RapidRide blog posts have a new home

August 7, 2014

You may have noticed how quiet this blog has been lately.

RapidRide topics are now being discussed on the Metro Matters Blog, which has a RapidRide category you can use when you just want to focus on RapidRide.

Now that all six of our planned RapidRide lines are up and running, it seems like a good time to make a final post here.

Let’s leave with some good news: Ridership on all six lines is growing fast—overall, it’s now almost 40 percent above pre-RapidRide service in the six corridors, and significantly outpacing our original five-year ridership projections. You can read more details in a July 30 news release from King County Executive Dow Constantine.

And customers who use RapidRide gave it high ratings in recent rider satisfaction surveys. Eighty percent said they’re satisfied with RapidRide service, and the service also got high marks for frequency (how often the buses come) and reliability (whether buses come when they’re supposed to). Satisfaction survey reports are posted online at Metro’s Accountability Center.



Real-time signs upgraded on C and D lines

March 15, 2013

Everyone at a bus stop wants to know how soon the next bus is coming, and not everyone has access to real-time travel information on a smartphone.

As of this morning, riders who board regular Metro routes at dozens of RapidRide stops along the C and D lines can now see arrival information for their buses on the digital signs that used to show RapidRide arrivals only. (Stops along the A and B lines have had this feature for some time.)

It’s important to us to keep improving our technology to help our riders travel as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

Next up—we’re working with our vendor to get larger digital signs for stops that serve many routes, so riders can see arrival times for several routes at once.


Metro hears rider feedback on West Seattle service

January 17, 2013

West Seattle riders have given Metro a lot to think about in response to a recent questionnaire. We wanted to hear all of it – the good, the bad, the ugly – after receiving reports of overcrowded buses on the RapidRide C Line and routes 21, 21X, and 120, as well as service not arriving on time. Concerns were focused on the challenges we faced launching RapidRide C Line and changes to the transit system made Sept. 29.

Read all about it on the Metro Matters blog.

Traffic signal troubles along the C Line

January 11, 2013

A technical problem recently emerged at four intersections along the RapidRide C Line in West Seattle. Some traffic signal software was causing signals to be stuck or go into flash mode, and the transit signal priority feature that gives buses more green lights has been temporarily disabled at these four intersections while the problem is sorted out.

photo: green and red buses under red traffic light

Buses are taking a little longer to get through the intersection of 35th Avenue SW and SW Avalon Street

We’re working closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation on a solution, and together are committed to reactivating transit signal priority at the four intersections – 35th Avenue SW and SW Avalon Way, 35th Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street, 42nd Avenue SW and SW Alaska Street, and California Avenue SW and Fauntleroy Way SW.

RapidRide buses will continue to travel their routes while we work to find a solution, and transit signal priority remains active at four other intersections along the C Line. Thanks for your patience as we work on this issue.

Transit signal priority is one element that RapidRide incorporates to improve speed and reliability.  On the A, B, C, and D lines there are currently more than 80 intersections equipped with signal priority. The C Line will have nine once they are fully operational.

#OneBusHooray!—progress on RapidRide arrival signs, OneBusAway

January 4, 2013

For the past few months, riders have told us they were left guessing when the next RapidRide C or D line bus might be coming along. Either the information wasn’t available on their smartphones (via the OneBusAway app) or our real-time arrival signs.

That changed quietly over the Christmas holiday. After months of work behind the scenes on software bugs and special data streams, we’re now seeing more accurate arrival time predictions, both on our signs and in the app.

The predictions should now be more – well – predictable. You should see bus arrival times counting down in one-minute increments, with the countdowns less prone to strange jumps. At RapidRide C and D line stops without real-time information signs, riders can use their smartphones to scan QR codes for information for that stop via OneBusAway.

OneBusAway was developed by graduate students at the UW and has become the most popular real-time third-party app in the area. It has become an important feature that many riders think of as part of Metro’s system, however Metro does not operate the app. Metro provides data to any interested third party application developers who wish to use our system data.

OneBusAway and real-time arrival info are important to us and to our riders, especially during evening commutes when crowding and frustration can be eased by riders knowing, for example, that another bus is only a handful of minutes away.

photo: tech pylon with map and reader board

C and D line arrival signs are more accurate these days.

Our tech experts continue to watch the real-time information system very closely to make sure it’s working as it should. The system is complex, relying on vehicle locators, communications systems (fiber optics and radio), predictive software, two connected RapidRide lines, and the OneBusAway app. Metro is committed to having these all work together as reliably as possible, but on any given day, one little break in the chain of information could produce a temporary outage that requires patience from our riders.

For now, thanks for your patience while we worked on the problem, and let us know how the app and real-time arrival signs are working for you.

RapidRide test bus helps troubleshoot signs

December 7, 2012

As soon as Monday, Dec. 10, riders may see a test RapidRide bus traveling the C/D lines between Ballard, downtown Seattle, and West Seattle. Instead of stopping to pick up riders, the bus will travel the corridor with Metro staff members aboard to compare actual bus arrival times with what the real-time information signs say.

We’ll collect data for a few days and analyze it as part of our ongoing effort to improve the performance and accuracy of real-time bus arrival signs at RapidRide stops. Behind the scenes, we continue to troubleshoot the software, hardware, and communications that feed the signs – a dynamic system that tracks buses, reports their locations, and predicts and reports when they’ll arrive at upcoming stops.

This key feature is integral to RapidRide service, something riders remind us of daily – especially when traffic congestion delays our otherwise frequent service. We’re working on improving the system with the goal of providing good information more consistently.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress.

More green lights for RapidRide buses

December 5, 2012

We’re trying to wring every minute we can out of congested commutes to make RapidRide C and D line buses run swiftly and reliably. We’ve added bus trips and updated schedules and driver instructions.

And during the past two weeks, Metro and the city of Seattle activated transit signal priority at eight more intersections along the D Line – bringing the total to 25 locations.

Transit signal priority improvements give RapidRide buses a longer green light to help an approaching bus make it through the intersection before the light turns. When a bus arrives on red, the other green lights are shortened to give the bus its green light sooner.

Read more on the Metro Matters Blog.


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