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Transportation

Nov. 9, 2012

Metro Transit continues improving RapidRide

More frequent service with more evening trips Nov. 13

SEATTLE – Another boost in the number of evening RapidRide bus trips starts next week as King County Metro Transit continues to improve reliability and address growing ridership between downtown Seattle and West Seattle.

Two additional RapidRide bus trips will carry evening commuters starting Tuesday, Nov. 13, totaling six added evening trips since the service change. Metro added two trips Nov. 5 and two additional trips Oct. 8. Together, the added trips target full buses and gaps in bus service when buses are delayed between 4:15 and 6:45 p.m.

“When delayed buses show up downtown, they quickly become packed and that frustrates riders,” said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager. “We’re adding bus trips when commuters need them most so they don’t have to wait as long between buses and bus loads can even out.”

Of the six new evening RapidRide trips on the street as of Nov. 13, one will start as a RapidRide D Line from Ballard, traveling to downtown Seattle and then on to West Seattle; five others will start in Belltown – a move designed to avoid traffic delays in lower Queen Anne.

Metro continues to listen to rider feedback and monitor the frequency and reliability of RapidRide. On Nov. 13, bus operators also will have new evening schedule instructions that draw on the past month’s experience operating RapidRide in downtown Seattle. This should help even out the spacing of C & D Line trips and improve service reliability. Two standby buses continue to be available to address gaps in service during the evening commute.

The additional transit service responds to reports of crowded and delayed buses, and follows ongoing analysis of bus frequency and growing ridership. By Nov. 13, Metro will have added a total of 16 bus trips between downtown Seattle and West Seattle on the RapidRide C Line and routes 55 and 120, working to meet commute-time demand preliminarily estimated to have increased by about 26 percent since spring 2011.

Morning commute: Six added bus trips

  • Two more RapidRide C Line trips from West Seattle to downtown Seattle (Oct. 8)
  • Two more Route 55 trips from West Seattle to downtown Seattle (Oct. 29)
  • Two more Route 120 trips from Burien to downtown Seattle via the Delridge neighborhood (Oct. 29)

Evening commute: 10 added bus trips

  • Five more RapidRide C Line trips from downtown Seattle to West Seattle (Oct. 8, Nov. 5 and starting Nov. 13)
  • One more RapidRide D Line trip from Ballard to downtown Seattle, switching to a C Line to West Seattle (starting Nov. 13)
  • Two more Route 55 trips from downtown Seattle to West Seattle (Oct. 29)
  • Two more Route 120 trips from downtown Seattle to Burien via the Delridge neighborhood (Oct. 29)

Metro has made several  operational adjustments to improve the RapidRide C and D Line service since Sept. 29. The lines serve downtown Seattle from West Seattle and Ballard respectively.

Analysis of transit travel times during a week in October showed intervals longer than 10 minutes between buses during the evening commute. Inserting additional bus trips is expected to help fill those gaps in arrival times, Desmond said.

Metro is drawing on a limited contingency reserve of transit service hours for the additional bus trips. The contingency was created to address any operational issues that might arise as part of the Sept. 29 transit service change, the largest for Metro.

The reserve hours also were used to add the route 55 and 120 trips Oct. 29, and additional daily C Line trips that started Oct. 8.