Bus Chick switches her allegiance from the 48 to the 8

If Metro bus routes traded passengers like players in Major League Baseball, then the 48 has lost a Gold Glove winning shortstop. Carla Saulter (AKA Bus Chick) wrote a reflective post about how, over the past couple years, her allegiance has shifted to the 8:

Not too many years ago, the bus I took most often was the 48, also known as “Forty-late,” “Dr. 48” and “the Tiger Woods* of the system.” I rode it south to Judkins Park (NAAM), Columbia City (dentist/homegirl), and Rainier Beach (friend visits), north to 23rd & Union (church, beauty shop), Montlake (545 transfer), the U District (pseudo-intellectual/artistic coffee joints, various readings and events), and Green Lake (Friday play dates).

They don’t call it Metro’s heavyweight for nothin’.

Of course, a few things have changed since then. The two biggest: the 48 stopped running south of Mount Baker Transit Center when Link opened, and I stopped commuting to the Eastside–or at all. (I now do contract and freelance work from home.) A few other minor (but relevant changes): my beautician moved to a shop near 15th & John, and we changed health insurance providers.

And then there’s the fact that the route I’ve had a crush on for years, the amazing 8, (finally!) started running on evenings and weekends in my neighborhood. I am not exaggerating when I say that this seemingly minor service addition has changed my life.

Learning new bus routes, even if it means walking a few extra blocks, opens up whole new parts of the city. It’s also a good way to mix things up if your typical routes are feeling stale. Anyone else notice their lives change just by switching buses? What CD bus route is your favorite?

0 thoughts on “Bus Chick switches her allegiance from the 48 to the 8

  1. We just moved from a few blocks south of Madison to a few blocks north of Madison, just off of 23rd. And I just realized that now I no longer have to look at the bus schedule if I want to go to the U District, cause I’ve got both the 43 and the 48 so there’s a bus like every 5 minutes or less. It’s awesome. Not to mention the 8, 10, 11 and 12… it’s gotta be the most bus-connected part of the city (other than downtown).

  2. We just moved to the CD a year ago, but when I discovered that we can walk a half mile to Yesler&14th to catch the 27… that continues to the 17 and drives into Ballard, I was thrilled! It’s nice to find another route like the 48 that connects the central/southend to north of the ship canal bridge. Now we can take a bus to see friends and family instead of getting in a car!

  3. No, the #48 route does not include 15th and E. John, and, yes, the #8 has become more useful to Capitol Hill, the South Lake Union area and Queen Ann. However, if you want to access the University District from the CD south of Madison or the Roosevelt and other north end areas the #8 won’t get you there. Anyway they serve different needs. I admit that I still have to think twice about how to get south of Mount Baker now since I was used to using the #48 for most of the trips in that direction and now have to transfer. The #8 is a great new bus route serving areas that were underserved but circumvents much of the CD where the #48 runs.

  4. Through-routings like that are convenient, but don’t expect it to stick around forever. Metro tends to change through-routings at every quarterly shakeup – The 27 used to turn into a 25 downtown until some time last year, and back then the 23 was the 17’s pair.

  5. It’s a loss of a relatively high-profile blogger/commentator as a regular rider, not necessarily a loss of service. The 48 is still by far the highest ridership bus route in the state.

    Ending the 48 at MBTC seriously improved it’s on-time reliability. The realities of the streets through Montlake and the U-District mean that it’s never going to have good on-time performance, but it’s not the “is a bus ever going to come?” waiting game it used to be. And with 10-minute freqency at peak commute times, being *relatively* reliable is good enough.

    When I’m going south of Mt. Baker, I tend to just transfer to the train. Unless an 8 comes before a 48.

  6. I’m guessing she has never tried to get on the #8 on Denny during the work rush. I rode the 48 for nearly 4~5 years before moving and it was always a better bus due to the more frequent runtimes than the 8 at that time.

  7. Yeah, but the 8 has TOTALLY changed because of transit now and because it runs to the CD all the time, instead of stopping at 15th like it used to.

    I love the 48 and 8 for the same reason: they don’t go downtown!

  8. Hello, neighbors. I’m loving this bus discussion. My “switching of allegiance” has less to do with any particular shortcomings of the 48 and much more to do with the fact that I need to ride it less often. It’s not about choosing one bus over the other, since, of course, they don’t travel the same routes. I still ride the 48 to the U District and Green Lake and Mount Baker Transit Center; it’s just that I don’t need to go to those places as often as I need to go to 15th & John, or Madison & MLK, or the Seattle Center.

    The 48 is still a route I ride frequently, as are the 3, 4, 14, and 27. It’s great to have options.

  9. As someone who’s ridden the 48 since childhood, I will say that, nostalgia aside, the amputation of the 48 is a great loss for Seattle.

    The 48 represented a life line between the Central District and South Seattle – among people of color in particular, this meant easy access between communities, family memebers, and friends.

    It is truly sadenning that truncated transportation (for those of us committed and limited to bus ridership) is now inforcing division among the Central District and South End.

    And the 8, in my experience, is not even close to being a pratical or suitable replacement.