Tag Archives: Learning the ropes

A ride-free cheat sheet

Yesterday, I saw this at the stop on Pike & 3rd:


Since you probably can’t see for yourself, thanks to my sorry picture (hey–the bus was coming) and the PI’s file-size limits (compression is not a blogger’s friend), it’s a map of the Ride-Free zone. It shows which buses go down all of the major downtown streets, and there are arrows that indicate which direction each street runs.

We likey!

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Rule reinforcement

On my way home today, I had the rare good fortune to find an open double seat on the westbound 545. The seat was just a few rows back from the reserved section, a perfect location–except that it happened to be directly in front of one occupied by two of the funkiest individuals (stale cigarettes + alcohol + BO) ever to ride the route. I had to hold my breath (with the exception of a few desperate gasps inside my jacket) all the way to Montlake.

Note to self…

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Another rule of the ride

Bus Nerd encountered this lopsided seat on his ride to work yesterday:

A broken seat on the 48

He didn’t notice it was broken until he tried sitting in it and instead almost found himself lying in aisle. For the rest of the ride (from a safer location), he watched as person after person attempted to sit in the broken chair. Each time was the same: a brief moment of surprise, a struggle to remain upright, and then a sheepish, red-faced dash toward the remaining empty seats in the back. (A side …

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About those system maps…

Bus Nerd noticed this at the southbound Montlake stop the other day.

System map at bus stop
Metro’s system map, posted on the back side of a stop timetable.

As I said back in August, it’s good for showing which routes go to specific neighborhoods, but because it doesn’t include most streets, I can’t imagine how it would be used practically–without supplementation by Trip Planner or a rider information specialist, that is. For comparison, check out …

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Metro’s media

1) Beginning bus chicks and bus nerds can learn the ropes by watching this video on Metro’s website. Be warned: No one on the bus is that official or well-mannered. Besides, back in my day, we learned the old-fashioned way: trial, error, and a healthy dose of public embarrassment.

2) King County Television has a new show: Inside Transportation.

The new TV show features two groups of panelists …

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Earth Day is also a great day for a wedding

My friend San Juanita (known to those who love her as Janie), whom I also met at Rice, fell in love with Washington on a summer visit many years ago. Lucky for me, the fond memories of that visit came back to her when she was planning her wedding, and she decided to get married here.

The wedding was at Snoqualmie Falls (speaking of breathtaking beauty), and, using my trusty Trip Planner, I learned that you can actually get there on the bus. My parents were invited, too, so we cheated and rode with them, but …

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Light rail to the airport!

Now we’re talkin’. :)

Of course, it’s going to be a minute until this is actually functional. Until then, it is fairly painless to get to the airport on the bus. The 194 takes 30 minutes from downtown, which is usually faster (and always cheaper) than a shuttle or a cab.

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Old school meets new school

Buses may be old-school technology (rapid transit now, please!), but at least the folks running our bus system are embracing the future. King County Metro has won several national awards for its Web site, and it ain’t hard to figure out why. The site has a bunch of cool tools, including a video about how to ride the bus (seriously) and a trip planner. The latest is a real-time bus viewer called Tracker. Tracker lets you locate any route, anywhere in the city. This is useful if you’re (for example) leaving work and want to know …

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