West Seattleites to Metro: ‘Relieve overcrowding; make buses show up on time; get more $’

January 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 57 Comments

(WSB photo from first week of RapidRide last October)
Three and a half months after Metro launched RapidRide C Line to and from West Seattle and “restructured” most of the rest of the bus system in West Seattle, it’s gone public with results of a rider survey. Metro says 499 people took the survey online, and about 200 people talked with their reps in person. An overview is up now on their Metro Matters site, and the detailed official summary is here. From the overview:

Riders told us they want us to focus on three key things:

*Relieve overcrowding.
*Make buses show up on time.
*Get more and sustainable funding to expand or increase service.

The good news is that we want what you want: excellent and reliable transit service. But some things are within Metro’s control and some aren’t, and we have to balance the need to be cost-effective with the need to serve the most riders, including those who most need public transit.

No promises are made in either document. But on page 5 of the full summary, Metro does reiterate the recent announcement that it will have a printed schedule for “most of” RapidRide next month.

57 Comments

  1. “Make buses show up on time” – That might be the single dumbest thing I’ve seen in the entire history of “surveys”. Are you KIDDING me? What magic powers do you think buses have? LOL If there’s an accident or heavy traffic, buses can’t go faster than anyone else, they have no magic powers to “phase” through other vehicles. Good lord. The ONLY thing that shows up “on time” (baring specific accidents or breakdowns) are trains on separate grades (non-road) like sub-ways or elevated. But as soon as you plop your transit down within all the other cars, its going no faster than anything else. If the freeway stops, all the buses ON the freeway stop too.

    Comment by And Now For Something Completely Different — 1:56 pm January 17, 2013 #

  2. I’ve written to Metro several times over the past few weeks to report that the Route #22 is consistently off schedule, sometimes wildly so, at the Westwood Village layover stop. On several occasions, the bus has not appeared at all, despite a 20 minute wait on either side of the scheduled arrival/departure to AH. This is the ONLY service available to Arbor Heights during off-peak hours, and then just on an hourly basis. It is essential that this bus run reasonably on time, and especially not leave early.

    I predicted back in September that this would happen. If ridership declines even further in AH Metro will use this as an excuse to make even greater cuts to service. Making it impossible for people to catch this bus is one way of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I urge anyone in AH who has shared this experience with the Route #22 to make an official complaint before we’re left with no service at all. I’m tired of our neighborhood being treated as if we’re not even part of the City.

    Comment by anonyme — 2:06 pm January 17, 2013 #

  3. “Metro does reiterate the recent announcement that it will have a printed schedule for “most of” RapidRide next month.”

    Hooray!!

    Comment by transplantella — 2:06 pm January 17, 2013 #

  4. Anonyme: Metro has “changed” the Route 22 schedule at the 2 pm hour. This was done some months ago to better serve after-school kids going home. In spite of my multiple letters and in-person correspondence with Metro, they refuse to issue a revised schedule at the bus stops. The 2:00 pm to Westwood leaves the Junction at 2:07 pm. Now, Metro may think this inconveniences no one, but as I’ve pointed out to them, when a bus leaves only every hour, and we are trying to meet connections, it is inexcusable to not post the changed times at all the bus stops and issue a new schedule.

    Comment by iggy — 2:23 pm January 17, 2013 #

  5. Why would rapid ride have a schedule? It’s not a scheduled service like normal buses, it’s just every x minutes.

    Comment by Alki Area — 2:26 pm January 17, 2013 #

  6. To AND NOW… I often see there to for C lines leaving downtown in the evening right on top of each other. Helps with overcrowding, but other people elsewhere are probably waiting far too long. I understand that buses start routes in time but get bunched up in traffic. There should be a fix for that.

    Comment by Chris W — 2:36 pm January 17, 2013 #

  7. Alki Area – It’s frustrating for folks at the stops without the neon signage and who don’t have hand-held devises to do bus away. For example, it’s cold and raining and we trudge our 4 blocks to the Myrtle stop (now that the 22 doesn’t go downtown). The spiffy red bus shelters are worthless there for blocking wind. (The old blue ones with the higher walls and deeper roof at least kept one warmer and dry.) If this is late morning, the “every x minutes” is about every 15 minutes. You are standing there getting wet and don’t have a clue if the next bus will come in 1 minute or 14 minutes. It’s kind of like dropping toast with jam on the floor. It always lands jam side down. yuk. Somehow, it always seems that it is about 10 or 12 minutes for the next RR. If there were a printed schedule that showed mid-day what time the bus left Westwood, we would know when to leave the house to walk to Myrtle and get there just ahead of a scheduled bus.

