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Why Sound Transit is anti-parent

(File, KIRO Radio)

Sound Transit is of no use to young families.

Let me clarify. If you have a kid about to start elementary school, the transit agency makes it awfully difficult for you to use its Sounder train.

Just take a look at the north-end schedule out of Everett: 5:45 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 7:15 a.m.

It doesn’t get much easier at the other three stops on the way to Seattle. The last train out of Mukilteo is 7:26 a.m. and Edmonds is 7:41 a.m.

Now take a look at the starting bell times in those districts:

Everett kids start at 8:30 a.m. Mukilteo is 9 a.m. and Edmonds is 8:40 or 9 a.m. depending on the school. High school students traditionally start earlier, roughly about 7:20 a.m. at most of the aforementioned schools. But most high school students don’t need their parents home to wake them up and to pack lunches.

The south-end line is pretty similar with the last Lakewood-Seattle train leaving at 6:46 a.m. It might be doable if your kids are enrolled in the Sumner or Tukwila districts. The elementary kids there start a little earlier and trains don’t depart until 8:08 a.m. (Sumner) and 8:32 a.m. (Tukwila). Also in the south-end, Sound Transit runs a later train, but we’re talking 10:16 a.m. to 11:12 a.m. up the line. Do people really go in that late?

The point is, if you want more people to take transit, you have to meet them where they are. Who needs fast, reliable service to and from the city (where I can make loads of money but can’t afford to live)? Middle-aged folks, some of whom are parents — our time is our most valuable asset. We have school plays, T-ball games, and daycare to work into our schedules. Standing at a bus stop for 15 minutes is 15 minutes I didn’t spend preventing my kid from playing Fortnite. Twenty minutes waiting for the next train is another $20 in overtime I’m doling out to the nanny or daycare.

I’m told it’s not Sound Transit’s fault. Of course not. They claim they can’t run more trains because they lease the tracks from BNSF, which has a packed schedule.

So for now, a combustible engine single-driver car is still the quickest option for me even with a train stop within walking distance. I can only urge Sound Transit to do a better job at negotiating with BNSF. Maybe attach a passenger car to an oil train? It’s time to get creative.

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