Seattle newspaper for the People by the People

Tag archive

Transportation

Seattle Ride Sharing Rules Coming Soon

Seattle Ride Share Sevices

December 13, 2012 the City of Seattle Council held a public meeting regarding ride share services. These new services are popping up everywhere now and the taxi drivers are getting mad because they are offering a lower, faster, CHEAPER, and in reality better service.  They are saying they can’t compete and they are not safe ect.  Some of these new services include Sidecar, Lyft and Uber for example. However, city taxis of course are regulated by the city and they want the new ride share services to be also. I certainly can understand that frustration if I was an owner.  The city is holding them back.

As I’ve mentioned several times now on the Emerald Journal when an opportunity presents itself for more tax revenue the Council with certainly take you up on that opportunity. Here is another example of how these services are deemed “illegal” and we need to come up with a “fair” solution to regulate and tax them appropriately.

Seattle talks a big game about wanting riders to share, use buses, bikes, ect but when something new and innovated comes around and provides a real service of doing just that – they are quick to knock it down.  These services are really innovated and have the business down not like the old taxi systems in place.  These companies use apps on their phones, easy to use, and much cheaper.  It’s sad but the reality is that it’s all smoke and mirrors with the City of Seattle Council to make the public opinion positive about them and what they do for the city.

The City is proposing an annual license fee of $50,000 for these companies. Well that sounds “fair” to me (not). That sure is horrible for these companies and obvious sign the City Council is all about regulation, control, and revenue. It’s not about better air, less traffic, or anything like that – it’s about revenue first.  This effort pretty much puts them out of business and/or makes it extremely difficult to do business here in Seattle.  I thought the goal was to increase transportation and encourage great ideas to solve the traffic, parking, air, car issues in Seattle.  This move in licensing just kills that effort.

If they really wanted to solve this problem they would simply lower the regulations on Taxi owners and let them all compete evenly. The best service will win over the public. That would just be to easy, however, and would limit the cash flow and regulations which the city would never agree to. Sad but true. Take note just another case of grabbing more cash and not really caring to come up with innovated solutions which are available right now.

Next time you vote to support those businesses or public transportation just remember the City killed these cheap innovated companies so they can continue to control and regulate this area.

Seattle Taxi Drivers Losing Business

Seattle Taxi Drivers
Local Seattle taxi drivers are angry. The complaint comes from the new rideshare type companies in Seattle. Taxi owners feel they are stuck because their prices are controlled by the City of Seattle while these other type of transportation services are not. Mike Judd, the owner of Yellow Taxi, has a good point in my opinion and he says, “These guys don’t have business licenses, the drivers, they don’t have proper insurance, they’re doing a tremendous bite into our business and undercutting our rates that are regulated by the city and undercutting the safety of the public…” I do agree with that for the most part. I don’t agree with the public safety. Taxi’s are no safer than any of the other newer transportation options available. Common Mike Judd we all know how these Taxi drivers drive around town lets be real.

The Seattle Council has a meeting scheduled tonight with the committee on taxi for-hire and limousines. Who knew there was a committee to handle Taxi’s! Sounds like more wasted money to me. None the less, that is the situation for now. What I find most interesting is that in public, TV, and in ads they push and encourage more options for riders. They want the public to use the other public transportation options available. They want people to rideshare to work. Leave your car at home and ride to work or ride the bus – we have all seen this type of propaganda. EXCEPT – when they start to lose money because they are overpriced and new companies/solutions are readily available. That is NOT ok with the City and they must be shut down or highly regulated quickly.

What happened to capitalism and entrepreneurship? These companies have found a solution that a lot of Seattle residents are embracing. The demand is high and this is what American is about. It’s about being creative, finding a new solution, and that includes competitiveness for businesses. They are considerably less and easier to work with. You can order a ride from you mobile phone! Some of these newer solutions just ask for a donation for the driver. Another named UberX charges similar rates as the taxi’s but doesn’t require tips. These are just creative options and in my opinion the more options and competitiveness the better.

It’s a shame I feel the City is going to side with the taxi drivers on this one due to the money and regulations involved for the City. I feel, however, if the taxi drivers would actually clean up their acts, lower their fees, and COMPETE they actually may do quite well. With the monopoly in place there are no reason to do anything. They can continue to be rude, blow off pickup times, keep their cars filthy, and continue to only shower once a week. Why change anything when you’re the only option available? Time for a change and time to allow entrepreneurship to grow. This is supposed to be America after all.

