Most of the big light-rail related bus changes don’t occur till September, but the June service change (actually in effect Saturday, May 30) still has tons of important changes.  Both Metro and Sound Transit (pdf) are doing these.  Highlights:

  • New Route 578 operates as a partial “Sounder shadow” providing off-peak service to many South Sounder stations.
  • One more South Sounder round trip; many new ST Express trips as a result of Prop. 1 passing last year.
  • The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will be open 20 hours a day, 6 days a week, and 18 hours on Sundays.  This affects all of the tunnel routes and matches Link’s operating schedule.
  • The Burien Transit Center opens, affecting tons of routes.
  • New bay assignments at South Sammamish P&R, Bellevue Transit Center, Aurora Village Transit Center, and Houghton P&R.
  • Route changes for 554, 555, 556, 5, 21E, 64, 66, 67, 210, 306, 308, 312, and 358.

51 Replies to “Service Changes Start Next Saturday”

    1. We’ve waited almost 20 years for that facility to be used efficiently – at last!

    2. I’m always taking the 71/2/3 so I’m really excited to be able to wait in the tunnel after Mariners games and such! And excited to get off the bus and on Link without going anywhere!

    3. Hooray! Seamless transfer between Link and tunnel buses. Less confusion for non-frequent riders and tourists.


      ORCA card readers are on the mezzanine level meaning a transfer between tunnel bus and Link require going up a level to tap in and down to the platform again.

      1. I wonder if they thought of that? I saw the new readers on the Westlake mezzanine and thought it was strange that they weren’t on the platform. I wonder if they’ll eventually just install them on the trains.

      2. They (ST and ORCA) are going to have to scurry quickly to correct this. It would be extremely unfortunate if they started off by pissing people off because of this oversight. Can a mess of ORCA readers be installed on the platforms quickly? Please!! Let’s not be stoopid like some other cities we could name, but rather be as smart as we know we are!

  1. I haven’t been downtown recently. Is Metro and ST blanketing downtown bus stops with notices about the change in tunnel hours? Every single above ground bus stop that serves as a stop for routes when the tunnel is closed should have a notice. If it doesn’t, then Metro and ST have dropped the ball.

    1. Geez, Sam, don’t you think you should let the agencies do the work before you launch into criticism?

    2. There are signs pasted to some of the major route boards down town that say “RIDER ALERT – TUNNEL OPEN”. But they aren’t very informative beyond that.

    3. Yes. Metro posted RIDER ALERTs saying New Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel Hours with sufficient info.

    4. Metro seems to be quite good at updating stops with the routes they newly or no longer serve at each service change. At a minimum, I assume the tunnel bus routes would be removed from the above-ground stops. When they split the 74 local and express into the 30 and 74, the sign changes I saw were flawless. (And it’s rare I think that about anything Metro does)

  2. They’ve started posting rider alerts in the bus stops.

    Why does ST think it’s ok to introduce a service with 1 trip?

    1. I was just disappointed that the extra 577 trips weren’t added during this shakeup. But with the lack of money, I’m not too surprised.

  3. Does this include Convention Place Station??

    And apart from the guards on the platforms, is there any way from keeping the bums and transients from peeing in the Elevators? Especially the ones that access the street far away from the main entrances (like the one at Frederick’s or the one built into the Mc Donalds at Westlake?)

    1. According to the 550 schedule, Convention Place Station will be open late. The buses need a place to turn around, after all.

  4. If the transit tunnel is to become rail only after the completion of university link, what is going to happen with Convention Place Station? Will they close it or use it for something else?

    1. Would they be able to turn trains at CPS with all the extra space?

      1. One of the reasons trains don’t go to CPS now is because of its (relatively) high elevation.

    2. Sell it for the lucrative property development. Or better yet just lease it out like the UW does with its old campus in downtown Seattle.

      1. It was the site of the proposed convention center expansion but they were going to build on top of it. Leads me to believe that there will still be a use for it since they weren’t talking about demolishing it.

