Don’t judge a bus stop by its … oh, who am I kidding, I’m the Sorriest Bus Stop in America

By the Sorriest Bus Stop in America
Hey guys! Stop No. 45990 here, nestled south of Georgetown between the airport and the tracks in what I like to call the heart of Seattle. Until recently, you didn’t really know me, but I think maybe now you do. That’s right. I’m THAT bus stop.

Google Image Sorriest Bus Stop In America

Portrait via Google Maps, via Streetsblog

I just want to say, don’t judge a bus stop by its … oh, who am I kidding, I’m the Sorriest Bus Stop in America.

Nothing makes a bus stop’s heart sink faster than to hear there are pictures of you online and you’re not going to like them.

Then to find out that week after week people are voting whether you are Hot/Not Hot. I can’t even.

It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, which is sometimes possible because I’m RIGHT NEXT TO the train tracks. I watched the votes pile up for me (against me?) – Auto Mall Parkway in Fremont, Calif.? A divided highway in Chapel Hill, North Carolina? A highway bus stop in San Diego? And finally Munhall, Penn., with its inviting guardrail and cliff?

I guess I’m No. 1. Yay, me? I don’t think I’m able to go home for Thanksgiving. Or Christmas. Or International Bus Stop Appreciation Day.

Some people are saying I need work done. Others say I’m “not worth it” and don’t waste time or “taxpayers money” on that one. To be clear, I HAVE a stop pair, BAE stop No. 45760, across the street, looking so fine with a sidewalk and shelter. Don’t stay up at night thinking I’m lonely. I’m really not.

Still, all a bus stop wants is TFW a rider actually boards or exits. I see the 154 peel by like clockwork on weekdays, four times northbound every morning, four times southbound every afternoon. My pulse races at the site of a Metro bus on East Marginal Way. But I’ve learned to cope with disappointment. A lot. To say I have sparse ridership would be generous. Non-existent is just sugarcoating it. Everyone swipes right. In the ridership reports, I have zero likes.

Summer is truly over. Thank goodness for the start of fall, for nothing but the drizzle of rain will be able to hide my forever cascade of tears. I’ll be fine. I just need the weekend to recover, and then back to what I do best on Monday. Poised for success.

‘Stealth Bus’ no more!

by Jon Bez, Metro’s Logistics Manager

If you’ve waited at a bus stop, watching your favorite bus app to find out when your bus will arrive, you might have been frustrated by what the app sometimes showed you: A bus that suddenly appeared with no warning or a bus that seemed to jump from “way early” to “way late” or vice versa.Rider looks at their phone while a bus approaches at a transit center

The trouble with Metro’s current approach to building schedule data is that it isn’t really built to track buses when they’re moving in between service routes or while the operator is on a break. Buses could accidentally and falsely make it look as though a trip began very early or had never been completed.

To fix this problem, Metro has upgraded the underlying data system that drives the transit schedules in a project called “Stop Based Scheduling.” It goes live Saturday, Sept. 23, and it shifts the data that schedules are based on away from key intersections, using key bus stops instead, while also mapping out what buses will do when they’re not in service.

Because of this, customers may notice an improvement in the accuracy of “real time” schedule information if they ride on one of the earlier stops on a particular trip. This transition should be seamless for riders, improving the accuracy of the data Metro collects about its service, specifically around where our buses are and how they’re operating relative to their schedules.

