less crowded.

    Comment by westside — 8:33 am October 5, 2012 #

  18. TR,

    What would be the best “official* e-mail addresses to use for Metro complaints? And the best one to cc you on? I’ll add to my telephone call, since the woman who answered, I suspect, circular filed my complaint. Of course, it was hard to sound credible while I was barely able to breathe…

    Comment by daPuffin — 8:35 am October 5, 2012 #

  19. iggy, the station at 3rd and W. Mercer has stopped moving around and is complete. It worked for 4 days this week and then today, was just bypassed by my driver. Yep. No excuse.

    ~~daPuffin (not exactly a spring chicken, either…)

    Comment by daPuffin — 8:37 am October 5, 2012 #

  20. We spent money on new busses, with wifi, and new stops. Why? Why not just keep things the way they were and add more busses? We don’t need something fancy, we need something that works. In SF last weekend, I was reminded of how well the transit works there–I lived without a car there for a few years. Some bus stops are just painted poles. No reader boards, no wifi, no curb bulbs. Most routes have great frequency, or if not, there is a nearby route that does.

    I’m tired of the politicians and bureaucrats of this area for distracting us with something shiny and new rather than fixing the problem at hand. And I’m embarrassed we fall for it every time.

    Comment by Krystal — 8:39 am October 5, 2012 #

  21. is it just me or do these new buses have far fewer seats than the old ones? what good is wifi if only a few people get to sit?

    it would be useful to calculate the # of seats we have lost from the junction to downtown and back at peak times with this change. The 22 is gone; the 55 is much reduced; how many RRC buses are there compared to the old 54 service? and how many seats in total have we lost during commute times? any way to get that information?

    Comment by maryws — 8:46 am October 5, 2012 #

  22. On Monday night around 9:30pm I was driving SB on Avalon from Harbor Avenue. A RR-C stopped in front of me at Avalon/Bradford. And sat there. And sat there. There had been 3 people at the bus stop, no wheelchairs, so I had a hard time believing it was taking this long to load/unload people. I am assuming that the driver was waiting for the “scheduled time” to take off. But I felt like an idiot, sitting there behind the bus, no signals flashing on the bus to tell me it was delayed. 3 cars coming behind me swerved around me and the bus into the oncoming traffic lane (making a few oncoming cars swerve out of the way – it happened to me once before coming in that direction where I had to swerve). It’s a dangerous situation. If the bus was loading/unloading a significant amount of people, and/or a wheelchair, I could understand. But here I am trying to follow the law by waiting and I get held up for 3-4 minutes for what looked to be no really good reason.

    Comment by Sue — 8:47 am October 5, 2012 #

  23. maryws, there are considerably fewer seats, and what are there are narrower and those that are facing forward have little leg room. I wonder about people who have guide and other service dogs, who usually are trained to go under the seating area. Seems to me that there may be some sort of ADA issue with the way these busses are configured.

    Comment by daPuffin — 8:52 am October 5, 2012 #

  24. I really like the idea of leaving my car at home and taking the bus from West Seattle to work in Ballard and back using the RR C/D lines. Yet reading all these comments daily, so far I haven’t gotten out of my car – hoping things settle down for an attempt but looks like a nightmare! I wonder how many people like me are out there that want to do the right thing but are still driving their cars as a result of this fiasco?

    Comment by Trevor — 8:53 am October 5, 2012 #

  25. That 42nd & Alaska intersection is not good for pedestrians.
    If they are crossing 42nd, they get an automatic ‘walk’ sign when the traffic light changes., if they are crossing Alaska, they have to press the button to activate a ‘walk’ sign, which may or may not work, depending on when in the traffic light’s cycle they press the button.
    I see lots of people there who either do not know they have to press the button for a ‘walk’ sign, or have missed the opportunity to activate the walk for the current cycle who then proceed to cross on a green light, in spite of having a ‘do not walk’ sign.
    Very confusing, and very stupid signaling IMO.
    Why do they not get an automatic ‘walk’ sign with a green light like signals all over downtown? And why do they get that automatic signal when crossing one way at this very well walked intersection, but not when crossing the other way?

    Comment by old timer — 8:54 am October 5, 2012 #

  26. Sue- that sounds really annoying. if the RR buses are ahead of their (non-existent, non-published) schedule, why don’t they stall at a location where cars can get around them safely ?

    Comment by sam-c — 8:55 am October 5, 2012 #

  27. Yes, agree with Rich in going back to the system that was working. This new system appears to be a disaster even after a week. I, too, know people that have health issues that are now going to be forced to go back to driving due to all of this mess. I have had enough myself & driving. Any meetings planned for riders to meet in person with Metro to discuss all of this?

    Comment by Faith4 — 8:55 am October 5, 2012 #

  28. Thanks for the updates on 42nd/Alaska incident – cleared by the time we arrived and then our crew had to turn around and head south to Arbor Heights to check out the crash there (separate story).

    Comment by WSB — 8:59 am October 5, 2012 #

  29. I am loving my RapidRide experience. I have rode every day this week, and get on at the first WS stop and depart downtown. I suspect that individuals with complaints are more likely to make the effort to do so; and that is reasonable to expect.

    Comment by flowerpetal — 9:03 am October 5, 2012 #

  30. I’d like to know where to send a complaint to Metro too. It irks me to see them say this shake up has “generally gone well” when most of us are getting bus service comparable to what one would expect in the middle of a snowstorm.

    Same as yesterday, I arrived at 2nd and Columbia a little after 5 PM yesterday and waited over 20 minutes for the opportunity to cram myself onto an overflowing RR bus.

    Comment by Kirsty — 9:04 am October 5, 2012 #

  31. Waited 20 minutes at fauntleroy and alaska for8:58 bus. Rr c came by and did not stop. Still waiting for next one. 20 people at stop waiting to get on!
    Metro please add more buses! I dont mind standing In a crowded bus. What use to be a 20 minute commute is 1 hour plus and its not snowing.

    Comment by Kg — 9:10 am October 5, 2012 #

  32. I had a decent commute this morning on a C-line from Alaska/Fauntleroy only because I got up *way* earlier than I ever used to and caught the 6a bus. The one day this week I went at my normal time (a bit before 8a) the bus was a sardine can.

    For the past 7 years or so I’ve been able to commute quite easily by bus, with some flexibility in my departure time. That’s all gone as of this week. This is phenomenally disappointing.