How To Travel Like A Local In Seattle This Weekend

Lost In Seattle Washington Traveling

With the summer vacation season getting ready to begin over Memorial Day weekend, you might be interested in the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)’s survey about the projected number of travelers who will be visiting cities – like Seattle – and riding public transportation this year.

The official release is located below:

This Summer Vacation Season Brings Seven Percent More Tourists to Cities and Public Transportation than Last Year

70 million plan to “Travel Like a Local” and use public transit in U.S. cities this summer with Millenials leading the way

As the temperatures rise and schools close down, over 126 million Americans are planning to vacation in a city this year – a seven percent increase over 2012.  The American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) annual “Travel Like a Local” Summer Travel Survey shows that around 56 percent (70 million) of those visiting cities plan on using public transportation for at least one activity during their stay. APTA notes that the improved economy is the reason for the increase in travel to cities.  The five most popular cities for travel this summer are New York, Miami, Chicago, Orlando and San Francisco.

The survey found that a majority in all age groups will take public transportation while on their city trip, but Millenials (18-24) are most likely to use public transportation while on vacation, with 73 percent reporting yes. Major motivators for using public transportation included not having to worry about finding a parking space (73 percent), saving money on parking fees (69 percent), and not having to navigate a car within a new city (64 percent).

“City visitors can experience more of the local culture and hustle-and-bustle of city life by taking public transportation alongside local residents,” said APTA Chair Flora Castillo.  “We are offering guidance to help tourists get around like the locals do.  We hope that this effort will be a fun way to remind residents and tourists that public transportation systems are not just a great way to get from point A to point B, but also unique, cultural institutions that shape our urban landscapes and reflect the nation’s diverse communities.”

“With the economy on the rebound, cities are becoming a more attractive destination for the summer because they are close by and have a wide array of amenities,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy.  “A growing number of travelers are discovering that one of a city’s greatest assest is its local public transportation system.  These travelers are saving money while taking advantage of the local systems’ high-frequency routes which are designed to stop at the most popular spots and attractions a city has to offer.”

Forty-nine million city vacationers will use public transportation to sightsee and for restaurant dining and nightlife, 47 million to travel to and from their place of lodging, while 42 million will take public transportation to travel to and from the airport during their visit.

According to the survey, a growing number of individuals with incomes over $75,000 will rely on public transportation during their trip to a city and those traveling from all regions, including the South and Midwest will use public transportation during their city stay.  A majority of travelers with children (62 percent) will use public transportation during their city visit.

As the number of Americans headed to a city on vacation continues to increase, APTA is issuing a series of insider tip guides for vacationers traveling to some of the top city destinations.  These tips will provide insight into local public transit idiocyncracies, unspoken protocols, and tips to help vacationers to travel like a local and avoid public transit faux paux. For more details on how you can “Travel Like a Local” this summer, visit us at www.publictransportation.org.

Seattle-Travel-Photo Travel like a local in Seattle Washington

Seattle Streetcar Ten Million Dollar Plan

After the shock and disappointment of the election, I thought I would try to make a fresh start in my thinking and try to accept the fact that i just don’t fit into the way most Washington voters think. I thought I might just sort of give up and go with the flow, then the Times runs this big article that Mayor McGinn and the City Council are going to spend ten million dollars planning where some new street cars would go. This is just planning, and they don’t really have a clear cut idea of what they are planning so for sure they will run out of money fast. They say the city is broke. Had to re-do the bus routes and cut service to thousands of people. Georgetown had 3 buses and now we don’t have one bus along the highway or 4th ave. We have to either walk a half mile or so to get to the only bus stop in Georgetown that will get us to town without transferring. We have a little community of residents that the 131 got us downtown and to Burien for years but now it comes from Burien over the 1st Ave Bridge and the only stop at what they call their new and improved service for Georgetown is at Keep Reading

