Home > Transit > ARUP Study on East Link: B7 to increase ST & Metro operating costs

ARUP Study on East Link: B7 to increase ST & Metro operating costs

I ran across a copy of the final ARUP B7 Study on Bellevue’s Light Rail Documents Web Site.  After a bit of digging, I found information on a glaring issue I suspected to be a problem but haven’t heard discussed much.  From the report (emphasis mine):

Bus travel times for B7-Revised would be longer than those for B7/C9T. The longer travel times would increase operating costs and would require two additional buses to provide service. Northbound buses would experience a 3.5- minute increase in travel time, while southbound buses would experience a 2.5-minute increase in travel time.

and the kicker…

[ Sound Transit’s estimates for additional travel time costs are: ]

  • Operating costs increases by $750,000 to $1,000,000 annually.
  • Two additional buses are required to maintain headway on the service. The cost to procure the two vehicles is $1.7m (2007$). The lifespan of these vehicles is 12 years, so this capital expense is incurred every 12 years.

King County metro buses will also experience additional operational cost associated with this additional travel time. However, an estimate of these costs has not been provided.

Are you lost?  Here’s a quick explanation:  Every time I saw a mockup of the A-2 Park & Ride design, that is part of the revised B7 route, I noticed all of those ramps and turns that I would have to navigate with a bus.  It just felt wrong. For those that recall riding the Sound Transit 554 from Seattle to Issaquah, before Sound Transit removed the loop into the Eastgate Park & Ride, you know what I’m talking about.

To be sure, Sound Transit’s design for the South Bellevue station will also add travel time over the existing South Bellevue Park & Ride bus routing.  However that routing appears much shorter and straightforward than the routing required to service the A-2 bus platforms.

In short:  Not only does B7R cost more than Sound Transit’s preferred East Link option, it also heaps additional operating and capital costs onto Metro and Sound Transit’s bus operations going forward as well as additional travel time for bus passengers traversing the area.  (The routes that will likely continue to service this station after completion include the Sound Transit 555, 556, and 560 as well as the Metro 222 and, starting next October, the Metro 249.)

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  1. Norm Woods
    June 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    RIght! from the somber mood in the room at the Open House last night, I’d say most people realize that B7R is DOA.

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