Community Post

Trolley Buses: Why they’ve been MIA on weekends

With Metro trolley buses in the crosshairs of the beancounters, is the recent weekend use of diesel buses a sign of the future? According to Metro spokesperson Linda Thielke, the answer is no, with recent diesel usage being due to seasonal summer construction, not any sort of cost-cutting move.

For example, the city has been going full-bore this summer to resurface downtown streets. Additionally, private construction firms often need to shut down arterial lanes to bring in cranes and other equipment. Since either of those can block the routes that contain the trolley bus wires, Thielke said that the county works with the city of Seattle and other firms to make sure any route-interrupting road or building construction happens on a weekend. And it doesn’t have to be a neighborhood project to disrupt a bus line – any blocking issue along the entire bus route can require the temporary use of the diesel buses.

Metro doesn’t have enough spare diesel buses during the week to provide service to electrified routes. But lower weekend ridership frees up enough of them to service the trolley bus routes when needed.

The good news, at least for those that live along an electrified route, is that the downtown paving projects are coming to a seasonal close. So we should all see the normal, quiet, electric buses return to our neighborhood routes in the next few months.

0 thoughts on “Trolley Buses: Why they’ve been MIA on weekends

  1. I live along the 14 bus route and both hear and smell a difference on the street on the weekends. However, it has been my observation that weekend use of diesel buses is the rule rather than the exception all year round, construction or not. I had heard that this was because Metro didn’t have enough trained trolley drivers to man them on the weekends? I would love it if only trolley buses came through my neighborhood.

    However, some (like my husband) complain about the overhead wires. I prefer cleaner air.

  2. Oh common now – most Seattle trolley routes have been suspended during the weekend for more than a decade. Thielke, the ever hapless spokeswoman for a failing transit system, blames downtown construction. Ok – fine – but how do you explain the outages between 2000 and 2008? Please. And to those of you that are so Very Very Green that you don’t mind sounding stupid in public – really? I mean really? 2 diesel buses per hour ruins your quality of life more than the hundreds of SUVs you mindlessly let roam your neighborhood? Want to decrease emissions? Well, don’t pick on transit, instead erect barriers and eliminate the SUVs in your neighborhood. Except, that would never happen – you of course own one then don’t you?

  3. Metro and King County seem to have an agenda to end electric trolley service – even though they are quieter, less polluting, and longer lasting.

    What can we as citizens and residents do to protect our electric trolleys?

  4. Are you saying that not a SINGLE trolleybus runs throughout the whole city of Seattle during the weekend at ALL?