Seattle's Crappiest Bus Route



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i think the #358 can be worse than all of those and i've ridden them all. isn't that the one they had to rename after that driver got shot and the bus careened off the aurura bridge ?
Seriously, the 8 is the absolute worst. If you're planning on making a connection, you can bet on being late wherever you're going. And if you're trying to get up the hill, you can expect a 20 minute walk from the bus stop, because it's not coming any time soon.

More often than not, I wound up watching it speed by, full of passengers and not taking any more, because it runs on some ridiculous 45 minute interval.

"Stop your fucking whining and just get on the damn bus"
Great advice if there's actually a bus to take. With the 8, don't count on that.
Yeah, I was just about to say OneBusAway. I use it every time I need to take a bus trip.
Also, it takes about 15-20mins to bike to the office from Easy Street Records.
@1 beat me to it.
One Bus Away is so accurate that sometimes I miss the bus because I'm used to late buses and don't hustle to be there when OneBusAway tells me to.
@2 is right. clearly you've never been on the 358
The 8's timeliness aside, I can't RAIL on it (had to) terribly much - it's one of the few district-to-district buses in Seattle that doesn't go through the U or the Downtown core.

If there was a Capitol Hill <-> Ballard bus that ran half as well as the 8 (and I'm not including the sometimes-goes-to-Ballard-43/44, which is about as indirect as you can get without being outright silly), I'd be fucking ecstatic. Bu no, logical bus routes and service after 2 am when we want drunks off of the fucking road - too much to ask for.

Given that, I can't get too terribly pissed about the fact that it takes anywhere between five minutes and 30 years to get one bus from First and Mercer to Aurora and Denny.
Ooh! I used to take the 358 once a week when I was taking violin lessons up on Aurora. The most delightful bit was when a man asked me about the violin and I explained that my mom had taken lessons when she was a kid, blah blah blah. Speaks up another gentleman at top volume, "FUCK YOUR MAMA!"

In his defense, when I made some shocked response like "No, She's a nice lady, really!" he was like "oh, uhhh okay."
@1--I was using One Bus Away's kick-ass iPhone app, actually. It was telling me the 8 was five minutes away, which is why I tried to make that transfer.
The #3/#4 is the WORST bus I have ever taken in my life. Starting in the Ride Free Zone it picks up the most drunk, high, smelly, dirty, freeloaders who take it to the jail, the bail bondsmen, the courthouse, the Harborview methadone clinic, and then on to the central district to buy the day's stash of meth and crack. I have been vomited on, spit on, hit on, slept on and screamed at in Korean on these buses and they are pretty much the only option to get up the hill to Harborview unless you live out in Shoreline and can take the express 303. The acceptable alternative that goes from dt to Hview runs for about an hour in the morning and an hour at night. No joke. Has anyone else not experienced the terrors of the 3/4?
You should get slapped with a bum's wet wool sweater for not mentioning the worst one of all- of course everyone has been mentioning it- the 6 (remember that?) aka the 358 route.
Queen Anne has astonishingly poor bus service for being adjacent to downtown, especially after 7pm or so.
I vote for the 358. You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
15 ...

i just took the 8 from mt baker transit center to top of capitol hill. not a bad route except for the thoroughly idiotic left turn at MLK/Jackson where it makes a loop over to 23rd, then cuts back up to MLK a block later and makes a left turn against heavy traffic. adds at least 5 minutes to the journey. no point to that milk run.

@1, @10, etc: onebusaway does not use GPS data. Metro coaches aren't using GPA (yet). The data is based off of odometer readings which get sent back to the base. That is why the arrival information may not be correct (i.e. if a bus is on a re-route, etc.).
Also, you kids are lucky the the #8 now runs every 15 minutes during peak hours from downtown to cap hill. Until recently it was every 30 minutes.

It was scheduled to run every 15 minutes during midday hours in Feb '10 or so, but maybe that has been scraped due to budget cuts.

Also, did you know that yelp has bus route reviews?…

Yeah, the 3/4 is pretty horrifying. I didn't vote because I haven't tried enough routes in the city, but I did immediately think of the 3 as the worst bus route I personally have been on.

