As with most loves, it is complicated. My love for this bus has nothing to do with speed; while on the schedule a trip from downtown to the Ave takes approximately the same amount of time on the schedule as the University Bridge-bound 49, around 25 minutes, we all know that this doesn’t always play out in reality. The Montlake Bridge and traffic on Montlake Boulevard can frequently lead to long stretches sitting on this bus.
It has nothing to do with comfort. There are fewer streets in need of resurfacing as much as 23rd Avenue. The corridor project planned to overhaul it will not include any portion of the 43’s route north of John Street, so relief in this area is not in sight.
Perhaps the reason I love the 43 is because rather than heading straight through Capitol Hill via Broadway like the 49, it takes a more ambling route connecting the Hill’s neighborhoods from Olive Way and Summit Slope, to Broadway, up to the more affluent areas around 15th Ave and 19th Ave, and then onto 23rd Ave and out Capitol Hill’s backdoor into sleepy Montlake.
The main reason the 43 is my favorite bus, however, is the people on it. Everyone rides the 43: people of every socioeconomic stripe and variation. I met Rita, above, waiting for a 43 on Bellevue Ave near City Market. She told me that she has found the 43 to be very dependable recently as opposed to in the past, when it has not come on schedule. She asked us to only use her photo if she looked good in it, and we think she looks lovely.
Another reason I like the 43: There are no planned service cuts coming to this route. The 43 will likely take over quite a few 47 riders after that route is deleted in September and will become the only route serving Olive Way from Downtown. For one of the densest neighborhoods in Seattle, this is a big task. With new trolleybuses for routes like this coming next year, at least all of the buses will have air conditioning. The future looks breezy for the 43.
Previously on Bus Stop