    Comment by iggy — 2:38 pm January 17, 2013 #

  8. When the highschool lets out each afternoon the kids walk for Blocks and Blocks to be the 1st ones on the bus so they can have a seat. The over crowding is harsh. I make sure to avoid those 2 bus runs.

    Comment by Noelle — 2:41 pm January 17, 2013 #

  9. Why would Rapid Ride have a schedule? Because they are not living up to their promise. The buses are supposed to be coming every 15 minutes. Instead, they double-up and come every 30. So, you go outside, you see you just missed the two that are so close they should get married. Your next one….maybe 30, maybe it’s doubled up with another and it’ll be 40 minutes away.

    Comment by dhg — 2:41 pm January 17, 2013 #

  10. When I go to the bus stop I want the bus to be there waiting for me.

    Comment by I. Ponder — 2:42 pm January 17, 2013 #

  11. I agree with Iggy, the bus shelters are worthless. Anyone who’s lived here long enough, knows that the wind usually comes from the Southwest. I waited for my bus at the Junction, ACROSS the street to be protected from the wind and rain.

    Also, most people would rather have a REAL schedule and REAL times, rather than this ambiguous idea of when a bus comes. Even five minutes can seem like an eternity in the cold rain.

    Comment by G — 2:56 pm January 17, 2013 #

  12. I actually do my best to try to schedule my day around the 116 now to avoid the C. However, I used to ride the 54 every day of the week, I now get rides from friends 3-4 days a week.

    The C is simply overcrowded almost all the time. Last week I was standing up with someone’s knees in my back thighs and my chest pressed against the woman in front of me. Well, she ended up fainting as we got onto 99 because there were too many people on the darn bus. Luckily she was okay after a bit, and the people were great enough to get her some space and a seat.

    Not to mention that the buses are really uncomfortable to try to sit in for the 40 minute ride. Rapid Ride has been a major step backwards in quality and service for me.

    Comment by Hawkbit — 2:57 pm January 17, 2013 #

  13. Hawkbit, I have heard from others with similar story to you, especially from seniors. They now drive or get rides instead of taking the bus downtown. I talked to one lady who is switching all her doctors from Swedish to Highline so she can drive to Burien.

    Comment by iggy — 3:16 pm January 17, 2013 #

  14. I’m with you all the new shelters are worthless. the one at 35th and Avalon you can’t sit at the seats when it is raining due to they are being rained on from the back side drips down on them. the floors puddle up so you can’t even find dry ground to stand on too. It would be nice if the side walls were deeper as that would keep some of the wind and rain out from the front too. I still find it sad that metro hasn’t address how they’ve cut everyone south of the jut at California and Alaska from shopping at QFC as we have not a bus at all that stops there yet if you live north you have 2 different buses that stop there. I was told today too by King County Risk Management that they don’t care if the drivers follow and of metros posted reroutes or not they feel it is just to bad you are stuck and have to deal with the driver not doing his job and that our time isn’t important at all.

    Comment by michael ford — 3:33 pm January 17, 2013 #

  15. I’m with you all the new shelters are worthless. the one at 35th and Avalon you can’t sit at the seats when it is raining due to they are being rained on from the back side drips down on them. the floors puddle up so you can’t even find dry ground to stand on too. It would be nice if the side walls were deeper as that would keep some of the wind and rain out from the front too.

    Comment by michael ford — 3:35 pm January 17, 2013 #

  16. the one at 35th and Avalon you can’t sit at the seats when it is raining due to they are being rained on from the back side drips down on them. the floors puddle up so you can’t even find dry ground to stand on too. It would be nice if the side walls were deeper as that would keep some of the wind and rain out from the front too.

