King County has posted a video with some of the remarks by speakers at the RapidRide B Line pre-launch event yesterday. Officials from both Redmond and Bellevue arrived at the event by RapidRide buses that were later “tied together” with ribbon to symbolize how the B Line will strengthen transit connections between the two communities.
And here’s a photo showing a few of the Metro employees who’ve been working hard to bring RapidRide to the Eastside (click the image for a larger version):
Realizing that this service is still new; it seems to me that there needs to be some more bugs shaken out of the system. I rode the B a few weeks ago, it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the intersection lights as far as getting them to stay green on approach or cycle to green faster when the bus was at the intersection. I also noticed the same situation when I was following one of the B line buses on West on NE 8th from 156th NE; the bus sat through two cycles of the lights at the 148th intersection. Admittedly there was heavy traffic, but I still thought that these buses would still take priority in order to move people along quicker.
We recently activated the last of 32 transit signal priority intersections along the B Line corridor and are now monitoring and making tweaks to improve performance. In the last week, our bus drivers have reported that they are seeing an improvement out on the road. We expect to refine the system and gain even more benefit over the next couple of months.
And just to clarify, the buses have signal priority, which extends a green light or may cut short a red light. It’s not signal pre-emption, like an emergency vehicle would have.
Ah yes, but wouldn’t it be fun to have an OptiCom on the bus so it could really get through traffic? 🙂
I look forward to riding the B again and see if I notice a difference. As an aside, I did go ride the A Line to see what it was like…it didn’t seem like it had any signal priority either (other than we seemed to hit every light red when we came to them…maybe it was working in reverse polarity?).
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