THIS ISN'T NEWS TO REGULAR BUS RIDERS. Metro is packing passengers like sardines... and keeping them waiting. The good news:
Metro also applies other strategies to keep the buses running on time. In arrangements coordinated with city traffic engineers, some buses are equipped with devices that send a signal to traffic-light controls when nearing an intersection so that the light will stay green for a few extra seconds to let the bus through.
Other bus-borne devices can trigger a red light for the curb lane to turn green a few seconds before all lanes get the green light, allowing a bus to pull away from the curb and merge into the travel lanes ahead of the traffic flow.
Metro also expects to take delivery in April of 22 60-foot articulated buses bought with the proceeds of a sales tax voters approved in 2006, allowing for expanded service.
The agency would like more riders to buy prepaid passes -- and plans to introduce passes in the form of plastic cards embedded with computer chips detectable by proximity sensors -- to "make the transaction quicker at the door," Obeso said. And it will experiment with systems that let passengers board at any door on the bus.
These sorts of innovations are long overdue. Now let's raise revenues so we can invest seriously in transit, including Metro (we're not just talking Sound Transit in 2008).