    Comment by RichWSeattle — 9:28 am October 5, 2012 #

  33. Can someone tell me why the bridge and Spokane Street Viaduct have been so congested this week? :) Hmmmmmmmm.

    Comment by WSratsinacage — 9:29 am October 5, 2012 #

  34. daPuffin: thanks for confirming my suspicion about the reduced seats. If we as a community want to challenge metro and get service back to what it was, having the actual numbers of reduced seats (statistical measure of the reduced service) would be very useful. Can we require metro to get us those numbers?

    also, I have always been mystified why buses seem to be exempt from safety requirements that are so strict in cars and airplanes. If they have knowingly reduced the # of seats w/ the expectation that they will pack people in standing, does that not increase the danger of injury to all passengers? is there some kind of exemption or immunity that Metro has about at least keeping safety levels static or improving; any prohibition about increasing the risk to the public? I fell on a Metro bus in October (sudden unexplained stop) and am still recovering; I don’t want to fall again (or have someone fall on me). Anybody know the law on this?

    Comment by maryws — 9:29 am October 5, 2012 #

  35. For those who asked, here’s the Metro page with comment options. I honestly don’t know which is “best” –
    .
    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/cs/feedback_choose.html
    .
    customer.comments@kingcounty.gov is one address used by one of the people who cc’d us, which can’t be done from a feedback form **but** really isn’t necessary, certainly we have (and will forever have archived, which is why the Web rules – we have comments via FB and Twitter too but they’re not archived, impossible to search and refer back to, etc.) lots of info here.
    .
    If ever cc’ing us on anything, it’s the same address for story tips, photos, and so on – editor@westseattleblog.com
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:32 am October 5, 2012 #

  36. My experience has mostly been okay this week. I get on at the second stop in AH and travel all the way to Lower Queen Anne. This incident, this morning is inexcusable as are many of the incidents I’ve been reading about all week. As RichW says, this is phenomonally disappointing.

    Comment by daPuffin — 9:33 am October 5, 2012 #

  37. After 40 minute wait at fauntleroy and alaska a rr c stopped for pick up. Bus was packed by time it got to avalon, which is good since driver stopped at every stop. Please add a second bus between 8:40 and 9:10 since 4 out 5 times this week the 9:00 stops picking up passengers. Tried calling metro but phone line also had long wait time

    Comment by Kg — 9:38 am October 5, 2012 #

  38. If i am not mistaken before this change, at peak:
    .
    The 55 ran every 20 minutes.
    The 54 ran every 15 minutes.
    The 22 ran every ?? minutes.
    .
    This is replaced with:
    .
    A 55 that runs every 30 minutes.
    A RR that tries to run every 10.
    .
    The issues we are facing are due to a massive drop in capacity. Metro should acknowledge that.

    Comment by Sna — 9:39 am October 5, 2012 #

  39. Thank god I dont have to commute by bus. Yet Im still impacted by all of the recent changes. I used to happily ride Sound Transit 560 to the airport. Not anymore. I now have to spend $30.00+ on a cab or rely on a ride. I used to catch the 54 to the ferry dock from Delridge. I can just walk faster now. The best part, I now have a bus route that passes in front my house all day long! Thumbs up!

    Comment by DRW — 9:41 am October 5, 2012 #

  40. Sna: thanks, that helps document reduction in the # of buses, but I sure would like to know the # of reduced seats as well.

    Comment by maryws — 9:59 am October 5, 2012 #

  41. We need grade separated transit. It’s really that simple. Light rail. Monorail. Subway. Take your pick and all these issues go away.

    Comment by quiz — 10:00 am October 5, 2012 #

  42. Maryws, somebody else in comments already provided that kind of information. Note, I have not verified this with Metro.
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2012/10/metro-changes-weekday-2/comment-page-3#comment-910569

    Comment by WSB — 10:05 am October 5, 2012 #

  43. I am totally confused by this whole mess. I thought I had read that the RR buses would ONLY stop at RR stops-not every bus stop-thus making them RAPID RIDE-but many of the posts here say they are stopping at every stop??? How many days can someone be late to work/school-missing buses because they are full?Sounds like many folks are opting to drive when they had been taking the bus-which is the last thing the city & county wants. As a consequence -traffic is worse-creating even more delays. One other question-if buses are full & passing people up & the call is made to bring more buses on-how long does that whole process take-from the call to the bus getting to WS(or wherever it’s got to go)? How & why does this happen so often with government-it’s the old.. “SNAFU” big time.

    Comment by Anne — 10:05 am October 5, 2012 #

  44. Route 120 was running close to on schedule (~7am in North Delridge). Best experience with that route so far this week.

    Comment by Dancingeek — 10:13 am October 5, 2012 #

  45. thanks Tracy, I must have missed that! so a loss of 6-10 seats per bus, fewer buses… I’ll have to do the math.

    any info I missed on metro’s responsibility for passenger safety? and least not to reduce passenger safety?

    Comment by maryws — 10:14 am October 5, 2012 #

  46. Since I’ve only seen one or two comments a day about the #50, let me add mine. Try it! Try it to Sodo and transfer to downtown. It’s a good alternative.

    Comment by newnative — 10:26 am October 5, 2012 #

  47. Notice this old 54/54E ran more often than every 10 mins during peak morning time:
    .
    http://web.archive.org/web/20110705111819/http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/schedules/s054_0_.html
    .
    And you had the 55 and 22

    Comment by sna — 10:30 am October 5, 2012 #

  48. Adding to the story: As Seattle Times transportation reporter & West Seattleite Mike Lindblom noted in a comment thread yesterday, he was on the same RapidRide bus with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen (who chairs the city council Transportation Committee, though again, if you’re just joining us, Metro is a COUNTY service). CM Rasmussen just sent word that he has published his experience, and recommendations, on his blog-format website:
    .
    http://rasmussen.seattle.gov/2012/10/05/c-line-bus-arriving-at-fauntleroy-ferry-terminal/

    Comment by WSB — 10:32 am October 5, 2012 #

  49. Getting to white center from morgan???? A group of us used to take the 22 or the 54 and go shopping for vegetables at the Asian markets in White Center. We could take the 128 to get there, but coming home will now be a nightmare. The 128 going from Admiral to White Center is reasonably on schedule and one can get a seat when getting on at Morgan. But coming back from White Center it is packed, packed, packed and late, late, late. Not a decent way to carry groceries when one is over 60. So, we now will have to drive. Sigh.

    Comment by iggy — 10:36 am October 5, 2012 #

  50. RR stops at the Juntion, but heading South they don’t stop until Findlay? They eliminated the 7-11 on the South end of the Junction.. That’s a joke. Bring the 54 back! And if they’re trying to get me into Ballard, it ain’t going to happen.

    Comment by loser — 10:49 am October 5, 2012 #

  51. There are a couple ways to look at WSB’s intense coverage of what was supposed to be “bus-ruption”.

    One view is that the rest of Seattle is relatively happy with the restructure, so they aren’t saying anything.