    Comment by michael ford — 3:37 pm January 17, 2013 #

  17. I still find it sad that metro hasn’t address how they’ve cut everyone south of the jut at California and Alaska from shopping at QFC as we have not a bus at all that stops there yet if you live north you have 2 different buses that stop there. I was told today too by King County Risk Management that they don’t care if the drivers follow and of metros posted reroutes or not they feel it is just to bad you are stuck and have to deal with the driver not doing his job and that our time isn’t important at all.

    Comment by michael ford — 3:38 pm January 17, 2013 #

  18. I would like our 125 Sunday service back. The 128 was slated to continue to Alki and so they dropped the 125 Sunday service because we could “easily” transfer between the 128 and the 120. Then they dropped the extension of the 128 and left all of us in the area of SSCC stranded on Sunday, unless we feel like walking to/from Delridge, which is about a mile or two of pure pleasure on a rainy night.

    Comment by Alan — 3:41 pm January 17, 2013 #

  19. Iggy, I found out about the 2 pm change through neighborhood gossip. Not very effective communication, I would agree.

    However, the discrepancies I mentioned happened at other times of day, are increasing in frequency, and appear to involve buses leaving very, very early from Westwood – if at all. I live on the route, and sometimes the #22 passes at times that do not coincide with the schedule in any way, off by 20-40 minutes. There’s simply no excuse for this, given that the #22 is a shuttle making a loop in West Seattle. No bridge/traffic/accident excuses.

    I also agree with all comments about the C Line as well. They do NOT run every 10-15 minutes, so what’s the point of spending money on schedules they won’t follow?

    Comment by anonyme — 3:48 pm January 17, 2013 #

  20. It often looks to me like some buses are late because the previous bus is exactly down to the second on time and load light. The result is one bus zooming though while the next one is overloaded. This is a driver issue imo, but a solution might be to create a buffer time period at a few critical stops. If the buss is light have the driver wait till he is loaded enough to count or say 3 minutes or so late, then proceed as normal.

    Not saying this is always the case but I have seen it enough to mention.

    Comment by cj — 4:53 pm January 17, 2013 #

  21. Those 3 suggestions would be awesome, but they sound expensive.

    Even a little thing like making the Rapid Ride bus GPS’s talk to One Bus Away would make a huge difference.

    Comment by Eric G — 5:43 pm January 17, 2013 #

  22. So Metro has decided to essentially back down from a previous stance and print a schedule for something that (supposedly) comes at ~15 minute intervals. Now the masses will have even more to complain about when the bus is never “on time according to the schedule” …waste of money. All the complainers got their wish, yet fail to realize root of the problem NOT solved.
    Money would be better spent getting these transit “rapid” routes on a more dedicated right-of-way, because ultimately traffic is going to delay the bus. Either way a printed schedule is useless.

    Comment by Mc — 6:31 pm January 17, 2013 #

  23. I wonder if Metro timetables are adjusted based on true travel times during peak use? Because what’s 15 minutes of travel at 1:22 on a Tuesday is not the same at 4:56 on a Friday. Also, I wish Metro KEPT to the schedule. I mean, if you’re eight minutes early when buses run a half-hour apart, that could mean someone is waiting at a stop for an hour if the next bus is super late. I hate that this system doesn’t keep to the schedule.

    Comment by JR — 6:45 pm January 17, 2013 #

  24. Would someone please explain why, during the evening, there always seems to 5-6 buses lined up at Westwood, sitting the whole time I’m inside Target???(so they are there a long time)

    Comment by why do they sit there — 7:02 pm January 17, 2013 #

  25. I always cringe when I have to take the C-rapid Ride somewhere. Never on time and always crowded. I just took it today and remembered why I should drive. I can’t imagine how anybody would think that the C-rapid ride would be faster than the 54E of old.
    .
    The 5 buses sitting at Target are saving you the money Metro promised with the C-rapid ride when they killed the 54 and old 22. Metro didn’t downsize the fleet or personnel but at least when the buses are parked, they don’t burn as much fuel. They are saving hundreds of dollars as compared to actually using the buses picking up passengers.

