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Monday, June 18, 2007

Leaving Portland

posted by on June 18 at 12:02 PM

Yesterday I was in downtown Portland, Oregon, and had to get to the airport. I walked to a light rail stop, bought a $2 ticket, waited ten minutes, and then got on a train. Twenty minutes later I was at the airport—I got there so fast, in fact, that I managed to catch an earlier flight home.

Leaving Sea-Tac in cab, I looked longingly at the elevated light rail tracks going up near our airport—but I was really aching for our light rail line to open when I got handed my cab driver his $45 fare.

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Of course, you could have waited 10 minutes at Sea-Tac, paid the driver of Metro #194 $2 and made it to downtown Seattle in ~ 25 minutes.

Posted by josh | June 18, 2007 12:12 PM

there's metro buses which also leave sea-tac airport, its a two zone fare, but even then, its cheaper than Dan's cab ride.

Posted by Phenics | June 18, 2007 12:13 PM

Or you coulda taken the train from downtown Portland to downtown Seattle.

Posted by DOUG. | June 18, 2007 12:19 PM

I don't ride buses.

I couldn't take the train from Portland, which I would have preferred, as the last train left before my gig was over.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 18, 2007 12:22 PM

That rail will open in fewer than 18 months. but in the mean time the 194 is pretty awesome as far as buses go.

Posted by Angry Andrew | June 18, 2007 12:22 PM

The 194 is a great deal -- too bad it doesn't run much on nights and weekends. As far as the MAX system in Portland goes, it's a great deal as well, but it's a *40* minute ride from downtown Portland (about 12 miles), not a 20 minute ride -- maybe Dan got on somewhere on the eastside and it took 20 minutes, but that wouldn't really qualify as downtown.

My guess is that once the Link Light Rail is done, it won't be any faster (probably slower) from Sea-Tac to downtown than the 194, but a hell of a lot better than the 174.

What is the story with cabs and Sea-Tac anyway -- with one company taking you home (but not from home to the airport) and all the others taking you to the airport (but not home from it)??? That's a shitload of empty cabs every day -- just the Port of Seattle doing their usual stallar job, I guess.

On a last note, if the King County Council was not held hostage by the crappy neighborhood that is Georgetown, imagine how cheap your cab fare would be to Boeing Field from Downtown Seattle if you could fly out of there...

Oops one last one -- Why TF are you taking a plane between Portland and Seattle anyway??

Posted by GoodGrief | June 18, 2007 12:26 PM

Light rail construction is well under way. Downtown and SeaTac Airport will be well served shortly. Counting contingency reserves, the projects are coming in on time and under budget (the regular audits PROVE that). The taxes have stayed the same. Thousands of GHG-emitting vehicles are not needed. The First Hill Trolley will serve the Hill, and it will be operated by the City of Seattle. Planning for West Seattle is underway. We can move forward in November!

Posted by we_need_real_transit | June 18, 2007 12:26 PM

If you "don't take buses" then it's your own damned fault you paid $45 for a cab. The 194 is fabulous.

Posted by genevieve | June 18, 2007 12:30 PM

The 194 should be fitted with luggage racks.

Posted by DOUG. | June 18, 2007 12:33 PM

I have taken the 194, and it blows. If I'm going to be stuck in traffic, I'm going to be in cab, not a bus, if I have the option. Any airport that trains run to and from--even Oakland's, which requires a short bus trip--I take trains to and from...

Posted by Dan Savage | June 18, 2007 12:34 PM

You can take a Grayline shuttle from any of the downtown hotels to the airport for about eight bucks.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 12:37 PM

If you were leaving so late that the last train had left Portland already, then I doubt very much you would have been stuck in traffic upon your arrival here in Seattle. #8 is right -- it's your own damn fault, although #9 is also right that luggage racks on the 194 would be very nice indeed...

Posted by GoodGrief | June 18, 2007 12:38 PM

Why doesn't the husband pick you up?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 12:41 PM

"I don't ride buses"?


Posted by Levislade | June 18, 2007 12:42 PM

I was going to give the same response as DOUG. re. Amtrak, which Dan already answered.

