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Transportation

Oct. 5, 2012

Metro Transit responds to high demand by adding more buses on RapidRide C Line

Change to ease peak commute crowding to and from West Seattle

SEATTLE – Starting Monday, Oct. 8, King County Metro Transit is adding two morning and two afternoon peak commute bus trips to the new RapidRide C Line – a move intended to ease overcrowding and meet rising demand for the popular new service between West Seattle and downtown Seattle.

As a result, riders will see more RapidRide C Line peak service with trips running every 8 to 9 minutes, increased from every 10 minutes, during the highest ridership commute times – about 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m.

It’s clear that adding two bus trips in the morning and afternoon schedule will help ease crowding, said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager.

“We understand that it was a challenging and frustrating first week for some commuters who rode overcrowded buses, or watched as full buses passed them at bus stops,” Desmond said. “As the week progressed we learned where to use standby coaches to best address these high ridership demands. The results support our decision to make those additions part of the regular schedule.

“We have heard customer feedback, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to make sure the C and D lines operate as smoothly as possible,” Desmond said.

Metro launched RapidRide C Line service Sept. 29 with buses scheduled to travel between West Seattle and downtown Seattle every 10 minutes during the morning commute.

Higher than expected ridership demand emerged this week during the peak commute times. Customer reports, early ridership data, and field observations helped to confirm that there was strong transit demand to justify adding two morning and two afternoon commute trips to the RapidRide C Line.

Metro noted hundreds of additional commuters on RapidRide and other bus routes from West Seattle compared to tallies from this spring. Metro transit planners and service coordinators will continue to actively monitor ridership, transit operations and performance and make adjustments to service as needed.

“This transit service is still very new and daily ridership can fluctuate and evolve, however we were seeing full buses passing riders at bus stops at about the same time each day,” Desmond said. “By adjusting the frequency of service to this emerging pattern we will ease overcrowding and reduce delays.”

As part of the Sept. 29 transit service change, Metro has a contingency budget to pay for the additional RapidRide C Line trips and will continue to operate two standby buses for the RapidRide C and D lines. The red and yellow RapidRide buses needed for the additional trips are available in Metro’s reserve fleet, which is set aside in case of mechanical problems. Metro will continue to assess the maximum fleet use that can be sustained on an ongoing basis.

Metro also is taking steps to maximize and fine-tune transit signal priority and other transit priority measures, as well as operator training and customer communications about transit conditions and commute options.

Details about RapidRide and Metro Transit are online at metro.kingcounty.gov. Follow us on Twitter via @kcmetrobus.

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Information about Metro Transit services is online at metro.kingcounty.gov.