    Comment by Eric1 — 7:19 pm January 17, 2013 #

  26. Do not waste more money on a schedule you cannot achieve. Please just deliver what you sold to the public, better service on a consistent timeline. Deflecting responses makes Metro appear even more incompetent and defensive. More busses are still required to achieve the improvements we paid for. And yes, we paid for it through federal taxes. Where’s the accountability for those tax dollars when it appears that Metro simply shoved something out the door before they lost the funding?

    Comment by Triangle Neighbor — 7:47 pm January 17, 2013 #

  27. I dont need a schedule, they come “about” every 10 minutes during commute time. Sometimes their back to back but I just check One Bus Away and I wait for the next one so I’m not stuck standing leaving downtown. I catch the C at the Junction around 7ish and I get to work about 30 minutes early so I can have a seat. Sure beats driving.

    Comment by timh2o — 8:43 pm January 17, 2013 #

  28. In doing away with the 51 route, Metro left some of those with the most need, seniors and the disabled who can’t walk to Admiral or California from the Genesee Hill area, without transportation. Leaving those individuals at the mercy of Access, which has never gotten anyone to a doctor’s appointment in a resonable time, or to an expensive taxi ride which they cannot least afford.

    Comment by jm — 8:58 pm January 17, 2013 #

  29. In doing away with the 51 route, Metro left some of those with the most need, seniors and the disabled who can’t walk to Admiral or California from the Genesee Hill area, without transportation. Leaving those individuals at the mercy of Access, which has never gotten anyone to a doctor’s appointment in a resonable time, or to an expensive taxi ride which they can least afford.

    Comment by jm — 9:06 pm January 17, 2013 #

  30. Dear wsb
    Can you please forward our community comments to Metro. They need to hear our heartfelt concerns,

    Comment by Karen r — 10:53 pm January 17, 2013 #

  31. I love Rapid Ride…What are you all complaining about? Metro rocks!

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 11:11 pm January 17, 2013 #

  32. Karen R – they have been reading the comments here since the day the service was launched. It’s not an “official” form they have to pay attention to, but they have. We have had a story for traffic/transit comments every weekday since launch and a Metro spokesperson has commented more than a few times, mostly to answer questions. (Scroll through the transportation archive – http://westseattleblog.com/category/transportation -) But the most important people to hit are your county elected officials – Councilmember Joe McDermott and County Executive Dow Constantine. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:23 pm January 17, 2013 #

  33. Whom did metro survey and how? I ride daily from w seattle using my orca card and I wasn’t asked to complete a survey…

    Comment by michellem — 11:47 pm January 17, 2013 #

  34. Here’s one of their announcements about the survey:
    .
    http://metrofutureblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/reminder-come-talk-to-us-about-west-seattle-bus-service-tomorrow-morning/
    .
    And about the in-person chats:
    .
    http://metrofutureblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/reminder-come-talk-to-us-about-west-seattle-bus-service-tomorrow-morning
    .
    We mentioned them a couple times.
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:57 pm January 17, 2013 #

  35. Metro changed what was already a solid system of Metro transit from am to pm in WS, to almost nothing. There was no need to reduce 56/57 hours to peak commute hours only. Some of us work other than commute hours and wanted to enjoy being able to go to Alki. Also not close to the 50, so it’s pointless.

    Comment by June — 2:29 am January 18, 2013 #

  36. The buses across from Target are there so the drivers can take a break. You know, like use the restroom, get something to eat or drink. Something that we all are entitled to from our workplace.

    Comment by steve — 6:34 am January 18, 2013 #

  37. Let’s see Metro says “The good news is that we want what you want: excellent and reliable transit service. But some things are within Metro’s control and some aren’t, and we have to balance the need to be cost-effective with the need to serve the most riders…” So exactly what is in your control and what specific actions balance the need to be cost effective with serving the most riders?

    Metro service in West Seattle is a mess. Twice in recent weeks, in driving rain storms, I waited for a 55 that never came. They only have 7 runs in the AM and they can’t do that? I take Cs at 10:30am, hardly rush hour, and the only way to get more people on is to tie them to the roof.

    The bottom line is that Metro studied the airlines and implemented their system. They cut way back on bus service so they would not be running any buses that were not full. And their definition of “full” is every seat and every inch of aisle space. I could go on and on. I do not believe they care one thing about public comment and there is no one in county government who seems to be overseeing them and holding them accountable.