Anyway, here's what's so encouraging about Portland's experience with light rail when it comes to how light rail will work in Seattle. Portland made the cheapest and worst possible decision with its light rail by putting it at street level through its downtown. I mean, the trains don't exactly zip through downtown Portland, and the more congested things are, the slower they are. And yet, even with that huge limitation, Portland's light rail does pretty well, as Dan's experience testifies.

Now with Link light rail, the only place they're going at-grade is through the Rainier Valley. And Sound Transit has costed out phase 2 of light rail as elevated. So if Portland's light rail is pretty good, just imagine how much better Seattle's will be.

Posted by cressona | June 18, 2007 12:43 PM


Then he wouldn't have anything to complain about.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Just bill the cab ride to the Stranger corporate account, Dan. That way it's free!

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Let's hold any judgement on how wonderful Link Light Rail will be until that far-off day in 2009 that the first run will take place, that is if no other city planning, budget or construction issues come up (though it's nice to know this city plan is working well so far). And the 194 does suck unless you happen to live in downtown Seattle (in which case we all know you can afford a cab). Not fun to do 2 transfers with a roller and a carry-on, especially after flying for hours.

Posted by stevie | June 18, 2007 12:54 PM

I don't ride buses.

Dan Savage has outed himself. He claims to hate buses in principle, but I didn't realize he was this bad of a transit snob.

I don't ride buses. Jesus. Plz get the fuck over yourself.

Posted by Gomez | June 18, 2007 12:54 PM
My guess is that once the Link Light Rail is done, it won't be any faster (probably slower) from Sea-Tac to downtown than the 194

Yes, light rail will take 40 minutes from 4th & Pine to the airport (38 minutes coming back). Even during peak hours the 194 doesn't take longer than 35 minutes.

Posted by jamier | June 18, 2007 12:56 PM

I mean, the trains don't exactly zip through downtown Portland

Which is an understatement. From one end of downtown to the other (Lloyd Center to Goose Hollow stops), it's 2.7 miles according to Google Maps, and that hits 14 stops and takes 20 minutes (even though MAX has it's own lights and gets to preempt traffic).

I used to ride it from Lloyd Center out to Beaverton for work, and literally half my ride was just working my way slowly, slowly, slowly through downtown. Once we hit Goose Hollow, though, the train flew past traffic.

Is Seattle's light rail going to be underground downtown? That would be so much better.

Posted by no one in particular | June 18, 2007 12:57 PM

Is this one of those Portland is so much cooler than Seattle things, 'cause I'm getting bored of that.

Posted by ..... | June 18, 2007 12:57 PM

Let me get this correct -- there's more than one safe and acceptable power/fuel/air saving ways for you to get home from the airport (let's not even mention the ways to get back to Seattle from Portland) available to you, including private transport in the form of a shuttle, and you paid $45 for a cab ride?? And you'd do it again so as not to be "stuck in traffic" in public transportation? And we're supposed to work up a tear for your having been inconvenienced??

Well, okay then.

I'd gladly kill several city councilcritters to have *half* those options where I live.

Posted by OddlyEnough | June 18, 2007 12:59 PM

Dan, if you are serious that you don't take buses, than you are officially full of shit when it comes to your transit whining. Of course you would rather sit in a cab than take the bus, just like so many other assholes will rather sit in their cars than take the train.

Posted by Jude Fawley | June 18, 2007 1:00 PM

I find buses are not very conducive to luggage if you have anything more than a small carry-on. Trains on the other hand are a little roomer in most cases.

I'm with you, Dan. Can't wait for the train to the airport. It'll make getting to the airport SO much easier.

And by the way - speaking of travel, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival starts soon. So for the people thinking about attending some of the events, there have been a number of reports lately about Americans being turned away at the border because their names appear in the database used to screen visitors. Some are not being allowed in for minor offenses committed in the 70s even. The Canadian border guards are clamping down on their screening of visitors deemed undesirable because of possible criminal activity - thought partly to be in retaliation for the new US policy requiring passports for Canadian visitors. Winnie Mandela was the latest publicly disclosed victim. She was an invited guest to attend an opera in Toronto about her, but she was denied admission because of her criminal record. Anybody arrested in peace demonstrations could be denied entry. In theory, MLK Jr. could now be denied entry into Canada. Any anecdotes?