That said, I live very near the 8's route over Cap Hill and into Madison Valley, and since I ride the 43 pretty much exclusively, I should see the 8 all the time (since they share most of the route). I don't. I never see the 8, and if I do, it's from the opposite direction. I pity the suckers who need to ride it and have no other option.
Three. Five. Eight. The Riz is right, (359) except any bus that leaves the confines of downtown does not exist in The Strangers lexicon.
@1, @4, @6, & @10, your fancy phone app is USELESS if you're at the very start of the route (Lower Queen Anne, in the #8's case). It will always say that it's on-time. Seriously, how a bus like that can be 15 minutes late 10 blocks from its starting point is beyond me...
The 8 has never let me down going to Seattle Center, but going to Cap. Hill, it's always a crap shoot.
I once had a bus pull up to the stop in front of the hamburger stand showing it as going to base. It sat there for about a minute without opening the door, then as it pulled away it changed it's number to an 8.
Even with that experience, I picked the 48, because it is unacceptable to wait for an hour for a bus while 4 buses pass you at rush hour with going to base signs. Then 2 48's show up at once. And that happened far too many times for it to be a fluke.
The #3/#4 is THE WORST route IN THE WORLD.

Why wasn't included in the poll?
It's so obvious this poll is fixed since it doesn't include the 358.
@16 - odometer readings? ugh, i at least thought it was radio transponders - that's why i thought you were screwed if your bus went off it's route for any reason - it doesn;t pass an assigned transponder.

i sure hope they get the gps system up and running in 2010. bustracker drives me nuts.
Why is the 44 even on this list? It runs on time and often.
how could you soulless hipsters neglect the ghetto sled express itself: the harbinger of hoodrats, mallcrawlers and dime-bag selling gangsters to the downtown of our great city - the 150.

You haven't lived til you've ridden the 358 to and from work everyday for 3 years. The 8 is a fucking trip through the park in comparison.
@17 The recent doubling of service on the 8 should demonstrate to luddite Seattle transit planners (if they'd bother to pay attention) how useless it is to expand service without fixing everything else that's wrong with the route and/or system (stop placement, light coordination, drivers with some sort of genetic defect that renders them indifferent to making the light).
i think the two lines that run to sea tac airport and federal way. the 176 and the 196? would put any seattle route to shame in terms of rowdiness, specially when they hit pac highway. fuggetabout it. at night its a shuttle for prostitutes, dealers and broke pimps. in seatlle, it use to be the 42, the 42 made the 7 look like euro rail.

but now that the 42 has been replaced by the #8 is not as bad except at night when the wee thugs ride it up and down MLK. you actually ride the 8 on the ez part of the run. though i have not taken it as much cuz we now have light rail, like i said it can be pretty chaotic at night.
The 358 belongs in this poll. The 44 and the 48 do not. There is literally no fucking comparison to the badness that is the 7, except for the 358.

Oh, and what about the 174? the non-freeway bus route between SeaTac and downtown. I suppose it's rendered moot by the new light rail, but seriously - the most uncomfortable I have ever been on a bus was the 174.
The 44 (between Ballard and the U-Dist) may not be the worst route, but there is often weirdness associated with it. First, it takes a looong time to travel between 45th/UWay and Ballard. Install a streetcar or light rail already. Secondly, a number of sketchy people can often be found on the route. I think I saw my first open use of drugs on a bus while on a 44 (by a guy sitting in the seats right behind the driver). The 44 gives buses a bad name.

And if I recall correctly, this bus driver was driving a 44:…
so its 174 and not 176. thats the one though. ive taken that one at night. now its not a bus in philly going through germantown avenue, but it hold its own as far as a bad experience.
Ahh the 358. Interesting interactions between passengers on this line. I've been on it when the driver got out of his chair and ran up and down the entire length of the bus spraying air freshener once a particularly ripe homeless guy go off.

Another entertaining incident. Only time I've seen a driver physically remove a passenger--a completely broken down homeless alcoholic in a wheelchair with only three wheels. I don't know what the guy said to the driver, but it came close to a fist fight when he 86ed the guy.

And none of this happened in the free zone.
Worst bus rides in town can be had on the 358 and 174 in that order.
On a side note... at one of the debates for City Council candidates, non-stranger-endorsee Jesse Israel made a cogent, well-researched, logical argument that the Mercer Street Fix, while and easy political whipping-boy, should be viewed less as a beautification project and more as a long-overdue shift from Seattle's bottleneck-plagued "arterial/non-arterial" design philosophy to one that emphasizes traffic-diffuses (parallel through streets). With Denny as the only true east-west arterial, it gets the worst of the traffic, and the #8 fares worst of all.

