1 more reminder: Metro changes & RapidRide debut, hours away

It’s been almost five years since the term “RapidRide” first appeared on our site (in this story). Now, it’s a matter of hours before the new bus route hits the West Seattle road. Shelters and lit-up signboards are in place – and they do look a lot like what was shown in renderings way back at the start of 2008:

But tomorrow’s changes go far beyond RapidRide’s debut. Some routes have been changed, some dropped, some added, and those changes happen tomorrow too.

*All bus riders, all routes, will pay when entering the bus (and remember,there’s no more downtown Ride-Free Area) – info here
*For the list of which routes have been dropped and added – and new schedules for others – see the links here
*For the changes on the new Route 50 – until two road situations can be resolved – see this story
*For Metro’s answers to more than 20 specific questions asked by WSB’ers in a special Q/A, see the two links in the WSB Forums

Tomorrow, 11 am-4 pm, Metro will be at Westwood Village for a special RapidRide C Line launch event – here are the details:

The C Line gets going with the start of morning service on Sept. 29. It replaces the Metro Route 54 and will offer frequent all-day service between Westwood Village and downtown Seattle.

Residents can learn more about the new service and its amenities from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday (Sept 29) at Westwood Village. A RapidRide coach, Metro staff and RapidRide Man will be located in the parking lot in front of Barnes and Noble bookstore to share information about the new C Line and provide trip planning advice.

The C Line will offer 10 to 15-minute service most of the day – so frequent riders won’t even need a timetable. Metro has nearly doubled the number of trips provided in this corridor; half of the new trips began in 2011 and the other half will be added when C Line service begins.

New RapidRide buses will come equipped with low floors, three doors for easy boarding, environmentally-friendly hybrid technology, on-board WiFi and security cameras.

As many residents have already seen, 34 RapidRide stops have been added all along the C Line corridor. The stops include well-lit shelters, extra benches and a light beacon that riders can turn on to let bus drivers know they are waiting for the bus at night.

Larger RapidRide stops are called stations and will feature real-time “next bus arrival” signs and provide off-board ORCA card readers. The C Line corridor will also have a transit-signal priority system that gives buses the green light through busy intersections. The majority of these features will be in place for the launch of the new line.

We’ll be covering the launch and route changes throughout the day – and for the first commute on Monday. We’ll be interested to hear from you on observations not just from RR, but from other services too. Here are all the ways to reach us (besides commenting on stories and posting in the Forums!) 24/7.

20 Replies to "1 more reminder: Metro changes & RapidRide debut, hours away"

  • Here September 28, 2012 (9:29 pm)

    I am a little frustrated in not having a timetable. I kind of like to know when a bus is supposed to arrive at my destination, and not have it be guesswork.

  • Joe September 28, 2012 (9:59 pm)

    Well, it’ll be there… regularly.

    It sucks that Arbor Heights basically has no service now however.

  • Left High and Dry in North Admiral September 28, 2012 (11:43 pm)

    I am sad. In the New time table there is no weekend service on the 55 . . . I guess people only have to go places on weekdays. PLUS The Water Taxi & The Water Taxi Land Shuttles will be going on their winter time table soon. So, no service on weekends from the Land Shuttles after October. Very Bad deal indeed!

  • M September 29, 2012 (1:47 am)

    No 55 on the weekends? That’s what the 50 and 128 are for. Just transfer to the C line at the Junction.

    Not everyone in every neighborhood can have a one-seat ride downtown. It is impractical.

  • Gina September 29, 2012 (7:24 am)

    The 50 goes to Othello station. That will be nice for hydroplanes and Blue Angels viewing. And that is the one good thing I have found out of this.

  • anonyme September 29, 2012 (7:42 am)

    The so-called service to Arbor Heights now provided by the Route #22 (still no schedules available, but at least it’s online now) actually only runs north on 35th between 106th and Roxbury. Nothing at all west of 35th. Where’s my tax rebate? Do I get a credit for now having to buy a car?

  • Kathy September 29, 2012 (9:03 am)

    I just called “One Bus Away” for my stop at 63rd and Admiral Way. It mentioned the route 56 (no longer running on Saturdays) and nothing about the new route 50. I wonder when “One Bus Away” will be up to date? Saw a 50 bus turn the corner onto 63rd Ave SW at 8:50 but it was either 8 minutes late or 22 minutes early.

  • patt September 29, 2012 (9:26 am)

    I asked a bus driver yesterday if the Rapid Ride still took cash.

    He said yes, but be sure to get a transfer. He said there will be “patrols” who will randomly ask to see transfers (even if you haven’t left that original bus yet)

    These challengers will then take pictures and write tickets.
    One of my thoughts was: With pay as you enter,
    how does one get on the bus without paying?
    (the other was: I had better dress nicer;)

    I hope he was kidding.

  • DaPuffin September 29, 2012 (4:27 pm)

    The 22 is a disappointment. I am not looking forward to walking further in the rain and dark this winter. Last January I was robbed at knifepoint here in Arbor Heights. Less bus access and more exposure due to having to walk more at night makes this puffin feel very worried. BtW, the person who robbed me lives between Roxbury and Arbor Heights. (well currently in Kent, awaiting trial….)

