Transit and traffic: Wednesday updates, from & to West Seattle

(Live view from the only WS Bridge camera currently in operation; see other cameras on the WSB Traffic page)
7:39 AM – INCLUDING REQUEST FOR FEEDBACK: We’ve had open-thread stories each of the past seven weekdays since the Metro bus changes – and the conversation hasn’t quite died down yet. We’re wondering what you think about a daily transit/traffic thread where any and all issues, big and small, could be brought up. Useful?

Right now, for example, we’ve just gotten a report via Twitter: “Accident blocking left lane under WS bridge blocking route to lower Spokane Bridge.” And of course the fog is affecting the commute too. What do you think – daily “open thread” started fresh each weekday morning, with traffic/transit updates from you and us? Or, continue the daily transit-talk thread TFN? Or just tackle such topics as in the past, on an “as needed” basis?

8:25 AM UPDATE: Chris has more on the aforementioned crash: “No injuries but one car leaking fluids, may need tow. Backups all the way down Harbor Drive as people try to get to bridge.”

88 Replies to "Transit and traffic: Wednesday updates, from & to West Seattle"

  • Chris W October 10, 2012 (7:43 am)

    I vote that it would be useful. It has been so helpful to see others’ experiences and to get the periodic heads up before leaving the house. Thanks for these past few weeks’ coverage!

  • Baymo October 10, 2012 (7:44 am)

    Not a bad idea to be honest. Every week brings some new craziness that bears discussion. I gave up on the bus fiasco today and just drove to work.

  • donofAdmiral October 10, 2012 (7:53 am)

    I think somethime for daily commutes (traffic) would be good with construction and closure reports. Maybe something extra for big events like metro changes would help focus the issues better. Great idea, though!

  • Amanda October 10, 2012 (8:12 am)

    The 8:00 125 is packed standing room only, through half the route. They eliminated at least one bus in the morning. Not good :(

  • Chris W. October 10, 2012 (8:33 am)

    Two notes: 1) An empty C line bus was sitting at Bay 5 (or is it 6?) at Alaska Junction this am, presumably awaiting deployment during peak time. Was good to see. 2) #55 route to downtown has now had 3 occasions to skip or otherwise be delayed at the 3rd & Union stop downtown. Keep missing my transfers. If West Seattle commuters have a tight transfer schedule or are in danger of running late, I recommend offloading at 2nd & Seneca rather than waiting til the bus climbs up onto 3rd. Too many weird things have been throwing the buses off (drivers who don’t know stops, heavy police presence, etc).

    Today’s trip to SLU took over an hour due to the missed stop & missed transfer, but that’s going to happen every now & then.

  • Mrs Tiggy Wiggle October 10, 2012 (8:33 am)

    I think a daily commute thread/feed would be excellent. It’s difficult to find any info on a real-time basis for specific areas. A live feed would sure beat the heck out of cluelessly standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus that may or may not show up on time. It would also help to identify problems as they emmerge and get them addressed by the powers that be in a more timely manor. I’d also appreciate info on how to properly file complaints related to commuting issues. It would be great to gain traction on these kinds of things, instead of just whining into the ether.

  • Wetone October 10, 2012 (8:34 am)

    Watching the news (5) last night and they were reporting that Metro said the new RR in West Seattle had its ridership up 15-20 percent and a success . Wow.

  • Mrs Tiggy Wiggle October 10, 2012 (8:36 am)

    I think a daily commute thread/feed would be excellent. It’s difficult to find any info on a real-time basis for specific areas. A live feed would sure beat cluelessly standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus that may or may not show up on time. It would also help to identify problems as they emerge and get them addressed by the powers that be in a more timely manor. I’d also appreciate info on how to properly file complaints related to commuting issues. It would be great to gain traction on these kinds of things, instead of just whining into the ether.

  • driving to work now October 10, 2012 (8:37 am)

    I heard on the news last night from the head of Metro, the reason buses are full out of West Seattle was because the ridership was up 11% for last month so they are adding extra buses…..are you kidding me?!?!?!