But now we get another term of Nick "liberal-on-paper-but-would-never-bother-to-do-reasearch-for-the-purpose-of-achieving-actual-progress-because-that-wouldn't-be-the-Seattle-way" Licata.
no mention of the 174 or the 358? both those buses are easily 10 times worse than anything i've experienced on capitol hill or the UD.
i could bike from queen anne to cap hill in about 15 minutes. even in the worst of traffic

get a fucking bike, stop complaining.
174 & 358 should be considered the South & North versions of the same route, aka the 99 MilkRun. The 358 is the only route (in some 8k+ bus trips) that I've seen a passenger booted for swearing. It should also be noted that those routes have only rookie drivers, as the seniority system keeps the older survivors on safer routes.
Never taken the 7 or 8, though I have waited for many a 44 that never showed. Given the provenance of the passengers, it might be the most germ-infested route going.
I am a daily passenger, btw, on the pristine yuppie confines of the 17. Just riding this bus makes me feel like I'm oppressing the less fortunate. But it sure is a relatively pleasant experience.
ride your bike.
The 358 and 174 certainly suck, but don't qualify. 'Cause it's Worst Bus In The City, and those go outside The City.
I was riding the #2 a couple of years ago when I got punched in the head for no apparent reason (if I was doing something provocative, I instantly forgot about it when my head bounced off the seat in front of me). So, while I'm sure there are worse buses out there, that's my least favorite.
The 43 should be included, if only because it gets held up by the boat traffic at the University Bridge, just like the 44. Also, the 43 just seems to take way too long. Perhaps it should be re-routed.
I've never been on the 7, but I used to ride the 48 and 358 regularly. Both were horrible for different reasons.

The 358 had drunk people getting into fights, meth addicts a plenty, and a homeless guy who put his headphones on my head while he was sitting behind me because he wanted me to "hear the boss." I'm still not sure if he was talking about Springsteen or the person giving him coded messages through his tape deck.

The 48 would usually show up as a pair of 48's, one twenty five minutes late, the other only ten. Both would be packed well beyond capacity doing the leapfrog thing. When it's rainy and cold out, it was like an extremely crowded sauna in there because they blast hot air at you and all the windows fog up as humidity passes approximately 900%.

Route 16 was quite decent considering how terrible its neighbors were.
@38 & @41: Not everyone on earth has a lifestyle that allows them to dress for biking all the time or take a bike everywhere they go. When well you self-righteous pricks get it through your heads that bicycles are NOT a replacement for a functional transit system? (P.S. Can we take those cumbersome and time-wasting racks off the front of the buses since you have no interest in using them?)
I love all the routes listed, because even though they may be late, they get me where I need to go. And ever since onebus I haven't had a problem with the 8.

The only one I have a problem with is the 48 on Saturday afternoon/evenings, when it's being driven by Slow Man. Then even onebus is useless, because it can't factor in the ridiculous slowness of this man's driving.

Riding a bike on Denny is suicide.
@46- If you're going to bitch about wait times (inevitable with mass transit) then there are about three alternatives: bike, walk, or car. Cars are wicked expensive, walking is wicked slow, and biking is totally awesome. Downtown to Cap Hill in half an hour does not require fancy clothes or a high fitness level.

Seattle has a functional transit system, it's not world class but at least it exists.

I use the racks every morning to cross the 520 bridge.
I remember the time some fat fuck sat next to me on the 358 and told me he could smash my head if he wanted to. And he could, the guy was over 6 feet tall and had at least 100 pounds on me. Fortunately he just got off at 85th; I don't know how I would have gotten around him if he was still on by the time I got to my stop (100th).

Nonetheless, I kept riding the bus and seldom saw anything like that unless I was riding at midnight.

When well you self-righteous pricks get it through your heads that bicycles are NOT a replacement for a functional transit system?

Never. That's what makes them self-righteous pricks.

That said, the 8 is awful. It's either 4 minutes early or 7 minutes late. There's really no need for a timetable when it comes to the 8.
@ 42, that's weak reasoning. The 174 and 358 both run from downtown to beyond the city limits, and probably cover more in-city mileage than most of the routes on this poll. Obviously all the comments about it should tell you that you're wrong to exclude them.