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 1:04 PM

BTW, people like Dan are the reason they're putting another MAX line down the middle of downtown Portland at a cost of approximately 8 trillion dollars. We already have the "transit mall" down 5th & 6th, on which you can catch a bus FOR FREE from one end of (our relatively tiny) downtown to the other. But people don't like buses and they won't take them even when they're free, so instead we build yet another light rail line through downtown, perpendicular to the existing one. Silly.

Posted by no one in particular | June 18, 2007 1:04 PM

Don't forget that bus you guys are raving about runs every 30 minutes, not the MAX's 15. And it has to deal with I-5 traffic.

And it invariably gets mobbed at the airport.

Oh, and did I mention the lead-footed tailgating Metro drivers?

Posted by K | June 18, 2007 1:05 PM

Damn, I remember when MAX was first opening up in Portland, and they used to run these hilarious ads promoting it. It was from the future (the year 2000? I don't recall) and two women in Seattle were talking about how Seattle had such pretty purple air, and Portland did not, so Seattle was much better than Portland.

That was over 20 years ago. It's been a long time and I see Seattle is still far behind their southern neighbors when it comes to mass transit. Must be all that beautiful purple air up there.

Posted by Ryan | June 18, 2007 1:07 PM

While in San Diego last summer, I fell in love with their light rail system. For 10 dollars, I purchased a ticket to ride any public transportation for all of the 5 days I was there. It was clean, simple, and incredibly fast.

At the time, I still lived in South Dakota where public transportation is nonexistent, so I was looking forward to moving somewhere that had it (and San Diego really got my hopes up) only to get here and find that there's just a bus system.

Posted by Jordyn | June 18, 2007 1:11 PM

I don't take buses in from the airport because they suck. That's a point of principle. I do, however, take buses around town. The 43, the 10, the 12. Buses are fine for short rides, not long distances -- not, say, from the airport. I actually make my kid take the bus with me, so he learns that you can, in fact, get places on public transit. Hopefully one day he'll live in a city that has decent public transit -- rapid transit, not slow, dirty, ugly, hot, uncomfortable buses stuck in traffic behind SOBs in their SOV SUVs.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 18, 2007 1:16 PM

And about not taking buses if you have gigs?

You can't take buses from an airport if you have to be somewhere by some time. If you depended on buses as any sort of traveling businessman, you're ass would be so fired so fast - because you'd run late so often. Buses usually take 2 to 3 times the time private transportation takes to get some place. You can't do that in business. In leisure or if you aren't in any hurry, it's fine, but trying to keep a schedule on public transportation? Forget it.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 1:17 PM


Posted by OMG PARIS R U OK?!?!!!1!!1! | June 18, 2007 1:19 PM

Bauhaus: I'm pretty sure subways and monorails and light rails usually keep better schedules than taxis and rent-a-cars.

Posted by jamier | June 18, 2007 1:23 PM

Yes, convenient; the trade off is that Portland doesn't have half of the art scene, cultural events, tours, etc. etc. Grass is always greener...

Posted by PDX 'ster | June 18, 2007 1:24 PM

@21 - not a bad point, but in this case he took the cab to his home. I'm assuming they wouldn't have fired him for being late.

Dan, you gotta choose your words better. Good to know there are circumstances in which you will lower yourself to the level of us common bus-riding folk, but your original statement seemed to be a blanket denial of any bus-riding ever, at all.

Posted by Levislade | June 18, 2007 1:28 PM

Nice pr effort by Sound Transit cheerleaders: they are always ready to hit the blogs saying "the projects are coming in on time and under budget (the regular audits PROVE that)."
Except that they don't. Because an audit of a revised budget and a revised timeline doesn't prove that ST is not going way over and way longer than what ST told voters before the vote about ten years ago.

A few years later ST revealed a huge $1.5 billion cost overrun for the ship canal tunnel.

Guess what -- they never got rid of this overrun. Overrrun meaning compared to their estimate before the vote.

The 21 mile line is not going to cost $1.9 billion as voters were told. And the ten year plan approved about ten years ago -- well, let's just say the light rail ain't actually going to be running to UW in 2007 and not for many more years and so it is late compared to what voters were told in the ten year plan.