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (8:58 am)

      Re: the mention of a TV report last night – I have asked the county for more information on those reported numbers. If there are people who are taking the bus who hadn’t before, would love to hear from them too. Had also asked previously about the numbers that some had been informally crunching in previous discussion threads – how many buses in “the corridor” since the change, and is it truly fewer? – and was told they’re in the works. – TR

  • Kim October 10, 2012 (8:44 am)

    Great idea – this would give us one central place to communicate with each other as we are heading out into traffic and have questions or incidents to report.

  • Robert October 10, 2012 (8:46 am)

    How about a Twitter hashtag that is specific to the eastbound West Seattle Bridge commute traffic?

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (8:51 am)

      We could incorporate Twitter but keep in mind that a very very small percentage of WSB readership uses it so we wouldn’t want to use it exclusively, much as I appreciate it as a service. The web is the most used, most accessible platform. It would be easy to incorporate incoming tweets in a story (even with an widget picking up a hashtag) but the challenge would be how to get web content, comments etc., back out to Tw (maybe something RSS). Slightly more complicated tech matter :)

  • RichWSeattle October 10, 2012 (8:47 am)

    I agree that it would be useful. For this morning’s bus report: 6:29a C from Fauntleroy/Alaska had seats available. After the last stop before DT there were a few people standing.

  • Annette October 10, 2012 (8:59 am)

    To follow up on what Wetone said: King5 did a story on our bus problems in West Seattle, but in my opinion, seems to suggest only the first few days were rough. I take the bus everyday and demand is NOT being met, even now with more buses. I find it hard to beleive that ridership is up!

  • LC October 10, 2012 (9:16 am)

    I waited over 40 minutes at 6PM last night near Pike Street for a bus to West Seattle. When one finally came I was barely able to squeeze in. By the time we reached Columbia Street the bus was refusing passengers and some riders were saying that they had been waiting an hour and a half while 2 already full buses had passed them by without stopping. This problem is nowhere near solved. It’s a disaster.

  • Sna October 10, 2012 (9:20 am)

    Metro needs to acknowledge the mess that commuting to/from West Seattle has become at peak times.

  • Sue October 10, 2012 (9:22 am)

    First time I had to stand on a Vashon bus (around 7:35 this morning). Confusing because this one was pay as you leave (which he told me after I paid getting on) – everyone other one I’ve been on in the past week and a half has been pay as you enter. While not as packed as the C line, standing was very difficult as the driver kept slamming on the brakes and I have balance issues. I was grateful that someone gave me a seat about 5 minutes into the trip, as it was hard enough not falling off the seat with all the brake slamming (which seems to be a chronic problem on the Vashon buses, with different drivers). Traffic was heavy on Avalon and the bridge, and I ended up in work 10 min. later than usual.
    And yes, I would love to see a traffic/transit thread to talk about what’s going on each day. I also appreciate the follow-up on finding out about the alleged increase in ridership vs. the reduction in buses – I’ve been doing the identical commute for 5 years, and as of 2 weeks ago my commute is longer and I’ve been letting full buses pass me. This was NEVER an issue before unless there was some major traffic issue.

  • low bridge October 10, 2012 (9:28 am)

    16 minutes highland park to sodo via riverview, puget ridge, pigeon point, low bridge and marginal way with absolutely no traffic stoppage.
    (that was by bike though).

  • Mrs Tiggy Wiggle October 10, 2012 (9:47 am)

    I think a daily commute thread/feed would be excellent. It’s difficult to find any info on a real-time basis for specific areas. It might also help to identify problems as they emerge and get them addressed by the powers that be in a more timely manor. I’d also appreciate info on how/where to properly file complaints related to commuting issue in hopes of gaining traction on these kinds of things.

  • HP Dude October 10, 2012 (9:48 am)

    I think this is a great idea. Also second Mrs Tiggle’s suggestion of a link to the Metro “suggestion box” as they make it quite difficult to register any information sharing (good or bad).