@ Reverend Doctor DJ Riz, the renumbering happened too quickly after the bus driver was shot for that to have been the reason - it was just a month or two later. Remember, they rolled up the 6 and the 359 Express into one route, meaning that the 358 wasn't precisely the same as either the 359 or the 6. All that stuff works at a crawl, so they must have been working on combining the routes for a year or longer.
I used to ride the 8, now I walk. It takes about 5 minutes more for me from capitol hill to seattle center, sometimes it's faster to walk. It's always faster to walk the other way. I don't think it's so much that the 8 sucks, it's that denny sucks.
have you ever seen someone shit themselves while pissing themselves while puking themselves. i have. the horror of the 358 is without end. i have tried to come up with a name for the triple treat that i witnessed, but the best i can come up with is a 'lahar'. any suggestions?
@49 (who called waits "inevitable with mass transit"): I came from an American city (no, not New York) where waiting more than 9 minutes for any mode of transit, or any major route, was highly exceptional. People tended to get irritable if a 10th minute went by. Here, that's inconceivable.

You say, "at least it exists," and you are correct. But when you call it "functional," you are wrong. That most of this city's residents still own cars -- and elect to use them for all but direct home-to-work commuting -- proves you wrong.

Metro needs to IMMEDIATELY dump all slow, cumbersome, circuitous routes and pour all of the extra bus hours into making the routes that actually work TRULY frequent. Walking distances will necessarily increase, but overall travel times (walking to stop + bus ride itself) will decrease dramatically.

And yes, of course the bike racks provide a necessary service for cross-lake commuting. But the bike-loading process adds minutes to ANY bus ride within the city, and the smugness of bicyclists who aren't actually using their holy mode of transit can be blinding.

(Side note: are bicyclists really still bitching about the "hazards" of light-rail and streetcar tracks? Will someone please tell them that Amsterdam -- the #1 bicycling city in the developed world -- has myriad streetcar lines. This city is overrun with the discourse of the ill-informed!)
I too have waited many times for the #8 at the Kidd Valley bus stop at Lower Queen Anne (right at the beginning of the route) and not had it show up. I imagine now that they've expanded the route there's even more of a chance it will be late getting back to QA and therefore late starting its route anew.

The 44 is only bad around 5pm in the UDistrict when you have to cram on with the UW crowd and then crawl through Wallingford. It feels like an eternity has passed before you reach Stone Way.

I also agree with many here that the 174 and 358 are truly depressing.
The 3 and the 4 are my least favorite, but I don't get around the city much. I like the 2. I think of it as "my bus."
The 3 & 4 through First Hill are a joke.

Faster to walk - even up the hill!
@24: oh, yeah, there are transponders or whatever. So if a bus doesn't pass one then there's no accurate data in the system, etc.
Oh, one more thing about the 358. I don't know if it's still true now, but when I lived in north Seattle (99-03) there were many times that three, or even four of those buses would be traveling together in a little cluster, even though they were scheduled 8 minutes apart. One bus would be packed like a can of spam, while the others had almost nobody on and they'd skip past the first one while it picked up still more passengers from crowded stops like 46th. That was a virtually routine occurrence during the morning rush hour.
I don't even know why the 44 is on here, clearly the author hasn't ridden the death match 174 or the stinky bum filled crazy people 358... Made the mistake of catching the 174 from an exhausting flight home and let me tell you I was amazed at the lack of needed police presence on this bus route. The 358 by far always stinks, and always has bats@*t crazy folks on it.
Why's the 44 on the list? It's actually a pretty good bus! It runs frequently at all times and it's usually on time. The 48 isn't really that bad, either.

And why's the 5 not on the list? I don't think the 5 through Greenwood has ever been on time, not even once.
One ride on the #358 Aurora Crack Crazy Train Prostitute Express will make a ride on the 7,8,44,48 seem like a little slice of heaven.
OMG, I absolutely agree with "Better a late bus than one filled with thugs and crack heads" - #3 and #4 hands down are the worst bus routes, and you can walk faster up the hill than the bus can travel! Just in time for swine flu and the cold/flu season - I am NOT taking the #3 or #4 bus!!!
@55: I used to live in Boston, which had a better transit system than Seattle by far, and you still had to wait half an hour sometimes because buses/trains break down, traffic happens, crazy people refuse to behave and the cops have to get involved, etc... You have to compromise if you are going to share a transportation resource with a few thousand other people. With a bike, not compromises, you can get to almost anywhere almost anytime.

The Seattle transit system is burdened with too many bus routes designed to serve the rest of King County, not enough buses during rush hour on some very popular routes, and no real subway/trolley/light rail network. Which sucks.