Here's more proof they are "over budget" (over what they told voters before the election): when they got sued for it they didn't say "nope didn't happen." They said "hey court, read the ballot language says voters approve resolution 75 and if you read into that document which we never publicized before it has a footnote saying ST can change the light rail plan any way it wants!"
All that proved was it was legal according to the court for ST to be way over budget and way delayed.
The sad thing is light rail could be good, could be bad, whatever that is your opinion.
But this continual cheerleading and lying and determined effort to drive pr and web blogs to deceive and mislead -- really sucks.
Hey ST cheerleaders: stand up. You had a billion-plus cost overrun on the ship canal tunnel. Now that part alone -- from Westlake to UW, now just two more stations at Bwy/John and at UW -- is some 1.5 billion, when the whole 21 mile line from SeaTac to UW was originally supposed to be $1.9 billion.
The wild claims that by revising their budget and time line hey guess what !! Presto -- they are not "overbudget" or "behind the timeline" is just a shameless big lie -- as bad as Joe McCarthy's.

Posted by Sounder | June 18, 2007 1:29 PM
37 dad, who lives in rural ohio, was thrilled to find out he could take a bus downtown from sea tac for just a few bucks...yes, everyone prefers to ride rail transit vs. a bus (obvious reasons)...dan's lucky he can afford the taxi ride and thus able to complain about his somewhat ridiculous CHOICE...i too am envious of the max in portland and looking forward to seattle getting it's own.

Posted by hmmmm | June 18, 2007 1:29 PM

@ 33

I agree with you, jamie. I was specifically talking about buses.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 1:41 PM

I was talking with expat-Seattleite Grant Cogswell about such things, and now that he's lived in other cities he understands how dysfunctional we are here in Seattle about transit.

Real cities get you to the airport fast on transit.

Backwaters don't.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 1:44 PM

The Stranger is Theatre, remember, guys? All of you guys are just the unwilling ballet dancers.

My 194 bus trips often take less time then rush-hour buses within Seattle. So, yeah, B.S. on "I don't ride buses for 'long distances'" either.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 1:45 PM

and I do take the 194 to the airport, even late at night, when I'm not using that $10 pickup service cause I just missed the bus.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 1:48 PM

SOLUTION: move to Portland.

Posted by johan petro | June 18, 2007 1:51 PM

I'm with Dan, long trips should never be taken by bus...and yes by long I mean anything over 5 miles. Extended trips call for rail or car, not a crowded uncomfortable bus!

Posted by clarity | June 18, 2007 1:52 PM

I think we need more freeways and cars!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 1:53 PM

Wow, you bus haters are a bunch of fragile motherfuckers. I take the Cantrail buses to Vancouver BC and back to Seattle all the time from the Amtrak station. They're cheaper than Greyhound, less stops, less people, really quiet, and fast.

The only true embarrassment with Seattle's situation are the ratty and separate Amtrak and Greyhound stations. They're not comfortable, and they're at opposite sides of downtown. They're right next to each other in both Vancouver and Portland. If there's anything to complain about, that's it.

Otherwise, "i hate the bus" waaaahmbulance, etc.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 1:58 PM

I am so with Dan on this. Buses are yucky for more than a few miles. When I am going to fly I usually have two pieces of luggage and a dog. That does not make for a comfortable bus rise. I CANNOT wait for the rail line to the airport!
Ever since Newark installed a monorail line to the NJ transit NE Corridor line, I fly into Newark again when I go back east.

Posted by CDred | June 18, 2007 2:00 PM

Perhaps King County Metro should start offering bruschietta and Vivace during the longer rides? Would that make the experience more exquisite and proper?

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 2:06 PM

#36 - yes, ST has taken to heart the philosophy of the "Big Lie". On every board any mention of light rail brings a post from a ST (paid?) supporter about them passing every audit blah, blah blah. Well "I'd die for transit" or whatever name your using today please provide one link to an outside agency that has done a performance audit on ST. Even the Citizens Oversight Panel hand picked by the agency has pointed out some over budget areas - in fact if you go to the ST site and search for over budget or overruns only COP documents come up.

