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.


  1. 256 is a tunnel route which requires a Hybrid 60′ coach. Secondly, the Majority of the routes that have 60′ buses, get the ridership to match. Theres always going to be flukes, but in many cases, that 60′ bus does just more than your one route, the other portions of the run could be packed, or over. Some runs are combined with other runs, for example, a handful of the 256 runs also runs a 255 at some point during that drivers shift, which is a busy route. I hope that helps break that down a bit for you. =)


    1. Oh yeah, just to add. I rode the ENTIRE 256 route into downtown. It barely had 12-15 people the entire route. But like I was saying, if it is a route with 12-15 people it’s better than a dead head trip. 🙂


  2. Very good point. I thoguht about it after I took the ride, that the route is probably just kind of collecting at this point on the way back, instead of just dead heading. So that is good. But as you well know, TriMet still needs more capacity on a number of routes that they just aren’t’ doing anything about. Either way, TriMet seriously needs some 60 ft buses. 🙂


  3. I was always surprised that TriMet didn’t have 60’ers, when they’re all over Seattle. I’ve seen 60′ artics for KCM, CT, and ST. Craziest to me is the fact that LTD in Eugene has some!


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