Photo by Oran
Photo by Oran

UPDATE: John Niles has created a .gif version of the schedule for those too lazy to load a pdf.  Thanks, Mr. Niles.

Commenters here complained, and now it’s been fixed.  The latest edition of Sound Transit’s schedule book (pdf) has schedules for Light Rail (pages 32-34), listed at Tukwila, Rainier Beach, Mt. Baker, Sodo, and Westlake. (H/T: Kyle).  People transferring to a bus can now easily check which train they should take.

There are also, effective Sep. 19, new trips on the 510, 511, 550, and 554.  Some early morning and late night trips on the 554 are being extended all the way through Sammamish along 238th Ave to almost Downtown Redmond (page 95).

74 Replies to “Link Schedules Now Available”

  1. That’s awesome – that will give people piece of mind if they are taking one of the last trains (knowing they’ll make it).

    1. This will be very helpful to people coming on the train from the south and transferring to buses downtown which may only run once every 30 or 60 minutes, especially in the evening. Thanks, ST!

    1. I like the “every 10 minutes” bit; it’s easy enough to do the math.

      But adding 7 or 8 minutes? I know the point is that it’s so frequent that it shouldn’t matter, but it absolutely matters for a transfer. Not helpful.

      1. Not sure if your point here is that adding 7 or 8 is difficult or that the 1 minute difference is difficult to work around – in either case, if you are planning a trip with less than 10 minutes built into it for any & all contingencies, you are asking for trouble whether you are riding Seattle’s link or Tokyo’s subways.

      2. I think it is more of a comfort thing–kind of like the schedules they publish for the 7 (and the 49, before they chopped it). The bus usually isn’t even close to the printed time but it doesn’t matter because of how often it runs.

        But I agree, it does make transfers a pain, especially when transfering from a route that has headways of 7 or 8 minutes to one that is every 30 minutes. You blow that transfer and you are screwed. There is no good solution either and a printed schedule, sadly, doesn’t do much to help. No matter how frequent or infrequent the first leg of your trip is, it is the second one with 30 minute headways that is the bottle neck. The only way to fix it is to lobby for more frequent service–and the funds to make it happen.

      3. I think on some schedules, Metro will probably identify the best train to catch for a convenient transfer. They do this for the services at Northgate.

  2. Haven’t noticed until now: it is possible to transfer from the earliest Sounder from Everett to Tacoma in the morning and from the earliest Sounder from Tacoma to Everett in the afternoon. Gotta try that sometime.

    1. They’ve had a small description of that timed transfer for a bit. I did Tacoma – Everett in May, and it was very nice; I was the only person in my car for the NB Tacoma-Seattle leg.

    1. How do you get the Trip Planner to suggest MT Central Link?

      I just tried to get the Metro Trip Planner to put me on Link Light Rail for a mid afternoon weekday trip from Fisherman’s Terminal to SeaTac Airport. It sent me close to or into the Bus Tunnel along the way, but directed me to board the 191 or 194 or 174 bus! There is no check box for “rail preference!”

      Here are the downtown parts of the three itineraries:

      Depart 2nd Ave & Pike St At 03:35 PM On Route MT 191 Redondo Heights Park and Ride
      Arrive International Blvd & S 182nd St At 04:10 PM
      Walk 0.2 mile NW to SEATAC AIRPORT

      Depart Westlake Sta AcRd & Tunnel Station-BAY C At 03:55 PM On Route MT 194 Federal Way S 320th Park and Ride
      Arrive SeaTac Airport AcRd & Terminal – BAY 1 At 04:25 PM
      Walk NW to SEATAC AIRPORT

      Depart University St Sta Ac & Tunnel Sta.-BAY C At 03:31 PM On Route MT 174 Federal Way S 320th Park and Ride
      Arrive SeaTac Airport AcRd & Terminal – BAY 1 At 04:26 PM
      Walk NW to SEATAC AIRPORT

      I tried again for later in the evening, and the Trip Planner still avoided putting me on Link and sent me to interesting places to transfer, like West Seattle to catch the ST 560 Bellevue via Airport Express!

      Maybe it’s programmed special just for bus lovers like me!

      1. If you want to see it in action (not for practical purposes), plan a trip from “Beacon HIll Station” to “Seatac Airport” (or any Rainier Valley station:

        Walk E from BEACON HILL STATION to
        Depart ST Light Rail & Beacon Hill Station At 05:32 PM On Route MT CENTRAL Link to Tukwila Int’l Blvd Station
        Arrive ST Light Rail & Tukwila Intl Blvd St At 05:53 PM
        Transfer to
        Depart Tukwila Intl Blvd Station At 06:03 PM On ST LINK Connector
        Arrive SeaTac Airport AcRd & Terminal – BAY 2 At 06:14 PM

      2. The ones that upset me are anywhere in downtown Seattle to Southcenter. If you force it into putting you on the lightrail, it will suggest stuff like going to the airport and transfering from there. THus taking what should have been a 35 minute trip tops and turning it into an hour and a half.

