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June 08, 2007


Carless in Seattle

I am so with you on your three recommendations.

But don't give up on the bus just yet! Give it another chance! Once you get into the rhythm of it, taking the bus can be a nice relaxing way to end the day.

The buses do run every ten minutes, but because they're stuck in traffic (or not) they can come off schedule. Eastbound up to the Olive stop, the buses are likely to be early. Montlake on, it depends on the back-up from I-5 to the water. Westbound, they're on schedule until I-405.

Tip when running westbound. Keep an eye on the WSDOT Seattle Traffic site: when 520 is black east of I-405, the bus commute will take forever. I often just stay a bit later at work and wait for it to recede.

There are also "local" buses that run from the U-district to the Eastside, and are essentially express buses that stop in several places around the Microsoft campus, not just 51st and OTC. They don't run as frequently, but they may get you much closer to home and without the transfer. I'm guessing you're up in RedWest, so check out http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/neighborhoods/overlake.html.


The target population of most transit projects in the US seem to be poor people who have no other transportation alternatives or people who willingly choose to travel slower by taking the bus. Most people in this country are rich enough to buy a car so congestion is universal. To take cars off the road, the travel times need to be at least the same or faster than driving. I'd rather see few but deluxe transit miles built rather than full coverage of the city with slow poke buses. Deluxe transit would have high ridership because they would indeed be competitive with driving. Examples of deluxe transit are NY metro, Tokyo Shinkansei, Paris RER. Over time, full coverage could be built.

We could also wait for congestion to get bad enough to make drive times slower than bus travel. That seem to be the favored approach of the anti road building pro transit coallition.


I won't give up on the bus completely. Next time I have an after-work meeting downtown (where I'd have to pay for parking) it would make sense to go by bus.

But the bottom line remains: transit won't attract users unless it's a better deal that sitting in your own car.

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