Beyond Trip Planner, part II

Most of you know that I think Seattle has a great bus system. Buses here work for me because:

1) I have spent time learning the routes I use regularly, and
2) I do advance research to figure out how to get places I’ve never been before.

Buses here don’t necessarily work for:

1) Tourists.
2) People like Jonathan Kauffman, Seattle Weekly writer and newbie Seattleite. (Brad from First Hill, a former newbie Seattleite, sent me this essay Jonathan wrote about Seattle’s buses.)

Jonathan thinks Metro should have a comprehensive system map that is easily available at major bus stops.

But every time I want to get on a bus, I have to call Mama Metro to tell me which one to take–there’s no way for me to get to know the city on my own terms or my own time. All I need, I’ve been telling anyone who dares offer help to a guy staring up at a bus stop with bewilderment and rage on his face, is a good map: just a street map of Seattle with the bus lines printed on them. That’s it. Portland, Vancouver, and New York have them. You can pick up a street/bus map at every El stop in Chicago or find one posted at every major bus stop in San Francisco. Never felt lost in those cities.

I do, too.

Metro’s current system map is reasonably useful for figuring out which routes go to which parts of the city, but it’s not easily available, and it doesn’t include most street names (key for effective navigation).

What do you guys think? Does Metro need a more extensive system map, or are you happy with Trip Planner and the maps at stops and in schedules?

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