Seattle Streetcar Projects A Big Drain

It appears Seattle continues to look at ways to blow our tax money.  The City Council is going to spend $10 million dollars to just review adding streetcars in Seattle.  The $10 million will be spent on just reviewing the roads, locations, areas, tracks, population etc.  In the event, the City decides to move forward on a streetcar, it will cost $50 million dollars.  How could anyone actually be considering this?  It’s just way out of our budget and simply doesn’t make any sense.  We would be better off buying a new bus, painting it (thus branding it) and naming it the Emerald City Shuttle.  It’s dedicated to just this mile and goes back and fourth all day.  The costs are maybe 100K for the bus and another 30K per year for the driver.  Do you know how many years it would take with my plan and budget compared to your $50 million+ plan?  It would take 50 years on my plan to even reach you’re $50 million initial construction work easily.  You’re plan doesn’t even include millions per year for maintenance of your plan.  It’s just a no brainer.

Lets talk about the extra revenue.  My plan and your plan does create revenue except my plan Keep Reading

Advisory Vote No. 2 (Substitute House Bill 2590)

This is on the table and I do support it.  It’s a tax break, however, I do think it’s justified.  We all know our tax system is messed up and more complicated than a 10,000 piece puzzle.  That is why I have to pay people to manage it for me quarterly and yearly.  I shouldn’t have to do that!  I think measures used to less complicated things should be installed and that means less measures complicating the system.  I understand we are not lose some money here for taxes, however, the tax was unfair as it was.  I don’t believe some people or business owners should pay more for what they do or who they are.  That includes the taxing the rich which I don’t support.

Even Though this should have gone to a public vote and not just eliminated without anyone knowing, I do support the expiration of the tax.

 

Advisory Vote No. 2 (Substitute House Bill 2590)

“The legislature extended, without a vote of the people, expiration of a tax on possession of petroleum products and reduced the tax rate, costing $24,000,000 in its first ten years, for government spending.”

Seattle Pothole Repair – The Solution

Seattle potholes are all over.  With the recent proposal from King County Executive Dow Constantine charging cities of 250,000 or more $20 per car each year, I figured I would present another solution.  The reality is that this job isn’t to complicated and we are paying people $30 per hour running all over town repairing potholes.  We need it out of the cities hands (labor wise).  How much talent does it take to get a shovel and fill a pot hole?  You shove the hot mess into the hole smooth it out and pat it down tight.  It’s so simple a monkey could do it.  We need to stop wasting the money and talent on pot hole repair.

Obviously from the budget review report by Dow Constantine stating we’re spending 73% of our budget on court cases and criminals we need to start putting them to work.  We have an army of community service workers every day.  They are out cleaning up the roads (garbage, tires, paper etc), cutting back bushes and sticker bushes, feeding the homeless, so lets give them a shovel and put them to work.  Seriously.  Add a crew, put one guy in charge like they do now and take road trips filling up all these pot holes.  Most of their actual “work time” would be driving to different cities anyway so labor wise it wouldn’t be to difficult.  I know I would rather be driving around town and filling holes then having to do real community service work like cleaning the east side of I5 all day long.

It’s a solution and one to consider.  We would save so much money considering what we are paying people to do it now and the management involved.

Dow Constantine New $20 Car License Fee

Here we go again.  King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to implement a $20 car license fee to fix more roads.  In the proposal he is urging the approval of the fee where 250,000 people live.  Many excuses where give why this is needed I particularly like that one about declining property values.  First there is no collation with property values and property taxes.  It nearly never adjusts and only goes up with regards to property taxes.  Don’t believe me compare your last couple years property taxes to this years.  Your home value went down and your property tax probably went up or stayed the same.  What a joke.  Next excuse was the declining population in these areas.  Well… if we have less population in these area that means we have less cars on the road causing damage.  Also means we should have less expenses when it comes to staff.  I assume staff is at a record high sitting around tables “just because”.  Give me a break this is a business so adjustments in regards to staff working, revenue, and population all need to work together.  Is this being done? I highly doubt it.

We also got to look at the county’s general fund.  73% of $680.6 million dollar budget goes to justice.  That means all the money is being spent on the Sheriffs, jails, courts, prosecutors, and defenders.  Obviously, this is the area that needs the most work so lets clean up the laws to quickly manage this better.  Dismiss the cases that obviously are losers, legalize things that should be like pot, and stream line the processes better.  Another 20% goes to the administration costs so that leaves like 10%.  This is just pathetic.