    Another is that what we’re hearing at WSB is what others in other parts of town are thinking, but without a place like WSB to say it.

    RapidRide has had insufficient peak capacity. I think Metro gets that. I will also point out that other parts of town have had packed buses for years, and waited years for a political solution to get an extra bus or two. While I hope More RapidRide buses are added (which, btw won’t reduce bus bunching or end pass-bys, but will at least reduce waiting time for the next bus), I hope western West Seattleites will support the rest of Seattle in getting better transit service, without having to wait eons for a personnel change on the county council. Metro needs more funding, not less, if you want a shorter wait and a higher likelihood of a place to sit on the bus.

    Comment by Brent — 11:15 am October 5, 2012 #

  52. The biggest problem I’m experiencing now is safety in the standing room only buses. My driver this morning was going 40+ down 99, leaving those of us standing (and there were probably 20 or 30 of us) left to hang on for dear life. On those days when traffic isn’t backed up, it’s a very scary ride to be standing up while the bus is careening down the highway.

    I’m getting used to my standing up commute both ways, but please drivers, be mindful of those of who are standing- no slamming on the brakes and be easy on the turns!

    Comment by Marlena — 11:17 am October 5, 2012 #

  53. Hey, guess what! Thanks to everybody for talking about this all week long and providing experiences and feedback, here and to Metro – just got this announcement:
    .
    Starting Monday, Oct. 8, King County Metro Transit is adding two morning and two afternoon peak commute bus trips to the new RapidRide C Line – a move intended to ease overcrowding and meet rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle.

    As a result, riders will see more RapidRide C Line peak service with trips running every 8 to 9 minutes, increased from every 10 minutes, during the highest ridership commute times – about 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m.

    It’s clear that adding two bus trips in the morning and afternoon schedule will help ease crowding, said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager.

    “We understand that it was a challenging and frustrating first week for some commuters who rode overcrowded buses, or watched as full buses passed them at bus stops,” Desmond said. “As the week progressed we learned where to use standby coaches to best address these high ridership demands. The results support our decision to make those additions part of the regular schedule.

    “We have heard customer feedback, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to make sure the C and D lines operate as smoothly as possible,” Desmond said.

    Metro launched RapidRide C Line service Sept. 29 with buses scheduled to travel between West Seattle and downtown Seattle every 10 minutes during the morning commute.

    Higher than expected ridership demand emerged this week during the peak commute times. Customer reports, early ridership data, and field observations helped to confirm that there was strong transit demand to justify adding two morning and two afternoon commute trips to the RapidRide C Line.

    Metro noted hundreds of additional commuters on RapidRide and other bus routes from West Seattle compared to tallies from this spring. Metro transit planners and service coordinators will continue to actively monitor ridership, transit operations and performance and make adjustments to service as needed.

    “This transit service is still very new and daily ridership can fluctuate and evolve, however we were seeing full buses passing riders at bus stops at about the same time each day,” Desmond said. “By adjusting the frequency of service to this emerging pattern we will ease overcrowding and reduce delays.”

    As part of the Sept. 29 transit service change, Metro has a contingency budget to pay for the additional RapidRide C Line trips and will continue to operate two standby buses for the RapidRide C and D lines. The red and yellow RapidRide buses needed for the additional trips are available in Metro’s reserve fleet, which is set aside in case of mechanical problems. Metro will continue to assess the maximum fleet use that can be sustained on an ongoing basis.

    Metro also is taking steps to maximize and fine-tune transit signal priority and other transit priority measures, as well as operator training and customer communications about transit conditions and commute options.

    Comment by WSB — 11:21 am October 5, 2012 #

  54. THANK YOU METRO. For the first time you are acknowledging our pain, apologizing, and showing a willingness to listen and improve. Much appreciated, as is the permanent addition of the 2 extra runs. This press release from Metro is welcome news. Of course, issues still remain, but at least Metro is showing a willingness to interact with the public in a human way and to work with us.

    Comment by iggy — 11:35 am October 5, 2012 #

  55. Blah blah blah…..

    Comment by loser — 11:36 am October 5, 2012 #

  56. I have to admit, it’s nice to have the 57 now take 99 into downtown. Probably less nice for those who work further south, of course. True benefit will be not having to go through Sodo to get home or walk from Admiral. I’m not (too) lazy, but I need to get home to start making dinner!

    Thanks and praise to Metro for what works and hope they find ways to address that which is not yet.

    Comment by odroku — 11:37 am October 5, 2012 #

  57. Great news, TR. Of course, in addition to not passing people at stops, they need to let people off at their signalled stops. But still.. at least they’re acknowledging the problem and starting to attend to issues. That’s encouraging.

    LOL! Hoping that the increase from 7am doesn’t mean a *decrease* from 6-7am, which is when I ride. And same for 3:30-4:30pm.

    ~~~daPuffin

    Comment by daPuffin — 11:42 am October 5, 2012 #

  58. I am not seeing anyone waiting at the 56/57 stops on Admiral, has everyone switched to cars or water taxi? Or are you all catching the 50 and doing the transfer? I haven’t seen an actual 57 or 56 yet either. If they aren’t showing up, I’ll just keep on using the water taxi and driving when I work off peak hours.

    I have commuted to work on Metro since 1981. This week I have had to make the switch to other methods.

    Comment by Gina — 11:55 am October 5, 2012 #

  59. Brent, there is a big difference between overcrowding that occurs with ridership growth on an existing route structure/schedule pattern and the sudden change that occurred here in West Seattle as a result of the reorg orchestrated by Metro.

    Comment by Paul — 12:00 pm October 5, 2012 #

  60. I’m sorry i have just had to pick myself up off the floor after laughing so much.The comments by Metro “Popular new route and higher than expected ridership” what did Metro expect after cutting routes and reducing service on many,someone at Metro needs to go back to basic math class, its the same number of people trying to get on fewer buses, simple as that. Metro please get your act together.

    Comment by Pam — 12:01 pm October 5, 2012 #

  61. iggy, have you considered taking the C and 120 (transfer at Westwood) to go to/from White Center?

    Comment by Paul — 12:01 pm October 5, 2012 #

  62. @iggy, where do you see Metro “apologizing”? I have not seen any of our so-called leaders apologize for this disaster

    Comment by Diane — 12:03 pm October 5, 2012 #

  63. Typical political slant: “rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle”

    1. Demand is the same, you just diminished the capacity.
    2. If you read almost ANY comment on the WSB it would be clear this “new service” is not popular.
    3. It’s also not “new” — it is essentially the exact same route as the 54 (with some changes on the DT – WS route)

    Not much acceptance of responsibility as far as I can tell.

