A New Challenge, Metro Route #256

I decided to try a new route home on the 15th instead of my normal hop onto the Sound Transit #545.  This was a mistake of grand proportions.

Usually from Overlake Transit Center to downtown the #545 usually takes about 18-22 minutes.  Even on the worse day of traffic I’ve seen yet, it was still only about 35-40 minutes.  The #545 is timely and frequent enough that I don’t worry much about missing one during the core work hours.

Fast forward to the #256, holy crimeny this bus goes on the oddest route.  It only runs about every 30 minutes, but does go just enough different places that I suppose it has a reason to exist.  The frequency however is horrible and Metro runs a full 60 foot bus on the route.  This I don’t understand, the number of 60 ft buses that are used when 40 foot or even smaller buses would work fine.  I suspect Metro uses way more fuel than they should really be using.

My Plan to Resolve the overuse of 60 foot Busses:

So I have this idea.  Metro should send TriMet about 50-60 of these 60 foot buses and TriMet can send Metro some of their 40 foot busses.  That way TriMet can bump up service appropriately on the #72, #9, #14, #15, and other routes accordingly and Metro can scale back their excessive capacity on route that don’t need the big busses.

There, another solution to a transit problem.  Some other time I’ll throw out my random solution for the bottleneck of Highway 520 or 90 across Lake Washington.  Those are some absurdities if I ever saw them.

CATS is rocking even if LINK is failing…

I just happened to be reading an article today on Progressive Railroading about the increase in ridership on the Charlotte North Carolina’s CATs Light Rail Line.  They’re actually looking at extending platforms to handle larger trains because of this increase!  That’s great news for that area and future expansions.  Meanwhile in Seattle’s Sound Transit Central Link Light Rail is well below expectations, not completely failing, but very close to it.  It makes me curious, as to what the excuse is for Seattle’s Light Rail line.  Anyone have any notions on that?  If anything bode well for success it was the Seattle areas’ pro-transit populace vs. Charlotte’s anti-transit populace (of course in and out of cities these populations change, but generally each city has a reputation for these things…)

…so, any thoughts?

Seattle Transit People? I’ve got a few questions…

I’ve been in Seattle now for about ~6 weeks.  I’ve gotten a lot of the transit options figured out, landed an ORCA Card with the appropriate pass, and have sort of gotten used to the idiocy of “pay randomly sort of based on when we’re leaving or entering the city, except when… clause 1, clause 2, clause 3, etc”.  So with all that, what I want to know is how I can determined with Sound Transit Bus is going to have wireless and which ones do not.  I generally ride the #545 to Redmond and can get a lot of e-mail and other such things wrapped up before even stepping in the door to the office.  This is a good thing for my work day.

In other questions, how do I find out news about the transit options in a single place?  So far it is far too time consuming to dig through Metro, Sound Transit, and the other websites to figure out all of this.  This brings me back to something I started to do about 6-8 months ago and am thinking about it again.  Figuring out which transit sites are good, and which are horrible.  King County Metro’s is one that is possibly going under the horrible list.  The site is a cluttered mess of UX #fail.  Sound Transit’s is pretty good, albeit there could be some navigation clean up.

Well anyway, if anyone out there in Seattle’s Transitverse knows the answers to these I’d love to know.  Thanks!

A Few Minutes Until the Bus Arrives…

…and I decided I would whip out the laptop and write the first introductory Transit Sleuth Blog Entry while I wait.

The blog and domain are officially pointed in the right direction now, here at the location of the new and improved Transit Sleuth.  Eventually I intend to get the previous blog entries pulled into this system so the entire archive is available, but it’ll be a few days (maybe a few weeks) before I get that done.  In the meantime I’ll be blogging the transit adventures right here!  So stay tuned and keep reading for transit sleuthing o’ Seattle.

Transit Sleuth Blog – The New Blog Engine

This blog I have created to begin the migration that will be two phase. One, my blog will be migrating to WordPress for the blog engine itself. The second part will be the migration of my hosting service, which I’m not 100% sure about that part yet.

The Commuter’s Story

I hear all sorts of stories in Seattle.  Compared to Portland the commute seems to be much more of an effort for a lot of people in Seattle.  Some people it is as easy as Portland, others have the nightmare of the hour or longer commute.

It always seemed, and I’ll admit a slightly skewed perspective, that the city dwelling urbanites of Portland had no qualms at all with their commute.  As a matter of fact most of the urban dwellers loved their commute of 5 minutes, 10, or maybe even 20 minutes.  The suburbanites, with their life draining, fun sucking drives of 30+ minutes often complained to no end.  However being an urbanite while I lived in Portland I rarely heard about these people’s commuting misery.  Then of course, even at 30 minutes most Portlanders really don’t have anything to complain about.  Portland really does, as a fact, have a super easy commute with pretty low commute times.  Unless of course someone decides they want misery and lives 40 miles out from the city, but I digress.

Seattle is different though, as a start the place is massive in comparison to Portland.  Seattle seems a bit more like other cities I’ve lived in from a geographic perspective.  The one massive difference is the relief, i.e. hills everywhere.  This changes the perspective of those driving a large degree, namely in the speed equation.  People in Seattle do not drive anywhere near as fast as people in other cities I’ve lived in (excluding Portland, which also drives slow slow).

Another huge difference is the town center areas and primary thoroughfares leave pedestrians with a more auto-centric design to large parts of the city.  This alters the perception of people coming into and out of areas during their commute.  The average anxiety increases dramatically in road environments like this.  To me, I find it entertaining as I take a very anthropological approach to watching people during their commutes.  To put it simply, their misery at the hands of their own decisions I find laughable and entertaining.  In the end, it is their fault that this is such a problem.