Another area of concern is the gas tax and where is that going?  Where are at an all time high right now and the city is making the most they have ever made.  We sure can come up with 50 million for a new arena tomorrow but can’t fix the roads?  Are you serious?

It seems the only solutions ever presented when financial times get rocky are tax increases.  They never cut and always pass the buck.

Perhaps if someone could figure out the bus routes more people would use them.  That is just one big cluster.

 

Seattle Metro Trip Planner – Confusion

Metro Transit has a great slogan. “We’ll get you there”. What they don’t say is you can’t find out what bus to take and where. Let me start by giving you Bus riding 101. This is so simple and easy to understand.

#1.  BE SURE YOU BUS IS LISTED ON THE SIGN.

#2.  IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM CALL info listed on your bus schedule. Customer Service  (206) 553-3000.

Now look at the two photos of the bus signs. These pictures were taken a block apart on the same day, so I had no idea which one was right.

I don’t mean this to sound like I think Metro has a vendetta against me, but I will write my experience and it has to be happening to hundreds and hundreds of people.

My story:

I had my green bus schedule in my hand, headed to East Marginal way to catch bus 131 to Burien for a doctors appointment. But my bus number was no longer listed on the sign. Look at the picture of the two bus signs. The bus numbers on the signs had been changed. The buses that I ride are 124, 131, 132. These get me to down town Seattle on 4th and to Burien. You will see that the on the sign these three numbers have been removed. No rider alert on the post, nothing explaining anything. Remember rule #1. If your bus is not listed, it wont be coming to that stop. I was bus less in Seattle all of a sudden. Missed my appointment, walked back home and called information. Nothing but a busy signal for over ten minutes. I had relatives and neighbors try to find out for me and no one could get anyone to answer the phone but a Grandson was told to leave his number and they would call him back. THEY NEVER DID. I emailed Metro and left a comment/complaint and it said they would try to answer me within two weeks. I finally wrote a snail letter to the Mayor. The secretary had no idea what to do with it, but bless her heart she sent out an email all over the place called, How can I help an 89 year old catch a bus? I am sure there was a lot of laughs about a little senile old lady but the flood gates opened. The Mayors Secretary or whoever answered me was Becky Stanley. Without her I don’t think I would have ever got an answer about the buses.  She assured me it’s not Mayor Mcginn’s problem but she got Deidre Andrus attention at Metro and I got my answers.  These girls/woman were courteous and helpful. The message was awful but the messengers were great.

The answer I got from metro was this. THEY ARE VERY SORRY I GOT CONFUSED. well duh.  Here is why I was confused. I was supposed to just stand at the old bus stop and wait for my old bus, although it was not  listed. They are changing 50 bus routes and had to change the bus signs early to have them in place by Sept 29th. How is anyone to know, without a notice on the bus sign post? Lets say I go stand and wait for a bus that is not listed on the sign, when I get to Burien Transit station how am I going to know what sign to stand under to get home?

This is not only unnecessary, but is actually cruel.

I have now heard the information that my bus 134, will not exist anymore. To get the 131 I would need to walk from Corson to past 4th and Michigan, and it would take me to town, NOT TO BURIEN like it always has. The 124 bus I can catch on Carlton and it will go down airport way to 2nd and Jackson.

To sum up what these changes did for me (and many many hundreds of riders) was to take away my independence completely. I have rode the buses 66 years from this same address. I could take a bus that would go by here to town and all the way to Federal Way. I could ride it to the Grey Hound bus station and see the Christmas lights along 4th and get to the Monorail. Its gone. The 131 took me to Burien and downtown. My doctor and hearing aide office is in Burien. They tell me I need to take the 124 either to South Park or Tukwila Link and catch a bus to Burien. Every time you change buses you can count on an extra half hour. I would be afraid to stand in South Park. So the new BIG change just ruined the bus service for Georgetown completely. We have no buses that we can take to Costco, Food bank of the businesses along 4th. Can’t get to Burien without a major mess. Think of the millions they spent to give us this NEW AND IMPROVED SERVICE. I asked the Mayor if he was able to get me a three wheeled bike but did not get a response. Before you ask, age does not qualify me to get a senior shuttle. I would need a doctors slip saying I have trouble walking. I can walk a couple blocks fine, can climb on to a bus fine, but first I need THE BUS.

