After my post on improved commuter route productivity – due to fewer buses (and seats) to Seattle and more efficient routing – we received a question about crowded buses at Lynnwood Transit Center around 7 in the morning. Some 40-foot buses are packed, while some larger buses leaving at different times seem only partly full.
Articulated buses are assigned to the trips that have the most passengers most often. That may be hard to judge from the curb – and can be a close call for transit planners as well. A Community Transit planner – who helps identify what size of bus gets assigned to what trip – explains how a similar number of passengers can look very different:
“The seating capacity of a 40-foot bus is roughly 39 people and the seating capacity of a 60-foot articulated bus is 65 people. That means a standing room only load on a 40-footer would only be 60 percent full on an articulated bus. To some observers, a 60 percent full bus could look like a bus that is only half full.”
Community Transit staff did analyze seating capacity and ridership prior to our June service changes, and our goal is for all passengers to have a seat, especially on longer trips (Lynnwood is a comparatively shorter run). As one of the commenters noted, many people take different trips on different days, so ridership has peaks and valleys. That can result in crowded trips at times.
On paper we now have 40 percent more seats than riders at Lynnwood Transit Center, on average. We constantly monitor ridership and can adjust bus assignments. But usually, assigning an artic to a new trip means taking it off another run, so we don’t do that lightly.
This is a tight economy and we don’t have money for excess. That means commuters used to spreading out may need to share a seat – and even stand on rare occasions. If your bus is regularly overcrowded, please let us know.