Yes, Cocker Fennessey keeps earning their money - the talking points (Big Lies) are being followed.

Hey Josh how about this from 2001 for single source contracts?

Authorizing the Executive Director to execute an amendment to sole source contract number RTA/PG 101-00 with Cocker Fennessy, Inc increasing the original contract amount of $318,000 by $300,000 for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $618,000.

They are way over a $1 million by now.

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 2:12 PM


#36 - yes, ST has taken to heart the philosophy of the "Big Lie". On every board any mention of light rail brings a post from a ST (paid?) supporter about them passing every audit blah, blah blah.

Sorry, whatever, but I know I'm not getting paid by Sound Transit. But boy, with all your in-depth knowledge like the following, I've got to wonder, who's paying you?

Authorizing the Executive Director to execute an amendment to sole source contract number RTA/PG 101-00 with Cocker Fennessy, Inc increasing the original contract amount of $318,000 by $300,000 for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $618,000.

Posted by cressona | June 18, 2007 2:25 PM

I takr buses all the time, and I'd never take the airport bus. Isn't it basically a mobile homeless shelter for most of the length of it's run? And 25 minutes sounds more than a little optimistic.

Posted by Art | June 18, 2007 2:28 PM

Not to bitch, but: I wish Atlanta had half the public transit system Seattle has. Our train "system" is a giant cross--literally, one north-south line and one east-west line. The buses are downright scary--I've recently taken Seattle buses too, and I'd take normal bounds of "icky" any day. On weekends, they officially run hourly and actually run sporadically. One of Atlanta's major counties doesn't have access to it at all, because residents protested, and I shit you not, the reason was that they didn't want people who "can't afford" cars to live in the same area where they live.

The general Atlanta feeling about public transportation is that it serves two purposes: Getting tourists to Braves games, and shuttling around downwardly-mobile people who can't afford cars so that other downwardly-mobile people can panhandle them.

Move to Atlanta for a month. I wish I could sit on a bus and think about how my city creates dialogue about how people are counted, and what sorts of services should be offered to commuters, and congestion tax and non-congestion incentive, and motherloving bicycles, instead of wedging into my carpool and riding behind an H2 and in front of an Excursion past the Governor's mansion, as I do every single morning.

Posted by Christin | June 18, 2007 2:31 PM

Cressona don't think you have ever said that ST is on time or under budget. I disagree with your transit desires but don't think you are doing anything but expressing them.

Josh's complaints about the miserly $100,000 PR contract for one of the stadiums caused me to recall the huge ST PR contracts and I looked up Cocker Fennessy on the ST site which led me to the citation.

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 2:39 PM

Brilliantly said, Christin.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 18, 2007 2:44 PM

Christin but if we had voted for rail in 68 and denied it to Atlanta, Atlanta would be much worse off and you'd be riding behind an H2 and in front of an Excursion past the Governor's mansion.

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 2:44 PM

stuck in traffic? huh?

you anti-bus people don't seem to realize that there are different kinds of bus routes. the 194 between the airport and downtown seattle is a fairly quick trip. after it leaves the airport the next stop is practically downtown. i've never been stuck in traffic on the 194.

there's also the 174 that goes between the airport and downtown. as it's a local it makes seemingly dozens of stops along the way and so the trip seems to take eons. and i'm sure the bus snobs wouldn't want to be near lower-classs folks that tend to be on the 174.

but yes, there's still room for lots of improvement. our buses have an outdated design, especially for airport traffic. the 194 should have a better bus (think larger, multiple doors, for starters).

it's sad that dan has apparently had a few bad bus experiences and is now apparently the expert on bus systems.

Posted by stinkbug | June 18, 2007 2:46 PM

@50: any bus that goes through downtown is a "mobile homeless shelter", mainly because of the Free Ride Zone, until the end of downtown. The 194 is one of almost every KC Metro bus that does this.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 2:47 PM

The only time the 194 ever got stuck for me was during a snow storm...

Posted by Angry Andrew | June 18, 2007 2:49 PM

Believe it or not, it's currently a worse situation in Vancouver.