    Comment by olivist — 12:10 pm October 5, 2012 #

  64. The 120 route is suffering as a result of the recent changes — I have been riding the 120 daily during rush hour all this year, and never an SRO bus until this week. Starting this week, every 120 bus I have taken has been packed to discomfort, including 2 rows of standing people down the center aisle on some trips. Most of these buses have been late. Also have been passed up by full buses, and have been late for work on 2 days.

    Comment by Wedgewood — 12:11 pm October 5, 2012 #

  65. DRW…can’t you take the 50 to SODO and then jump on light rail to the airport?

    Comment by BearsChick — 12:11 pm October 5, 2012 #

  66. “Metro noted hundreds of additional commuters on RapidRide and other bus routes from West Seattle compared to tallies from this spring.”

    Is this really possible? That there are THAT many more additional commuters for this ‘popular’ new service? I’m really happy to see Metro respond in any way at all.. and attribute much of the reason for it to our WSB’s consistently amazing reporting of this issue all week long. But at least SOME of this sounds like PR babble to me.

    Sorry. It’s good news, but I’m still very skeptical.

    Comment by Jan Jarrell — 12:14 pm October 5, 2012 #

  67. I am in a position to know that ALL customer complaints on individual coaches/drivers are addressed. They do NOT go into a circular file. There are many bugs in this system, hopefully they will be worked out, though there are obviously many details that Metro did not anticipate!

    Comment by Scott — 12:14 pm October 5, 2012 #

  68. Scott, if you are in the know about this, I’m glad to hear that complaints are addressed. Sounds like you work for Metro?

    However, how much “teeth” go into addressing issues, I wonder. People being thrown off of busses for pointing out routing errors? Refusing to make stops when busses are not overloaded? This kind of incivility by drivers just blows my mind. I am a very dismayed puffin.

    Comment by daPuffin — 12:34 pm October 5, 2012 #

  69. Wedgewood, I started taking the 120 in the last month because it was easier, but this week has been brutal. I’m completely in agreement with you. I get picked up right near White Center, so I’m lucky to always get on, but not always with a seat. And that’s back at Roxbury! We were very lucky this morning that the last stop before the bridge, we managed to cram a few more people on board. Some were holding with fingertips, most looked like sardines. It was bad. It’s another route that could use another few buses, especially considering how far this route travels. Even Metro said it’s one of the heaviest-used routes!

    Has anyone else downtown noticed the number of drivers running lights and blocking intersections more and more? Every day at some point we’ve had to cross the street into traffic because some bus driver went through the light when they couldn’t clear the intersection. It’s going in my email of epic to Metro I’m sending this weekend. Fun times!

    Comment by jedifarfy — 12:41 pm October 5, 2012 #

  70. check out this news story: http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-facing-overcrowding-metro-transit-adds-more-buses-on-rapidride-route-20121005,0,4342785.story

    makes it sound like this is a brand new popular route, not that it is a poor replacement for a number of routes that Metro discontinued

    Comment by maryws — 1:09 pm October 5, 2012 #

  71. Maryws, all that is is a rewrite of the news release that we received and included here. No original reporting included. Since Metro issued a news release about this, you’ll see it in a variety of places, but it’s just a rewrite … most did the Day 1 “wow, new route!” story on Monday and that’s all they know. And as I mentioned somewhere earlier, not their fault, TV stations and other regional sources have 22 counties in their coverage areas.

    Comment by WSB — 1:17 pm October 5, 2012 #

  72. On a related note, has anyone in the apartments/condos along near the new stops said anything about the loudness of the ORCA card readers? Not that it bothers me as my house is quite aways away, but if I lived near one of those things…

    Comment by CandrewB — 1:17 pm October 5, 2012 #

  73. Did they take out seats because they knew so many people would be standing? What is the deal with the weird single seat in the middle on the sides?

    I am at the start of the C-Line in the morning so I am one of the lucky few to get a seat and watch the chaos happen. I get to watch everyone bond over how pissed off at the mess they are. I get to watch out the window as we pass people after the junction without stopping because the bus is dangerously over filled. Lucky me

    Unfortunately, I use the last stop (2nd & Columbia) on the way back to the westside and have been pushing and shoving to get on the bus everyday this week. I waited 20 minutes yesterday at 3pm only to see THREE “RapidRides” come around the corner back to back. My 4 bus options to get home has become only one “rapidride”. Nice of metro to put people there with clipboards to tell me “yes, we know it is broken”

    I don’t think adding buses will help at all – they are just going to jam into each other. I want my 54 and 22 option back!

    sorry flowerpetal – I am NOT loving my “rapidride” experience

    Comment by Mike B — 1:22 pm October 5, 2012 #

  74. CandrewB, I can hear the BEEP of the card reader with my doors and windows closed.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 1:32 pm October 5, 2012 #

  75. I am really unhappy that Admiral/Alki no longer has any direct all day-weekend service. Once the water taxi hits it winter schedule at the end of the month all we have left is a commute service hours or transfers. Its really easy to look at a schedule and say hey you can just transfer from the crowded C to a 50 etc. etc. but in reality those of us used to direct service (barely willing to give up our car but trying to do the right thing) find this very unappealing.

    I feel like Admiral/Alki is getting ignored in all the changes. Why oh why did Metro switch to short busses for the 56X? Every 56 I have made it on this week has been crammed full of people standing. Please bring back the articulated 56X! Only the 57 are articulated but they are much less frequent. This morning when the bus came over 1st heading up second and it hit the incline the scraping was awful because the bus was so heavy. Like nails on a chalkboard! That’s not good for the bus or the roadway. Whatever money you save by cutting a bus will be spent on maintenance and repairs on the bus and pavement!

