Sounder and Mt. Rainier by Brian Bundidge
Sounder and Mt. Rainier by Brian Bundidge

Today marks one of the busiest days for transit agencies with several events happening. This is a good day for those folks whom haven’t had a chance to experience Sounder, Link, or ST Express buses as well.

Scheduled events today;

Sounders FC vs. Fire @ 12:00pm

Mariners vs. Indians @ 1:05pm

Seafair Torchlight Parade Run, starting at 6:30pm from Qwest Field to Seattle Center

Crowning of Miss Seafair, 7:00pm at Seattle Center

Seafair Torchlight Parade, starting at 7:30pm from Seattle Center to Qwest Field

Sounder departs Tacoma at 11:00am and arrives at 11:59am

Sounder departs Everett at 11:15am and arrives at 12:15pm

Link will be running normal service with some extra trains to handle crowding.

Seattle Streetcar will be running normal hours, ending at 11:00pm

Seattle Center Monorail will be running normal hours, ending at 11:00pm

KC Metro, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, and Sound Transit buses will be running normal Saturday hours with no extra services.

This is an open thread, have a great weekend everyone!

70 Replies to “Ride transit to the big events!”

  1. Don’t forget the Capitol Hill Block Party, taking up a big chunk of the Pike/Pine corridor north of Broadway. The Metro buses I took yesterday afternoon (the 49, to downtown and back) were pretty full, with a significant number of concertgoers getting off at Pine and Broadway.

    1. Thanks for the alert to the “great line” from John Charles. His entire point goes as follows, as quoted in the cited article:

      Critics say the romantic image of train travel clouds the reality of modern transportation choices. Spending more tax money to prop up an already heavily subsidized system will only add to public concerns about waste in government, says John Charles, president and CEO of the Cascade Policy Institute in Portland.

      “There is almost no metric by which this makes sense,” says Charles, who has spent years studying Oregon transportation issues. Trains serve “a tiny passenger base to the point of irrelevancy,” he says.

      The smarter way to go is to spend tax money improving systems used most heavily by travelers, such as the interstate highway system and even motor coaches, which are more versatile than trains, he says. Charles acknowledges that train travel is enjoyable — he takes Amtrak to Seattle when he can.

      But, he says, “for the vast majority of trips, fixed rail doesn’t take people from where they are to where they ultimately want to be.”

      Many of us who think massive government spending on trains is bad public policy will still ride on a subsidized train when it takes us when and where we want to go at a ticket price we want to pay.

      1. While stuck in traffic today, waiting for I-5 to get cleared of a bad accident, I envied those folks on the Link train whizzing by at 55 mph on their own private right-of-way. Something buses don’t get, unless they too receive “massive government spending.”

        Funny thing about driving the freeway today — it didn’t get me from where I was to where I wanted to go either. I had to drive on side roads, on each end of my journey. The freeway was my trunk route — gee, sort of like Link light rail is a trunk route for transit trips. When Metro gets up to speed, its bus routes will be feeders, just like side streets are feeders to the freeways.

        Maybe this light rail thing makes sense after all.

      2. Air travel and driving aren’t subsidized?

        The only travel option from say Seattle to Portland or Eugene that offers true door to door service is driving. If you drive you have to deal with traffic the whole way and can’t relax and say read a book or watch the scenery.

        Flying is only really an option if you happen to be traveling to or from one of the major cities in the corridor. If you are trying to get from say Salem to Centralia then driving or an intercity motor coach are your only non-rail options.

        As far as I know more people travel between Seattle and Portland via rail than via air. While both modes are dwarfed by those choosing to drive the corridor it is hardly “a tiny passenger base to the point of irrelevancy”. I know far more people ride the train than take Greyhound along the Seattle to Portland corridor as well.

      3. He didn’t say roads aren’t subsidized, just that he thought “spending on trains is bad public policy.” A bit of a strange view in my opinion.

      4. I agree that spending money to prop up the already heavily subsidized system of local roads will only add to public concerns about waste in government. Any given local road serves a tiny passenger base to the point of irrelevancy.

        Once you get rid of the local roads, you’ll soon find that nobody uses the interstate highways or motor coaches either….

