The RapidRide C and D Line buses in Ballard have been less than rapid since their September debut, and Metro has announced some plans to get the buses back up to speed. King County Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said in a release that while they’re happy to see ridership increasing, “buses unfortunately have often been overcrowded or delayed during peak commute periods.” The statement comes after The Seattle Times reported on RapidRide’s often delayed afternoon buses.
Metro has put together a list of efforts to ramp up the service on the C and D Lines on their RapidRide blog. Metro says they’ve added two buses to both the morning and afternoon commute, and have stationed two extra buses near the C and D lines so they can put them into service if the buses are delayed or overcrowded. They say they’re also “actively managing service” from a control center where a bus coordinator can keep track of every bus. That way, the coordinator can communicate with drivers to keep them evenly spaced. “This a new approach for us, and continues to improve with experience,” Metro writes on the blog.
Another effort to speed up the buses comes from traffic signal priority, where RapidRide coordinators have the ability to send signals to traffic lights to make green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster. D Line traffic signal systems operate at more than half the intended intersections, and Metro says they’re working with the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to add the remaining systems by the end of the year. Metro says they’re also working with Seattle City Light to improve the real-time bus arrival signs and ORCA card readers at each station.
Metro is asking for comments and feedback from riders. “While we’re working to get everything running smoothly, we really appreciate our riders’ patience – and also your comments and suggestions, which help us know where improvements are needed,” they write on the blog.