  • anonyme September 29, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Pay as you enter is a good idea, one of the few that Metro has had. However, if you read their website, they just had to go and muck it up. The website states that if you have a paper transfer, you can enter through the rear door. Huh? Wouldn’t that mean that anyone who doesn’t want to pay can just get on through the back? Instead of paying inspectors to check transfers, why not just have EVERYONE enter from the front? To make it worse, everyone exiting the bus is supposed to do so by the rear door – so they’ll have to fight the paper transfer people coming on. What should have been a quicker on/off system has now just become another mess.

  • Drm September 29, 2012 (4:52 pm)

    For the first day, looks to be a mixed bag for Admiral. Now we have a 128 every half hour till late and Sundays, a bit of a gain, but the 50 service drops back to every hour late. For most trips, besides peak commute direction ones, we have an extra “hop” added to get downtown or chinatown (either through 50 to light rail or 50/128 to C line in junction). And to the one seat comment by “M”, well, I just got off a C bus on a Saturday from downtown, there were no seats to be had at Pike and 3rd – standing room only – on a Saturday. I’m afraid during heavier usage times, this C line isn’t going to be enough capacity, and there will be many people standing, as the buses themselves now have few seats than the previous articulated buses (e.g. many 54,55, 56) – one may not even get a seat or even be able to stand on these buses given such usage on an off peak day. Of course, this is what Metro wants, to pack these “rapid ride” buses like sardines. Overall, my rating is a minus experience so far for Admiral commuters from what we had before, but I guess it is better than nothing.

  • barry dill September 29, 2012 (5:43 pm)

    I live in White Center,(yeah I know), anyway the main stop at 15th and Roxbury had the following stops, 22, 23, 54, 60, 120, 125, and 133. Now It has one (1). The 120. My wife and I both work and we could get off the Northbound 120 wait a few, get on the 22 and be at work, no problem. Not anymore, my wife has to take the 21 and walk Eight blocks from 35th to California ave. This is really going to be fun in the Winter. Thanks Metro. (Sarcasm off).

  • Kathy September 29, 2012 (7:14 pm)

    I rode the new 50 route and the C line today to do some shopping in White Center. I had my bike to complete the trip, but it sure is a shame they didn’t extend the C terminus a few more blocks to turn around at least at 17th and Roxbury. Maybe they can extend it sometime in the future.

    • WSB September 29, 2012 (7:37 pm)

      Kathy – I know there’s been a lot of concern about the C not going to White Center as did the 54. No consolation perhaps but I was reminded today while thinking about this that for a while in the early going 4 years or so ago, it was proposed to end the line at the Fauntleroy ferry dock! Citizen pressure helped get it as far as Westwood. Everybody please be sure to get your feedback to Metro, too. Here’s how: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/cs/feedback_choose.html

  • G September 29, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    Not a fan at all of these new changes, nor these new buses, definitely not as comfortable.

  • GF September 29, 2012 (11:29 pm)

    I just had my first experience on the rapid ride bus and I was not happy. Those buses are awful. Fewer seats, smaller seats (very bad idea), the seats are hard and high off the floor. I have never been so uncomfortable on any bus before. My back hurt when I finally got of the bus. The comment from DRM is correct about the bus being crowded. Crowded buses does not make happy customers. This might get ugly. It feels like a good system was downgraded.

  • Left High and Dry in North Admiral September 30, 2012 (1:48 am)

    Thank you M! Yes, today when I was out, I learned that the 128 is the NEW link from North Admiral to rest of West Seattle, and the world. I did not know that Metro had extended the 128 all the way north. I am sorry for my confusion. It is true the 55 does not run on weekends, but the 128 does. In any case, I was wrong. The North Admiral area is not left high and Dry at all. The 128 works great! Thank you Metro! I was not trying to go to downtown, I was just trying to get to Alaska & California. I send A special THANK YOU to the Metro driver who explained that the 128 would be taking the 55’s place basically.

  • JW September 30, 2012 (4:01 pm)

    The upside to packing the RR like sardines might just be…more frequent buses in the future! Other neighborhoods use their buses so much that Metro sends them more often than every 15 minutes, which isn’t “frequent” at all, just barely even acceptable. But they got more frequent service because people actually, you know, use the bus in Ballard and Capitol Hill! Here we just like to complain about the bus without ever intending to get out of our cars…sigh…

    Sorry, had to engage in a little hyperbole just to make a point.

  • Kathy September 30, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    You’re so right, jw, West Seattleites in general seem to be more attached to their cars than most city dwellers, even if it means sitting in those parking lots known as the West Seattle Bridge and I-5 and pumping out fumes while making little progress. I think if they would take advantage of the West Seattle In Motion program and get the ORCA card they are offering with unlimited free trips through December 8th on Metro, the Water Taxi and Sound Transit, they might give transit a try and maybe even change their commuting habits. As for fewer seats on the bus, this allows more space for strollers, shopping carts, and circulation of passengers, which makes bus travel faster and more convenient for running errands and hauling stuff.

  • dapuffin September 30, 2012 (7:16 pm)

    The pictures of the interior of the RapidRide looks like a circa 1960s Boston subway (MBTA) car.

Sorry, comment time is over.