  2. We took Link downtown from Beacon Hill to attend the Cap Hill Block Party. Link was convenient, but Metro service is horrible at night. Downtown and Capitol Hill are both dense neighborhoods with lots of bus runs on paper–but the reality is that it’s much faster to walk up or down the hill than to wait for the bus. I’m injured right now, so walking wasn’t an option. I’ll be driving at least part of the way today.

    #12 only runs every 30 minutes after 6 and stops at 10pm. #2 runs every 30 minutes until 12. #60 stops at 930–so my only option was to go downtown. My 3.5 mile trip home from Capitol Hill to Beacon Hill took over an hour. I was waiting on the corner of Pike & Broadway for about 25 minutes, then in the tunnel for Link for about 10. It’s far better than standing on 3rd & Pine waiting for the 36 for…10 minutes? 15? Whenever it shows up?

    One major advantage to taking transit to shows is that we can have that extra drink without worrying about driving home. When it takes an HOUR to get home, it starts to make more sense to take a cab or just suck it up and draw straws for who’s going to be the designated driver. After all, parking is free after 6pm. Where’s the incentive to leave the car at home?

    When we went to No Depression out at Marymoor, it took 2 buses and a 3/4 mile walk to get to the show. There is no bus that actually goes into the park–and this park sees how many visitors each year? How are people with small children and/or disabled individuals supposed to use transit to get to events at Marymoor? It took us 2 hours to get home from Kirkland. I absolutely won’t do it again–there’s $1 parking. We paid $1.75 each to walk 3/4 mile in the dark, then waited over 45 minutes for a bus that meandered through the Eastside, then transferred to another bus to finally get downtown to transfer to the #36 to get home. It’s just not worth it.

    How about trying some special event service? Promote the heck out of it and sell passes. The target demographic for transit is also the target demographic for these events. Metro could make a great deal of money offering convenient, fast service to the 1000’s of people attending Cap Hill Block Party, Bumbershoot, the Marymoor series, etc. if the experience was positive, they might attract new riders. They would have to run buses more frequently and much later at night.

    Work with the event coordinator to add a link for transit tickets/passes on the event site–buy your event tickets and plan your trip at the same time. It would benefit Metro, the event planners, attendees, and the greater community. Fewer parked cars, less traffic, fewer drunk drivers, etc.

    1. No special event service because the FTA decided to be pig-headed about it

      This blog has covered the loss of Mariners / Seahawks shuttles. We were (and still are) very pissed about it

      1. Yeah, that particular Bush-era FTA regulation has got to be removed: it’s just plain evil and has no rational justification.

    2. Has the city/Metro looked into ways to improve downtown to Capitol Hill bus service without adding service? The 43, 49, 10, 11 and 14 all share some of the same route through Pine/Pike and it always seems to take forever — I wonder if it’s enough to consider dedicating a lane?

      I guess Link will solve this all in 6 years, though. :)

      1. Best of all would be converting Pine Street to transit/bicycle/pedestrian only from 15th Ave East all they way down to First Avenue.
        No cars, no parking, period. Deliveries by permitted vehicles at special turnouts. Transit would still have to come east out of Downtown on Pike, but with no parking on Pike and Bellevue, voila! A transit oriented civilized way to/from Capitol Hill. Cars would be welcome to use Pike in both directions east of I-5.

      2. I have thought about how to make this slightly better to.

        The item which made me think about this was when I was on an ETB and the one in front lost its extension pole and the rope to pull it back down to the lines. The remaining 10, 14, 43 and 49 were all backed up.

        How about rerouting some of the buses to use Pike St to. First, it lightens the load at the Bellevue, Pike to Pine road segment, and it would provide an alternate routing for trolley buses if something happened on the opposite line.

        Anyways, that was just my musings.

      3. How does converting Pine completely to people-powered modes of transportation help folks who either physically can’t make it up/down the hill? What would the net effect of a permanent “no car” solution on Pine be for residents and visitors of the neighborhood?

        I like the idea of a safe, pleasant route to walk/bike, but I’m curious how it would affect traffic everywhere else. I’m also curious how this solution meets the needs of those not able to walk/bike–older adults, people carrying heavy stuff, families with small children, disabled individuals, etc.

      4. I think he wanted to keep the buses. Also, for what it’s worth most families with small children can in fact walk or bike–we do it all the time!