    Also this morning Avalon was backed up 100+ yards in the bus lane with all sorts of 1 passenger short buses getting in line early to make the turn onto the Spokane ramp.

  • Lura Ercolano October 10, 2012 (9:56 am)

    Maybe both ways of posting – daily thread and the something unusual thread. Some of us WSB readers aren’t daily commuters. I’m probably not the only reader who has read all the bus threads mostly from the perspective of a community member/tax payer who is interested in how these changes are effecting my community, rather than how they are effecting me personally.

    I am interested in reading – right at the top of the blog – when there is something BIG – an accident on the bridge, say – that necessitates a completely different attitude about getting out of West Seattle, such as leaving an hour earlier than normal for a medical appointment on Capitol Hill, or driving through Burien to get onto 405 to go to a meeting in Bellevue, or 99 is closed. Stuff like that.

    As far as how the bus changes are personally impacting my family, we no longer have any sort of all-day service, even occasional or packed. I wish that they would add something like the water taxi shuttle that could loop through the unserved areas and bring passengers up to the crowded routes.

  • Mark October 10, 2012 (10:05 am)

    Can someone get the straight scoop on the number of buses traveling to downtown during the morning peak hours and back to WS during the afternoon peak hours? I’ve seen many commenters mention that the numbers are down significantly after the recent changes on 9/29. Thanks

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (10:07 am)

      Metro says my request for that number is still in queue.

  • Peter on Fauntleroy October 10, 2012 (10:07 am)

    I took RR C today for the first time (been out of town). My wife got one at about 7:05 and I got one about 7:20. Both were were standing room only at Fauntleroy and Alaska, which is not unuaual as I sometimes stood on the 54/55 getting on at this stop. Travel time to downtown is the same as old 54/55, but up 10 minutes over the old 54X.
    – – –
    What irks me is the promised but non-existent signal priority; the bus stopped and waited at every single light, just like always.
    – – –
    However, I did figure out the probelm with Rapid Ride. It’s all a misunderstanding. See, it was only called “Rapid Ride” due to a clerical error at Metro, they actually meant to call it the “Slow Stand.”

  • LivesInWS October 10, 2012 (10:37 am)

    “ridership up 15-20 percent”

    Up from what they estimated, they mean. But if you do the numbers, Metro has cut service.

    The situation will improve after more people are left standing, miss their transfers, and late to work, and stop taking Metro.

  • O October 10, 2012 (10:57 am)

    As someone who used to take the 57 from admiral and california to 4th and jackson, which used to take about 25 minutes or so… I had been taking the 56 since the change which taking the 7:13 would get me to work at about 7:55… I took the 50 today. I’m not sure the thinking behind the 50. The bus was not very full as we putted our way from north admiral.. down through the junction, and then to delridge, and finally on to the bridge. From there transfer to a bus or light rail at lander and the busway. Trip still takes 35-45 minutes. It seems to me there are more people looking to get to starbucks corporate, and offices between there and the south downtown area – moreso than into beacon hill?

  • AG October 10, 2012 (11:29 am)


    In-the-moment happenings (including traffic) were a big part of why I started reading WSB. I have to be honest that I don’t read nearly as often – just skim a few times a week – because that “hey, heads up, the bridge is way backed up and you might want to try a different route” factor is no longer here. I guess it was a function of getting bigger, but the hyper-current local info was always my favorite thing about WSB.

    In other words, yes please bring it back!

  • AG October 10, 2012 (11:35 am)

    re the busses — yesterday afternoon around 4:30 there were EIGHT busses parked on Barton next to the park that faces Target. No drivers in sight. Two more were parked at the southbound bus stop at the east entrance of westwood village. Also no drivers in sight. Those two were completely blocking the view of drivers and pedestrians coming and and out of WWV – it was a huge hazard.
    Anyone know what was going on? Bus driver meeting at Eats, perhaps?