    Metro, we’ll get you there at some point.

    Comment by Ken T — 7:05 am January 18, 2013 #

  38. If RapidRide is such a mess can we please go back to having normal driving lanes again? Coming up Alaska towards California avenue it is like an obstacle course trying to stay in your proper lane. Very dangerous and I’ve seen a few near misses as people try to decipher where they are supposed to be. Next thing you know they’ll put a train track down the middle of the car lane. Poor bicyclists.

    Comment by panda — 10:36 am January 18, 2013 #

  39. I am very disappointed in the deplorable servive cuts that Metro has left the ADMIRAL dISTRICT with. Admiral lost the 56, the 55, and the 51 to all day and evening service.with no reliable replacement service. The 128 is insanely late returning from Southcenter, the 50 does not follow the same route through Admiral as the 56 as was told to us at six Havasay meetings thar I attended. The 50 transfer to the light rail si very incomvenient. There is no service directly to dodowntown except a few Peak period trips and no servive under the bridge, a serious detriment to many residents. We continue to pay Metro’s increased fares, tab fees and increased sales taxes plus Seattle tab fees, but are getting far less service. Where is more bang for our buck. This is unacceptable and must be remedied!!

    Comment by dwar — 10:47 am January 18, 2013 #

  40. Before the change having a bus that came very early/late or not at all was rare. Not so much now. They had people testing the schedule every so often.

    Everything else in the world works on a schedule!

    The variation in that “every 10 minutes” window means workers get a little worried about losing their jobs. Or their 9 hour day turns into 11 hours. Employers lose confidence in them because they are late for work or to frazzled to do their job well

    There should be a schedule and even full bus should wait at a stop to catch up to their routes schedule.

    That way it will bring back the confidence in Metro. Tons of people aren’t dealing with such a random shifting time window. That would take just a tiny bit of stress out of the equation .

    Comment by patt — 11:00 am January 18, 2013 #

  41. Metro says it increased the amount of required transfers for many riders on purpose to consolidate service and provide service to more people. But the difference between no transfers and 1 transfer is huge, especially when service and connections are unreliable. As a result, more people are giving up on Metro, if they have a choice about it. I do not bus, since it would require 1-2 transfers, depending on which infrequent bus I caught, and increase my commute time from ~30 minutes to up to 2 hours.
    .
    Then on top of reducing bus service, they make it more time-consuming to drive by creating more dedicated bus lanes on arterial streets and building bus bulbs, which keep all cars behind a bus from being able to pass. I could support this strategy if I felt that Metro was carrying a lot more people as a result. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
    .
    Also, I hate to see the Water Taxi lose ridership and therefore potentially future service, due to the loss of bus connections to the taxi.

    Comment by dcn — 11:50 am January 18, 2013 #

  42. Unfortunately I gave up on Rapid Ride within the first few weeks as 90 minutes from WS to the U-district doesn’t cut it! Three hours out of my day to commute within the city limits isn’t sustainable. I drive and catch the 44 across to the U-district now. Mornings, 40 minutes total; evenings, 60 minutes total so 100 minutes total instead of 180 minutes!! I won’t be changing back to Rapid Ride anytime soon as it’s not rapid!

    Comment by Patricia — 12:44 pm January 18, 2013 #

  43. “Rabid Ride”

    In my opinion, a disaster.

    Comment by G — 1:03 pm January 18, 2013 #

  44. Seattle Transit Blog says “you don’t know what you are talking about”

    http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/01/18/west-seattle-rider-feedback/

    Comment by belly-achin' — 2:08 pm January 18, 2013 #

  45. I think the numbers that metro presented are very deceiving. They are comparing existing routes to existing routes. They only show the deleted 54/54x as the C line. Wasn’t there a bunch of other routes that were deleted/reduced? Seems like a lot of riders have been shifted to new transit corridors not an increase in ridership. I haven’t heard anyone say I just started riding the bus because of the C line!

