Tag Archives: bus to the pass

Readers, on skiing, paying, and saving

From Miles in Everett: another option for car-free skiers.

Another great transit-to-the-slopes option that wasn’t mentioned in your column last month is connecting Stevens Pass shuttle from Sultan. It’s possible to take one of Community Transit’s 270-series routes from Everett Station to the Mountain View Chevron just east of the Sultan Park and Ride, then catch the Stevens Pass shuttle from there. If starting in Seattle, Sound Transit Route 510 runs every half-hour between Seattle and Everett weekdays, and hourly on Sundays. At less than $10 each way, this is, as far as I know, the most affordable option available, and of course the snow at Stevens is often better than at Snoqualmie.

Good stuff–and you certainly can’t beat the price. I do remember reading about this shuttle, but I didn’t take the time to figure out how to take the bus to the Chevron station. I’m glad someone else did.

Miles, who recently moved from Pioneer Square to downtown Everett, also said:

I don’t know whether you’ve been up here lately, but this area is getting to be a great place for a car-free lifestyle: there’s the commuter train to Seattle, of course, as well as plentiful bus options, but a lot of people don’t realize that Downtown Everett itself has become a very pleasant and walkable area that rivals Capitol Hill in terms of having everything one needs within walking distance. Even a food co-op. And, given that there’s no Flexcar here yet, it’s reassuring to know that there’s a Hertz car rental office right downtown as well.

It looks like I have some exploring to do.

From Kevin in Boston: firsthand accounts of the MBTA’s new fare system.

According to Kevin (and the Charlie on the MBTA blog he sent), it’s not working out too well. We should pay attention to this as we explore new options.

From Heidi in Redmond: validation.

In “The real reason you’re broke,” a respected money-management writer (not an environmentalist or transit activist) explains the true costs of owning a car. The main points are:

1. People spend more than they can afford on cars.
2. The percentage of income Americans spend on their cars has been steadily rising since 1995.
3. Good ways to save money on transportation include: giving up your car, paying cash for a less expensive car, and extending the time between car purchases.

Here’s an excerpt:

What’s going wrong
So why are so many people messing up so badly on such a basic purchase? There are plenty of reasons, including:

Viewing cars as a need rather than a want. Transportation is, indeed, a real need. We have to get to the grocery store and to work. But many of us have plenty of options, from our own feet to public transportation to car pools to shared car arrangements …

Treating cars as a status symbol. You can’t watch television for long without being bombarded by car commercials, and many of us have absorbed the idea that we are what we drive. It’s complete BS, of course, but some people have been so brainwashed that they literally drive themselves into bankruptcy.

Failing to consider the overall costs. When buying or leasing a car, many people consider nothing more than the monthly payment. They’re not seeing the whole picture — far from it. Once you factor in insurance, gas, maintenance, repairs, taxes, depreciation and other costs, most cars will set you back at least twice the initial purchase price over five years. …

I really recommend reading the entire article.

A bus to the pass

After Friday’s storm, I’ve had enough excitement for the season. For those still looking for a thrill: I provided some suggestions for getting to the higher elevations without a car in this week’s Real Change column. (Thanks to Laura from Bellevue for the tips.) Winter sports aren’t really my “thing” (plus, I have word count limits), so please let me know if I missed any good options.

A Bus to the Pass

I have to admit it: I’m not much of a winter sports fan. My first clue that snow-related activities weren’t for me was in 7th grade, when, less than an hour into my first skiing lesson (bundled from head to foot but still teary-eyed from the cold), I asked the instructor if I could head into the lodge for the remainder of the afternoon. A few years ago, I tried snowboarding. It was fun and all, but after every fall, I thanked the man upstairs that I didn’t break, tear, sprain, strain, or hyperextend something. And the thing is: I need my legs to get around.

Many of my fellow Seattleites, on the other hand, take their winter sports seriously. For those who actually like performing death-defying acts in ungodly temperatures: If you’ve decided car-free living isn’t for you because you can’t imagine giving up your weekends on the slopes, it might be time to reconsider. After all, you can take the bus to the Pass!

One of the coolest options is Snowbus (www.snowbus.com), which heads to Snoqualmie Pass every Thursday night during the season. It leaves Seattle (from Pyramid Alehouse) at 5:30 p.m., stops again in Bellevue at around 6, and arrives at the pass by 7. For $49, you get a lift ticket, a sandwich and beer courtesy of Pyramid, and a round-trip ride on a luxury bus (with a bathroom). If you don’t need a lift ticket, you can ride the bus only for $25. Snowbus is reputed to be as much a social event as a form of transportation, but you must be 21 or older to ride. (Hey, they can’t be handing out pints of beer to teenagers.)

Beeline Tours (www.beelinetours.com) offers daily trips to Snoqualmie. It leaves the 65th Street Park & Ride at 7:00 a.m. and makes two stops — Colman Dock and the South Bellevue Park & Ride — on the way to the Pass. The ride costs $35. On weekends, you can buy a ride/lift ticket combo for $75. Beeline offers the advantage of daylong trips, and children are welcome.

For those who’d rather head farther afield for their winter adventures, Crystal Mountain (www.crystalmt.com) operates weekend shuttles to the Pass from Seattle and Tacoma. Cost for adults is $70 with a lift ticket and $35 without.

If you’re not into tour buses, Rideshare Online (www.rideshareonline.com) has a special section for folks looking to carpool to the slopes. For the cost of a few gallons of gas, you can probably find a ride to any pass in the region.

Of course, if you don’t know how to ski or snowboard yet, you can always sign up for lessons with a ski school like Fiorini (www.fiorinisports.com) and travel to the Pass in style: on a yellow school bus.