  • westside October 10, 2012 (11:58 am)

    Ridership is up? I look forward to seeing the numbers to back up that statement.

    I was a diehard 54/55 rider, but have given up on the C line. I find it hard to believe that all these new riders are putting up with the current level of service. I like the new buses, and I don’t even care about getting a seat, I just can’t deal with the inconsistent service.

  • Richard October 10, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    Based on my (off-peak) RR experience yesterday, I’ll be doing a lot less shopping downtown and a lot more shopping online. It’s hard enough to transport myself in these conditions, let alone any packages. I hope Metro factored that into their sales tax projections.
    The one nice thing about the red and yellow vehicles is that it’s now easier to identify all the approaching buses that AREN’T the one you’ve been waiting and waiting for.

  • sw October 10, 2012 (12:13 pm)

    Time to Get Jesse.

  • Wanda October 10, 2012 (12:30 pm)

    Caught the 55 about 8:15 because the RR sign said 12 minutes before the next bus. What happened to the promised 8 or 9 minutes because they added more buses? No problem getting a seat at 8:15 from the Junction, but there were about 30-35 people standing at the end.

  • Carole October 10, 2012 (12:49 pm)

    Tuesday morning, about 7:25 AM there were several RR buses parked along south side of Barton, motors not running, no drivers in sight. They were west of the “bump” – seems perhaps they could have been used to pick up those left standing further north?

  • Anne October 10, 2012 (12:56 pm)

    Metro’s statement is called”spin”. From what commenters on the WSB have been saying there are pretty much the same number of commuters–just fewer busses & changed schedules to accommodate them!

  • BearsChick October 10, 2012 (1:02 pm)

    They can’t possibly support that statement. Too many folks are saying that #1)they switched to driving….& #2)many people are not paying as they get on the bus. How do they count ridership?

  • Julie October 10, 2012 (1:10 pm)

    I switched to driving today, it was awesome! It will cost me more but overall riding the bus is no longer my preferred method of transport to downtown everyday.

  • Peter on Faunlteroy October 10, 2012 (1:16 pm)

    BearsChick – Metro busses have electronic counters at every door to track boardings/deboardings regardless of payment. That’s how they track how many people are typically on a bus for any stretch of its route, and other performance metrics such as platform hours and passenger miles. So Metro does actually know exactly how many people ride any bus on any day.

  • here October 10, 2012 (1:31 pm)

    When the 21 and C lines make their last stop at Westwood, they don’t pull up to the stop and let people out. You have to get off at the layover spot. Does anyone know if there are any plans to pave that parking strip, or are we to wade through wet grass and snow this winter when we disembark?

  • rocky raccoon October 10, 2012 (2:20 pm)

    Really? You think your transit agency should ensure you don’t have to walk 2 feet through wet grass or snow? Do you want the bus fare to be $10?

  • why_cause October 10, 2012 (2:22 pm)

    Shouldn’t Metro already know the difference in the number of buses running before and after the switch? That should have been considered in the planning phase.

  • Single mother October 10, 2012 (2:23 pm)

    I like the idea of a transit/incident site as well. West Seattle has become an island and having people reporters on the scene as it happens would be very helpful. I try to do the right thing by being “green” but I end up sacrificing a lot of precious time. No matter what time I catch the C bus coming or going to downtown, it is always SRO. I am short and cannot reach the high bar and the jerkiness of the ride prevents me from using the loop. I asked a metro staff person on Oct 1 if Metro was doing a passenger count and he said yes but then he didn’t know if it was being used on this particular bus. I see people jumping on the bus without paying all the time. Why doesn’t the driver say anything?!

  • elma October 10, 2012 (2:35 pm)

    I have been following this thread since RR started. Due to health conditions I’ve not been able to ride the bus for the past two years. I had intended to start this month. I’m still not able to stand for long periods of time– with the reported wait times and crowded buses looks like driving is still best for me.
    A daily commute/transit thread would be really useful. (My husband is a regular bus commuter. He was on vacation until today. I will be interested in his experiences with today’s commute.)

