City Letter of the Day
posted by August 6 at 10:36 AMon
GHOST TRAIN IN THE SKY
EDITOR: One of the monorail trains broke down this afternoon [Saturday, August 4] at about 1:30 pm. My wife, brother-in-law, I, and our 3-year-old and 3-month-old took a trip from Seattle Center to Westlake Center, after having put off a monorail ride that my 3-year-old had been asking for for at least a year. We thought, okay, it seems to be working okay, let’s risk it.
Of course, there’s nobody in charge of the monorail, in the sense that no one had Westlake Center made an announcement, offered help for alternative transportation, etc. My wife asked the ticket attendant who was a non-native English speaker, and who was somewhat freaked out. She made an inaudible, barely understandable announcement that no one near us could make out at my wife’s suggestion (the announcement, not the comprehensibility).
The one train had broken (the red train, I think), and we had already waited 30 minutes when this became clear. The other train arrived at the station, dropped off passengers, and left. The attendant said it would be another 30 minutes before the other train returned. About 200 people were waiting by that point, and the attendant was still selling tickets.
There was obviously no plan on how to proceed.
I have an iPhone (I’m a tech writer for The Seattle Times and other publications, so it’s a tool of the trade). I used Metro Transit’s awesome Trip Planner to figure out the nearest and next bus that would take us back to Seattle Center. The irritating part is that the trip planner suggested we take… the monorail!
Instead, we and a bunch of Southern tourists walked to Virginia and Third, paid $1.25 each on exit, and got in our car. It was an adventure, and our toddler was overjoyed to ride a monorail AND a bus, and the baby stayed happy.
There’s just no lights on in the monorail organization. It was as if they didn’t think this could happen.