Business Office Comments On Buses

Earlier in the school year, Tatler ran two articles regarding the Metro buses. One analyzed their return, and the other pointed out three specific issues with the buses: the 987’s schedule shift, the early arrivals of the 994 and 989, and the 987’s additional stop at Roosevelt Station Bay 4. In response to the second article, Ying Purcell from the business office, who oversees our bus system, kindly requested an interview to discuss all three of the issues outlined in the second article. 

With their cache of past years’ bus schedules, the business office explained that the 987’s schedule adjustment does not make it arrive earlier than in previous years; instead, its morning schedule is actually five minutes later than it used to be two years ago. The reason for this mid-year schedule change was the rapid accumulation of traffic in Seattle while the city was recovering from the pandemic, which was not accounted for in the original timetables published over a year ago. However, Ms. Purcell did admit that, for future years, if the same stops are retained, the 987’s schedule could be pushed up to five minutes later in the morning because the 15 minute schedule adjustment ended up being an overadjustment of then-inconsistent traffic patterns.

Ms. Purcell also pointed out that the 987’s additional stop was added in order to allow families from West Seattle to access Lakeside’s Metro buses. This workaround was achieved by adding a stop to the 987 at the Central Base, which is the lot where the 987 originates from in the mornings. Via this stop, Lakeside’s Metro buses are able to serve families in West Seattle without adding any additional travel time to the route overall.

The 987’s schedule adjustment does not make it arrive earlier than in previous years; instead, its morning schedule is actually five minutes later.

Meanwhile, the 994 has an early morning arrival time on the timetables, but in reality, loses about 10 minutes every morning in the Woodland area (near Green Lake), so it actually arrives on time rather than early. Furthermore, Ms. Purcell noted that the 989 transfers students from Lakeside to Evergreen and so cannot afford to be late, which is why it has to arrive earlier than all the other Metro buses.

Finally, the business office is reevaluating the 987 and 988 routes’ dual stops at Roosevelt Station. They noted that if students miss one bus, they could take the other, which explains the overlap between the 987 and the 988 in the morning; however, it does not show why the 987 specifically stops at Roosevelt Station in the afternoon because it departs before the 988. For this reason, the business office will evaluate the feedback from families, students, and the previous bus articles when crafting the bus schedules for next year with respect to the Roosevelt Station (though the city’s Metro Bus department has the final say). 

Overall, the business office was able to explain most of the concerns raised in “The Mediocrity of Metro Buses”; however, there are still two suggestions made in that article which are being evaluated: the possibility of pushing the 987’s schedule five minutes later in the morning, and the 987’s Roosevelt Station afternoon stop. Lakeside’s Metro bus schedule will continue to evolve over the coming years, with student and family input taking center stage.