There's a 98 B-Line bus that will take you to the airport from downtown, but the traffic getting down to the airport is so bad throughout much of the day, that it takes longer via cab and bus to get there than in Seattle.

They're working on Skytrain access to Vancouver airport right now, so this point won't matter soon, but for now, it would have been funny to hear Dan's reaction had he been leaving Vancouver Airport for downtown.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 2:54 PM

Use the homeless for target practice or medical experiments. That would solve alot of the stinky wackos taking up space and making buses unpretty for the likes of Mr Savage. (any relation to Michale Savage?)

And yes, I AM serious. They aren't doing much for society anyway.

Posted by ecce homo | June 18, 2007 2:55 PM

Not only are the buses mobile homeless shelters, they're also incessantly stopping for the lame and crippled-- quel horreur!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 2:55 PM

For only $15 more Dan, you could have taken a ShuttleExpress Towncar and been driven back home in comfort.

Posted by raindrop | June 18, 2007 3:00 PM

Anyone that talks about how great our bus system is, has obviously not lived anywhere with a subway or elevated train.

Posted by Tiffany | June 18, 2007 3:01 PM
I am so with Dan on this. Buses are yucky for more than a few miles.

Have you used one of the Sound Transit buses to the suburbs? They're more roomy, have cushy soft seats, private reading lights, private air vents, overhead compartments, they actually get cleaned...

Unfortunately, Metro only gets funding for things like hybrid engines.

(And yes, lots of homeless people, poor people, and teenagers take these buses in the suburbs, and the buses still manage to stay nice.)

Posted by jamier | June 18, 2007 3:08 PM

Jamier I take the 545 to Redmond for my job. It's standing room only and goes about 5 miles an hour. Sure the seats are nicer than Metro buses, but overall it still sucks.

Posted by Tiffany | June 18, 2007 3:24 PM

I'm not hostile to the homeless. I don't think people that don't ride buses--politicians, downtown business owners--should create policies that turn buses into rolling homeless shelters. The "Ride Free Zone" is bad for the bus system.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 18, 2007 3:29 PM

I surprised no one's actually posted a boosterish statement about ST Route 560's bus from the West Seattle Junction to the airport. Luggage racks, A/C, no stink, only a few stops, but important ones, a fast ride. And cheap. Nice. My only complaint is the ridiculously sparse schedule on weekends.

There. I did it. Let the WS haters pounce. I'm taking one for the team.

Posted by JW | June 18, 2007 3:44 PM

Tri-Met also has a ride free zone in downtown Portland, and all sorts of folks hop on and off those same light rail trains without paying. Just sayin.

Posted by Mr_Friendly | June 18, 2007 3:47 PM

If ST was overbudget, it would have been noted in an audit. The audits have come back clean. End of story. The draft of the SAO's performance audit has circulated - clean as a whistle. The agency scaled back the light rail line to stay within budget, and it has remained there. The only whining voices suggesting otherwise are asphalt fetishists. You can't find one, single statement from ANY actual agency source admitting that the voter-approved budget will be exceeded. Not one, not ever.

If you think otherwise, feel free to file a lawsuit. Step up, or shut up.

And no, Resolution 75 does not say ST has unlimited taxing rights. And the Supreme Court in the Sane Transit case UPHELD ST's right to only build the 14 mile line.

Posted by evergreen_rails | June 18, 2007 3:47 PM

the 194 sucks ass if you fly in late on a sunday. by suck ass i mean, not even there.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 18, 2007 4:02 PM

Thanks JW. Dan is an idiot. The 560 IS great and all busses are not roving homeless shelters. Have you ever ridden Community Transit or Sound Transit? Those are long bus routes (more than 5 miles) and the busses and people on them are commuting businesspeople, not homeless. The ride free zone is also great. I can go anywhere in dt (appropriate for the short trips you take) FOR GRATIS. Now you want to pay for a short, stinky ride?

Posted by hunh? | June 18, 2007 4:05 PM

"I takr buses all the time, and I'd never take the airport bus. Isn't it basically a mobile homeless shelter for most of the length of it's run? And 25 minutes sounds more than a little optimistic."

No, not at all, the 194 is full of air travelers, and it's very quick.

If you're a celebrity fairy princess like Dan, consider the Airporter buses. They're pretty posh and way cheaper than a cab.

