METRO: New temporary ridership limits; West Seattle Transportation Coalition Q&A tonight

Two Metro notes:

NEW RIDERSHIP LIMITS: In the comment discussion following our coverage of last night’s West Seattle Bridge town-hall meeting, readers pointed out citywide-media reports about new temporary limits on Metro buses. Sorry we missed this – turns out it was announced in this Metro blog post last night, including this graphic:

If you are currently riding Metro, read the post for all the details. Meantime – this part of the restrictions has drawn some concerns: “The optimal number of passengers in the ADA priority seating area is one, which will be counted as part of the total number. However, if the ADA seating area is empty, a customer needing that space will be allowed to board.” Metro also says, “Customers with disabilities whose essential travel needs are not being met during Reduced Schedule can also use Metro’s Access Paratransit service—even if the customer is not a certified user and would not normally be eligible. Contact the Access Transportation Call Center at 206-205-5000 for assistance.” The post includes reminders that Metro is currently running on a (very) reduced schedule; you can check the canceled-trips list here.

WSTC TONIGHT: Got a question about that or about Metro’s role in getting people on and off the peninsula now that the West Seattle Bridge is closed? Participate in tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, 6:30 pm online, with Metro and SDOT reps – access info is in the preview we published Wednesday.

49 Replies to "METRO: New temporary ridership limits; West Seattle Transportation Coalition Q&A tonight"

  • Concerned April 23, 2020 (11:49 am)

    So…. what happens after May 4th?  This won’t work for W Sea….  

  • mem April 23, 2020 (12:11 pm)

    Do you have maximum ridership figures for both of these buses in normal situation?

  • Um, No! April 23, 2020 (12:28 pm)

    The Bride is closed so West Seattle,  get rid of your cars and ride the bus!    But, only 12 or 18 at a time please. You can’t make this stuff up.  It’s just funny now. The saddling up of Sea Lions might actually start making sense at some point.  Who knew?

  • Kim April 23, 2020 (12:38 pm)

    When people return (physically) to work, how will 12, or 18 riders per bus suffice?

    • Anon April 23, 2020 (6:39 pm)

      It does not suffice. But because of a deadly, highly contagious airborne disease, that almost no one has immunity to, this is what we are left with. To protect drivers and the riders, even with this spacing, it would be best if everyone wore masks and windows were all opened on busses. Most people will need to work remotely if they are able to work. Alternative routes will be unusable if large numbers take to commuting again. Hopefully the majority of homeowners/renters here are in the tech industry or something similar that can be done from home. Another option would be to rent an apartment or hotel room outside of West Seattle, or to park a car on the other side of the Duamish, and walk, or bike to it. Many medical workers nationwide have already been renting hotel rooms near their hospitals to reduce disease transmission.

      • K April 24, 2020 (5:09 pm)

        I’m not a tech worker and I don’t have the means to rent a hotel room indefinitely in addition to my mortgage.  Not to mention ditching my family.  I’m also an essential worker that has no choice but to find a way to commute.  I hope we can find real solutions, and quickly.  

      • KK May 1, 2020 (10:11 am)

        Dear Anon, most of us don’t live in your ‘hopefully’ fantasy world. Most of us unfortunately live in the real world.

  • CA April 23, 2020 (1:01 pm)

    During reduced schedule operation, customers are urged to please reserve transit for first-responders, medical personnel, other essential workers, and people who rely on Metro for access to food, medicine, and similar essential needs. Space is at a premium to preserve room to safely conduct essential trips.How are “customers” supposed to make these determinations about who should get priority to ride? Are all of us at a bus stop supposed to have a meeting about who is more essential than who and gets to get on the bus if there’s even a space available.I’m imagining that even once the stay at home order is lifted, going back to the “sardine can” ridership that was the commute Rapid Ride C is not going to be feasible. Are these ridership restrictions going to continue? Will they be enforced? This suggests a pretty difficult situation once the stay at home order is lifted. Limited bus capacity combined with the high bridge closure? Jeez!