    • WSB October 10, 2012 (2:46 pm)

      OK – sounds like we should give it a try. Watch for it every weekday morning, launching around 6 am. We’ll work on added features like commute tweets for example but for starters, it’ll be just a plain ol’ blurb by us (with added items as merited – and any traffic alerts/transit alerts, including Water Taxi, for the day/night ahead) and then everybody’s comments. I’ll probably give it its own category which would provide a handy reference URL you can bookmark and always see the newest one on top. AND we’ll of course break out anything huge. Thanks for the feedback. It’s been a really important topic on WSB for years – both the “what’s happening now” and the “upcoming road work” aspects. – TR

  • Jeff Welch October 10, 2012 (2:45 pm)

    AG,Barton is a layover area for both the 21 and C line. It’s also one of the few places we have an accessible restroom (target) the bus drivers you didn’t see were probably sitting on their buses. We rarely get breaks over 15 minutes long, and some days not at all. So no, no secret bus driver meeting at any restaurants.

  • Anne October 10, 2012 (3:01 pm)

    You know what Pete-I don’t believe that at all.

  • linda October 10, 2012 (3:09 pm)

    Yes, please add a daily transit/traffic thread! I know my partner checks the blog every day to see how traffic is and plans his departure accordingly. Ironically, he’s a Metro driver so relies on WSB to make sure he is not late to work. :)
    @Sue: I used to commute on the 116/118/119 from Vashon. If Metro is still doing what they used to do, some of these buses are parked on the ferry dock so passengers disembarking from the ferry can board. Because of the volume of people loading and the fact that the buses are blocking the lanes used for cars to disembark, passengers pay as they leave to speed up boarding and therefore not delay the offloading of the cars from the ferry. (Note: these are all “short” buses since they have to be able to turn around at the end of the dock.)
    And speaking of the 116/118/119, as a former Vashon commuter, I have to wonder what will happen to these new routes the first time the ferries are late due to a boat broken down, fog, etc. These routes used to be the only ones where the ferry schedule took precedence over the bus schedule. WSDOT and Metro coordinated to make sure buses were held and on hand when ferries finally did arrive (much to the chagrin of folks waiting to catch the bus at its stops on Fauntleroy). I remember these buses always leaving the ferry dock with all of us packed in like sardines, no room for anyone else as we left the dock. It will make for a very interesting commute for someone (either the ferry riders or the folks waiting in West Seattle) the first time the ferries are late.

  • carlton October 10, 2012 (3:19 pm)

    A bus never passed by me until last week..

  • BearsChick October 10, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    If that were true Pete, then they’d know the difference between how many people ride the bus, and the number of people who aren’t paying. Another statistic I’d like to see.

  • sardine October 10, 2012 (3:31 pm)

    Try it out, WSB. Could become your most popular thread, given the nature of our transportation situation.

  • gap October 10, 2012 (3:37 pm)

    I would like to thank and compliment WSB and all the folks that are questioning Metro’s PR assertion that RR is a success story. It is very important to know the actual number of trips in the corridor vs. ridership. I’m beginning to wonder if Kevin Desmond is made of Teflon!

  • Peter on Fauntleroy October 10, 2012 (4:14 pm)

    Bears Chick and Anne, here a summary of some of the tech Metro is currently using on busses, including Automatic Passenger Counters:
    – –
    Also, BearsC, Metro does know the difference between how many people ride and how many pay. This is the last full report, but they collect the data on an ongoing basis:
    – –
    This info took only a few minutes to find on their website.

  • Jeff Welch October 10, 2012 (4:38 pm)

    Single Mother, drivers are specifically prohibited from challenging those who board without paying. Drivers are routinely assaulted, even murdered over fare disputes. Thos who now board at the rear without paying may have paid off board or have a valid paper transfer (rapid ride only).

  • Nabs October 10, 2012 (4:54 pm)

    Wow, two RR buses just left 3rd and Seneca to West Seattle just before 5pm with seats to spare. The first time I’ve been able to sit going home all week.