  3. Me and a friend were on the Link last night going north while Mariners trains were going south. At least 4 2-car trains were pack to the gills. ST didn’t bring out any 3-car trains and judging by the timing, only brought out one extra SB train. The line for the two TVM’s at Stadium was about 30 people long, and this was about a half-hour after the game had ended. Stadium could use 4 to 6 TVM’s, considering the crush load they will experience 100+ days a year and being the station with the highest projected ridership. Getting tickets before hand really isn’t an option most people think of. Getting on a platform w/o a ticket is also illegal. Not a very good first impression, considering how many people were first time Link riders. Similar to how the Mariners bus specials attracted many first time bus riders.

    And I got on the wrong train at Tukwila. Ended up costing me another 20 minutes as the other train went north before mine. Its like Russian Roulette trying to get on the right train if you can’t see which one came in first.

    Link also got stuck behind M’s game bus service in the tunnel. 4/4 getting stuck in the tunnel because of buses.

    1. I’ve heard that you can buy a roundtrip ticket for Link. If this is true they should do a better job of advertising it, especially to people who are going to the game. Maybe they could reprogram the TVM so that if you select Stadium as your destination it would prompt you to buy a round-trip ticket. I’m sure most people would prefer to buy their ticket before the game and not have to worry about the big rush afterwards. Maybe they could also have attendants at Stadium Station selling preprinted full-fare tickets after the game. Just a thought.

      1. A Round trip from Staduium to Tukwilla is $4.50 What if the Mariners, Hawks, Sounders, etc were to offer an optional upgrade to your ticket for $4.50 that would act as a Transit pass, good on Bus or Link for a couple of hours before and after the game. This would eliminate Crush Loads at the TVM’s, and show support for Transit by the Teams. (they could show greater support, by partially subsidising the $4.50, ST could also offer the teams a discount on “Bulk” purchases)

      2. Make it five bucks and get the ORCA card at the ticket machine. Then you can add value at any time.

      3. The round trip ticket is a day pass that’s good for unlimited rides at face value e.g. Tukwila-Stadium RT would be good for Metro 1-zone peak and ST 1-zone or 2-zone with an extra quarter. Never tried it myself but that’s what Sound Transit’s web site says.

      4. Oran,

        Do you have the URL for that? The info I’m reading from Sound Transit’s “Transfers” page ( says Link single-trip tickets are good for face-value on Sound Transit or a one-zone fare on Metro, Pierce and Community Transit but doesn’t say anything about round-trip/day-pass tickets.

        It’s confusing because the physical tickets say they’re good on bus systems but the site (at least at the URL above) doesn’t address it. I asked a Sound Transit person manning the TVMs the other day and he hesitated, said “yes” and then said “probably not”.

        – Rob

      5. Face value…hmm. I can see that being breached, though. It’s not particularly difficult for someone to hop on a segment worth $2, hop off, wait for the next train and continue until their destination.

      6. That URL only says one way tickets can be used as bus transfers, it doesn’t say anything about buses on roundtrip tickets. I’m going to email them and ask.

        Also, some of them do indeed print with “PugetPass”.

        I’ll post back with the results of my message!

  4. Anyone know the crowds at ID station? I’d assume that a large portion of fans would diverge north as well.

    I’ve too noticed the lack of TVMs at some stations. Is there a count of how many there are at each station?

  5. I imagine that later ST will put TVMs in more locations other than just platforms. Having them near the stadiums themselves, in grocery stores, in the airport arrivals terminal, etc so people can buy tickets ahead of time. This’ll be handy as Link gets more ubuquitous, but it would probably cost too much right now.

    In Paris you can charge your transit pass (Navigo) at some bank ATMs and cafés.

  6. Pedantic note to Brian Bundridge:

    “This is a good day for those folks whom haven’t had a chance to experience Sounder, Link, or ST Express buses as well.”

    You don’t want to use “whom” in that sentence. “Who” is the correct choice.

    Thanks for the information about big events.

  7. I used LINK today to avoid the the Torchlight Crowds coming home from a temp job. Switching from the 101 to LINK at Lander St Station. Lander Station to Columbia City in 10 minutes.

  8. My thoughts on Link:

    1. It’s about time! Can’t wait for Link to get to Lynnwood, Federal Way and Redmond! Next, we need some more routes in the city…

    2. There are only two TVMs at Tukwila. There should be 4 to 6. Saw the two lines 20+ deep after 5 p.m. I can only imagine they were headed t the Torchlight parade.