    Comment by Ignored Admiral — 1:43 pm October 5, 2012 #

  76. reading Tom’s letter; thank you for being the only elected official with a meaningful response, sharing your 1 day experience of riding the RR, and suggestions to Metro for much needed fixes
    ~
    although, his #1 noted concern, whether people are really paying (for this crappy service)? suggesting fare enforcement? #1 concern should be urgent fixes to bus service
    ~
    it seems that Metro revenues will drop more significantly due to mass exodus of riders, now choosing to drive; Seattle workers cannot afford to risk their jobs by being late every day; based on comments this week, by day 3, even many of the regular bus riders have started driving into work instead; many have said they will no longer buy bus pass; and many are concerned about their physical safety on the overcrowded buses
    ~
    so Tom got to sit the entire trip by starting near the beginning of the route; so those of us in Admiral need to drive 5 miles down to the ferry dock bus stop to get a seat? my original plan with all the bus changes was to pick up the RR at Alaska/Fauntleroy, but riders have commented all week of overcrowded buses passing them up there
    ~
    ~
    ~
    re Metro response (with no apology); adding more RR buses during peak times is a good start; should have happened day 2, not week 2
    ~
    as others have noted, I find Metro’s responses this week to be insulting, patronizing, unapologetic; too little/too late; Metro execs are paid huge salaries; wth have they been doing all week?
    ~
    Rapid Ride is not the “popular new service” as they claim; if they read comments from any day this week, riders are hating it; and it’s not overcrowded due to popularity; people are riding it because Metro took away nearly all of our usual routes
    ~
    in my Admiral neighborhood, other than during early morning and late afternoon peak times, to get downtown, Metro took away our 55, 56, 57; I was an active user of those, and the 22, 54; all gone; replaced with 50 to SODO that requires transfer to downtown, and overcrowded RR (with far fewer seats)
    ~
    and as the week has progressed with “Rotten Ride”, riders have been overcrowding remaining “old” routes, out of desperation to get to their jobs, like, as mentioned by many, the now unsafe-packed-like-sardines 120
    ~
    another huge financial risk to Metro is potential lawsuits for rider injuries, due to NOT responding quickly enough to overcrowded buses; so they’ve had extra RR buses available all week, just sitting parked, but did not deploy?
    ~
    where is response from Metro or city/county leaders about safety and well-being of riders?
    ~
    I have read many, many comments this week from riders who are older, pregnant, disabled, health issues that may or may not be visible, having to stand/crammed onto bus; or injuries due to jarring stop/go of bus; or kicked off the bus for trying to help the driver; or not being allowed to get off at marked stop and having to walk ½ mile uphill; or left to stand at bus stop for long periods of time for late buses or passed up by overcrowded buses (the new “shelters” have one tiny seat); these issues are very concerning to me also, because I am a senior (though I may not be recognized as such) and my physical impairments that make it very difficult to stand for 30 mins or more on a packed bus, are not visible; the implied message is that Metro does not care about safety/well being of riders
    ~
    Metro planning and response has been pathetic
    ~
    I expected chaos this week with all the changes, which I was mostly aware, having participated in transportation meetings for past year; but I did not in any way anticipate this disaster; but hey, I’m just a rider, community volunteer; not getting paid by Metro; they should have had well considered contingency plans, and implemented by day 2, not week 2
    ~
    ~
    and again; HUGE shout-out of thanks to TR for incredible always-on-top-of-everything coverage, and providing for us this wonderful format to share all or our real-time experiences
    ~
    I am incredibly grateful also to everyone for sharing your actual experiences this week (beyond the data points on a clipboard that Metro thinks is sufficient)

    Comment by Diane — 2:17 pm October 5, 2012 #

  77. I haven’t lived in West Seattle for a long time, but I’ll make two points to all of you who do:

    1) What Brent said above is quite true. Lots of other neighborhoods have SRO loading much of the day, not just at peak. Yes it’s not always pleasant, but the reality is we need more transit service city-wide. I’ll echo his hopes that WS folks will help all the rest of us work for that goal.

    2) For Admiral (my old ‘hood) specifically: the ridership wasn’t there to keep the 56 all-day. If the load is justifying an artic on the 56X, I’d write that specific comment into Metro. Encourage the planners to look at the passenger counts. Hopefully they’ll be able to switch to artics for at least some of those trips.

    Comment by JohnS — 2:22 pm October 5, 2012 #

  78. I love the Metro slant. I can’t believe that they didn’t have exact numbers of people who rode each and every bus to and from West Seattle. They could have even used ORCA card numbers because they are all tracked. What a bunch of malarkey!!

    For those of us who have been riding the bus from West Seattle for years, we know that there is diminished capacity. There are several fewer buses with less capacity, plain and simple.

    The other crazy thing is how come a rush hour only bus that has 5 runs a day is always late? This whole thing is just non-sensicle.

    I read in the paper that Reagan Dunn wants to bring back the ride free zone. No kidding, sure made it easier. Now, let’s just bring back the previous decent bus service that we had in West Seattle.

    I have been emailing my comments to Metro and what I noticed is on the first day it said they would get back to you in 5 days and a couple of days ago it said 15. That, in itself, is telling.

    Comment by Magpie — 2:53 pm October 5, 2012 #

  79. My husband stopped taking bus this week and returned to driving. 54x used to take 30-35 minutes with a seat. His rapid ride experience this week made him late for work the first day due to hour plus long commute. Second day was not better and in particular afternoon commute was horrendous.

    Someone wrote this was a first world problem. Wrong. I have lived in and visited spots all over the world. This new system would not be tolerated in most major cities because in many large cities people depend in cheap, fast, reliable transportation. This new system is a joke and something needs to be done ASAP like add some 54x, some admiral service.

    Would like to see Rasmussen (and Dow et al) take and get on from 35th and Avalon and ride bus when he needs to get to work at a set time. His evaluation might be different if he is the person bypassed by three packed busses and if he has time constraints.

    Comment by Bus rider — 3:24 pm October 5, 2012 #

  80. Finally! Instead of the slogans and phoney reassurances, I have more respect for “We #$&%ed up, here’s how we’re going to fix it.”

    Comment by MindDrive — 3:36 pm October 5, 2012 #

  81. A frustrating beginning for what we all hoped would be a terrific new route. I would be pissed if a full bus passed me three days in a row, but I do wish people were a bit more even-handed here. This was a huge change in many routes of a very complicated, interacting system. It may not all be as predictable as most of the crowd here seems to think. I dont think the “obvious massive capacity reduction” described above will turn out to be the cause of this week’s problems.

    It also seems to me that a lot of people feel they were entitled to the express service they previously enjoyed. Any taxpayer ought to applaud when they see most buses near capacity rather than the many near-empty buses and routes I have riden to/from WS in the past. Full buses are a sign of a system that’s going to be cost-effective to operate. Maybe not as comfortable for those who want to put their feet up; I’m fine with that.

    And where did all the “Metro doesn’t care..” “they just want our money..” “I’ll never ride the bus again..” “let’s cut their budget…” crap come from? Do any of you actually know anyone who works for Metro? I know a few and they are all passionate about making transit work in Seattle in a tough economic environment, including cutbacks to transit. If you have to stand when previously you could sit in an wide-open bus and that bothers you…too bad. Get used to it or start voting for a state income tax.

    Clearly Metro has some answering to do for problems this week. But why don’t we all wait for some factual analysis of what has happened this week before we start throwing around wild accusations? All of this hyperventilating is sucking the oxygen out of West Seattle.