  • Here October 10, 2012 (4:56 pm)

    @rocky raccoon -no need for that. It is a legitimate question.

  • sna October 10, 2012 (4:59 pm)

    WSB –
    if Metro doesnt have the number of bus trips were serving West Seattle before and after at their finger tips, then that says volumes about their lack of real planning. That should be a topline stat.

  • Elliot October 10, 2012 (5:19 pm)

    RR C to west seattle at 5:12 pm not stopping at 2nd and Columbia – full. Next bus sardine SRO (SSRO).

  • dapuffin October 10, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    Thank you, WSB!!

  • Mike Lindblom October 10, 2012 (5:39 pm)

    +1 to Jeff Welch – On my C Line trip Tuesday night, three guys got on the rear at 2/Columbia without paying — no room at the front door. I saw one pay at the front upon reaching West Seattle, and wouldn’t be surprised if the others did too.

  • MSW October 10, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    The 5:18 # 57 never showed up at 3rd & Pine. It’s been late every day on my commute home.

  • Kg October 10, 2012 (5:47 pm)

    5:45 at columbia left people behind. Packed again like sardines

  • carlton October 10, 2012 (5:49 pm)

    No stop on the South side of the Junction makes it hard for people with disabilities..

  • BookGal October 10, 2012 (6:16 pm)

    As everyone has probably noticed, there’s no printed schedule for the C-Line with scheduled times of departure at the stops. Which I find odd and frustrating… everyone needs to have some sort of idea as to when the bus will arrive at the stop (before they leave their house)… we have to account for the commute time to downtown (or to West Seattle) – which can be 20-30 minutes. Add 15 minutes and it makes a huge difference on arriving at an appointment, work, or a social engagement.

  • BookGal October 10, 2012 (6:19 pm)

    As for the printed schedule, I was able to print schedules for my C-Line stops… Go to the Metro transit site…You need to input the stop or cross streets, then request all the buses that stop at that particular stop. Remember to set the parameters to all day or between certain hours. Click on the C-Line… and you will see all the times of arrival/departure for that particular stop.

  • michael October 10, 2012 (6:31 pm)

    I find it crazy that metro would ever say the RR C line is doing a great or even a good job!!!!! They have drivers that can’t read the RR run card that is why the miss stops when there is still room on the bus or the just don’t care as nobody from metro seems to be watching what is really going on with this new RR C line route. I was at the WS QFC just east of the Alaska Jt. which is no longer served by metro for anyone going soth on California Ave. My wife and I like that store and the Jefferson Sq Safeway yet if we want to shop at these stores we have to take a bus from Cal. and Fontleroy to the Alaska jct. and walk to these stores and if we want to take a bus home we have to walk back to the jct. I find this to be totally poor service and disrespectful to the disabled by taking this away from us!!!! To me it seems as if metro is being like a BUKKY towards the disabled and older riders that are not being forced to not shop where we all used to shop.

  • michael October 10, 2012 (6:35 pm)

    you got that so right too. if someone needed to pick up meds at the riteaid they have to take the 128 as the fancy new bus is to good to stop there for them too one more of metro’s ways of telling the riders how do you like us now!!!!!!!

  • michael October 10, 2012 (6:40 pm)

    metro knows how many buses used to serve west seattle it is just that the people making the plans and choices we that live in ws are forced to deal with is so you don’t like it don’t ride the bus!!!! find your own way to where you want to go. i am one of the riders that metro cs manager told maybe you need to find some other way to get where you want to go. sad yet it is true. i sent an email to kevin desmond about her telling me that with no responce from him or his office too. just shows me how metro truely feels about us as the riders.

  • Sarah M. October 10, 2012 (7:39 pm)

    A RR C bus is broken down somewhere north of 3rd & Pine, and people say they’ve been waiting already more than a half hour.

    I just hopped on a 21. I WANT a 54 (aka C), but who knows when it will come, or whether there will be any room aboard when it arrives.

