(RapidRide bus photographed in The Triangle on Saturday afternoon)
It’s the first weekday since Metro‘s West Seattle RapidRide launch and route restructuring, and we’re looking forward to hearing commute reports from West Seattle bus riders, while also planning to head out ourselves to check on a few popular outbound bus stops. In the meantime, here’s an early reminder, in case you’re a bus rider but somehow forgot that things are different (for most) today:
*Here’s a news release Metro sent Sunday night with info-links and key points such as the end of the Ride Free Area and the start of pay-when-you-board, no matter which way you’re going
*Remember the new Route 50 is starting with a change in plan
More as the day goes on!
7:42 AM: Mike (who’s a West Seattleite) is among those tracking the RR C Line’s debut commute (via Twitter, right now, from on board one). He has quoted a rider as noting same thing a couple WSB commenters have so far – it’s crowded. Also from comments here: Real-time schedule display at 35th/Avalon isn’t working on the northbound side.
7:56 AM: Commenter Casey says Fauntleroy/Alaska display also says “refer to schedule” rather than times for next buses.
9:20 AM: We’re just back from a tour along much of the RapidRide route. We checked several stops/stations and they all had REFER TO SCHEDULE, so it just might not have been working at all. In The Junction, three Metro workers were there to answer questions (two in our photo) when we stopped around 8:30 – two on the outbound side, one on the inbound side.
12:35 PM: We’re expecting some responses from Metro this afternoon around some of the major issues (in particular, we asked about the multiple reports of very crowded buses). Also, there’s a live chat right now on SeattleTimes.com with Mike Lindblom and a Metro rep – if you miss it, you can still go back and review the Q/A in the chat window.
3:38 PM: Just in from Metro spokesperson Jeff Switzer – responses to some of the most commonly voiced concerns:
It can be difficult to predict how riders might change their habits during these first few days depending on how busy or full a particular trip might be, so we will be monitoring. We have the ability to send an additional RapidRide coach that can be added when needed during times of high ridership and are exploring that for Tuesday morning.
To keep buses and trains moving in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel during the afternoon commute, Metro personnel will have portable ORCA card readers to help riders board buses at Westlake, University Street and International District stations. Portable ORCA card readers also will be used to help riders board during the evening commute at Third Avenue and Pike Street, Third Avenue and Union Street and Second Avenue and Columbia Street.
Route 54 Express has been replaced by frequent all-day service on RapidRide C Line and an increased number of trips on Route 116 Express. The C Line provides a frequent connection for Route 54 Express riders to the north part of downtown Seattle, while the Route 116 Express, in combination with routes 118 and 119, provide a direct connection to SODO and the south part of downtown Seattle. Metro eliminated Route 54 Express because it would be duplicative of RapidRide service.
Metro is currently working out the kinks with some of its passenger facilities, such as real time information signs and ORCA card readers. We are aware of the problem and hope to have them up and running soon. We ask for your patience over the next few days as we work to resolve any further issues with the service change.
We are working to make sure the electronic arrival signs are working as expected. Working to confirm that they are fixed at this point.