    3. I just missed a southbound from Othello Station around 4:45 p.m. The next train was about 25 minutes later. A non-service train did pass by. Don’t know why it couldn’t have taken some passengers to Tukwila. When the train did arrive, it was packed. New-York-Subway packed, actually, which may explain why it was late. At least a third of the crowd got off at Othello, but the train was still standing room only to Tukwila. Also, the TVMs at Othello were not working properly when I was there. Hope ST gets the bugs out soon.

    4. The bike racks need work. Recommend four racks per car, like MAX.

    5. Link needs real-time arrival information. “Next train in 7 minutes” would be great to see!

    6. The Mariners drew 29,200 fans. The Sounders drew 32,000 fans. ST should consider more Sounder runs to the Sounder games, especially when there are two (or more) events on the same day.

    1. 2. I could’ve sworn there were more than 2 TVMs.
      3. Because it was not in service.
      4. Where would you put them? Yank seats out for bike racks?
      5. It’s coming.
      6. Remember that they’re using BNSF’s tracks and have to play by BNSF’s rules.

      1. The thing about negotiating with BNSF is that it’s a pretty one-sided deal. BNSF is the only option and they know it. ST has to play by their rules, period.

      2. Investing in track and signal upgrades seems to be the only thing that really gets BNSF’s attention. The problem is between Amtrak Cascades and Sounder most of the easy improvements between Tacoma and Seattle have already been done. Whats left are mostly expensive things like an additional main track or PTC.

    2. Tukwilla really needs more TVMs. Most of the other stations have more than 2 and as the only station with a P&R Tukwilla is going to see huge volumes during special events. Similarly there should be more TVMs at Stadium or even make a deal with the sports teams to sell Link or Sounder tickets along with the game tickets.

  9. About 12:30 today on a light rail train just leaving the Tukwila station, I saw a woman from Metro or Sound Transit selling tickets for that train ride right on board the train, for cash. Quite a few riders bought tickets from her.

    Anyone know anything about this? Is this a temporary thing, for people going to M’s games so they don’t have to wait in line at the ticket machines in Tukwila and likely miss the start of the game?

    Was it a one-time deal for today, only?

    Or, will it continue?

    I think it was a really good idea, actually, since there are often long lines at the ticket machines in Tukwila.

    1. She was selling them inside the train? Don’t you need proof of payment by then? Can’t fare inspectors stop you on the platform?

      1. I believe you need to have proof-of-payment BEFORE you enter the platform.

        Wouldn’t be surprised if those were counterfeit tickets

      2. We were at Tukwila today and the lines were huge at the TVMs, with people going to the Torchlight Parade — then we went outside for a minute and came back in and the lines were totally gone. It’s possible that in this situation they just decided to tell everyone to get on the train and then they sold tickets on the train. Anyone know?

      3. Yes, she was selling tickets inside the train. And quite a few people were buying tickets inside the train. I saw the tickets she was selling, and they sure looked legitimate.

        I can’t imagine it was a scam, because there was not that much money to be made from this, and they almost surely would have been caught and identified by the security cameras onboard the trains.

        If, as someone else wrote, they were selling tickets for cash to people waiting in line at the ticket machines, I suspect they just told people in those lines to get on the train without a ticket and they could buy them inside the train.

        I think it was a good idea, and it worked out well. It’s pretty bad to make riders miss the start of a baseball game because they have to wait 30-45 minutes in line at a ticket machine in Tukwila.

      4. about two weeks ago someone was caught with hundreds of thousands of counterfeit trimet tickets

  10. We took Link from Tukwila in to the Mariners game. There were lines about 20 deep at noon. The park and ride was already full, due to Sounders fans I believe in part. We parked across the street for $5 and plenty others were as well. I think more businesses will do this on busy game/event days.

    ST did have people working the lines and selling $5 adult round trip tickets to folks with cash which really helped the lines move along. A huge crowd got off at Stadium to go to the M’s game.

    After the game we caught the train back. Our train was almost at crush load until Beacon Hill where it eased some. We ended up standing all the way to Tukwila, but that was okay. When we returned we hopped off, and tons more hopped on to go to the parade. It was so cool to see so many people riding transit today. It will be interesting to see today’s ridership.