    Better to hoof it a mile home from the 21 than take a chance on the C.

    I’ve switched to a combination of the 116, 55, and 21, with just an occasional C in the mix.

    I can walk fine, but i don’t feel stable (hip replacements, short and can’t reach bars and handles) much of the time on the SRO busses, so i now leave home earlier, come home later, and play the “game” of trying to catch a bus.

    I’ve been riding busses from Fauntleroy & Alaska for 14 years, and until 9/29 never had any trouble other than snow days or under other extraordinary circumstances. I have a car, but I’ve always.counted on Metro.

    Surely Metro will get enough buses flowing on the C eventually AND make whatever change is appropriate so we can.see the REAL anticipated ETA of the next C.

  • Sue October 10, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    I got stuck at work tonight, and for the first time since the schedule changes had to leave at a time that the 116/8/9 no longer ran, and I had yet to have the “pleasure” of a Rapid Ride C trip and have been dreading it from everything I read.
    I arrived at 3rd/Seneca at 6:35. One Bus Away didn’t even have the C listed with their usual “5 minutes away” timing – so I had to assume there was no C coming anytime soon. 5 minutes later I got a 21 and got off at 35th/Avalon to transfer to either a C/50/773 to continue to Fauntleroy/Alaska. Waited a while and the C came – standing room only, but able to get on. After walking home from the bus, it was 55 minutes door-to-door. I work a lot of OT and it has NEVER taken that long for me to get home at that hour.
    I also thought that the C was supposedly designed so the bus was reasonably level with the bus stop so it would be easier to board. I’ve got knee issues, and it was a considerable drop to get off (especially when driver didn’t even pull all the way into the curb and left a gap) and to climb on the C.

  • whitestuart October 10, 2012 (8:27 pm)

    YES! WSBlog is the first place I check each day when I am stuck in traffic. You are always the first ones to report ” real-time” accidents and back-ups. I would love to a daily- real-time commute post. Thanks!

  • dapuffin October 10, 2012 (8:28 pm)

    Sue, I’d have to say that on just about every ride I’ve taken on the Rapid Ride, the driver has not adequately aligned with the curb. I’m pretty short and it *is* a big, jarring step down.

  • Megan October 10, 2012 (8:37 pm)

    Pete – I had a look at the links that your provided regarding the automatic passenger counters. It appears that the data Metro provided for fare evasion was performed by the bus driver pushing an indicator to indicate a partial payment, no payment or full payment.

    If they used this method to collect(what I would assume to be) a critical statistic that makes me question the validity or performance of the automatic passenger counters. If the automated counter worked, I would assume they would use that to calculate the rate of fare evasion.

  • West Seattle since 1979 October 10, 2012 (8:53 pm)

    I agree with Sue and Dapuffin! I have knee issues too, and I’m reluctant to get off at the back of the bus because of the clearance. It’s probably hard to get those articulated buses lined up, and the clearance issues are worse on hills such as on Seneca between 2nd and 3rd.

    I will say that the new buses do seem to have a lower clearance than the old ones. Also the floor can be lowered in back – – one driver did it automatically without anyone asking.

  • Paul October 10, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    Megan, how would an automatic passenger counter tell the difference between someone with a transfer and someone not paying a fare?

  • Single Mother October 10, 2012 (9:30 pm)

    I guess the Metro drivers are different from the ST drivers because I got asked to come forward and pay when using ORCA reader in the tunnel. Or maybe I look easy to challenge. The ORCA card reader at the Alaska Junction has been out of service and that where I see a bunch of people jumping on the bus. I doubt that they all have transfers.

  • Single Mother October 10, 2012 (9:33 pm)

    On the way home today, I took the 21X out of desperation and the bus driver was entering in information in his dash device and missed the Columbia turn and went through Pioneer Square. A passenger threatened to report him. I thought it was pretty dangerous to be driving a huge bus while texting. It just takes one accident and we’ll all be paying for Metro’s liability.