Posted by we could use a progressive weekly | June 18, 2007 4:14 PM

The misinformation on this blog is stunning. The ST2 Plan says the tax renewals will be used to pay for the Husky Stadium Extension (3.25 miles north, from Westlake Center).

Posted by Jean | June 18, 2007 4:15 PM

Over buget, Late, Over budget, Late, Over budget

Joseph G for Transit said

"You can't find one, single statement from ANY actual agency source admitting that the voter-approved budget will be exceeded. Not one, not ever."

Ya voll - no link to an actual performance audit but the information that NO agency source has admitted it. And the war is going well because no one in the White House has admitted it. Bingo. Bush is proud.

Friday, January 26, 2001


The federal government announced Friday it would begin an immediate audit of Sound Transit's light rail project, which is $1 billion over budget and three years behind schedule.

Officials planned to review the project within the next six months, but decided to start right away after they received a Jan. 16 letter from Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Transportation.

"Sound Transit has announced nearly a $1 billion cost increase, revised its financial plan and delayed full implementation ... until 2009, three years later than the original date," Rogers, R-Ky., wrote. "The Committee has yet to receive revised financial data supporting this project and is seeking your assistance in reviewing the financial and programmatic details of this large transportation investment."

Total cost for the 22-mile route between SeaTac and Seattle's University District is now estimated at $3.6 billion. Critics say it would do little to ease traffic congestion.

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 4:31 PM

@58 - don't confuse us with facts. I used to work near where the airport bus met the main 99 highway there.

Glad they're finally extending SkyTrain to the airport in Vancouver BC tho!

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 18, 2007 4:43 PM

Dan says, "The 'Ride Free Zone' is bad for the bus system."

Wrong again, Dan. The Ride Free Zone is essential in making the bus system work in Seattle. By not having to collect fares downtown where tons of people get on, the system is able to save considerable time in moving through downtown during rush hour. This is the main reason transit agencies often have ride free zones downtown, not to provide rides for the homeless.

I also believe that most of those "homeless" are either actually working poor people or folks on their way to one of the many shelters or subsidized housing units that are spread throughout the county.

Josh says, "I agree with Dan that buses suck"

With mass transit friends like you, who needs enemies? It appears you only support a mass transit that gives you a hassle free ride without unseemly people. Like a car you drive alone...

Posted by CJA | June 18, 2007 4:48 PM

OK, so we all now know Erica takes the bus to work.

I'm guessing Dan bikes to work.

How many of you at the Stranger take the bus to work?

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | June 18, 2007 5:12 PM

@51: Our train "system" is a giant cross--literally, one north-south line and one east-west line.

What did Lewis Black call it? "Subway to fuckin' nowhere"?

Man, I'm getting all starry-eyed just thinking about moving somewhere where there's an actual debate over public transit. I had time to read all these comments because I missed my bus five minutes ago and the next one doesn't come for an hour.

Posted by Darcy | June 18, 2007 5:13 PM

Great spinning by the ST cheerleaders/staff on this thread!
ST never admits it is over budget -- so its not overbudget! "Go file a lawsuit" -- you idiot, the result of the lawsuit already filed was that Res. 75 gives permission to ST to scale down the line, increase the cost, change the route, delay the timetable -- whatever it wants!

Just keep up the big fat lies.

Readers: here's how you know they are lying. They never say the numbers. They never say things like this: "prior to the vote ST promised the cost of light rail would be $X; and today the cost for the same miles is $Y; and X=Y, quod est demonstratum ST is on budget!!"
Nope. They don't say it because it ain't true and the lie would be revelaed.
They just state BS conclusions:
"we have a clean audit (based on REVISED BUDGETS !!!)" and "you will never find a statement where ST admits being overbudget" (they ain't no dummies, politically, them!).
So tell us you liars. What was the amount promised to voters before the vote? What was the timeline in the "Ten Year Plan" (hint -- hint -- wink)?
And how many miles was it?
And what are those numbers today, with just the first segment to be built by 2009 (two years late) and the next segment to UW scheduled to be built by 2016 (TEN YEARS LATE!-- so TWENTY YEARS total TO BUILD 21 MILES!!)
Tell us. OR just shut up.