    Comment by Brian — 4:13 pm October 5, 2012 #

  82. Read the commentary on the Seattle Transit Blog, if you REALLY want to know commenter Brent’s thoughts on West Seattle Metro users. Particularly, his thoughts on 56 riders.

    The dude speaks with a forked tongue.

    Comment by West Seattleite — 4:18 pm October 5, 2012 #

  83. Decided to try taking the bus home in the afternoon after using Water Taxi all week. Caught 56 @3rd/Spring, it was about 5 min late but was an articulated bus with plenty of room. Did see one “C” bus at my stop, seemed enough room for all the folks getting on to find a seat.

    Noticed some “stacking” issues, saw a pair of 120s right next to each other, and three 21s (2 reg and an express) in a row only about 30 seconds apart. Also it didn’t seem the stoplights on 3rd ave were timed very well, all the buses seemed to be hitting every light.

    Comment by Jeff — 4:41 pm October 5, 2012 #

  84. I think everyone is pretty upset about all the changes this week with the RR system – but it would be nice if we could all just be a little more patient. It IS hard, I know. And I could sense the frustration of the drivers this week as well. They must feel terrible having to pass up the last stop(s) on their routes each morning due to being overcrowded. Each day that I’ve ridden this week, this has happened. The angry commuters who can’t get on take this out on the driver with gestures, or take it out on the next driver with verbal abuse. It’s not THEIR fault. They are doing the best job they can, and they’re just as frustrated as we all are. So we can ask ourselves as commuters how we can try and help ease this. Can we take a later bus? Can we take an earlier one? Can we offer a seat to an elderly rider? Can we thank our driver? Give this a little more time people. Every new change comes with difficulties and kinks. As a rider of RR, I too have been inconvenienced and frustrated with it – but I have to remember that it does no good to take out this frustration on the people that are trying to do the best they can to get it fixed and improved.

    Comment by Kravitz — 5:10 pm October 5, 2012 #

  85. I got one of the last seats on a RR C at 3rd and Pike a few minutes ago.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 5:49 pm October 5, 2012 #

  86. Tonight’s bus ride was the best smoothest of the week. It helps having Seattle police at the trouble intersections. Bus was only a couple of minutes late. Minor delay going down 3rd Ave to the viaduct.
    Monday is Columbus Day although I am working. Hoping for lighter traffic.

    Comment by Aj — 5:52 pm October 5, 2012 #

  87. 5:55 on RR going smooth

    Comment by karen — 5:55 pm October 5, 2012 #

  88. “…and meet rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle.”

    Talk about spin! Sounds to me like more people are driving out of frustration and there are actually LESS buses heading downtown from W.S.

    Comment by Steve — 5:57 pm October 5, 2012 #

  89. I am with you Diane on safety concerns given the increasingly crowd conditions. While I sympathize with other areas in the city with crowded buses, the goal of metro should be to improve service for those parts, not reduce the safety level of WS buses. And our buses get up to some pretty high speeds on the viaduct and the bridge….I’m still mystified why basic safety issues for passengers is not a bigger focus: what are the guidelines/rules/law etc on passenger safety on the bus in transit? are there any?

    Comment by maryws — 6:00 pm October 5, 2012 #

  90. I think Metro will make this better, but my gut tells me we’ll never have the level and quality of service we once had here in WSEA. Metro’s response has been tepid at best.
    .
    Truly a shame for those of us that live here. I moved back here a few years ago partly because it was so easy and quick to get downtown on the bus. That isn’t the case any longer.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 6:52 pm October 5, 2012 #

  91. Wow, it’s 7:05 and three isn’t a bus to the Admiral area from 3rd and Pike. This really sucks.

    Comment by Maw — 7:11 pm October 5, 2012 #

  92. Kravitz, it would be easier to be patient if Metro’s communique did not include statements like this outright BS:

    “… rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle…”

    Indeed it would be easier to be patient if they had instead stuck closer to the truth with something like this (my invention):

    “… Metro seriously underestimated ridership and is currently working to correct those estimates and improve service levels…”

    Comment by bolo — 7:32 pm October 5, 2012 #

  93. The 120s were stacked in the 4-5 o clock hour. Watched one pull away as I got to the stop, another showed up 2 minutes later. After getting off the bus and was waiting to cross the street, another showed up. They were running 2-5 minutes apart. Made my commute home much better.

    Comment by jedifarfy — 8:32 pm October 5, 2012 #

  94. Bravo, Brian, what do we expect for $2.50? Our cup of coffee costs more. As a rule, bus riders need to be a little more intelligent than car drivers. Late for work/school? Leave earlier or figure out a better route. Feel unsafe standing up? Ask someone for a seat or ask the driver to have them move. Treated badly by a driver? Send in a report. Don’t expect anybody to feel sorry for you no longer having a nearly empty bus give you a one-seat ride to your chosen destination. A lot of the comments on these threads project an image of West Seattleites as being spoiled or at least out of touch with reality. “I’m going back to my car!” reminds me of the panhandler sign I saw on the waterfront today: “Give me change or I’ll vote for Romney”. Go ahead!

    Comment by Kathy — 8:49 pm October 5, 2012 #

  95. Re Brent’s comments about service in other neighborhoods…the south end has Link and sounder. North has Sounder. Ballard has D apparently running more smoothly. We get less capacity…makes you rethink that monorail folks? FWIW I paid monorail tabs 4 times and supported it.

    Comment by Carole — 9:11 pm October 5, 2012 #

  96. The real question is: Where the heck is Rapid Ride Man in all this mess? No true superhero would leave his city in its darkest hour.

    Comment by Hawkbit — 9:41 pm October 5, 2012 #

  97. Exerpt from the email I sent to Metro: (10/5)
    -Today, my 17 year old daughter arrived at her bus stop at Avalon Way and Yancy just after 8 am. She commutes from there to Seattle Central in Capitol Hill, as she did last year without issue.  
    This morning, two busses PASSED the group at her stop before they were finally picked up at 8:25. Upon arriving downtown, she waited at Pike and 4th for more than 20 minutes before a bus came that would get her to Capitol Hill. Upon arriving at the stop near Seattle Central, the bus driver refused to open her front door, except to finally allow a 400 lb disabled rider to exit. My daughter was unable to exit in a timely matter, and ultimately was more than 10 minutes late to her first class, despite having left 20 mins earlier than usual. This resulted in her missing participation in a group presentation for this class, and her grade in this class will suffer as the result. This is not a person who ever makes a practice of running late, but she has been unable to make heads or tails of the bus schedule all week. My 4.0 gpa, 17 year old college student is suffering greatly from the apparent lack of pre-planning and research done prior to the abysmal changes made to your transportation system.  This is a person who is relying on her grades in order to earn scholarships for her future education, and something entirely out of her control is interfering with that. Please understand the far reaching consequences of this system’s changes.