    • Karena April 23, 2020 (2:55 pm)

      Here’s 2 quotes from the kiro7 story
       However, if a bus is below the optimal number, the agency said passengers would be allowed to board at a stop even if the total number of new riders means a bus’s optimal number is exceeded. The agency said in cases like this, a passenger may decide to wait for the next bus.Officials said when a bus reaches or exceeds the optimal number, a driver will pass a stop unless someone on board wants to be dropped off. However, drivers can show their bus is at capacity by switching an external sign to “Coach is full, sorry.”
      As a reminder from Metro, customers taking essential trips on transit should:• Visit the Reduced Schedule page to ensure their route is operating;• Check the Canceled Trips page and use Text for Departure to confirm the status of their specific trip; and• Allow extra time in case their first-choice trip is already at capacity.

      • WSB April 23, 2020 (3:22 pm)

        ALL the info, including that, is in the full Metro post, linked above. Get it directly from the source.

  • Go gull April 23, 2020 (1:18 pm)

    If it continues to be necessary to limit the number of riders on buses due to covid-19, metro will need to have additional and more frequent buses operating, to meet the change in needs for WS.

    At this point, with hearing about all the constraints, I imagine biking might be starting to sound good, to some!

    Wait, I’ve thought of a creative solution… Vespa scooters and smart cars for all WS drivers who are able to drive these! These vehicles would take up far less lane space and more could get through the bottlenecks faster. (Yes I am mostly joking ;)

    But seriously, though trying to bring some levity here, I am feeling for all the drivers who will be greatly impacted and who do not have the flexibility that many others may have, to make adaptations. And for residents who are impacted in other ways. I am not intending to diminish how challenging and stressful this situation is for you, and wish those most impacted good luck in navigating this.

  • Bob Lang April 23, 2020 (1:46 pm)

    Social distancing will have to continue after May 4th, when people return to work.And last night, at the open house, SDOT told us we have to take transit “that’s just the way it is.  It’s just not an option to drive anymore.”And my favorite”Stay out of other people’s neighborhoods”Very disappointed with the lack of creative ideas how to get people around.  Harbor island workers can’t even access harbor island.  This will add even more traffic on west marginal and alternative bridges.”Everything is on the table” How???if everything was really on the table there would be three new bridge spans built in less than a year.

    • Anne April 23, 2020 (2:14 pm)

      Well that’s obviously not “ just the way it is”those that can take transit  or can bike -will & those that can’t won’t. What are they going to do-post police everywhere to stop folks from driving? Typical local government head in the sand comment that doesn’t address what the reality will be. 

  • Michael H Bernard April 23, 2020 (1:48 pm)

    I am still wondering why there has been no talk about asking our local billionaires and millionaires to do a really big civic duty and pony up the money to replace the West Seattle Bridge. Clearly the local taxpayers cannot afford to pay for it, and if Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates et al can afford it. Let them fund it and they can name it whatever they want. Maybe call it the Amazon Microsoft bridge, or something.

    • AN April 23, 2020 (3:29 pm)

      Why should Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have to foot the bill for a bridge they not only don’t use, but have no control over? Seems like a very socialist mindset.

      • Anon April 23, 2020 (6:12 pm)

        Their companies did bring an excessive number of commuters to the area.

    • KM April 23, 2020 (5:32 pm)

      We don’t believe in fair taxation here, so we’re stuck with begging the richest people on the world to pay for basic infrastructure, which they do not do. And every time someone suggests a high earners or income tax, they are accused of being jealous, anti-American, communists, etc, often by the same people upset about our infrastructure disrepair. 

      • KM April 23, 2020 (7:09 pm)

        Serious lol at AN proving my point. You can’t make this up folks! We must protect the billionaires!

        • Mike April 23, 2020 (7:54 pm)

          Unfortunately Seattle has kept electing incompetent city government. Record revenues with nothing to show for it.  And guess what, Seattle will be heading to the same troubling economic calamity as the rest of Hhs nation.  Seattle is screwed.

          • Sekai rider April 29, 2020 (2:22 pm)

            Trying to understand Karena’s post at 2:55:  if a C line bus is at capacity leaving Fauntleroy to downtown,  and no one gets off, then the bus cannot pick up anyone else along the route?

        • AN April 23, 2020 (8:13 pm)

          KM- not saying they shouldn’t be taxed more, but to say they should pay for the bridge specifically is absurd.

