Tag Archives: Pierce Transit

Doin’ the Puyallup, bus-fam style (part II)

A lot has happened since my last post. (This is mostly because I wrote it over six weeks ago, but it was a pretty jam-packed end of summer.) For one thing, my baby brother got hitched. (!) And also, we made a trip to the Puyallup Fair.

The last time we did the Puyallup (way back in ’08), Pierce Transit offered a shuttle from Tacoma Dome station right to the fairgrounds. The trip was reasonably painless but did involve two transfers and a bit of a roundabout route. These days—in case you haven’t heard—Pierce Transit is broke. The agency has been forced to cut a lot of vital service, so obviously, the fair shuttle had to go.

So, when we talked about going to the fair again this year, I assumed it was going to be a hassle to get there. I’m no stranger to transit adventures, but I do have my limits, and a day at the fair with two children is exhausting enough without bookending it with a couple of bus marathons.

As it turns out, the fairgrounds is only a little more than half a mile from Puyallup Station. (Thanks for the tip, Priya!) To get there, we caught the 578* from 2nd & Pike and then walked the .6 miles (through a pleasant downtown area, on sidewalks) from the station to the fairgrounds. The 578 isn’t a straight shot (it stops in Federal Way, Sumner, and Auburn), but it mostly sticks to transit centers and the freeway and keeps the stopping and starting to a minimum. Our total travel time was roughly two hours, including walks and waits. The cost: $2 of extra charges on our Orca cards for the 578 ride.

The ride back was even better (and significantly shorter), since the Sounder was running. We walked the same .6 miles back to Puyallup Station and caught the 4:37 PM train (the first northbound train after the morning rush) back downtown. Have I mentioned that I love the Sounder? It delights me. Our total trip time—from the fair exit to our front door—was an hour and a half, and the train ride was easily as fun as anything we did at the fair. And speaking of…

All four of us had a fantastic time. We ate ice cream. We met firefighters. We watched a pirate show. We ran into many friends. We got (henna) tattoos.

And, yes, we even did some driving.

Driving at the fair









Driving at the fair








Driving at the fair







Already looking forward to next year…

Note that we wanted to catch the Sounder, but there are only two southbound trains in the morning–at 6:10 and 6:50 AM (too early!). The next train south isn’t until 3:15 PM (too late!).

Catching up, part II

• Metro gave a preview of the new Rapid Ride buses on Tuesday.

A KC Metro Rapid Ride bus(Photo credit: Seattlepi.com)

Sexy, no? The interiors aren’t bad, either.

And the agency had some more good news*:

…acting FTA Administrator Matt Welbes announced his agency is immediately releasing $13.8 million dollars to help fund the acquisition of new articulated hybrid-electric coaches and other system improvements to support Metro’s first RapidRide line. The funding will help pay for 16 new buses, various station and shelter enhancements and real-time information systems for the “A Line” serving the cities of Tukwila, Sea Tac, Des Moines, Kent and Federal Way beginning in 2010.

This is a good thing, since KC Metro is beyond broke at this point–and in the process of trying to figure out which existing service to cut.

•If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, watch the Streetfilm, “The Search for the Zozo.” I won’t even try to explain it. I’ll just say that it’s a bit different from the usual Streetfilms fare, and, if you’re in the mood for silly (Who isn’t these days?) it’s worth the watch.


• Pierce Transit driver Brentt Mackie won first place in the American Public Transportation Association’s annual Bus Roadeo. (Yes, people, there is really such a thing.)

From an APTA press release:

Lakewood, WA – For the second time in three years, Pierce Transit Bus Operator Brentt Mackie has been awarded the First Place trophy in the 40-foot Transit Coach Division at the 2009 International Bus Roadeo that just concluded in Seattle.


The Roadeo competition requires drivers to maneuver their vehicles through an intricate maze of graded exercises that includes serpentine turns, passenger stops, and reverse turns that duplicate the demanding requirements of everyday driving. The final exercise is high-speed braking where operators maneuver through a row of ten 55-gallon barrels spaced only inches wider than the bus.

Whoa. I want to be on his bus.

Brentt “Skillz” Mackie

This year, the festivities were held here in the 2-0-sickness. Seattle Transit Blog has the scoop on the other Washington State winners.

• Seattle police are cracking down on drivers who don’t stop at crosswalks.

Seattle police are sending more pedestrian decoys onto city crosswalks, to nab drivers who blow through without stopping.


Seattle tends to rank among the safest U.S. cities for pedestrians. Nonetheless, 468 car-pedestrian collisions were reported to police last year, said Gray. She is project manager for the city’s new Pedestrian Master Plan, soon to be released, which calls for more enforcement.

(Source: Seattle Times)

This issue was also one of the topics on KUOW’s The Conversation on Tuesday.

* I don’t have a link to the online version of this press release, but I will post it as soon as I do.

A brief layover

I’m finishing up a major project, so I won’t be posting here very frequently (or at all) for the next week or two. Before I go:

Remember Pierce Transit’s “bus buddy” program?

A bus buddy ad on a Pierce Transit shuttle

Apparently, Sound Transit has one, too.

Speaking of Pierce Transit…

Pierce County buses now have: GPS tracking, automatic stop announcements, and extensive two-way communication systems.

Thanks for the links, Andrew.

Doin’ the Puyallup, bus-fam style

The last time I went to the Puyallup Fair was the summer before I left for college. I took my youngest brother, who was nine at the time, and I don’t remember much about it–except that it was my last chance to spend QT with my “baby” before I moved away from home and that the ride down there (in my dad‘s trusty Toyota pickup) was really long.

Today Chicklet, Nerd, and I did the Puyallup as a family (yes, I realize it doesn’t get much more lentement), and thanks to Pierce Transit, we did it our favorite way: on the bus.

Our itinerary:

1. 27 from home to Third & Seneca
2. 594 from Second & University to Tacoma Dome Station (This was our first time taking the 594. Talk about a comfortable ride!)
3. Pierce Transit’s Puyallup Fair Shuttle from Tacoma Dome Station to the fairgrounds (The shuttle also serves several other Pierce County locations.)

Total travel time, from front door to fair entrance: 1.5 hours (not much longer than driving, given the traffic, and we didn’t have to hassle with event traffic/parking)

Total cost, which included fare upgrades for my pass and Bus Nerd’s ticket on the shuttle: $3.00 (a heck of a lot cheaper than driving)

Waiting for Puyallup Fair shuttle
Waiting for our chariot
A view of the Mountain, from the PF shuttle
The view on the way there
Puyallup Fair bus parking
Bus parking at the fair
Chicklet napping in the Ergo
Chicklet’s version of a car nap

And speaking of cars…

Car stroller
These were available for rent at the fairgrounds
Cars for sale at the fair
And these were available for sale

Thanks to ST for the fast, comfortable ride to Tacoma and to PT for providing alt transpo to the event. We didn’t have any trouble or setbacks getting to and fro, so I don’t have any major complaints, but it certainly could have been easier to plan the trip. I had to use three different websites (ST’s, PT’s, and the PF’s) to find all the information I needed. (PT’s rider information line was the number listed for questions, but the office is closed Sundays.)

The fair wasn’t exactly my flavor (and not just because there was a car dealership in the middle of the grounds), but Chicklet certainly seemed to enjoy herself. She got to practice some of her favorite words–piggies!, cow!, kids!–and experience all kinds of new sights and sounds. For those of you who are interested in doing the same, the fair–and the shuttle–run until the 21st.