Metro adds bus trips to make RapidRide live up to its name

Nov 14, 2012

King County Metro is beefing up its new RapidRide bus lines, hoping to get service up to snuff through downtown Seattle and to prevent some of the early heartburn when they add a whole new line next year.

Metro added its first urban RapidRide lines last month, the C and D, serving West Seattle and Ballard. The sleek, crimson buses are supposed to provide more frequent and speedy service than the ordinary routes. But the early going has been dogged by overcrowded buses and sometimes-long gaps between runs. So Metro is adding six more daily trips this week, and is making other operational tweaks to put the “rapid” in RapidRide.

Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said these lessons learned will come into play again when the agency rolls out its next Seattle RapidRide line, the E, which will serve the Aurora corridor starting next fall.

“We’re still in the process of learning with our bus operators and our transit control center folks some of the best ways to manage through these bottlenecks and provide service as reliably as possible,” Desmond said.

Desmond says some of the tricks Metro has learned include keeping a couple of buses on-hand for rapid response, should the delays start to mount. And transportation officials are still working on the priority signal system, which extends green lights for the RapidRide buses.

Metro also runs RapidRide routes in Federal Way and the East Side, and will add another new route from Burien to Renton.