  • uncle loco April 23, 2020 (2:04 pm)

    Does this qualify as mass transit?

  • Pam f April 23, 2020 (2:53 pm)

    A little concerned about the comment about the ADA seats. So if they let an able bodied person sit there what happens at the next stop if a disabled or elderly person wants to board the bus. Does the driver ask the able bodied to get off or does the disabled person have to wait for the next bus and just hope there is room !

    • BBILL April 23, 2020 (3:32 pm)

      No one is kicked off the bus because of another passenger was waiting, and if the bus is full, boarding my be denied to all, including someone who would normally fill an ADA seat. In other words, disabled/elderly are not given or guaranteed a reservation, but if there is available space to board, they get priority to the ADA seating (someone may have to move, but not get kicked off).

    • Just A Neighbor April 24, 2020 (3:41 pm)

      If I were the able bodied person on board sitting in the ADA section and someone needed it, I would get off the bus willingly because at the end of the day, my day to day is still just easier than theirs. :D

  • Craig April 23, 2020 (2:55 pm)

    It’d be nice if motorcycles and 3x people carpools would be able to use the lower bridge.

    • Rumbles April 23, 2020 (6:43 pm)

      Of course, someone had to go there…

  • EssentialBusRider April 23, 2020 (3:01 pm)

    Ok. As an essential worker still going towards downtown, with the buses closest to me all canceled, and my schedule not flexible it sounds like I will now also be fighting with other riders over who can ride during rush hour on the limited busses.

    I am not in shape, or able to clean up at work if sweaty, so anyone have any good recommendations for cheaper electric bikes I can ride over the low bridge and get 10 miles to and from work, largely on battery, at a reasonable speed without needing a charge?

    • Go gull April 23, 2020 (4:06 pm)

      Hey! I’m sorry I can’t recommend a particular ebike for you, but I wanted to speak to your concern of not being in shape, and offer some encouragement to folks. You do not have to be in shape or particularly sporty to ride a bike. You can ride at your own pace, wear any clothing you want, that allows for movement. If you allow enough time for your ride, you may be able to avoid a lot of sweating. Biking is non weight bearing exercise, so considered low impact on the joints, etc.

      Also, if there are hills in your commute you are worried about, there is usually a way to navigate around the steeper hills. For example, if you bike a little further north downtown, you can bike up Pike St which has a much more gradual climb than some other streets. You could also take light rail from downtown up to Capitol Hill and then bike to First Hill from there, for those who have that destination, and don’t want to bike uphill. Yes you can bring your bike on light rail, although when it’s busy, it’s a bit of a pain. There are creative ways to navigate, and other cyclists are a great resource.

      One of the benefits of riding a bike, is that it will help you get in shape. Humbling as it may be at first, you will get stronger and will be better conditioned from biking.  When I first started biking, I was not in good shape either.

      Good luck bike shopping :)

      • Chris April 24, 2020 (7:54 am)

        That is a thoughtful reply and encouraging. However, what about almost getting killed by reckless drivers at rush hour, in the rain and poor lighting? After a few close calls i begin to get anxious any time a car passes too close. Commuting by bicycle is healthy in terms of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening – but what about stress?

        • Go gull April 24, 2020 (5:57 pm)

          Thanks Chris, appreciate the question. Driving in a car and riding a bike are unique experiences, with pros and cons for each. Sure, there are risks and hazards and some stress while biking. However, there are also risks and hazards, and stress, while driving a car. Having a metal box around you can give you a false sense of security, but car accidents are dangerous and can be deadly too. Having said that, please be careful biking, be very aware of your surroundings, look up tips for what hazards you should look out for in the roadway (like rail tracks). Also, try to find the safer roadways, trails, and routes to bike on.

          There is some stress when cycling on certain roads/situations, but at the same time you are relieving stress by exercising, which boosts endorphins, and tends to have a positive physiological impact. You don’t get that from driving. In fact, driving has many stressors, such as traffic, and dealing with other bad drivers, resulting in road rage for some. I rarely have encountered a cyclist who didn’t seem to be enjoying their commute.