For about a decade OneBusAway, Puget Sound Trip Planner, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other apps have been getting their transit data from Metro through a data feed originally called the Google Transit Feed Specification, but now known as the General Transit Feed Specification or GTFS. By making this change in our data structure, we hope that riders will have more reliable information as the various apps use our enhanced data to predict when a bus will arrive at your stop. Continue reading

Riding to Magnuson Park? Good news for riders! Changes are coming for Route 62 starting Sept. 23

If you’ve been wanting to ride the bus to Magnuson Park at night and weekends, maybe run the dog a little, Route 62 will see key changes that will make it MUCH easier, and also faster and more direct getting through downtown. (Maps below)

Route 62 is shifting to Northeast 65th Street seven days a week, eliminating the longer, temporary winding path through Hawthorne Hills that buses have been traveling evenings and weekends for the past year or so. The bus will still enter the NOAA campus (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) when NOAA is open; when the NOAA campus is closed evenings and weekends, the bus will instead stop at Sand Point Way Northeast and Northeast 74th Street (not too far form a restroom for bus drivers).

THIS IS RIGHT AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE PARK!

The bus then will turn a small temporary loop before it heads back out and downtown. This loop will change in the near future once the City of Seattle completes some finishing touches to curbs inside Magnuson Park. At that time, buses will enter the park (see map) and instead turn south on 62nd Avenue Northeast, serving a new bus stop before heading back to downtown Seattle.Map of Route 62 routing changes near Magnuson Park

Thanks to SDOT for the work they’re doing to finalize this new pathway through Magnuson Park to better connect riders to their wonderful facility!

What’s changing downtown? Due to the start of Seattle’s “Center City Connector” project on First Avenue this fall, Route 62 will be revised to operate via Third Avenue instead of First Avenue in both directions. The change will give riders a faster and more direct path through downtown Seattle, expected to provide better reliability.Map of Route 62 changes in downtown Seattle

New bus stop is the first step to a two-way Columbia Street

The bus stop on Columbia Street and Second Avenue in downtown Seattle is a busy place for those commuting to West Seattle, Southwest Seattle, and Burien. Soon commuters who use the stop will have a more convenient location to catch the bus.

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The bus stop at Second Avenue and Columbia Street will move one block east to Third Avenue and Columbia, starting Sept. 23.

Work began in August to relocate the westbound bus stop one block up the hill to Third Avenue’s main transit thoroughfare. The new stop will open Sept 23 in coordination with Metro’s fall service change.

About 27,000 weekday riders will be affected, including those who use routes 21X, 37, 55, 56, 57, 113, 120, 125 and the RapidRide C Line.

Temporary wayfinding decals will be installed to point customers to the new location. A new street kiosk and off-board ORCA card reader will be installed for customers who ride the  C Line.

The new bus stop marks the beginning of major changes for Columbia Street. It will be transformed into a two-way transit corridor from First to Fourth Avenues to provide a vital connection for buses moving through downtown once the new State Route 99 tunnel opens and the Alaskan Way Viaduct is demolished. Buses traveling from the State Route 99 off-ramp in SODO will use the corridor to connect with  Third Avenue, downtown’s primary bus thoroughfare.

Construction to create a new eastbound transit lane from First to Third Avenues is expected to start in early 2018, and will take about four months.

Post_viaduct_transit_path

Initially after construction, Columbia Street will function as it does today; the project will simply reconstruct the pavement and prepare the curb line for the future configuration. When WSDOT opens the State Route tunnel in early 2019, the Columbia Street on-ramp will be permanently closed and Columbia Street will temporarily end at First Avenue; West Seattle buses will be routed via interim pathways.

After the Columbia Street on-ramp is demolished, the City will reconstruct Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way as part of the Waterfront Seattle Main Corridor project, with Columbia Street reopening to traffic in late 2019.

King County is funding reconstruction of Columbia Street between First and Fourth Avenues. Columbia Street between First Avenue and Alaskan Way will be reconstructed as part of Waterfront Seattle’s Main Corridor project, which also includes dedicated transit lanes on Alaskan Way south of Columbia Street that will be operational once that project is completed in 2023.

More information is available at the Seattle Department of Transportation‘s website.

Riding Metro to the game? Plan for reroutes and changes to Husky football shuttle service

The UW Huskies play their first home game of the season this Saturday against the Montana Grizzlies. Fans and regular Metro riders should prepare for heavy traffic, reroutes and delays in and around the University District and Montlake Triangle immediately before and after the game, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.

