About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1

    Reports on 2014 Cars You Won’t Get From the NWO News

    A friend recently bought both the 2014 Subaru Imprezza and Ford Focus. The Subaru burns oil and the dealer alleges it was a bad batch of rings [I looked it up on web-blogs, the intermittant Subaru oil burning, not all do, has been going on for years], the dealer won’t fix it either [$8000 repair]. The Focus automatic transmission is a new design and lurches at low RPMs; the dealer admits the transmission is a piece of junk, but won’t fix it on warranty either…they will take your 2014 as a trade though, costing you $5-10K to unload it [the 2011s didn’t have this problem BTW].

    Turbo charging is on almost all small cars made by almost all car companies recently….my advice, lease these babies and after 36,000 miles return the keys [with a can of oil that the next owner will need]…..warranty doesn’t cover oil burning turbo charged engines either.

    If you buy a new car, avoid new untried major “new/improved” component choices. Read the book on maintenance frequency too. My 2014 Charger’s old fashion 5 speed American designed automatic transmission has 120,000 miles between transmission tune ups, the German designed 8-9 speed is 50,000 miles between tuneups. My Charger has 100,000 miles spark plugs too, uses cheap 0-20 oil and runs on regular gas with ethanol too.

    A fool trusts the NWO news for car defect reporting….remember Toyota? BTW, did Toyota ever redesign their defective computer and acceleration module? I seriously doubt it.

  2. 2
    Eden says:

    I voted no, I wouldn’t get rid of my car. However I do get an employer sponsored free bus pass and that does increase my use of bus over car for many many trips. I still want the option of driving, but cheap transit does encourage me to use it when convenient (like for daily commuting).

  3. 3
    redmondjp says:

    Two two-zone peak fares on Metro: $6

    Full tank of gas for my car: $52

    Getting grazed by a bullet meant for the gang-bangers sitting in the seat behind me on the bus: priceless!



    Looks like we need more driver training (from Kiro story above):

    One Metro Transit supervisor told KIRO-7, “He did the right thing. We don’t really train on what to do when the bus is being shot at.”

  4. 4
    Kevin says:

    You forgot to add an “I already did!” Between Uber/Lift/Car2Go/Zipcar I’ve been carless in the city for over three years.

  5. 5
    Greg says:

    Captain Obvious: depends where you live/work/commute.

  6. 6
    Blurtman says:

    Going to need a quick getaway when Armageddon arrives. Used MRAP prices are coming down.

  7. 7

    RE: Blurtman @ 6

    Actually, all Used Car Prices Have Been Recently Butcher Axed Since last May

    The long 6-7 year new car loans and high milage used car garbage at near new car prices is driving the plummet. My 2011 base Charger was $22k used [I paid $22.6k new] last May when I traded it off at a dealer for like $20k, last I heard its Blue Book is now $14k [it was $19k]….LOL

    Better move fast, the amount of recent new car leases [turbo charged?…LOL] has spiked lately and that saturates the used car market far worse very fast….

  8. 8

    I rode the bus as my daily commute for years. Now I have different needs. It is not about cheaper/more expensive. The car is the only way to take care of some transportation needs. If there were a less expensive way to be transported in the same amount of time to the same places with the same gear, people, etc. I would use it, but there really is no other option for lots of things I need to do. Now if you are just talking about the daily commute and a lifestyle that keeps you in a walkable neighborhood, that is a different story. If the internet (which is a system of tubes, according to one of our dear departed senators) could transport me and my family and stuff instantly everywhere for pennies a trip, well…..sign me up!

  9. 9
    wreckingbull says:

    I rode KC Metro for almost ten years. My life improved the moment I stopped doing this. I will admit that my route was one of the more nasty routes though. I’ll never forget that signature composite smell of dirt, dead skill cells, and urine.

    That was a while back. It actually appears to be worse now. Same old stench, but now with violence!

  10. 10
    David B. says:

    First, “the alternatives” would have to exist, period. I mostly use my personal vehicle for escaping to the mountains and hiking/camping. There’s really not very much transit service to National Forest trailheads at all, and what RVs are available for rental tend to all be big behemoths that I’d neither want to drive nor pay to fuel.

    Last I checked (about five years ago when I decided to buy my small pickup truck), if you wanted to have access to a camper van or a pickup+canopy, you had to own it. Nobody was renting such things.

  11. 11
    ChrisM says:

    It appears new cars now spy on you: http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/09/04/car-isnt/ so I’m not sure what the incentive is to buy a new car…

  12. 12
    enatailurker says:

    I vote no, but only because I have young children. School schedules plus scouts plus emergency pediatrician visits–it would be really tough without a car, even if we were in the urban core. But I would love to go back to a no car life when the kids are grown and we move to a dense part of Seattle. We use already use buses, bikes, and occasional rentals to manage life with one car for a family of 4.

  13. 13
    Azucar says:

    For me, it’s not about the cost of the alternatives… it’s about the convenience.

    If the poll was “Would you give up your car if the alternatives were more convenient?” I might answer yes, but there is too much that I do with my car that would take so much longer if I tried to use alternatives.

    I guess if by the “alternatives” you mean taking taxi’s everywhere I need to go that normal public transportation is less convenient than my car (i.e. doesn’t take a roughly direct route with at least 4x per hour frequency), at a cost that is comparable to driving myself, maybe my answer would be yes. But it would have to be more convenient than taxi service usually is in Seattle (i.e. I would need to reliably be able to easily flag one down anywhere in town or my neighborhood).

  14. 14
    Macro Investor says:

    Park and rides are always full to capacity. So most people drive to take the bus/train. Ironic.

    Walkable neighborhoods are the most expensive in terms of housing cost. Poor people don’t do this.

    The light rail is dog slow. This doomed it from the start. One time I tried to use it to go downtown. I waited so long for the next train, I would have missed my appointment. So I got in my car and easily made it on time. They should have elevated the entire route so it could go fast. I’m convinced it was just a political decision to have it go down MLK drive. Hardly anyone can use it because there’s little parking… but hey, at least a street was improved. The bums can urinate next to a $30 billion road now.

  15. 15

    By Macro Investor @ 14:

    The light rail is dog slow.

    For reasons I don’t fully understand, a monorail is even worse. That’s why all the people in the industry and government were against Seattle’s plans to extend the monorail. But if you’ve ever ridden it at Disneyworld/Disneyland, you’ll notice it’s not even a good way to go relatively short distances. The downtown to Space Needle trip is just about perfect for a monorail–and also close to the maximum distance/number of stops.

  16. 16
    The Tim says:

    By Macro Investor @ 14:

    The light rail is dog slow. This doomed it from the start.

    I’ve taken it from downtown to the airport before and yeah, it’s crazy how long it takes.

    And they haven’t learned their lesson, either. Looks like the north end route is going to have a 3-mile detour just for Boeing. If that ever ends up being built I can almost guarantee the already-existing 510 bus will be a faster way to get from Everett to downtown in all but the worst of traffic.

  17. 17

    RE: The Tim @ 16 – And they went cheap in the south end–ground level. I suspect that slows their maximum speed though that area, even when the system isn’t stopped due to having hit a car.

    On the topic of Seattle’s failed monorail project, back when we lived in Seattle we had three older vehicles, so we didn’t get hit too hard by that tax. But a neighbor had newer vehicles, including a large new motorhome. I’d hate to think how much money of theirs was wasted by the voters of the City of Seattle.

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