2 reports from Metro: Strategic Plan progress; RapidRide customer survey

July 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

Metro Transit has gone public with its annual Strategic Plan Progress Report, which its announcement says “provides data on 61 performance measures” and “includes opinions expressed by riders and non-riders, drawn from a survey of 2,500 King County residents. It also looks at how we stack up with peer transit agencies across the country.” This is in advance of upcoming assessments including an audit and “independent peer review.” Another recent report that might be of interest is the compiled customer-survey results on RapidRide, including the C Line. First: Toplines from the “progress report” announcement today by Metro general manager Kevin Desmond:

*Ridership continues to grow: We delivered 118.6 million passenger trips in 2013—a near record. An all-time-high 45% of King County households now have at least one Metro rider.

*85% of riders say they’re very or somewhat satisfied with Metro service. 90% of our riders say Metro is an agency they trust.

*Metro gets people to jobs: Almost all (97%) of Metro’s regular bus trips serve the region’s job and growth centers.

*Our buses were on time nearly 78% of the time. We continually monitor on-time performance so we can make adjustments to keep buses on schedule.

*Metro has significantly improved safety and security over the past 10 years and is holding on to those gains. Preventable accidents have steadily declined since 2011, and we’ve enhanced emergency response.

*Metro’s cost per hour grew 2.7% — above the inflation rate — but cost per passenger mile decreased by 3.1% as the job market improved and Metro buses carried more commuters.

*Fares covered 29.1% of Metro’s operating costs. Our farebox recovery rate increased by 8.8 percentage points in the past 10 years — more than most of our national peers.

*Energy use per bus boarding decreased 4.6% last year.

Read the full report here.

Next, the RapidRide customer-survey report. It was mentioned in passing in a Metro announcement last week but we didn’t happen onto the report link until today. Here it is. Skimming through, two points of note: From page 17, “Satisfaction with personal safety on RapidRide C Line remains significantly lower than it was on the routes it replaced.” And on page 22: “Dissatisfaction with the availability of seats on the RapidRide C Line is the primary factor driving lower overall scores” in the area of “satisfaction with things about the bus.” The surveys were taken on board RapidRide buses in April, according to the report, which also – after page 39 – looks at the D Line.

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  1. so, if the surveys were done on board the RR buses, they missed those of us who require a seat on the bus, and stopped riding RR due to inability to find a seat; so this dissatisfaction score would have likely been even higher, “Dissatisfaction with the availability of seats on the RapidRide C Line”

    Comment by Diane — 4:07 pm July 3, 2014 #

  2. If you routinely have the Rapid Ride C pass you during the commute to or from downtown, can you please respond here to let the West Seattle Transportation Coalition know specifically at WHAT stops this is happening and usually when?

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 4:18 pm July 3, 2014 #

  3. The dimension of time makes this kind of study less reliable.

    If Metro had kept existing 54/55 service, those also would have become more crowded ih the last two years, and seats less available, simply because of the rapid apartment growth in WS, high parking costs downtown, and ex-drivers who avoid construction-related traffic jams.

    What I found more credible was the response that C Line riders feel less safe at the bus stops nowadays.

    Anyway, the findings are well worth a look if you use these buses. Thanks WSB…

    Comment by Mike Lindblom — 4:38 pm July 3, 2014 #

  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Kevin Desmond is a perfect candidate for that vacancy at the VA…

    Comment by anonyme — 6:50 pm July 3, 2014 #

  5. The RR C is cool. I love it. But I do get on at Westwood about 7am and thus get my choice of seats and head back to WS around 3pm so probably not as crowded as later.

    Comment by Eddie — 7:03 pm July 3, 2014 #

  6. Yes but C-line overcrowding was an issue since its inception– at the time where it was not such a problem on the routes it “replaced.” Although I do agree with your valid reasons for WS growth factors causing more C-Line overcrowding.

    Comment by bolo — 7:22 pm July 3, 2014 #

  7. It’s my understanding that the buses they use on the C Line have fewer seats than the buses they used on the old 54. I think this was so they could squish more people in standing up, so supposedly they have a higher capacity. Not that great for people like Diane and myself who need to sit! I try to avoid the C when going to and from work unless there’s a seat available.

    Comment by West Seattle since 1979 — 6:20 am July 4, 2014 #

  8. Yeah – no one rides the C Line anymore.

    It’s too crowded.

    Comment by Eddie — 6:49 am July 4, 2014 #

  9. The c definitely skips the Avalon/Yancy stop (last before bridge) regularly in the mornings after 8am

    Comment by k — 6:56 am July 4, 2014 #

  10. Metro’s “customers” should be defined much more broadly, including every tax payer, every potential employer, every school.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 7:46 am July 4, 2014 #

  11. Did they ask whether riders would rather have specially red buses and ultra-decked out bus stops with artwork and electronic signage or better BUS SERVICE?
    .
    No, I didn’t think so.
    .
    Another phony survey result manufactured to affirm the wasteful and expensive mistakes made by Metro.

    Comment by JoAnne — 8:24 am July 4, 2014 #

  12. They need to upgrade the C to a D or even DD. The C is bursting.

    Comment by Court Jester — 9:27 am July 4, 2014 #

  13. Nice Yogi Berra reference there, Eddie. ;)

    Comment by datamuse — 10:47 am July 4, 2014 #

  14. “Ridership continues to grow.”
    Time to cut service!

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:19 pm July 4, 2014 #

  15. 29% of operating costs covered by fares…..
    You can stop asking why they need to cut service…it is a broken business model that is excessively top-heavy & continues to struggle without additional taxpayer subsidies.

    Why isn’t Metro run like a business? Raise the fares to pay for the service.

    Comment by Marc — 3:06 pm July 4, 2014 #

  16. What cites (US or otherwise) have better/great public transit (considering level of service/cost) that we can learn from?

    Comment by Eddie — 5:54 pm July 4, 2014 #

  17. To the poster who needs a seat: if you let buses pass that are full then I bet you could ask driver for volunteers to let you sit. Driver can politely ask others to stand up. I ride buses a lot and if someone comes and asks for my seat I give it to them. I don’t ask why because it’s none of my business maybe they need that seat. While seats might be a little less they can get more people standing and they come at least as often if not more often than the routes replaced.

    Comment by John Slyfield — 11:05 pm July 4, 2014 #

  18. What cites (US or otherwise) have better/great public transit (considering level of service/cost) that we can learn from?
    .
    New York, Boston, London, and Budapest have all really impressed me. Athens has a fantastic subway and a pretty decent bus system. Bangkok’s Skytrain is awesome, I didn’t try the buses there though.

    Comment by datamuse — 6:57 pm July 5, 2014 #

  19. I suspect a lot of the problem with rapid ride money loss is that there is no way now that I never see the rate cops anymore to stop people from riding for free. I like that I can get on the back of the bus using orca but I ask my self if everyone else is paying cause there is simply no way to know. To put it simply I suspect a lot of Rapid Ride’s short fall is no pay riders. As much as I love the convenience of back door entry, I will gladly give it up and deal with lower stop efficiency to see metro make up the money lost. Just how much is one bus driver all by him/her self supposed to handle with all this? I think metro would make up a lot of its fair loss if just one metro security was on each rout all the time. I know its extra cost but how much are they loosing with no pay riders?

    I remember using a Metro in Madrid back in the early 80s [a very impressive metro] but there was no lack of security ether.

    Comment by cj — 9:42 am July 6, 2014 #

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