    –back to me. Before anyone suggests we plan better, she left progressively earlier each day this week, and got to school progressively later despite her efforts. Also, what do you do when bus after bus passes your stop?! Seems like earlier wouldn’t have helped anyway, if most of the busses are full by the time they roll by. Sigh.

    Comment by WSMom — 10:08 pm October 5, 2012 #

  98. “Higher than expected ridership”? Lets see, METRO eliminates 3 bus routes, then the Rapid Ride C bus holds about 2/3 of what a regular bus on the 22,54,55 would have held and they wonder why the buses are packed? Another great job from METRO.

    Comment by Joe — 10:56 pm October 5, 2012 #

  99. I take issue with those telling me to be patient and understanding. Metro dismissed our concerns prior to route changes, is arrogantly unapologetic after their failure, and has significantly disrupted the daily routines of several commuters. My facts are clear. It takes much longer to get to and from work without any predictable timeline. I haven’t had a place to sit this entire week which makes me feel unsafe and increases my personal stress. And lastly, I am discouraged at the apparent lack of transit planning ability at Metro – I’d expect this to be their core competency.

    Comment by Not patient — 12:17 am October 6, 2012 #

  100. Metro has done a terrible job here and I share everyone’s frustration. It has not been a good week. Many aspects of the execution of this restructure are unacceptable. Having said that, I simply can’t fathom the handful of people implying that they have a right to a seat or that no one should have to stand. People in every city the world over have to stand on city buses and trains. To the lady that keeps asking about safety regulations and laws – hey, you clearly have access to the internet, look it up yourself. I think you will find that SRO buses, even very very crowded ones are not illegal!

    Comment by gap — 1:29 am October 6, 2012 #

  101. One bone of contention lots of transit advocates have had with the “RapidRide” branding is the implication that it is faster than other options. Depending on where you are catching the bus, there are faster “express” options, including some not called “express”. If you are letting an express pass you by because you expect RapidRide to be faster, that would be a miscalculation. This is very true of the A Line vs. the 574, and of the B Line vs. the 566, for example.
    .
    It bears repeating that the 21 and 50 serve downtown from the south end, and are a faster option for many.
    .
    The RapidRide name, as I understand it, is more a reference to its frequency (which, as has been pointed out, is actually slightly less than that of the old 54 certain times of day) than to its travel speed. The A Line was actually a doubling of the old 174′s frequency. The B Line, was something less straightforward, and pretty much the only really new line, er route, (since it bears no resemblance to a straight line) of the RapidRide family.
    .
    I do hope capacity keeps getting added to the C/D Line until the pass-bys go away, or at least until the number of riders waiting more than 15 minutes during peak is reduced to almost nothing. If it takes adding buses that aren’t red, so be it. If it attracts more riders, and more capacity keeps getting added, that is a wonderful problem to have.
    .
    But that is not actually within Metro’s power. Metro has a contingency budget to add service to overwhelmed routes each pick. I’m afraid the extra C/D line service is already going to blow that budget, so the county council is going to have to find other funding sources, and it won’t come out of other bus lines, or out of off-peak frequency on any line, as that would violate the union pick (and be a bad idea, since late-evening riders already have to wait a half hour for most buses, including RapidRide).
    .
    Allow me to point out another irony here: The fact of RapidRide being “schedule-free” gives Metro the flexibility to decrease its peak headway from, say, 9 minutes to 8 minutes, without violating a printed schedule.

    Comment by Brent — 4:57 am October 6, 2012 #

  102. Just curious-how much more in taxes are you folks willing to
    pay or demand that others pay to expand or restore service to former levels? My car tabs are still lower now than they were in 1984. Taxes pay for things, folks. Reduce taxes that spread the cost around and what you get are higher user fees and reduced services. Finger point at Metro and kvetch about drivers all you want, the bottom line as Pogo said is that we have met the enemy and he is US.

    Comment by Jeff Welch — 7:05 am October 6, 2012 #

  103. I am trying to be empathetic to the many issues that people have raised in this thread. However, the standing room only issue is really hard to have sympathy over. Many, many routes are standing room only. Try riding the 3 or the 4. On those routes the elderly and disabled seats up front get used by disabled and elderly, yet there are still disabled and elderly that manage to stand. Same thing happens on the 36 and 120 and probably a lot of others as well. We cannot all expect our own personal seat assignment, if we do, we better think about much higher taxes to pay for it.

    Comment by D I D — 7:29 am October 6, 2012 #

  104. Most of us commenting here probably voted for Change in 2008 with the election of President Barrack Obama. Change is occurring at the local level as well. Metro being case in point. Is Change easy, simple and without complications or a learning and adjustment curve? No, it is not. Could we please all give the Changes at Metro some time to work themselves out?

    Comment by D I D — 7:32 am October 6, 2012 #

  105. sad that metro has force fed us this new RR line c line and yesterday I found where I catch the #3 or #4 to go to my job. It is a very nice stop too NOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT as there is no shelter for once the rain starts and I’m disabled and where I used to catch the #3 or #4 before there was enough cover for everyone with out getting soaking wet or needing anything to keep the rain off of us. So is metro planning on putting any kind of shelters at this stop for us that are now being forced to change bus stops?

    Comment by michael — 8:38 am October 6, 2012 #

  106. i ride the 3 and 4 to work all the time and there are always standing people standing as the buses are the shorter buses only 40′ ers not the new 60′ ers there is a difference there

    Comment by michael — 9:58 am October 6, 2012 #

  107. i think it is sad that people here in seattle seem to think that services can be offered without paying for them too yet metro has had many years to work on some of these things and it seems to me they missed the boat and just started throwing stuff at us to try and make us happy with no plans on how to truely fix things.

    Comment by michael — 10:02 am October 6, 2012 #

  108. A DISASTER!!!!

    Comment by G — 10:14 am October 6, 2012 #

  109. Buses are full, it is chaos as people try to board through one door in front, and the seats are hard and small. Same people who designed the seats for Light Rail?

    Comment by G — 10:19 am October 6, 2012 #

  110. The streamlined seats mean more people can get seats, and there is more room for standees. They are thinner, but just as wide as the old seats.
    .
    It also means fewer people slipping out of the old slippery seats, and filing huge claims against Metro.