If you want to talk about car ownership rates, I'd say the biggest difference between Seattle and Boston is that Seattle also has WAY more parking, making car ownership a lot more attractive. If you lived within the Boston city limits, not only were you probably a short walk from a decently active bus route, you probable had to fight for on-street parking or pay a large premium for an off street spot. Seattle has these nice wide streets with unrestricted parking on both sides of the road, and it seems like most of the houses/apartments/condos outside of a few exceptionally dense areas have a parking spot out front.

And to top it all off, I'm not saying biking is the solution to all transit problems, just Garret MucCulloch's issue of the day.
Three Fifty-Eight! Three Fifty-Eight! Three Fifty-Eight! Goes right by my house.

The loss of the six was severe for me, as it went down Stone Way just long enough to take me close to door-to-door, whereas now it stops on Aurora at 45th, which means it takes longer than walking the whole way does. I drive!
God, the 358 sucks. On the flipside, let me take a moment to say that I dig the 5 -- its drivers, its ridership, its timeliness. Three cheers for the 5.
@27. The 150? Really? It's not nearly as adventurous as the 101. Even the 101 wouldn't get my nomination.
The 7 is Crack
The 358 is Meth
The 174 is PCP
Second place is a toss up between the 3, the 4, the 358, and the 120.
Hands down worst is the 174. I call it the 'dreg hauler'. As in the dregs of humanity.
The 43/44 has it's moments partially due to the length of the route and the fact that it has to go down 45th, and it is the only bus I've been robbed on, but it's not that bad most of the time.
Both the 5 and the 16 seem interminable the way they slowly wind their way north.
I agree with @68, the 150 is downright pleasant compared to most bus routes. Smelly people are rare, and crazies are almost non-existent.

I wonder how bad the 174 is now though, since it doesn't come up to downtown anymore. Never used it, so I have no idea.
BTW, @14 wins for the reference.
Commuted on the 174 to work and back for a year in the early 90's. I got to work early/got off mid-day, so it was never prime shenanigan hours, but it still sucked.
Sam @67: yes, the 5 is great. It's a bit of hike, and it takes longer to get downtown, but it's always a better option than the 358.
I rode the 358 to commute for a substantial portion of last year. It did not smell good, and I witnessed alcohol consumption pretty regularly. OTOH, I rode the 174 once, and it smelled worse than the 358 ever had, was more standing room only, and I saw a homeless man with the worst toenail growth problem I have ever seen. Hi big toenail was 1/3 inch thick, yellowed, and extending almost an inch past the rest of his filthy feet. I've ridden the 358 hundreds of times, and I'm voting for the 174.
Not a contest. The 7 is the consistent winner for personal danger, infection risk, and slower-than-walking progress.
358 all the way! Drunks, crackheads, fights, dogs (nice and otherwise), screaming kids - you name it, the 358 has it. The 174 is a close second.
about 3 weeks ago an old black woman got mad at me for sitting in the front of the bus beside her and called me a 'nigger'.. i said 'what?'..she said.. ' you ain't got noun bidness sittin up here. onliest peoples should sit here is old peoples and ladies....muthafucka....' i said 'what?' she said ' i oughta get my son in law out here to kick yo ass'..i go ' why are you cussin at me like that? too old to be cussin like that.. as old as you are,i had figgered you for a church lady'..she muttered 'fuck you nigger' i said ' do you talk like that in church ?do you talk to god with that mouth ? and that shut her down...
#358 good times..
Before they broke it up this past season, the 174 rivaled the 358.

The 8 not only isn't bad, it isn't even necessary. If you're concerned about time, hop a bus Downtown (the 10, 11, 12, 14, 43 or 49 depending on where you're at) and connect there. Going to Interbay/LQA/Ballard? Hop the 15 or 18. Going up QA hill? Hop the 2, 3, 4, or 13. Going to SLU? Hop the 16, 66 or 70. Don't rely on the 8 if you find it unreliable. But it certainly isn't the worst route.
@ #40, the 17 was the loveliest bus I ever rode in my life. Clean. Quiet. Smelled like Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. OK, that last one might be a stretch but it was heaven compared to the usual Rolling Drug Deal I ride through this town.
the 14. definitely. always always at least fifteen minutes late.
notice how 3/4 of those buses service the CD and south end? of course.
The city has never cared much about that route. It took heroic amounts bitching to get them to add the route in the first place.
The city has never cared much about that route. It took heroic amounts bitching to get them to add the route in the first place.
Riz @78, that's a 358 story if I ever heard one. You've made my day (well, that and Ref. 71).