    1. If parking lots in Tukwila are often full on game days, you can look forward to paying a lot more than $5 to park there. They will eventually charge whatever traffic will bear, just like in lots by the stadiums. For games where they expect big crowds, don’t be surprised to ahve to pay $10 or $15 to park near the station in Tukwila.

  11. If they charge 10 to 15 to park near Tukwila station, that means many will just drive to downtown instead to look for parking cuz that’s same charge.

    Someone here mentioned its 5 bucks to park near the station…if you paid 5 bucks for round trip fare, that’s not cheaper than parking near Mariners or Sounders, don’t forget a family would pay for each person for a train ticket. I think the only thing is that its faster than driving to the event.

  12. Another thing to add…Tukwila needs a bigger park and ride lot because 600 spaces isn’t enough. Sounder parking lots have more than that.

  13. The lady is a ST employee, selling ORCA cards on the train to help with the congestion at the TVM’s… ST really needs to add 2-4 more at Tukwila and Sea-Tac when it comes time. I bought one from her and made sure she was an employee first of all before even thinking about it.

    I can agree about a bigger parking garage…. an Eastgate P&R type of deal would be real good right now…

    1. Note to Councilmember Larry Phillips:

      Please don’t cancel the water taxi between Seattle and West Seattle – I read that you wanted to eliminate all future experimental and current Metro-run ferry runs which I assume includes the water taxi.

      I have mixed thoughts on the ferry district-related transit proposals. On the one hand, I hate depriving people of transit choices and throwing ferries into the mix, seems like a good way of expanding choices for people on certain corridors. On the other hand, the buses could do with the funds saved on the ferry options.

      I would like the water taxi saved and future ferry service placed more towards the back rather than either the front burner or cancelled altogether.


      1. Well Fred just lost any chance I’d vote for him. I mean I get his point about not adding any new routes until the fiscal crisis is over, but to threaten to kill the existing routes it a bit much.

        The Vashon route may be a money loser but it is an island so a ferry makes some sense and may keep some people from taking their cars into Downtown Seattle.

        The West Seattle foot ferry is VERY popular and has better farebox recovery than the average Metro route. Why would you want to kill it?

        Besides the taxing authority that supports the foot ferries can’t really be used for anything else.

      2. Yes it can, effectively. The leg gave us the authority to dedicate property tax to Metro.

    2. Wow. Dow Constantine has just proposed using ferry district funds for flood control!

      On Monday, Constantine told the ferry-district board he will seek to shift some of its cash reserves — which exceed $16 million — to the flood district to reduce the likelihood of catastrophe in the Green River Valley.

  14. Nice picture Brian!!

    I was talking to the Victoria Clipper reservation folks on the phone today and I asked her if they were taking reservations yet for the second Vancouver train and she said not only “no” but that the funding was still under discussion and that Amtrak had not released any information yet on either an August or any other month start date.

    Do we have any inside information yet on this? Brian?


  15. Yeah, wish I had seen that yesterday. (Or wish I weren’t so out of touch with happenings in The Big City – especially since that’s where I tell out of towners I live.)

    A bad day to try to do a joy-ride on the train with my daughter – we drove from Federal Way to Tukwila (in a car with non-working power windows and semi-working air conditioning). First, I didn’t understand the lack of signage for drivers to actually get to the station. Ended up, several times, almost able to touch it, but not able to get to it. All the U-turns made my daughter sick and she threw up (fortunately into a plastic bag) before we even got to the station.

    Arriving at the station, understood the lack of signage – why direct cars to a station where there’s no place to park. I cannot comprehend why there’s a tiny parking lot. When the Gold Line opened in Pasadena, the farthest station west had a huge parking garage. It was free, but if they had charged for it, it probably would still be pretty popular. I was surprised to find the Tukwila lot was free, I was ready to pay.

    Drove around forever, looking for parking in the Tukwila lots to no avail. Found some guys across the street charging $5 for parking for “the event” but had no idea what they were talking about. So, we followed the line into Rainier Valley, parked, walked towards a station and saw a sign saying you needed a permit to park there. So we checked, and sure enough, hidden inside the leaves of a tree, a sign near where we had parked as well.

