That's the short version of Martin Duke's post at Seattle Transit Blog arguing that King County Metro should get rid of the 42 bus route---which, as I noted way back in 2009, exactly parallels the route of Sound Transit's Link Light Rail through the Rainier Valley. The 42, originally slated for elimination, was preserved after advocates from the Asian Counseling and Referral Service argued that their clients couldn't use either of the two light-rail stations that are located within a five-minute walk of their building or the Route 8, which stops directly in front of ACRS.

STB writes:
Although everyone wants to give good options to the mobility- impaired, the entire point of Access paratransit is to provide service to people who can’t walk a few blocks. Although it costs around $38 per ride provided, running a bus 10 hours a day costs at least $1000, so it’s likely that in strict terms of serving the elderly Access is more cost-effective.

For everyone else, there are three pretty good options to reach ACRS from downtown*:

  • Take Link, walk less than 1/2 mile to the ACRS front door.

  • Take Link, walk less than 100m, ride the 8 (15 minute headways) for one stop.

  • Take the 7 from downtown, walk three blocks to ACRS.


Frequent STB commenter Bruce Nourish has obtained the numbers:  there are about 167 boardings per day, or 8 per trip, at a cost of about $6 per rider. There’s no telling how many of them are visiting ACRS, although my anecdotal observation is “few if any,” and many riders (like me) have plenty of other almost-as-good options. At least a seventh of these riders would have to be mobility-impaired, and headed to or from ACRS, to make the 42 cost-effective vs. Access.

We simply cannot construct a sensible system where everyone is within a block of a one-seat ride to downtown.

At a time when Metro is contemplating the total elimination of crowded workhorse routes like the 26, 28, and 73, it simply makes no sense to preserve a route that serves so few people, at such high cost, and with so many nearby alternatives.
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