      2. The express lanes exit/entrance there makes it useful for buses going/coming north.

    3. I’d bet on a consolidation of layover space. Existing layover spots on Blanchard St & Lenora St could be moved there. Since the overhead wire is still somewhat intact (I think), they may even be able to put trolleys there. Buses could come in on 9th and exit the flyover ramp to either Terry or Olive like we do now. Maybe even lease some of the space to CT so they can stop laying over on Stewart Street.

    4. I liked the idea brought up on this blog for turning it into a streetcar barn, with the Convention Center on top.

    5. The plan was to use it as consolidated layover space for buses underneath with a large development on top.

      I doubt that plan is still in the pipeline.

      They could put in a junction where the Link tracks veer off to the side, and rebuild the trackway to CPS, and have the South line run up there. This would be after the North and I-90 lines are opened. The (rumored) operating plan at that point is to have I-90 Link continue as North Link, while South Link trains will turn around downtown.

      Realistically though, I would hope they’d decide to run North Link 2x as often, then just have alternating trains between I-90 and South Link

      Brian Bradford
      Olympia, WA

  5. I can’t help but notice that Metro has opted to make virtually no mention of link whatsoever in the new timetable maps. For at least the first two months of link service, metro timetables will provide no info whatsoever on connections to link. But then again, we also have the distinction of being pretty much the only city anywhere to open a rapid transit line and then implement a feeder bus network 2-8 months later. And to think, we had SIX YEARS to plan this out.

    1. I noticed that when I got some new schedules this morning. I was all excited to see the Link stops noted prominently on the maps…ha. Ron Sims must’ve designed them. The most I saw was a “LINK –>” notation where it crosses the 41 as if it were just another bus route you could transfer to. It really seems to me that Metro and ST are fighting turf wars and don’t get along, though inevitably they’ll have to merge.

      1. Funny you say that since Metro is operating and maintaining Link for Sound Transit, although they have a separate rail division within Metro.

      2. There may be parts of Metro and ST that don’t get along but on the whole both agencies are essentially partners. Metro runs Link and a fair chunk of ST Express service under contract. Given the current funding problems I’m sure Metro is only too happy to see service hours in a corridor go over to Sound Transit.

      3. I think you will see more Metro materials show Link. For instance, when service is changed in September, I think you will see Metro put selected train schedule trips to best make connections with a route that runs every 30-minutes.

        As for June, since Link won’t be running until mid-July, it might make sense to show Link in a limited way to judge customer preferences.

    2. We also have the dubious distinction of being a region that has its local transit services run by a separate (and disparate) agency from the “regional” service.

      There are a few additional instances where this is the case, such as the historical Southern California Rapid Transit District (now the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority with a significantly smaller service district), New Jersey Transit (there are a couple of counties that have their own bus service), and some of the far-flung reaches of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.

      The closest parallel is the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. BART only runs their trains. All of the transit service that connects is run by other agencies, with MPO oversight (really just a way to distribute federal grant funds). There is one little fact about BART that most people miss. BART was designed to be a commuter rail system in the Northeastern US style from the start.

      Metro taking its time to coordinate service is a result of not wanting to inconvenience the transit-dependent. The fact that service wasn’t significantly restructured is proof of that.

      There’s also that little ting ting streetcar that Metro is now financially responsible for.

      Brian Bradford
      Olympia, WA

  6. The new BLUE paper schedules are here. The one for the 174, 194 even has a light rail symbol on it. The maps for the 36, 42, 48, 106 don’t show any Link stations at all, as if it doesn’t exist.

    Metro also updated it’s color system map posted at kiosks to the June 2009 edition featuring Link in thick RapidRide red. Mercer Island is now under water! (see flickr pool for photo)

  7. Another idea: A linked (sorry for the pun) shuttle train that scoops up passengers from downtown and deposits them at CPS where waiting buses would take them to points further afield. Routes that come to mind include: 252, 257, 266, 268, 250, maybe 255, etc… (Sorry, my info is very East Base centric) The shuttle train could then run south to carry passengers to Stadium Station to link to other routes that would layover at Atlantic base.