UW Stadium

Park-and-ride shuttles to the game

Metro offers nonstop football shuttle service partnership with the UW Huskies from six park-and-ride locations, including Eastgate, Houghton, Kingsgate, Federal Way/South 320th Street, South Kirkland, and South Renton.

Metro will no longer operate dedicated Husky service from the Shoreline park-and-ride and Northgate Transit Center. The University of Washington is contracting for private shuttles to provide direct service from those locations. The Huskies gameday transportation website has information on private shuttle service for fans traveling from those locations.

Metro’s pre-game shuttles leave park-and-ride lots as they fill starting 2½ hours prior to kick-off time. The last buses leave from each park-and-ride approximately 40 minutes before kick-off, except for the Federal Way bus; this trip can take up to one hour and the service is scheduled accordingly.

A $7 round trip voucher is required for each person age 6 and older to board any Metro-operated Husky service. Vouchers can be purchased from the vendor located at each park-and-ride lot. No passes or transfers are accepted on the Husky park-and-ride direct service, including ORCA and UPASS. Game tickets are not accepted as fare on any service.

Post-game park-and-ride direct service buses depart from designated locations near UW Husky Stadium. The last bus to each park-and-ride leaves the Husky Stadium area 30 minutes after the game.

Fans also can ride any regularly-scheduled bus service and Link light rail from south-end locations or downtown Seattle to the University of Washington station outside Husky Stadium. Check for reroutes on some regularly-scheduled bus service in the Husky Stadium area.

Buses rerouted/U-District shuttle

With bus and car traffic on Montlake Boulevard and Northeast Pacific Street, riders of most regular Metro routes serving the UW Link light rail station (31, 32, 44, 45, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, and 372) will be rerouted to 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Campus Parkway before and immediately after the game (see details online).  Riders headed to or from Husky Stadium can walk or ride a free Metro shuttle bus the rest of the way.

The U-District shuttle bus operates about every 7½ minutes from the regular posted bus stop southbound on University Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast Pacific Street. It will serve stops along Pacific Street in both directions.

For more information

Huskies 2017 home schedule

  • 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, vs. Montana
  • 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, vs. Fresno State
  • TBA, Saturday, Oct. 7, vs. California
  • TBA, Saturday, Oct. 28, vs. UCLA
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 4, vs. Oregon
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 18, vs. Utah
  • TBA, Saturday, Nov. 25, vs. Washington State

 

Metro employee receives lifesaving award

By Hannah Debenedetto / King County DOT intern

When an elderly man suffered a heart attack last April outside a Burien Starbucks cafe, Metro’s Marc Anderson knew what to do.

anderson_upthegrove

Metro’s Marc Anderson (L) stands with King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove after being honored for using CPR skills to save a man who suffered a heart attack in Burien. 

Anderson monitored the man’s vital signs as a Starbucks employee provided chest compressions. They continued performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until paramedics from nearby King County Fire District 28 arrived.

In August, Metro Transit Risk Program Manager Marc Anderson was honored with the City of Burien’s 2017 Heroism Award for helping save the man’s life. The patient, Christopher Smith of Port Orchard, was able to leave the hospital a few weeks after the April 6 incident.

In a letter, Smith’s daughters said Anderson and others’ actions increased their father’s chances dramatically. “Were it not for these people knowing what to do and their immediate response, our dad would have died,” they wrote.

The King County Council also recently recognized Anderson for using emergency skills he learned through King County’s free emergency training program for employees. In 2016, Anderson was among nearly 1,000 county employees who enrolled in the courses.

At the Burien City Council’s award ceremony, Anderson stressed the importance of CPR training and encouraged more employees to take advantage. “This is one training that everyone should have,” Anderson said. “You never know when you will need it.”

As a result of the classes, Anderson was immediately able to assess Smith for tell-tale signs of distress, such as skin color and overall body condition.