    So we drove on for awhile before finally giving up and getting back on the 5. Exited at Stadium wondering if maybe one of the stadium’s parking lots would be open for transit. Nope, there was obviously a game going on, but traffic wasn’t bad. Drove down 5th. seeing everyone setting up for the parade and thought “ah. ok.” Saw all the signs advertising “event parking” at $30 and was wondering if I just needed to say “screw it” and head east to just find a park and a fast food restaurant.

    But pressed on, made it to Seattle Center, paid for parking for the rest of the day (at this point, a really reasonable $12, I thought). We got a snack at Seattle Center, bought round trip tickets on The Monorail, took it to Westlake, bought our round trip tickets and finally boarded the link.

    Lots of people taking photos, lots of people talking about how cool it was or how it compared to others they had taken. We were so tired that we decided not to stop at all the stops and look around, but I knew we were going to stop at Beacon Hill because I had heard there was lots of good food choices there. No so much. We wandered around for awhile and I considered getting some food from the grocery store, but decided against it.

    We went back down and hung out talking to a transit cop. He said that it can get boring at times and noticing my daughter’s fascination with the echoes, he admitted that they all practice yelling at the top of their lungs when the stations are empty. He was very personable and very nice, but he wasn’t able to suggest a good place near an upcoming station where we could find pizza.

    We got on the next train, and watched the stations go by. Finally, we ended up at Tukwila and just went with McDonald’s because it was there.

    Then we walked back, waited on the platform forever, finished our fries, walked the length of the platform, realized there were absolutely no garbage cans on the platform, took the elevator down to toss our trash, rode it back up and walked much of the platform again. Met a guy from Minnesota who wasn’t all that impressed with our train, except that it was so high off the ground. Saw funny things like a fire extinguisher sitting on a shelf, the mount that affixes to the wall to hang the extinguisher sitting casually next to it, some signs affixed to the wall with blue masking tape. (And earlier, we noticed those yellow anti-skid pads at the crosswalks had been installed with their protective plastic wrap still attached, and pieces of the escalator had also been installed with its protective plastic still attached.)

    The train back was *crowded*. By the next stop, people were standing, and by the station after that, it was *packed.* For the remaining stations, only a handful of people could get on, most of the time people were left on the platform hoping that the next train might have room for them.

    Two or three times we were stopped, with the “due to traffic” announcement playing. The first time, we watched buses fly by, the second time we were already in the tunnel.

    I’m impressed with the light rail, my family will certainly use it for future trips into The City (if we can find parking – install parking meters and raise money for a parking structure – PLEASE!!!) and a station here in Federal Way will be one of the pros when we think in the future about selling or staying.

    I suppose I understand that they want us to take a bus to the station, but that will never happen. If you want people out of their cars, give us a place to put them. Because if I were commuting to Seattle every day, I would definitely park at Tukwila if I could pay for a guaranteed space. (But I also don’t want to see the space around all the stations bulldozed and paved. Need to build up with the parking garages and/or see developers putting in some pay parking in their structures. You see stuff like that in L.A. Parking entrances for retail, separate parking for people who live above the retail, and then separate parking for people who need a place to store their car.)

    As for stuff near the stations could make the link into a tourist attraction in its own right (that’s ok, right?) I think it will be a couple more years, but I look forward to finding little gems of cafes, interesting little shops, etc., as people realize the potential the train brings. (And hopefully another station or two – some of the ones along MLK seem really far apart – but I know I’m not saying anything new there.)

    1. The restricted parking zones around stations in the Rainier Valley and Beacon Hill are only in effect Monday-Friday 7 am to 6 pm. That means you are free to park there on Saturday and Sunday or overnight. Of course, the restricted hours and days can change if parking does become a problem.

    2. As someone pointed out above, in December Link will be right next to one of the biggest parking garages in the state with shuttle service to scads of remote parking. It isn’t free, but I believe the daily rate even for the main garage is less than downtown. (yes I’m talking about the airport).

      1. Yeah, but I’ve had trouble finding parking at SeaTac last time I flew out last September (with no nearby holidays). But yeah, I was tempted to go park at SeaTac on Saturday, but like I said, no buses.

  16. ha. figures.

    A train system without parking? I’m pretty sure those restrictions will change.

Comments are closed.