We’ve had some start-up challenges with the new C and D lines – overcrowded buses and delays during peak commute hours on the C Line, and some technology that isn’t working yet on the D Line. Here’s a rundown of what we’re doing to address these issues.

Adding buses

After adding two morning and two afternoon trips to both new lines to make buses less crowded and more reliable, we’re monitoring passenger loads. Things appear to be going more smoothly on the C Line during morning commute hours, but there are still problems with the afternoon commute. We may add more trips to these lines or to connecting bus routes if necessary. We’ve also stationed two extra buses near the C and D lines so we can put them into service quickly if the regular buses are delayed or overcrowded.

Actively managing service

Metro has a control center where a dedicated coordinator actively manages RapidRide service during peak commute hours, communicating with bus drivers to help them keep buses evenly spaced. This is a new approach for us, and continues to improve with experience.

Transit signal priority

Most major intersections on RapidRide corridors have transit signal priority systems. RapidRide buses send signals to traffic lights to make green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster.

C Line transit signal priority systems are up and running at all but one of the intended intersections. D Line systems are now operating at more than half of the intended intersections. Metro is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation to turn on the remaining systems by the end of the year.

We’ll be refining traffic signal timing for both lines over the next six months. After that, we’ll continue to monitor the systems and adjust them as needed. The C and D lines are connected, so as signal priority improves on the D Line, the C Line should provide more reliable service coming out of downtown Seattle.

photo: RapidRide station with dark sign and hooded card reader
You’ll be seeing fewer nonworking signs and hooded ORCA readers as we get power and troubleshoot isolated connection problems.

Bus arrival signs and ORCA readers

The real-time bus arrival signs at RapidRide stations depend on network connections that have both hard-wired and wireless components. When a sign isn’t working properly, Metro has to identify the problem before we can fix it. The wireless access point may be faulty and require replacement, or the signal may be interrupted by something physically coming between the sign and its wireless access point (in which case we would move one of the antennas).

As of today, there’s still one arrival sign on the C Line that we haven’t fixed yet. On the D Line, we’re working with Seattle City Light to make permanent electrical connections, which will allow us to turn on the off-board ORCA readers and arrival signs. Experience with the A and B lines tells us that once we’re able to hook up the equipment, turn it on, and see if it’s working, most of it will probably work, with a few isolated issues.

Thanks for your patience

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.

Next time: what riders can do to speed up RapidRide