You guys are writing a new chapter to George Orwell's 1984:
We already had "peace" = "War." Now we can say
because "THE AGENCY SAID SO" -- that ol' MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT TRUTH said so???? Oh. Well in that case, okay.

Posted by Orwell's lil' brudda | June 18, 2007 5:40 PM

I bike to work -- unless I walk, which I do unless I take the bus.

Happy to clear that up.

And the ride-free zone is bullshit. Bullshit. And buses aren't transit, and I simply refuse to be "friends" with them. Subways and elevated trains are my friends. Light rail I can live with.

Buses suck. Over and out.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 18, 2007 5:51 PM

Wonder if the 194 will eventually be cancelled to give ST better ridership numbers.

Posted by we could use a progressive weekly | June 18, 2007 5:58 PM

Thoughful response, Dan. You convinced me with your "bullshit" argument. I guess you don't want to be bothered with facts.

The Stranger's non-stop screeds against Metro and our bus system will not help us get rail in this region. We are trying to get people out of their cars, Dan. Subways and elevated trains have homeless, stinky, and troublesome people on them too. Most of us consider that part of living in the city and taking mass transit.

I think you watched too many episodes of the Jetsons when you were growing up...

Posted by CJA | June 18, 2007 6:03 PM

If Dan's so pro-elevated transit, can we sell him a new viaduct with streetcar tracks running down one side of it?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 18, 2007 7:15 PM

@73 - Look at the "2001" date on that. That story is from before the agency scaled back the light rail line to stay within budget. Want to try again?

Posted by evergreen_rails | June 18, 2007 7:33 PM

I would love, love, love to see a night owl train service both ways between Seattle and Portland: Get on at midnight (or later), have a nightcap, and doze your way home.

It would be *vastly preferable* to when I used to go see shows in Portland, and then drive home the same night.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | June 18, 2007 7:54 PM

I love being in cities with comprehensive grade-separated mass transit, but I have a feeling that who's experienced the New York Subway, the Paris Metropolitan, or the London Underground during the summer might find the idea that subways are immune from delays, overheating, unpleasant aromas, or unideal fellow passengers delightfully optimistic.

Posted by josh | June 18, 2007 8:08 PM

I hate the 194 because it's always overcrowded and there's no room for luggage. I won't be using the light rail though. The only way to get to a light rail station from my house is the 2, which only runs every half hour to forty-five minutes, and then takes another twenty minutes to get downtown. Again, no room for luggage. Quite frankly, it's gonna be too goddamn time consuming, especially since I can either take an airporter shuttle or just get a ride. Until the "spine" of light rail grows some limbs, it ain't gonna be too useful.

Posted by Gitai | June 18, 2007 8:13 PM

OK Evergreen - the original amount in today's dollar was about $1.9 billion the first 15 miles is costing about $3 billion - and that's within the budget? - please let me bid on your next house project. I'll bid on a house paint job and then do only the trim - but I'll do it for the price I bid. OK?

On time and under budget, right!

Posted by whatever | June 18, 2007 8:31 PM

"...stuck in traffic behind SOBs in their SOV SUVs."

Explain to me how an SOB like you riding in a taxi (which is most likely making a return trip to the airport, empty, after dropping you off) is any better (for congestion, for the environment, etc.) than a SOV SUV.

Posted by bigyaz | June 19, 2007 9:54 AM

I'll never understand this "trains are always better" thing. Have any of you anti-bus people been in a Boston subway station in the middle of a hot, humid day? It's like an oven. Seattle buses are just as on time as the T, cleaner, and generally less crowded. It's not uncommon out there to be in the middle of a crowd packed so tight that it doesn't matter that you can't grab onto anything, because you couldn't move an inch even if you wanted to. There's better coverage of obscure areas too. Just put air conditioning on the buses, and be thrilled with what you've got. I lived in Boston for four years, and I'm done with my first year out here, always carless, and I'm telling you it's easier here. There's no need to waste money on rail. And I always got from the U-district to Redmond in about 20-30 minutes on the 520, usually zipping by the car traffic. Didn't really ever go 5mph, unless it was in the process of stopping.

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