Home > Transit > RapidRide B and transfers – A one way ticket

RapidRide B and transfers – A one way ticket

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been using RapidRide B, in conjunction with the 249, to travel to several locations I would normally drive to.  Each time I travel, I plan my trip using various transit planning services including Google maps, Bing, and Metro’s trip planner. So far, all services have worked well with each giving a simple trip recommendation involving a single transfer.  My 249 shows up at Bellevue Transit Center where I walk over to a waiting RapidRide B coach which usually leaves within a few minutes.  Total travel time from my front door to my favorite food court at Crossroads Shopping Center is usually about 30 minutes.

Getting home, however, has been more difficult to plan.  When using Google or Bing maps, I cannot get a trip recommendation that involves RapidRide.  All recommendations involve long walks or transfers to other numbered routes with fixed schedules and typically travel a much longer, and sometimes more complicated route.  On some trips Metro’s trip planner gives the same results but on others I can get a route recommendation with RapidRide, if I tweak the travel times a bit.

An example will illustrate.  Use your favorite transit planning service to get a trip recommendation for the following locations and times:

Start point: 2000 104th Ave SE (Add Bellevue, WA if you need to – Trip planner doesn’t need / want this)
End point: 15600 NE 8th
Time: 5:00pm

The result should be a trip on the 249 transferring to RapidRide B.  However, if you plan the reverse trip you’ll get many different route recommendations, most of which do not include RapidRide B.  On Metro’s trip planner I get a trip on the 245 transferring to the 249 in Overlake.  However, if I switch the departure time to 5:20pm I get trip on RapidRide B transferring to the same 249 recommended above but closer to my destination.

I’ve also seen this problem occur with other trips that involve a transfer at Bellevue Transit Center so I’m guessing there is something wrong with the GTFS data for RapidRide B at that point.  I’m going to stop digging here, lest I “go down the rabbit hole” as my wife likes to say.  Besides, it’s time for bed – I’ve got to get up tomorrow to actually drive RapidRide.

If you are in the know, feel free to add comments or contact me on Twitter and I can work with you to investigate further.

  1. Carl
    October 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Could this be due to the new Metro & ST philosophy not to publish schedules? It’s hard to build trips when you don’t know when the bus/train comes nor how long it takes.

    A 15-minute service should have a schedule. Heck even a 10-minute service should have a schedule. If the frequency is better than 10 mins, I grant you that you can disregard the schedule, though it may still create havoc for a trip planner. But 10 mins and worse there should be a schedule available for riders.

    • October 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

      Maybe, although Metro does actually have an unpublished schedule for RapidRide B. I drive 3 trips in the morning and have the same schedule every day as do all other drivers. The advantage of unpublished schedules, however, is that Metro was able to issue new schedules to us when they realized the initial schedules were inaccurate. Going forward they can switch us to pure headway based service, using a feature on our radios. However, in practice, they don’t use headway based scheduling on RapidRide A, so we probably won’t see that for a while on B.

      • Carl
        December 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

        Velo – do you really think it limits Metro’s flexibility so much that they can’t publish the schedule? In the past Metro has made schedule adjustments and put up rider alerts, no reason they can’t do that here. What I find frustrating is that they are operating to a schedule, they just aren’t telling the riders. You need a schedule to have a trip planner. You need a schedule to plan the operators. There are some ways that a persistent user can find the schedule – they just aren’t making it easy or convenient, nor posting it at the stops. It’s a customer-unfriendly policy. It also penalizes people who like to plan or use their time efficiently – it encourages them to take their car.

      • December 9, 2011 at 11:32 am

        “What I find frustrating is that they are operating to a schedule, they just aren’t telling the riders”

        Well, kind of. All of our runcards for RapidRide have a single timepoint at the beginning when we pullout. The rest of the timepoints are estimated. Like I said, you can get the times out of Trip Planner. I just wish you could get the “soft” schedule as I described.

  2. John Slyfield
    December 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I have seen many times when a legal trip request (one that met every criteria in the request) was not accurate (trip not possible) when in fact it was with sufficient transfer time to boot . Trip planner has some bugs in it that is for sure.

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