“The first thing is to be willing to do something,” Anderson said. “The CPR/First Aid training gives a person the confidence to do something.”

“As his experience illustrates, CPR/AED training isn’t just for medics,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said. “The more people who hold a certification, whether they’re a County employee or not, the safer our county is.”

All King County employees are encouraged to attend free Basic First Aid/CPR/AED classes. You can find out more at KingCounty.gov. Residents of Seattle & King County can also take a free CPR class through the City of Seattle’s Medic II program.

Weekend construction: no bus service in Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 23-24; Link light rail operates normal tunnel service

Due to scheduled construction that will close Convention Place Station, buses will not operate in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel the weekends of Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 23-24. Link trains are not affected, and will continue to operate in the tunnel during this work. 

Customers who normally ride bus routes 41, 101, 150, 255 & Sound Transit Express Route 550 in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will instead board or exit buses on surface streets. Rider Alerts are being posted at tunnel stations with instructions to riders about changes to bus service during those upcoming weekends. Buses are scheduled to return to service in the tunnel the Monday mornings following each weekend of construction.

Planned work includes digging a trench for a high-voltage electrical line, which will later power a new mini power station needed for electric trolley bus service in the Capitol Hill area. The trench will cut across the bus travel lanes at Convention Place Station, which is why buses will temporarily operate  on surface streets instead. Contractors also will be working nights at Convention Place Station to prepare for the weekend work.

Metro has options for hikers, music fans over Labor Day weekend

Metro has transportation options over Labor Day weekend for those heading to Bumbershoot or to hike in the outdoors.

For regular Metro customers, remember that regular bus service will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule on Monday, Sept. 4 in observance of Labor Day.

Transit to the trails with Trailhead Direct

trailhead_direct_logo

A three-day weekend means plenty of Western Washingtonians will be out enjoying nature. Trailhead parking is likely to get a little crowded, which is why Trailhead Direct is a convenient option for those heading to the Issaquah Alps this weekend.

Trailhead Direct is a new seasonal service sponsored by Metro’s Community Connections Program and King County Parks that loops between the Issaquah Transit Center and three trailheads on Squak and Tiger Mountains. Transit vans leave the Issaquah Transit Center every 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

This weekend,  the first 50 riders on Saturday, Sunday and Monday will receive a free gift pack that includes an ORCA card preloaded with $10 value. ORCA can be used to pay the Trailhead Direct fare.

Visit the Trailhead Direct website for details on other promotions offered through King County Parks .

Hikers can ride the transit vans to Margaret’s Way trailhead at Cougar-Squak Corridor Park, the Poo Poo Point trailhead on West Tiger Mountain, and the East Sunset Way Trailhead in Issaquah. The service continues its route with a stop at the Issaquah Highlands park-and-ride before returning to the Issaquah Transit Center to begin another loop.

For those who want to connect with the Trailhead Direct on public transit, ST Route 554 serves both the Issaquah Transit Center and the Issaquah Highlands park-and-ride on weekends. Metro route 271 serves the Issaquah Transit Center on weekends with the 208 serving the transit center on Saturdays.

Ride Metro to Bumbershoot

While Metro does not operate any extra or other special service for Bumbershoot at Seattle Center over the holiday weekend, there is plenty of regularly scheduled transit service that serves the festival.

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, 24, 32, 33 and the RapidRide D Line serve Seattle Center directly, while routes 5, 26, 28, 40, 62 and the RapidRide C, and E lines go to within a few blocks.

Holiday schedule on Labor Day

Metro buses will operate Sunday/holiday schedules for Labor Day, meaning some commuter bus routes will not be in service and other routes may operate on a reduced schedule.

Buses that do not usually operate on Sunday will not be in service on Labor Day. Customers should check schedules for route information, as well as planned  reroutes for events and construction.

Sunday fares will be in effect on all Metro service on Labor Day.