    Comment by Brent — 11:34 am October 6, 2012 #

  111. I don’t think most people are complaining about standing up. I think able-bodied riders expect they may have to stand on the bus from time to time. Being crowded-in like sardines is a bit much though, as is the thought that Metro planned-in having all these riders standing all the time.

    And I was feeling jealous about them catering to all the people who work downtown. Glad I work in Sodo.

    Perhaps they could issue “sit down” cards to people who really do need a seat, and a seated person who is shown the card would be required to relinquish his/her seat.

    Comment by Loretta — 11:43 am October 6, 2012 #

  112. The storyline about the 8-month pregnant lady has me really shaking my head. I’ve also seen unsteady elderly riders not offered seats, and riders with the prime seats not getting up and out of the way as they watch a wheelchair roll on. (This is not just a West Seattle phenomenon, btw.)
    .
    This is really not a Metro issue. This is a rider politeness issue.
    .
    If you are able-bodied, and you see someone who needs to sit down (e.g. 8 months pregnant and looking pained), for the love of God, please offer up your seat.

    Comment by Brent — 12:16 pm October 6, 2012 #

  113. Nice idea, Loretta re: “sit down cards”, but how do you deal with “invisible” disabilities? For example, fibromyalgia, lower back pain issues, sciatic pain? Not trying to shoot down the idea – I kind of like it – just wondering how it might work. I know that I, for one, may sometimes look “able bodied” but am no longer able to cope with long stretches of standing. it’s a tough one.

    Comment by dapuffin — 12:22 pm October 6, 2012 #

  114. Maybe they could be issued based on a doctor’s note?

    Comment by Loretta — 12:48 pm October 6, 2012 #

  115. To recap:
    .
    Before these changes between the hours of 4pm and 7pm from downtown, you had:
    .
    22 busses picking up for the 54/54E route
    6 busses picking up for the 22 route
    12 busses picking up for the 55 route
    Thats a total of 40 busses during 3 hours or a bus to West Seattle every 4.5 minutes.
    .
    Now you have:
    18 RapidRide busses (if it were running as promised)
    5 busses for route 55
    A total of 23 busses.
    .
    This is almost a 50% cut. And worse, the smaller capacity is slowing down the RR to much less than the promised every 10 minutes. There are no “kinks to work out” — the design of he bus service is fatally flawed. the only solution is to add A LOT more busses or push people to their cars.

    Comment by sna — 12:55 pm October 6, 2012 #

  116. Brent, are you certain that the new seats are exactly the same width? And have “slippery seats” really resulted in lawsuits against Metro?

    Comment by dapuffin — 12:55 pm October 6, 2012 #

  117. Just got on a RR C at 3rd & Pike. Two security fellows got on to check transfers and scan ORCAs. Very polite, and they had stickers for the kids. (Everyone had paid, so no drama at all.). They got off at the next stop. First enforcement I’ve seen since the bus changes.

    Comment by Sarah M. — 12:59 pm October 6, 2012 #

  118. The old route schedules can be seen here:
    .
    54/54E
    http://web.archive.org/web/20110705111819/http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/schedules/s054_0_.html
    .
    55
    http://web.archive.org/web/20101022010536/http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/schedules/s055_0_.html
    .
    22
    http://web.archive.org/web/20101031174432/http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/schedules/s022_0_.html

    Comment by sna — 1:03 pm October 6, 2012 #

  119. I was just reading posts on the Seattle Transit Blog and came away thinking that these transit wonks haven’t a clue as to why people in West Seattle are complaining so much. I would suggest we all go to their blog and let them know what we really think. I’m especially annoyed at the flippant attitude of Brent who think West Seattle riders are complaining too much. I wonder if he works at Metro’s planning department.

    Comment by MSW — 1:11 pm October 6, 2012 #

  120. SAFETY:

    I found this as goal #1 for KC Metro on their website; if safety is their #1 goal and key to that is customer/user satisfaction regarding safety and security then our comments on that topic above are relevant:

    GOAL 1
    Safety: Support safe communities

    Objective
    Keep people safe and secure.

    Outcome: Metro’s services and facilities are safe and secure.

    Strategies
    Promote safety and security in public transportation operations and facilities.
    Plan for and execute regional emergency response and homeland security efforts.

    Performance Measures
    Preventable accidents
    Operator and passenger incidents and assaults
    Customer satisfaction regarding safety and security
    Effectiveness of emergency responses

    Comment by maryws — 4:22 pm October 6, 2012 #

  121. Dapuffin, I don’t know about the lawsuits, but I’m not a fan at all of the slippery seats, especially if you’re sitting in the middle of the side-facing seats at the front, with nothing to hold onto. I always felt I was going to slide off. It got so I wouldn’t even get on the bus if those were the only seats s available on the way home.

    And I do need to sit on the bus if possible. I know that makes me a terrible whiny entitled person in the eyes of Brent and others on the Seattle Transit blog. But my back and legs get really stiff and I have a hard time walking to my destination if I have to stand on the bus more than 10 minutes or so, or even if I have to stand waiting for the bus. And no, I don’t feel I can ask people to let me sit. I walk ok otherwise, so they’d probably think I was just being lazy or selfish. And how would I know they didn’t have unseen physical problems of their own?

    (Edited to add: Dapuffin, I didn’t mean to rant at you. I was just giving my view on the slippery seats, and then went on about why I had to sit in the first place.)

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 8:55 pm October 6, 2012 #

  122. Brent, how could the seats be thinner and just as wide at the same time? Also, if thinner seats mean more seats, then why do the RapidRide buses have fewer seats than the old 54 buses?

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:01 pm October 6, 2012 #

  123. Dapuffin, I have to apologize again because I didn’t see your 12:22 pm post. Yes, same here.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 9:07 pm October 6, 2012 #

  124. No worries, West Seattle since 1979.
    I really didn’t know about the slippery seat problem. That’s probably because I tended to sit forward and brace myself with my feet because I’m ummmm vertically challenged. ;)

    Comment by dapuffin — 9:19 pm October 6, 2012 #

  125. “The RapidRide name, as I understand it, is more a reference to its frequency”. Sure OK, so FrequenRide then. Except that would be a lie also.

    Comment by gap — 3:37 am October 7, 2012 #

  126. The “rapid” ride system (and i use that term loosely) is horrible! You never know when a bus is coming as there are no scheduled times and when they do come it seems i am late no matter what time i try to catch one. I don’t understand why when the C line is going into W Seattle it gets off on Avalon yet there are no stops until the KFC. And why oh why can’t they bring back the 54 and the 54x!!! It takes me almost an hour to get home now with this so called “rapid ride”!

    Comment by caligirl919 — 4:04 pm October 8, 2012 #

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