And people wonder why people drive instead.
In the 48's defense, I used to ride it from the Ave to Greenwood every night, around 11. One of the 48 night drivers was Carlos, cheery, attentive, and who instructed riders, "You be safe now," as they disembarked. He was a great driver, worth writing a letter to Metro, and it's possible that I skipped the other 48 sometimes just to be on his bus.

That was five years ago. Anybody know if he's still driving?
routes #3 and #4 have traumatized me in some way each time I've had the misfortune of needing to take one of them. as kurtz gasped, the horror! the horror!

never again.
holy smokes i'm grateful i ride the 76.
Haven't lived in Seattle for over a year, but I had some fine memories of the 358. The 7 could be a doozy too, until my usual stretch of it was replaced by the 49 - a fine route whose only flaw was its tendency to give up and stop running the second a snowflake hit the ground.
@55 I fell on the SLUT tracks :( My knee is still fucked up. JUST SAYIN'.

Okay, you guys make me really glad I live in S.Seattle. The 107 and 153 are amazing. The drivers recognize me by name, smile (at midnight or 8am), and joke with me to my stop. They stop for people who are running to their stops, do special request drops, yet stay on time throughout. And the riders are just normal people - students and a variety of people just going to and from work.

After reading these comments I may buy all the riders and drivers flowers tomorrow.

@89: I'm sorry about your knee (truly!), but honestly, tens of thousands of Dutch people do it every single day. (I think the key is to cross them at a 90-degree angle, and if you're heading in the north-south direction, just take a parallel street, of which there are many.)
I know that now!! I felt really dumb about it but it seems everyone falls at least once on the tracks and NEVER do it again.

My knee thanks you for your kind words.
131 anyone? slowest, most meandering route i know. over an hour from burien transit center to dwntwn, or vice versa. and i have ridden metro daily for the past 3-4 years. on no less than 15 different routes. as for filth rides, i have to agree with the sentiments on 358, 3, 4,and 7.
The best route used to be the 10. Now its faster to walk between 15th Ave and Downtown. Sometimes it doesn't show up at all, which never used to happen.

The worst routes in the morning are all the Downtown to Cap Hill routes. They get clogged to capacity by SCC kids who can't stand the 5 block walk from Downtown. Makes all the routes too late to count on.
The 5 shouldn't be on this list. It's mostly great, but sometimes AWFUL.. through no fault of anyone except that occasionally many, MANY old people with wheelchairs in Greenwood will position themselves every stop for 10 blocks to get on and off, delaying the 5 by about 25 minutes alone. (I know I know, I will be one of these old people in wheelchairs one day, so I'm not complaining, please don't get all "U iz ECB" on me. But Greenwood can be a trap for endless handicap ramp operation, especially heading to downtown)

Out of these choices, I choose the 7.... only for this reason: on the way to Columbia City from downtown, it's fine. One the way back to downtown at night, it's fine too, except so many fucking assholes driving alongside try to cut off the 7 bus as a sport of some kind -- causing the driver to slam on the breaks. It happened twice in a row when I rode it. The driver one time saw it coming, slammed on the breaks, laughed and said "Fifth time this week!" Jesus Christ!

Unpaid Intern mentioned that 174 and 358 don't qualify because they exit Seattle at times. I think that's just a dodge, IMHO. But perhaps they were left off because these two were just so fucking obvious!

I DO propose a 174 vs. 358 showdown poll! C'mon Unpaid Intern, the ultimate Worst Metro Bus World Series needs a venue.
I sort of love the 358, even though it's the worst. I always end up standing, because I don't ride for very long, but it's definitely one of those buses where I pretend to listen to music but don't because CRAZY PEOPLE. Also, there is a lady driver who always cusses, which is fun.
The main problems with the #8 (which is VERY necessary, thank you very much) is that Denny is a bitch of a street and Metro needs to use the bigger articulated buses on the busy morning and evening commutes...oh, and drivers who KNOW the route and all the tricks to manuever through it...more than once I've snapped at east bound drivers to get out of the right hand lane as you approach Stewart...also, give permission to drivers to ram cars that block Denny because they're so damned desperate to get on I-5...i hate those motherfuckers!
I ride the 8 every day, going from Capitol Hill to Queen Anne (and back) and I have no idea what you are talking about. The bus is typically relatively punctual -- a few minute delays here and there but nothing nuts -- and the ride itself is less than 20 minutes in even the most extreme circumstances. What traffic is the bus getting stuck in?