    Comment by Julie — 3:54 pm January 18, 2013 #

  46. My doctor thinks Metro is great. The new routes give me an extra hour of walking most every day.

    Comment by JKB — 7:10 pm January 18, 2013 #

  47. I asked why they weren’t planning a dedicated bus lane all the way into town at one of the meetings and was told “there is only so much right of way” well exactly. more people, same amount of roadway, thus the need for more & better transit now & future. instead we get less. It is nice that metro listens to comments but true “improvement” would have to involve more than just metro – it requires coordination, physical infrastructure, funding…and political will. So long as there are drivers complaining about bus lanes and property owners jealously guarding onstreet parking – it’s an uphill ride.

    Comment by w — 11:45 pm January 18, 2013 #

  48. I’ve stopped riding the C-Line, at least in the morning. I can handle being that uncomfortable on the ride home, but it’s just a crappy way to start the day.

    I know Ballard has bigger problems, so I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining too much. It just sucks that service was *so* much better before the switch to RapidRide. Big waste of money :-/

    Comment by Paul Balcerak — 9:17 am January 19, 2013 #

  49. I have a friend who works for Metro and even he says they should have separated the West Seattle line from the Ballard Line they go from one end of the city to the other. That is why they are consistently off schedule.

    Comment by diane — 1:20 pm January 19, 2013 #

  50. Someday maybe Metro’s overbloated staff of social engineers will figure out that if you attack car traffic to increase congestion, there will be no way for buses to escape it.
    .
    They couldn’t have done a worse job if they had deliberately planned for chaos and dysfunction.

    Comment by JoAnne — 6:54 pm January 19, 2013 #

  51. The ridership chart linked above is a total piece of crap. The author is listed as Bruce Nourish; wasn’t there a Metro apologist named Bruce continually posting here when the changes first took effect, saying the same thing? That anyone who complains is a whiner who “doesn’t know what they’re talking about”? This has been Metro’s stance all along, which explains a lot.

    Comment by anonyme — 6:09 am January 20, 2013 #

  52. Sad to say I sat on the Rapid Ride Advisory Board back in 2006. Many of the items we wanted didn’t reach fruition. And one of the plans presented to us was that RR buses from West Seattle would go downtown and come back to WS. Same with Ballard. The fact that we still have buses leaving WS and heading north to Ballard is a backtrack from the plan presented to the board. And in so many other areas of the RR coming to W.S. being so poor, I’ve been incentivized to turn in my ORCA card and drive my car to work daily. I’m so unimpressed with R.R. I could cry.

    Comment by Cassandra Conyers — 12:07 am January 22, 2013 #

  53. The Admiral district has been royally screwed. Bringing back the 55 during peak hours would fix it. Also the new busses have LESS Smaller seats?? whats up with that?? no padding on them?? The people who run metro are a JOKE. They dont care about seattle, or bus riers.

    Comment by sasha — 9:21 am January 22, 2013 #

  54. Rancid Ride

    Racket Ride

    oh also, the 56 goes by me every morning, as i wait for the bus to go to alki, The driver turns off the sign and whizzes by, Like it would be so awful if they picked up a couple of people on the way to the layover on alki. That is a huge waste of resources…the drivers who do that should be ashamed.

    Comment by sasha — 9:25 am January 22, 2013 #

  55. Last week the c-line, which I Pick up right before the west Seattle bridge, was so crowded going into downtown, 2 buses wouldn’t let me on. Of course it has increased ridership if you have removed all other opportunities to take a bus except the Crap line and the 21 to downtown when I used to have 5 different options…
    Great job metro.

    Comment by Westseattle Rider — 7:06 pm January 23, 2013 #

  56. I feel that the Westwood and South Delridge neighborhoods lack a voice with the City and the County. I would like to start a neighborhood council. If you are interested, please contact me at velmolux@gmail.com

    Comment by Vikki Anselmo — 3:57 pm January 26, 2013 #

  57. This morning the C Line was already standing-room-only by the time it got to California & Findlay SW (the stop before the Junction) on the way downtown, and by 35th & Avalon people were packed in like sardines. If you’re elderly, disabled, or carrying heavy bags of groceries, the C Line is not an option. Metro needs to admit that the “Rapid Ride” is a failure and look at bringing back some of the routes that were discontinued or shortened, such as the 54 and 22.

    Comment by Robin Oliver — 9:45 am February 7, 2013 #

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