          Some cyclists ride year round, rain or shine, and enjoy it. Others choose to ride only in ‘fair weather,’ and take transit or drive when it rains.

          I’ve been biking in the city for years now. First couple years breaks you in. You learn and get used to stressors like aggressive motorists, hazards in the road, rain, hills, how to navigate, etc. You also gain strength and conditioning and feel more capable over time. If you feel nervous or anxious at first, in my experience, that lessens over time as you learn the road and gain confidence, though you should always remain focused on being safe.

          Imo, it’s worth it. For personal health and autonomy, for helping to reduce traffic, and for the environment. Though I understand it may not be for everyone.

    • Anon April 23, 2020 (6:18 pm)

      I was able to get up the steepest west seattle hill on a Rad bike. I had to pedal hard, and I was left a little breathless, but it worked. Most e-bikes don’t have the power to get me up, even with all the pedal power I can muster. They aren’t small bikes, but if your hospital has secure bike storage you might consider it.

  • Numbers April 23, 2020 (3:06 pm)

    Great home schooling arithmetic problem.
    100,000 cars a day used the West Seattle bridge, so that makes at least 100,000 new bus riders.
    A 40’ bus can accommodate 12 riders, and a 60’ bus can accommodate 18 riders.
    How many 40’ buses will it take to move just these 100,000 new riders each day?
    How many 60’ buses will it take to move just these 100,00 new riders each day?

    • uncle loco April 23, 2020 (5:18 pm)

      Metro doesn’t have enough buses in their fleet to accomplish this miracle.

      • KM April 23, 2020 (7:17 pm)

        There will not be 100k new bus riders. Based on the comments here, some people would rather die or than ride transit. I expect a mix to continue to drive, bus, work from home, bike, water taxi, move to Tri-Cities, quit their job to protest the 5-way intersection leading to the low bridge, you name it.

  • anonyme April 23, 2020 (4:00 pm)

    This is nothing short of bizarre, and completely unworkable.  Typical Metro, making stuff up that has nothing to do with real life.  BTW, Metro does not currently require that anyone move from priority seating for elderly or disabled riders, and I have frequently seen (and experienced) able-bodied people refuse to make such an accommodation.  Meanwhile, they still haven’t explained why the 21X is running through Arbor Heights despite service being canceled.   I can’t wait to hear the ‘logic’ behind this…

    • WSB April 23, 2020 (4:14 pm)

      The 21x runs were errors per Metro. Let me know if you are still seeing them.

    • Jon Wright April 23, 2020 (4:35 pm)

      Guess what? These are difficult times and there aren’t easy answers. Some mandates “Take transit!” and “Stay six feet apart!” are mutually exclusive. Yep, that’s a conundrum all right and it is going to be a challenge to sort out. But sitting on the sidelines and pointing out the obvious doesn’t add any value.

    • Trickycoolj April 23, 2020 (5:38 pm)

      A Metro driver *died*.  I mean how bizarre and completely unworkable that they just up and *died*.  I’m glad they’re taking steps to try and keep drivers safer.  They certainly don’t have the privilege many of us have to work from home.  —sincerely, friend of a long time Metro driver that would prefer their friend stay LESS DEAD.

      • AMD April 23, 2020 (9:32 pm)

        Sorry to hear about your friend, Trickycoolj.

    • AMD April 23, 2020 (5:38 pm)

      Riding the bus with the restrictions, I haven’t seen any drivers allow an able-bodied person on through the front door.  We all board from the rear door and there’s a safety strap stopping people from getting to the front of the bus (ADA seating area).  I have been on exactly 1 bus that had more people than these restrictions (I counted 22 people on a 60′) bus.  Most of them are mostly empty.  The over-full bus was at rush hour and there was another bus 7 minutes behind ours that the extra 4 people could have taken if our driver was counting and stopped letting people on (that bus eventually passed us, so their “wait” would have gotten them home even faster and I can also attest to the fact that there were only three people on it).  It makes sense that these restrictions will be lifted as the other restrictions are loosened.  I really don’t understand the panic in thinking the buses will still run at 25% capacity when everyone goes back to work. The safety of transit workers is paramount. I’m grateful they’re still coming to work every day and am happy to wear a mask or wait for the next bus or whatever I need to do to help them feel safer as they help me get where I’m going.

