Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting Around In Seattle

I flew to Seattle and back yesterday with my wonderful wife to get my last test before I have cancer surgery in the middle of February. The good news is that the tumor responded well to the radiation, and there's no reason to believe the surgery won't be successful. The bad news is I found I was a n00b when it came to the best way to get around in Seattle.

I figured that a cab from the airport to the hospital wouldn't be too bad; it's about 12 miles. I'd heard from a resident that King County had a decent bus system (albeit with a colorful ridership), so I figured that Seattle taxis would have low mileage rates to compete with public transportation. Turns out I was wrong -- or I haven't ridden a taxi in so long that I had no idea how expensive they've gotten. Our cab from the airport, plus all others I saw downtown, cost $2.50/mile ( ! ). That's $41 for a ride from the airport to downtown at 6:45 am that took about 20 minutes.

Not wanting to pay that much again, we looked into the Metro bus system for getting back to the airport. Turns out we could board the 194 bus about 6 blocks from the hospital at the "Downtown Transit Tunnel", and we got to the airport in about an hour total (including walking and waiting for the bus) for $1.50 each. Plus, I saw not one person with purple hair, and only one gentleman carrying all his belongings on the bus (consisting mostly of a large number of macaroni and cheese boxes). Thanks to the King County taxpayers for subsidizing my transportation while I visited your fair city! (We ended up switching our return flight from one leaving at 8:15 pm to the 2:55 pm one that stopped in Spokane, so we ended up being out of Boise for just over 12 hours.)

Are cabs that expensive now in all major cities in the U.S.? And which city do you think has the best public transportation? (I still vote D.C.)

(If you liked my review of Seattle transportation options, please check out my earlier review of Seattle restrooms from back in 2007.)

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning Mr. Bubblhead,

I enjoyed your 2007 review of Seattle bathrooms. Although now, the internet on the ferries are not free.

Glad you were able to figure out the bus system to get back to the airport. The buses really aren't that bad. Just, well, you know, full of ambiance?

I don't get that whole bathroom thing at the market either. Maybe it's to cut down on not so savory activities such as drug use, or even prostitution. (Hey, it happens.)

That's why Seattle finally got rid of the fancy new fangled self cleaning toilets they spent a crap load of money on. People were using them, just not for the right reasons.

The most interesting bathrooms I have found in Seattle so far have to be at the Pacific Science Center. The men and ladies rooms have interesting "bathroom facts" in each room. They also come complete with illustrations. Such as, how your urine is made. Facts on poo. And toilet facts as well.

Glad to hear your doing good.

1/23/2009 6:07 AM

 
Anonymous LT L said...

Actually, Seattle cabs are inexpensive compared to Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. It's just that the airport is so far away from the city center compared to those other cities.

The best deal from SeaTac is the Grey Line buses; something like $26 for a round-trip ticket, and they leave every hour.

1/23/2009 6:36 AM

 
Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Taxis in San Francisco are a little more expensive than the one that you took. I think they charge by the 1/8th mile.

Glad to hear that things seem to be progressing so well. I'll keep you in my prayers.

1/23/2009 6:53 AM

 
Anonymous l-t said...

I don't know if it's the same as the "Grey Lines" that LT L is talking of, but there's also a downtown and hotel airporter that's pretty killer. A bus that leaves from several major hotels in the city, or from the downtown area, to the airport.

There's an extension that leaves from the Kitsap side that I used when I lived over there called the Kitsap Airporter. From Silverdale, it leaves from the entity formerly known as the Red Lion and takes you right to the airport. It's a 75 mile trip, takes about 2-2.5 hours, and costs $17 one way. It's pretty much the best deal in transportation out there.

1/23/2009 8:18 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYC has the best public transit of any city I've seen (including SF, DC, LA, Chicago).

It's just a matter of density - the more riders you have, the lower the fare can be while still supporting a profitable public transit system. Example - bus from JFK to Manhattan is $10 one way. If you're really cheap you can take the subway and the airport monorail for $7.

And if you're super rich you can pay $150 for a 3-minute helicopter ride...

1/23/2009 9:29 AM

 
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

Are cabs that expensive now in all major cities in the U.S.?

I live in Tallahassee, FL, and I wouldn't classify us as a "major city", but we're paying $2.50/mile. I pay about $22 for the 7.5 mile trip to the airport.

Curiously, the local bus service does not have service to the airport.

1/23/2009 1:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another option is Shuttle Express which runs vans. Cheaper than a cab with one person, but probably more expensive with 2 people ($21 each way pp). Light Rail service to the airport is scheduled to begin "late 2009," but Sound Transit doesn't have a sterling reputation for meeting deadlines.

The Kitsap Airporter is also the best way to get to McChord (Space A flights), Lewis, and Madigan.

I usually take the bus to SeaTac myself, and sometimes take the Express buses to downtown Seattle to avoid parking costs.

1/23/2009 1:13 PM

 
Blogger Sabra said...

I honestly haven't a clue how much taxis are here in San Antonio. I don't take them. I'm pretty sure they're less than $2.50/mi, though.

The bus system here is very good; it'll get you darn near anywhere in the city, with some patience. Fares just went up to $1.10 ($2.50 on the express bus), but I have a semester pass that cost $35 & runs through early June. Given that every M/W/F I take nine busses, it paid for itself within a week.

I can't say who has the best system, but I'm pretty darn sure Norfolk's ranks near the worst. It was all-but-impossible to figure out where to catch the bus, or when. Small stuff like that.

1/23/2009 6:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Portland's transportation system rocks. There are trains that take you in some important directions, and buses and trolleys everywhere else. It pretty much rocks.

1/23/2009 11:23 PM

 
Blogger reddog said...

Next time, just rent the cheapest car you can get on the internet, ahead of time, at the airport. Often you can get a deal for way under a $20 daily rate. In SoCal, sometimes it's $12. This won't work in cities like NY or Frisco, where parking fees are on a par with luxury hotel accommodations. I don't know about Stockholm on the Puget.

Even for short trips like yours, you come out ahead and save a lot of time and trouble.

Cabs are very expensive anywhere and a stranger in town can get horribly sidetracked trying to navigate an unfamiliar rapid transit system, even if it is one of the best.

1/24/2009 6:31 AM

 
Anonymous LT L said...

@reddog

Parking for that rental car is about $20 per day, more if you want to leave it overnight.

1/24/2009 2:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have taken a cab from the bwi rail station to dc for $45 when the Amtrak train was delayed 3 hrs. Its closer to 20 miles.

1/24/2009 3:52 PM

 
Anonymous subrm said...

I vote Singapore. Granted it isn't a US city, but whatever. 5 bucks gets you almost anywhere you want to (and maybe a few places you shouldn't).

1/24/2009 11:07 PM

 
Blogger Marty & Holly said...

Seatac Limo. $25 bucks from downtown to the airport. Used it many times when flying into/out of Seattle.

1/28/2009 3:42 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seatac limo # is 206-910-7228. Their fleet is primarily towncars.

1/28/2009 3:44 PM

 
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