    People may be more willing to transfer if they know to take train “A” to always get bus “B”. I know this is an old idea, but I suspect it would be more feasible with the trains running as the backbone.

    I ruminate on this idea every time I’m stuck driving something up 4th Ave or down 2nd Ave during the “Figgy pudding festival”, a Critical Mass ride, or some other nonsense.

    1. Why would that be easier than transferring at Westlake or something? Don’t forget we’ve got the streetcar network coming too.

      1. Well you won’t be able to transfer at Westlake without leaving the tunnel once buses can’t go in the tunnel. But the shuttle train idea does seem like it might be too much hassle, I don’t know.

      2. The completely unfunded “streetcar network”? Outside the one ST is paying for, there’s no money to build more streetcar lines, and for the problem he’s trying to solve (bus passengers getting stuck in downtown traffic) a streetcar running without dedicated ROW isn’t going to do any better.

      3. The shuttle train idea is to remove the congested downtown portion of the routes I listed. All of those routes go over 520 which won’t have light rail service for the foreseeable future so I’m assuming they will still exist, in some form, for a while.

        That shuttle service transfer point may actually work better somewhere near Husky Stadium. Ideally, that’s where you’d do the transfer so the buses don’t even need to get onto I-5, but there doesn’t appear to be any plans for that at this point.

  8. This is not the first time the tunnel has been open late at night. From June 1998 to February 2000, the tunnel was open until 11 p.m. on weeknights, but this was sadly short-lived thanks to I-695.

    Furthermore, back when the tunnel was open on Saturdays, it was normally open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but on Torchlight Parade night (the last Saturday in July) the tunnel was open until 11:45 p.m.

    Now the tunnel is being open full time. I did some calculations in the local 71/72/73 (via Fairview and Eastlake) tunnel trips investigation before the new timetables were published. Here are my original calculations on the number of trips and how they compare to the official timetables:

    Route 71
    Southbound: Calculated: 10 evening trips, Actual: 10 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 1 morning trip, 13 evening trips, Actual: 1 morning trip, 13 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 8 morning trips, 12 evening trips, Actual: 8 morning trips, 12 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 5 morning trips, 14 evening trips, Actual: 5 morning trips, 14 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 34 trips Actual: 34 trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 36 trips Actual: 36 trips

    Route 72
    Southbound: Calculated: 3 morning trips, 5 evening trips, Actual: 3 morning trips, 5 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 2 morning trips, 7 evening trips, Actual: 2 morning trips, 7 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 7 morning trips, 6 evening trips, Actual: 7 morning trips, 6 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 5 morning trips, 6 evening trips, Actual: 5 morning trips, 6 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 18 trips, Actual: 18 trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 18 trips, Actual: 18 trips

    Route 73
    Southbound: Calculated: 4 morning trips, 5 evening trips, Actual: 4 morning trips, 5 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 1 morning trip, 7 evening trips Actual: 1 morning trip, 7 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 7 morning trips, 6 evening trips, Actual: 7 morning trips, 6 evening trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 6 morning trips, 7 evening trips, Actual: 6 morning trips, 7 evening trips

    Southbound: Calculated: 18 trips, Actual: 18 trips
    Northbound: Calculated: 18 trips, Actual: 18 trips

    My guesses were right on the money!

    1. “The tunnel was open until 11 p.m. on weeknights, but this was sadly short-lived thanks to I-695.”

      I remember the tunnel being open, but what does that have to do with I-605? (Was that the Sammamish freeway proposal or the east Cascades freeway proposal?)

      I think Metro closed the tunnel evenings and weekends just so save money, but now that Sound Transit is paying for it they don’t mind having it open again. :)

      Having the tunnel open evenings and weekends will make it easier to get around downtown during ballgames when the traffic is worse than rush hour.

      1. I-695 was an Eyman initiative in 2000 that eliminated the car tab tax and just about solely created the transit funding mess we’re in now (and indirectly created a lot of other damage).

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