Warning. This gets a little wonky, but you should all be used to it by now. For those of you not familiar with Pierce Transit - this system map, might help a little.
I had wanted to take Route 11 to connect with an outbound Route 51 at 6th and Union, but the scheduling on that doesn't work, because the 51 gets to 6th and Union just after the 51 leaves, which is weird, because that severely limits anyone wanting to commute out to South Tacoma or Lakewood.
Anyways, my journey began around 7am. I initially took Route 14 to the Proctor District from the area around Frisko Freeze. This route follows the portion of Route 16 that meandered its way through the North Slope Historic District via M St. and N. 15th St. to UPS and Proctor. Ridership was light and was geared towards schools at UPS and Proctor.
When I got to Proctor, I saw a Route 11 coming to whisk passengers on their way to Downtown, so I ran to catch it, just to see what was happening. Tina Lee, a Pierce Transit planner, was out to help educate riders about the changes to the new system and to keep track of schedule anomalies. Riders seemed generally interested in the fact that their bus now traveled along 6th Avenue.
|Current Proctor stop configuration makes it harder to get Downtown than it should.|
Route 11/16 can be consolidated where possible. Route 13/14 need stops closer to 26th.
I did see some really odd issues in Proctor that I think need to be remedied as soon as possible. Instead of overlaying routes on common stops, the current configuration seeks to split riders for different routes on different stops. This may reduce confusion with people boarding the wrong bus, but it also makes it more difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with the system to figure out "How do I get downtown?" They could take any one of four buses to get there - Route 11, 13, 14, and 16. All of them run hourly, so it makes sense to do overlays.
If the Proctor stop for Route 16 and Route 11 could be combined, and they can, because they both travel along N. 26th at Proctor going eastbound, then the service overlay could conceivably create better frequency at that stop - especially if service levels are restored. Also, the layover points for Routes 13 and 14 are too far to the south to being reasonably close to the Route 11/16 transfer point. Also Route 51 would be better if it did a counter clockwise loop to share the stop with the 11/16.
So, I took Route 11 to the intersection of 6th and Union, I got off and waited a few minutes for the 51, which is also odd, because the 51 then is timed too close to Route 11, limiting the use of the Union Avenue corridor for the UPS area.
I took the 51 down to work at TPU, where we sailed past Allenmore, a notable improvement from last go around, and stopped at Center and Union and had a little chat with the driver about the service change. Later on in the day I would take the 51 to Proctor for an appointment, bike back to work, and then take the 51 down to the train station, to see what we were giving up the connection to the Tacoma Mall for. We picked up a total of 4 passengers between Center St. and the Lakewood Sounder station, not counting me. My experience has been that we would have picked up twice or three times that by making the connection to the Tacoma Mall instead.