Saturday, April 30, 2011

Community Transits CEO explains her side

Watch this video from the Puget Sounds highest paid transit CEO:

My Response: She continues to blame the recession for another round of cuts in February. She shows the sales tax revenues dropping, but in the last year, the decline was small, and some how that still yields a 20% cut. She says bus purchases were delayed, they are receiving new buses, much of which are funded from elsewhere. She's prepared to support growth of Snohomish County, with bus cuts? She also mentions ridership has declined, wonder why, oh right, no Sunday service. The interview between Emmett and her say the recession appears to have no end in sight, yet they are projecting higher sales tax revenues. Buy Local for transit: this only works if those who depend on transit can get around on transit, say for example, on Sundays. She again says the revenues do not look like they are coming back, despite the projections.

She promises Responsibility for today, but in this video, she was never specific on what they have cut internally, upper management wise. I think a 20% pay cut is in order for Admin and Execs, see how that adds up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poll Results: Many of you Want ETBs to hang around

88% of the 27 votes I got here want to keep ETBs in the Metro System, but 11% don't, wonder why? The Public Meeting is tomorrow, and we expect the actual decision very soon.

What do you want to see happen with King County Metros Trolley Bus System?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

King County Metro changes the seats

I was able to tour the newest buses about to hit the streets here in Seattle. I spent a short time looking at King County Metros newest 60' bus, and their new 40' Orions. Other photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr Account.

The biggest change, are the seats! Many agencies use these seats, and have for some time. They include Portlands TriMet in their Buses and Trains, Vancouver Translinks Buses, Los Angeles Metro Rapid Buses, Philadelphia SEPTA Buses, and Orange County (OCTA) Buses, to name a few. Metro has been using borderline premium seats in all its buses. Seats that are expensive to repair and replace.

It has been in my travels, that these new seats are durable, and despite the removal of the coil based cushions, these seats are comfortable. They are shaped ergonomically, and very space saving. The seat covering Metro chose is the same as the seats in the current in service 6800s, a vinyl, non-slip surface. These seats resist soaking up odors, spillages and more. Overall, these seats will help save Metro money, and will provide a better experience for the rider. It is very possible you will see these seats in all future Metro buses, including RapidRide, and personally I welcome the change.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This blog turns 2

April 9 2009 is when this blog was born.

And some thought it would only last a few months.

Don't forget my other components to this blog that have since been created:

Thanks to all my readers, commenters and more, for stopping by from time to time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PSTO Blog deleted.

Jeff, while not answering any of my requests for info, has now posted the fate of the blog.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What I Think: CT is about to tip over

Today, Joyce Eleanor, the areas highest paid transit CEO released a statement that more cuts are looming. In her letter, she says tax revenues are down. Per the Budget page, 2007 was $76.6 million, 2008 was $71.7 million, 2009 was $62.3 million and 2010 came in at $61.5 million. CT is projecting $62.7 million this year. From 2007, revenues are down $15.1 million. Or, if you want to add it up per year, Grand total loss $34 million. From last year its only $800,000 less. So where does that equal a 20% service reduction? Are fares down this much? She says the cuts when all done will equal 1/3 of the employees and service it had in 2007 (33%), but the sales tax revenues are only down 20%. Lets not forget fares were raised twice, so we don't know how much of that helped make up the lost difference.

Snohomish County already has lost Sunday Service (and Holidays too), how much more can they do to the area? Buy Local for transit, if on Sundays you cant get anyplace on the bus, your not shopping. Then, they want to lay off more employees, who will not have the money to buy taxed goods. Heres some tough questions: What if the execs and admin took a 20% pay cut? Would that save jobs? What if bonuses were cut (since service is being cut, there should be no bonuses)? What if OT is curtailed, watched more closely (execs & admins)? Can CT save jobs, and maybe restore (some) service then?

The Herald article on this has a statement from another Snohomish County transit agency Everett Transit, "We're like everyone else, we're still behind where we were in 2008 (in tax revenue) but we have seen several months of measured improvement, we're hanging in there." The article also mentions Sound Transit giving a similar statement. CTs Facebook post is already full of comments by people who are fed up with the agency.

I think its time for this top heavy agency to look at other alternatives, and take service cuts off the table. This is just my take, but you can read the budget plan here, and make your own opinion. Public Transit is a service to the community, its not like shuttering under-performing retail stores, this is something those with no car depend on, it shouldn't be treated like this with so much upper management.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

15th Ave Bridge to reopen Apr 15, 3 routes move back

Seattle DOT and their contractor have finished the important work on the 15th Ave Bridge in North Seattle and will reopen it Friday April 15th.

As a result, as you can see in the photo, King County Metro Route 73 will no longer serve Roosevelt Way and will (once again) begin servicing 15th Ave on Saturday April 16. Routes 77 & 373 will also make this change on Monday, April 18. Route 68 will still serve Roosevelt b/t 80th and Northgate Way.

As part of Metros stop spacing project, Not all stops will return. Northbound the following stops are scheduled to open: 15th Ave @ 80th St, 85th St, 90th, 95th, 100th, 103rd St, Northgate Way, & 115th St. Southbound is 15th Ave @ 115th St, Northgate Way, 104th St, 102nd St, 94th St, 89th St & 82nd St. Route 73 also makes the existing stops at, (SB) 80th, 75th, 70th, 65th, Cowen Pl@ 15th Ave, Univ Way@ Ravenna Blvd, & (NB) at Cowen@15th, 15th Ave@ 63rd, 65th, 70th, & 75th. Cowen, 63rd, 68th, 73rd and 77th are listed on the stop spacing website as currently open, but on the closure list.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Seems TriMet is trying to steer you away from Twitter

In the last couple of days TriMet has been sending tweets, even emails out to steer you from sending any complaints, suggestions or commendations to them via social media. One reads "Have an experience you'd like to share?", then gives a link to their comment form. Another "Do you have a question or comment about our services?" Also complete with a link to the comment form.

They have even went to the extent to send me an email:
"Do you want to give us feedback about one of our operators? Do you need to report a broken ticket machine? Do you need to report an item you lost or found on one of our buses or MAX trains?

Visit to find the reporting forms for all of these issues.

You can also contact Customer Service directly by calling 503-238-RIDE. Thank you for your feedback."

Unlike Translink in Vancouver, TriMet wants to use Social Media in a one-way format, don't bother them with your questions, unless you want to use the form or call. TriMet has been very slow at adapting to Twitter, sending out service alerts late, and just "sorta" using it. Skimming thru the TriMet Twitter they are answering peoples questions and complaints (mine too), but judging by all the attention being given to "Use the form", they do not want to be answering you on Twitter, and maybe they are trying to run from it. TriMet needs to learn from Translink pilot Twitter project, which is VERY successful, it was made permanent.

TriMet has also taken this to Facebook, there are a few very vocal people (that it appears TriMet ignores, because the only respond to those who praise the service).

TriMet: Twitter and Facebook are great ways to communicate with your riders and users, embrace it, don't ruin it.