TriMet: MAX rail trips climb, bus trips tumble in January

In January, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) registered 7.9 million rail and bus trips, down 2.6 percent compared with January 2009 ridership.

The weak economy and a double-digit unemployment rate continue to impact ridership, primarily bus trips, TriMet officials said in a prepared statement.

In January, weekly trips declined 0.9 percent to 2 million; weekday trips dropped 0.8 percent to 321,600; weekend trips decreased 1.2 percent to 314,300; and rush-hour trips fell 2.1 percent to 104,000.

On the MAX light-rail system, weekly trips rose 11.4 percent to 716,500; weekday trips increased 11.2 percent to 116,700; weekend trips jumped 12.5 percent to 132,800; and rush-hour trips went up 9.6 percent to 35,500.

Meanwhile, the WES commuter-rail line averaged 6,150 weekly trips and 1,230 weekday/rush-hour trips in January.

Is that an increase over the previous month’s WES ridership?  I could have sworn it was only at about 5k last month.  Either way, this is kind of more of the assumed and expected results.  Rail up w/ the new lines and bus ridership down since TriMet is cutting ENTIRE LINES.  I hope people are not assuming things with these results.  That would be unfortunate, which leads me to believe that they probably are.

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Hotel MAX, Amtrak Cascades, Sound Transit Light Rail…

This weekend I took a trip to go enjoy Seattle.  It included a lot of flange wheel riding and a few feet of walking too.  I’ll refer to we, as I did have a traveling companion, so don’t get confused.

We headed out about 11ish toward Union Station in Portland aboard the Green Line MAX.  It was just a short trip, from one end of downtown to the other.  We managed, ok, so I managed to miss the stop and we ended up riding across the Steal Bridge.  Fortunately, as is often the case, we where early for the departure so it wasn’t a big hassle.  We rode back across on the west bound Green Line and got off at the right stop.

With a while to wait we went up and took a seat at my favorite spot in the station.  The bench right up near the entrance and exit for passengers.  There we sat, waiting for #501 to arrive.  My father, as he does, decided he was going to come wish us well on the trip and ride from PDX to Vancouver just for some train miles.

The train arrived, he met us and we sat and carried on for a bit.  Boarding call was made and we all bounced up to board the train.  The took almost not time, being that trains are extremely easy to board with the 10 open doors and all.  Without further ado, we departed on the Amtrak Cascades for Seattle.

We went about our trip relaxing and enjoying the Bistro.  Checking out the sites, and for good measure, managed to throw in a half hour of sleep.  The train arrived about 15 minutes late, and en route we didn’t lose any time, so managed to pull into Seattle King Street Station at 4:05.

Sound Transit Light Rail

This is when I got the first real use (not a whimsical ride about) trip on the light rail in Seattle.  We walked from King Street Station across the street to Union Station, and down to the International/China Station.  The next LRV that came along we walked aboard and planted ourselves.  Within a zippy few minutes the LRV pulled up to the Westlake Station, end of the line stop, and we popped out and up the stairs.  At surface one can easily see the Monorail and Streetcar just beyond.  We headed that way, as the Hotel MAX is just beyond that.

Hotel MAX, Twitter, and the whole Social Media Thing

A short walk a few blocks and without any issue, we found Hotel MAX.  Hotel MAX is a pretty nice hotel, with reasonable prices for Seattle.  The other awesome thing is, as with any modern hotel that has a good marketing group with a brain, is active in social media.  That includes Twitter, Facebook, and the whole gamut of sites.  Between these sources I had found this hotel, and deemed it worth a visit.  Otherwise I would most likely never have known about this hotel.

With that said, everyone including UP, BNSF, TriMet, and others should or already have a social media presence.  In this day and age it is an absolute must.  The credibility of the medium to land hot leads, really get across messages, and attract people actually interested in your message is light years beyond yesterdays media.

I digress though, this is about the trip, so I will continue.

Hotel MAX is in a 10 story older building, think pre-40s.  They’ve put some rocker-ish stylings, plush furniture and other details in the place, and turned it into a pretty cool modernistic hotel.  Definitely a place worth staying at in Seattle.

We walked about Seattle and wandered aimlessly, with aim, throughout downtown Seattle.  After a Sunday of pastries, treats, Pike Place Market and other such things, we headed toward the train station.  Before that though we stopped in to Zeitgeist for a cappuccino before the departure time.  If you are ever in Seattle, Zeitgeist is actually one of the better coffee shops in the entire city.  It is worth the visit.  The shop also is a great place to sip on a beverage and pull out the laptop for a little bit of internet action.

After that, with just about 20 minutes to spare, we walked over to King Street Station.  It only takes about 5-6 minutes from Zeitgeist.  Upon arrival I got seat assignments and we walked right out to the waiting train.

We departed on Amtrak Cascades #509 on time, ran into a delay however down line.  Out of Tacoma a tree had fallen across the tracks.  We waited for about 20 minutes while they cleared the tracks and then we moved on.  BNSF was rocking with the quick response time.  During the delay and Portland we cleared up another 5 or so minute and got in at about 9:10.

Everyone hustled up off the train and headed for their respective destinations.  My compatriot and I made the dash for the MAX, but there where a few minutes to go.  With that we strolled by Backspace, which was having a packed house type of Poetry Reading.  We waited there and grabbed the last flanged wheel of the night.

A good trip, relaxing yet exhausting all at the same time.  Great food, good talk, great conversation, jovial travelers all around, cool visit, new names and faces, and all in all a kick ass weekend trip.

Will do it again.