Complete transit information is available on Metro OnlineDetails about planned reroutes are on Metro’s Service Advisories page. Sign up for Metro Transit Alerts.

Riders also can visit Metro’s online Trip Planner or call Metro’s Customer Information Office on weekdays at 206-553-3000 to plan transit trips.

 

 

 

Executive Constantine: Go simple with a $2.75 flat fare

 

Dow_video_cover

Metro’s bus fares may get a lot simpler next year.

King County Executive Dow Constantine has announced a proposal to establish a single $2.75 fare for all adult Metro passengers, no matter the time of day or where they travel in King County.

Metro currently has one of the most complex fare structures in the nation, with one zone for the City of Seattle and another for all areas outside the city, as well as extra charges during the morning and evening commute.

Metro customers currently pay $2.50, $2.75 and $3.25 for regular adult fares, depending on zone boundaries and time of day.

One-third of riders in a recent survey said the current system is too complex and difficult to understand. In a proposal to the King County Council announced at a press conference, Constantine streamlined Metro fares to $2.75, and increased funding for discounted tickets.

About 65 percent of Metro customers will see no change or a fare reduction, according to boarding data.

fare_image

Metro spent six months hearing from customers, and received more than 11,000 responses to two public surveys, including one in which 80 percent expressed support for a flat fare.

You can hear Constantine, other elected officials, and Metro General Manager Rob Gannon discuss the proposal in the above video. Customers can check Metro’s fare review website for updates on this fare proposal, as well as Metro’s overall fare review process.

If the King County Council approves the proposed ordinance, it could take effect as soon as July 2018.

An estimated 35 percent of Metro boardings take place during off-peak hours, and those passengers would pay 25 cents more.

  • 21 percent of off-peak riders pay full adult fares without any subsidy or employer-sponsored pass.
  • 14 percent of off-peak riders use employer or organization-sponsored transit passes.

About 31 percent of Metro riders qualify for ORCA Lift, youth, senior and disabled fares. They would see no change.

The ordinance would include additional funding to help passengers who earn very low incomes not covered by ORCA Lift and passengers least able to pay during off-peak hours:

  • Increased funding for the Human Services Ticket Program, from $3.6 million to $4 million, to offset higher cost for social service agencies that distribute discount tickets. Forty-four percent of tickets sold through the program are for off-peak trips.
  • Working with ORCA partners to reduce fees for adult and youth ORCA cards and eliminate the $3 card fee for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Continuing to work with schools, colleges and universities to enhance fare programs for students.

Amazing photos sought for King County Metro bus shelters!

Have you seen all of the bus shelters with amazing artwork and photography? King County Metro has nearly 800 photo murals in shelters across the system, and it’s time for us to accept entries for the next 100.

'8 rollergirls' by Roz Gerstein

‘8 rollergirls’ by Roz Gerstein

You can enter up to 10 photos for consideration online via Photographic Center Northwest. Deadline is Oct. 29, 2017. Photographers pay a $20 fee to submit five photos, and an additional five photos may be submitted for $5 each. The fees cover the costs of administering the program and preparing the photos for printing them mural-size for the shelters.

Metro shelter mural/courtesy Pearl Nguyen

Metro shelter mural/courtesy Pearl Nguyen

Last year, a panel selected 100 images from among the 1,300 images that were submitted by the public. Artists of all ages contribute, mostly from the northwest but also from other parts of the U.S. and beyond.

'Fiery sunset' by Richard Mann

‘Fiery sunset’ by Richard Mann

Thanks to the artwork submitted and curated over the past seven years, Metro’s shelters in many locations are more beautiful, interesting and inspiring.

Metro has about 1,800 bus shelters across the system, and we’re making them better each year. Having bus shelters with photo murals makes the experience of waiting for transit that much better.

For inspiration, see the past few years of bus shelter photo mural winners on our Flickr sites from 2010, 2013, and 2014.