Now look at the 2013-2014 Transportation Budget Highlights below. This is from the Mayor that didn’t have a clue about how I could get a bus. Look what they spend for studies and analysis and planning. They want funds to get a 4th street car to Paul Allen’s Vulcan spread. We can’t even get a bus in Georgetown.

My neighborhood has lots of woman and little kids, guys in wheel chairs and we just don’t count in the scheme of things. He talks in some of his other plans how he will have well lit places for people to wait for their buses. WE DON’T EVEN HAVE A BENCH, but heck we don’t have a bus either. Call the information number and let them know what you think, or better still go to the comment section of Metro Transit and tell them. While you are at it leave a comment on our Journal.

2013-2014 Transportation Budget Highlights

FAST AND RELIABLE TRANSIT
Nearly $6 million to connect our neighborhoods with high capacity transit

  • $2 million      for a corridor analysis of a high-capacity transit line from downtown to the University      District, via Eastlake. If approved by the council, this      work would begin next year.
  • $850,000      for a corridor analysis of a bus rapid transit line on Madison Street,      starting at Colman dock downtown.
  • $500,000      for a study of a pedestrian,      bike, and transit crossing of the ship canal. Identified      as a need in both the Bicycle and Transit Master Plans, a north/south      crossing of the ship canal between the Ballard and Fremont bridges would      allow transit to flow more freely past this obstacle without getting stuck      in traffic.
  • A $2.5      million Transit      Master Plan Reserve fund to help pay for the next phase of      design work on these corridors, starting in 2014

At Metro, we’re working hard to give you easy, convenient access to the places you want to go, while helping you save money, control stress and protect the environment. So when we say, “We’ll Get You There,” we mean it!

If you have questions or need help planning your trip, call Metro Customer Information at 206-553-3000 (TTY Relay: 711) or visit our Trip Planner.

– This really meaningless.

520 Bridge Toll Is Here

Hope you’re ready to pay the man more because the 520 bridge toll will be starting on the 29th of December. Just another example of “thinking stuff up” to generate more revenue for the state and it’s financial troubles instead of actually fixing the root of the problem – spending. It’s been discussed on this site over and over again from different angles but it’s the norm when it comes to financial troubles. It’s just an easy fix and sell to the public I guess. I honestly believe most people are sheep and follow the crowd anyway and that is how most of this stuff is passed. With some TV ads and the use of scarcity the crowd falls for it.

If you commute and use the 520 bridge regularly like going to work daily you can expect to pay around $1,600 per year. I wouldn’t call that pocket change. It’s about $160 a month.

I guess toll are one of the new avenues for generating more money. It’s not enough that we pay for the roads with our taxes and almost 50% of your car gas is taxed. Parking in Seattle will cost you $8 dollars an hour! I predict we’ll see a lot more down the road and maybe even the viaduct when that project is completed. That would be an easy approval for the Seattle council members. Add in the HOV lane fees they are collecting now. If you’re not connected with the Good To Go program (to debit your account automatically), even more fees are applied. It’s all just crazy.

The 520 bridge toll is a slap in the face to so many people. We’ve talked about the financial planning at the Washington Department of Transportation and have proven that they can’t manage a dollar. They are worse than the USPS. This will only put more money in their pockets and even less on the roads. 1,000,000 dollars a week in fact.

What I find even more sleazy about the 520 bridge toll is that the state received a federal grant. It was a $123,000,000 million dollar payday grant that pays for helping subsidizing buses, toll equipment and other expenses related to the new toll. Public transport, van pools, are already except vehicles etc they don’t have to pay the toll anyway (or tabs) so really it’s just a incentive to start a new toll! Gosh $123 million dollar paycheck is a sleazy incentive to start a toll don’t you think?

Here is a good question, living in Seattle, why would anyone want to go the east side to do any shopping anymore? The reality is businesses and local sales will only decrease hurting the situation even more. If you’re from Seattle or the east side and want to shop – it’s going to cost you an extra $7 dollars. It’s almost not even worth leaving the house anymore. You can get a better deal online, pay no sales tax on it, and get free shipping.

Go to Top