Start riding it every day and you'll realize that it's nuts to compare the 8 to any of those other routes.
I was getting tired of riding the 358 every day in 2001, so I was talking to a co-worker about carpooling. Next morning I get on the bus an at the last stop before the bridge a 6 foot tall woman with red spiked hair is the last one on the bus. 830 in the morning. She announce to the packed bus full of commuters that "it smells like fuckin crank on this bus". Suddenly the full aisle parts like the red sea, and I get a full view. 3 teeth, nails through the shoulder pads of the leather jacket and built like Lawrence Taylor. She stomps to my seat and says "can I sit in yur seat?" at top volume. She smelled Iike a mix of all the cleaning products under my sink and sweat. I was carpooling the next day.
Dwight @ 65, if you’re still reading this thread:

I lived in Boston for most of my life, so of course I know that bitching about the T is a civic sport. But expectations are relative -- I used to abhor waiting for the orange line at night or on Sunday; 14 minutes is so atypically infrequent in Boston that it felt like an eternity. Now I would kill for anything in Seattle to come at regular 14-minute intervals. Trust me, make a return visit and see the T through the lens of your King County Metro experiences, and you will be mystified as to why you ever used to complain about it.

Despite the T’s issues (drowning in debt, worrisome maintenance backlog, general spitefulness towards its own customers), it accomplishes things the benign incompetents at K.C. Metro can’t even seem to envision. They recently fixed the bunching issues on the 1, 39, 66, 57, 77, etc. by placing extra buses mid-route, ready to go on a moment’s notice if the other ones start to bunch. (Metro, meanwhile, has drivers twiddling their thumbs on 35-minute layovers for each hour of driving.) Oh, and just last week, the T installed a stop-gap fix to that Silver Line lunacy: they put new bus lanes on Essex and Kneeland Streets and added a South Station branch to the Dudley line (without reducing existing Downtown Crossing service at all). They conceived, planned, environmentally reviewed, repaved, and began service in a matter of months!

Meanwhile, Metro squandered most of its “Transit Now” (transit when?) money beefing up frequencies on routes so inefficient (the 8) or circuitous (the 75, the fucking 25) that increased frequencies mean little. And I’m still waiting for my laughable “Rapid Ride” from Ballard, still in the no-specifics planning stages -- although the plan for the West Seattle one shows 15-minute-ish intervals, and 30 after 10 PM (“So frequent you won’t need a schedule,” claims Metro).

You are absolutely correct in your analysis of what makes car ownership/use more or less attractive: the difficulty or expense of parking is a far greater deterrent than traffic. But Seattle’s push for density has come with minimum-parking requirements for new residences but no significant improvement in Metro, and those new residents are driving to their destinations. Capitol Hill now has a Harvard Square-level of parking difficulty, and Metro’s lousy Capitol Hill service is a huge part of that problem. (Yes, the mile from downtown is an easy walk, but it can be hard for many to justify a 35-minute bus ride + a 15-minute walk when the whole trip can be 12 minutes in car.)

Metro’s plan seems to be incremental improvement with none of the desperately-needed introspection about why it is so inefficient and unattractive to elective riders. It really needs rebuilding from the ground up: better routings, much greater frequency on those routes, a change to layover policy, an incentive to use a faster method of payment (institute a fare discount for ORCA, as Boston did, and eliminate paper transfers), a standardized policy for use of the back door (for starters, fucking use it), extensive driver retraining (if everyone in the right lane is turning right and blocked by pedestrians, get out of the right lane), replacement of as many high-floor buses (trolleybuses especially) as possible, new interiors with the oversized seats replaced with some standing/walking room to speed entry/exit, and some sort of vehicle-cleaning department (this currently doesn’t exist; thus the years-old grime/vomit stains/seat graffiti).

And, frankly, the city of Seattle needs to stop buying Metro passes for the homeless. I’d be in favor of twice-a-day vouchers to get to and from shelter beds and service centers, but it’s supposed to be a transit system; the city shouldn’t be using it as a homeless shelter.
I can't remember which downtown bus it was that I rode once a week a few years back, there was a lady driver I will always remember who would read a book while stopped at red lights, and she would grumble/curse at people getting on and off the bus as soon as they got out of earshot.