  • TJ April 23, 2020 (4:12 pm)

    The real math is 100,000 cars a day pre virus, with 25% (25,000) not returning to work due to crashed economy, times 5% (3750) that will now take the bus instead of driving, leaving 71,250 cars still leaving West Seattle. And the “not an option to drive anymore” idea is just indicative of how out of touch these people are. There are going to be a lot of streets and neighborhoods that were once quiet that will now have continual traffic with commuters trying to save a minute. This is what happens when you elect “grassroots” politicians who hang their hat on progressive social ideas rather than the 2 main functions of government that are continually talked about as being neglected, infrastructure and public safety. Btw the city has a 35% bigger budget than 6 years ago, so it’s on them to make this bridge right with those funds 

    • Ice April 23, 2020 (8:46 pm)

      This is not the real math. You’ve obviously never taken a look at any of the traffic data of what happens with the closure of a major thoroughfare. The data is out there. Look at what happened when the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco or the West Side Highway in New York City were torn down.

      Additionally, do you really think this situation would be any different if your preferred candidate was elected? I really don’t think it would. The people in charge right now have so few real options. Pretty much nothing they can do is workable. Any suggestions of re-striping or light re-timing would be like a band-aid on a gunshot wound and would end up just being a total boondoggle for a city that is about to be completely cash-strapped. For reasons which you comprehend, the ferry schedule cannot be changed, and even if it could, a few individuals might be helped, but nothing significant would happen. We can blame politicians for not doing enough, but at the end of the day, what really can they do? Put duct-tape on the bridge? Fire everyone and start from scratch? Ask the army corp of engineers to violate federal law and put up a pontoon bridge? Make unenforaceble laws allowing the lower bridge to be open at certain times, thus endangering the lives of people who need to get downtown quick? I don’t think the people in charge have nearly as many options or as much power as you think they do.

  • Birgit April 23, 2020 (5:34 pm)

    There was no comment about the water taxi in the Metro blog post…

  • StupidinSeattle April 23, 2020 (5:43 pm)

    Numbers – you will need 5,555 double-length buses (18 per) or 231 new buses running every hour from West Seattle.   Ms. Marx…listening in???

  • Making Waves April 23, 2020 (5:48 pm)

    • What does six feet of “Social Distancing” look like on transit?
    • At bus stops, bus shelters, ferry terminals, Rapid Ride and Streetcar/Light Rail stations, and transit centers, staying at least 6 feet apart is about the length of a sofa.
    • On buses, social distancing means about one rider for every other row of seats.
    • On streetcar and Link light rail, social distancing means about one rider for every third row of seats.
    • On water taxi, social distancing means about one rider every other row, with at least 3 seats in-between riders in each row.

    • Board buses using the rear door, unless you need the ramp, kneeler, or priority seating. If you need to use the ramp or for the bus to be lowered for access or your safety, please wait at front door and ask the driver.
    • While on board, please stay behind the newly installed “safety straps” and reserve the front section for passengers requiring priority seating.
    • While on board, stay at least 6 feet apart from others if possible.
  • Kyle April 23, 2020 (6:54 pm)

    Wow…wish this info would have came out a few days ago with all the SDOT/Bridge conversations. It seems like SDOT/the council were saying take mass transit, but then this comes out from Metro saying that mass transit will be the equivalent of 3-4 cars of capacity. Those agencies need to talk.

  • West Seattle since 1979 April 24, 2020 (4:36 am)

    In the first place, we don’t know for sure that everything will open up on May 4.  In the second place, presumable when things open up, Metro will add buses.  The reason for a reduced schedule is because fewer people are riding the buses. Also, fewer people on the buses means we won’t be crammed in next to each other, which is more likely to spread the virus.

  • Go gull April 24, 2020 (8:36 am)

    I’ve been concerned for Metro drivers since the start of this. I’m happy to see measured being taken to keep drivers and passengers safer.  Although, understand the reductions are presenting a challenge for commuters. It’s a conundrum at the moment.

    I’ve started giving a wave or nod to Metro drivers when I’m biking, as some small acknowledgement for their work, and to show support.

Sorry, comment time is over.