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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Seattle posts impressive bus ridership numbers

According to this story, Seattle's mostly-bus transit system showed a 12% ridership increase in 2012. In contrast, train-crazy Portland's numbers barely budged. What a difference integrity and competence make. [Via Erik H.]

Comments (14)

Plus they've had the delightful ORCA card for years and somehow managed to put together commuter rail without having to spend millions taking over a bankrupt company.

Turns out buses that run frequently with good reliability are something people (even middle class tech people!) will absolutely ride. The worst parts of their mass transit system are the super slow streetcar and the uber-expensive and not that useful light rail line.

the delightful ORCA card for years

ORCA card is amazing. And what's even more remarkable, as I found out on Saturday, is that Seattle doesn't have an all-day fare. You pay each time you ride. Their light rail is separate (Sound Transit) from buses (Metro) so you pay a separate fare; and the light rail uses a distance-based fare system (you pay more the further you go). There is no downtown fareless zone. And - amazingly, they have more riders!!!

commuter rail without having to spend millions taking over a bankrupt company

One of the Sounder trains with six bi-level coaches can carry 900 riders at once, with just TWO crew (Engineer and Conductor). Amazing efficiency, if the train is full of course. Per boarding ride cost is around $9. And during the "off-peak" hours (midday, late evening, weekends) there are still commuter buses that provide the same service that Sounder trains do.

However WES, with its meager 85 passenger single coach, still can't even fill up that one car - and TriMet spends upwards of $17 per boarding ride.

And best of all, Seattle employs a varied fleet of buses, from DART vans, 30' buses - all the way up to 60' articulated buses and Bus Rapid Transit. Snohomish County even runs double-decker commuter buses which are extremely popular. Snohomish County's SWIFT Bus Rapid Transit Line opened about the same time as WES and is about the same 15 mile distance - but unlike WES, SWIFT only cost $29 million to build (not $165 million), has a per boarding ride cost of $1 (not $17), and SWIFT is Community Transit's #1 service for ridership (WES is among TriMet's lowest ridership routes). For the cost of WES, TriMet could have bought FIVE separate BRT lines (replacing the #9, 12, 33, 57, and 76 bus lines).

If tri-met reduced fares to $1 per trip they would have an astounding increase in ridership that would pull them out of the hole they keep digging.

The worst parts of their mass transit system are the super slow streetcar and the uber-expensive and not that useful light rail line.

Since the above and only the above are what is being shoved down our throats at-any-cost, come-hell-or-high-water, d*mn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead, what else is there to say but protect your assets before it's too late and have your escape route planned in advance.

Maybe the fact that Goldschmidt and his cronies were never involved in their transit system(s) has something to do with it?

TriMet is a Portland transit monopoly that serves mainly Portland at the expense of the surrounding region. Many routes are drawn, not based on demand, but based on how to extract the most payroll tax from the area (Boring is a great example).

Transit in the Seattle area is run by the counties... so the counties are able to serve their residents and surrounding job centers. They are also funded by sales tax, so service area has less potential for corruption.

Mr. Grumpy...

We think its being shoved "down"...

We think its our throats...

Cheers, It's Mike

. . .are what is being shoved down our throats. . .

A pattern here!
From Metro plans to city behavioral plans and now a movement to push fluoride.

Many routes are drawn, not based on demand, but based on how to extract the most payroll tax from the area

As well as the one route (57) for Forest Grove and Cornelius, the one route (94) for King City and Sherood, the 96 that serves a large part of Tualatin (rush hour only, of course)...

A welcome change - either by the Legislature or by citizen initiative - would be to restrict TriMet's taxing authority from 2.5 miles from a transit stop to just 1/2 mile, AND the taxes must be proportional to the level of service - so TriMet wouldn't be able to get away with taxing an area who gets just a handful of buses a day (Boring) at the same rate as someone on the Transit Mall with buses and trains every couple minutes.

Frankly, it should be 1/4th of a mile from a bus stop, and 1/2 mile from a rail stop - and it will be by WALKING distance using sidewalks. If there's no sidewalk, there's no tax.

The other problem I have with the Statistics is that they are "boarding ride" the bus system is used to feed the light rail to keep the numbers up for the PR Value. The statistic should be for a "trip" and instead of being a stat booster it should be a detriment the number of different routes or "boarding rides" you need to take to arrive at your destination.

According to this story, Seattle's mostly-bus transit system showed a 12% ridership increase in 2012.

It turns out that Seattle's mostly-bus system (King County Transit) gained only 2.5%. It was Sound Transit (operator of light rail and commuter rail) that saw a 12$ increase.

However, Sound Transit's largest increase was in bus passengers. Light-rail ridership grew by only 9%. Download complete results for all transit systems here.

12$ was supposed to be 12%

St Johns Flasher wrote: If tri-met reduced fares to $1 per trip they would have an astounding increase in ridership that would pull them out of the hole they keep digging.

I'm curious, how would that work? On all but a few routes, they are losing money on $2.50 per ride. My route (like many others) is already full at rush hour. Fare evaders who don't pay $2.50, won't feel like paying $1.00 either.

I was a faithful Tri-Met rider for many years, had no car nor a desire to own one, and with the exception of late night, you could get a bus to go just about anywhere locally. I'm also old enough to remember Rose City Transit.

I got a car in my late 30s when the bully teenagers started to take over on some trips and the bus drivers put on the blinkers. I have a lot of stories. As bus fares went up, routes started to disappear, and equipment got fancier. I finally had enough and got a car.

One of the many ways Tri-Met has continually lost money is because of politicians who want a 'legacy' by investing in hugely expensive light rail projects. Along the way they lost riders like me by the thousands. A $1 fare would put more butts in seats. Maybe including mine.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
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