  • Single Mother October 10, 2012 (9:41 pm)

    I looked at the fare evasion paper but didn’t get to read it all. How do you measure fare evasion if you can’t see people boarding at the 2 back doors with so many passengers milling around and blocking mirrors and not knowing if they are using a valid transfer or not. If this a stupid question, sorry.

  • Stephanie October 10, 2012 (9:45 pm)

    Megan – just counting bodies wouldn’t match up with the farebox, as disabled people, youth, and seniors pay a different rate (or not at all) than standard fare. Metro also still uses paper transfers, which are simply shown to the driver as proof of fare. The driver then counts that as ‘paid,’ when that person would be counted as ‘unpaid’ by the passenger counter. It also wouldn’t account for partial payments, so they had the driver mark those. I really think they needed a human observer to get accurate data.

  • Stephanie October 10, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    Single Mother – the card readers in the tunnel are just for riding the light rail. For buses, you always pay at the door.

  • Jeff Welch October 11, 2012 (5:24 am)

    Sue, dapuffin, etc., the driver can lower (“kneel”) the bus to reduce the distance and height of the step. Just ask.

  • Jeff Welch October 11, 2012 (5:30 am)

    Single Mother, the driver was not “texting”. Our radio units don’t do that. The driver was more likely trying to correct the electronic sign, which someone reported said “to terminal”. The bus you describe was likely one of the add-ins, and as such lacked the system computer programming that automates stop announcements and sign changes. We do not stop the bus every time we have to push buttons on our display unit.

  • Jeff Welch October 11, 2012 (5:34 am)

    Single Mother, fare evasion is only tracked during focused surveys. The last survey estimated an annual loss to Metro of 3.5 million a year in unpaid or underpaid fares. Most of that was related to those boarding in the Ride Free Area. Fare evasion is drastically down already (my observation) with the elimination of the RFA. As to the evasion that continues with back door boarder, what do you suggest?

  • Peter on Fauntleroy October 11, 2012 (7:47 am)

    Megan, keep in mind that report is over two years old and produced using the methods they has at the time. My point is that Metro does now use automatic counters and they do track fare evasion.

  • Jeff Welch October 11, 2012 (8:43 am)

    Peter, as a driver, I’m unaware of any ongoing method of tracking fare evasion.

  • Sue October 11, 2012 (9:22 am)

    Jeff, I know they can kneel the bus, but it’s hard to ask them to do it if you’re in the back, and I can’t tell you how many times the drivers have told me they don’t know how to do it. I think it’s probably a ploy not to do it because it holds people up. That’s the other issue – when you are getting off downtown and 25 people are waiting behind you, they’re all in a hurry and nobody wants to wait until the bus is done kneeling to get off (and since I’m the one who is asking, I’m standing next to the driver and blocking their way out).

  • AG October 11, 2012 (12:03 pm)

    @Jeff Welch – thanks for the info about Barton. I’m glad to know it was SOP and not something gone wrong. I hope I didn’t sound as if I were accusing drivers of being lazy when I suggested a meeting at Eats.I was thinking “scheduled team meeting,” not “hanging out while not doing your job.” A friend of mine on SPD used to have the plainclothes Metro route, and based on his stories, you drivers have one of the more stressful and difficult jobs in town. Dealing with the public while operating a giant vehicle would be incredibly difficult. I’m glad there are people willing to do it. So, thank you.

  • Jeff Welch October 14, 2012 (8:12 am)

    AG we don’t have “team meetings”. Wish that were the case. We’d probably benefit from facilitated meetings of the type I regularly had as a white-collar worker. If nothing else, we could go over some of the comments on WSB. :)

  • Jeff Welch October 14, 2012 (8:15 am)

    Sue, again if you think it should be standard practice to kneel the bus, suggest it to Metro. Currently it is not. As a driver I have had people snarl at me for lowering the bus without being asked, and for not lowering it without being asked, so without a directive from above it’s a lose-lose proposition for us.

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