        I sure wish Metro would have made the changes to the 140 as part of the first schedule mix-up rather than the Feb. 2009 mixup.

        Regardless, Tukwilla will really regret not working with sound transit once they expand to Northgate and Bellevue Mall. If Northgate is smart, they’ll have done the same kind of remodel/expansion that Southcenter did in time for the Light Rail. Then just sit back and wait for Christmas when you can do some of your shopping downtown, take take Link up to Northgate do more and take it back. Better, take it up to Northgate and go to Target and come back. I’d take it to Bellevue Mall, but I guess they don’t want my kind there and even if I did, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

      3. You don’t really need to wait for Link — I’ve done the Northgate/downtown trip on the 41 while shopping at Christmas time before. Still, I had the distinct impression I was the only one silly enough to do Christmas shopping on the bus, and the wait for the 41 was long (I must have just missed one). I suspect that when Link comes around, the wait won’t be as long, and I won’t be the only one anymore.

      4. In my experience, it usually shows at most one Link itinerary, and always puts it last, even if it’s faster than the bus options.

  3. I live near the Columbia City station and it gives me Central Link options at least half the time.

    I wonder if (at least by schedule) it’s faster to get on a bus and stay on it, as opposed to catching a bus part of the way and then transferring to Link?

  4. I hope you all read about the changes that are coming to transfers in December (starts on page 15.

    Here’s what I do not like:

    Bus riders who pay cash or use a bus ticket may obtain a paper transfer
    from a bus driver to use toward a train fare. A bus transfer is valid for full
    fare on Central Link light rail until December 31, 2009.
    Note: After December 2009, paper transfers will be replaced by the ORCA
    card. King County Metro and Pierce Transit will continue to issue paper
    transfers to riders who pay with cash; however transfers are only accepted
    by the agency that issued them.

    SO…that means a tourist or infrequent user of the public transit system will be forced to pay two separate full fares on a trip TO the Airport, but can go FROM the Airport for just the Link fare; the Link ticket will enable them to transfer to the KCMetro or CT (or yes, ST) bus of their choosing in downtown Seattle.

    HOW BLOODY UNFAIR & CONFUSING!!!

    And I thought we had a true unified fare system in Puget Sound, but I guess not after January 1. I forget, who pays taxes to support these various agencies? What? We all do? And quite a bit of their funding comes from D.C.? SO WHY AM I FORCED TO PAY TWICE???

    Curious Minds want to knock some heads together.

    1. Don’t you have something more important to be so outraged about? Who cares if a tourist has to pay an extra $2? It’s still $36 less than a taxi and won’t likely blow a hole in anybody’s budget. As a taxpayer I wish that Metro would do away with transfers altogether, they need to raise a little more fare box revenue.

      If you’re really concerned about it, use an ORCA card. That’s what they’re for.

    2. Actually, I’ve heard it will work both ways – Metro will not accept single ride tickets from Link beginning in the new year. People flying into the airport can avoid paying twice each way by buying an ORCA card from the TVM.

      1. Buying a $5 ORCA card and then loading the fare on it right?

        Almost as bad as those idiotic “clubs” you have to join to get a drink in Utah!

        Why can’t the TVM’s be set up to offer a one or two use RFID card just for this purpose?? Charge 50 cents extra, better than $2 for the “transfer”.

      2. Where on earth are you getting that notion? The Orca website calls it a “fee”, and if you order a replacement for a lost/stolen card, the website will charge you $5 for the card itself. That $5 does not come back to you in any way.

      3. That fee is to get a new card while keeping the value from a lost/stolen card. On a new card, you get the $5 in fare (at least at the current time). You ‘get that notion’ by actually buying an Orca card, and seeing that’s how it works…

      4. According to the PDF of Orca information published during the card’s launch, the free Orca cards are only available for a limited time after the launch, and then they will cost $5 in addition to any product you load onto them. We can’t really be sure when this change will be made, because they’ve been behind on a few milestones marked on their original timeline.

    3. Ok, I have gone on a trip down memory lane and read all the past threads and postings on this blog concerning the phase-out of transfers.

      May I strongly suggest that ST and the POS work together to provide for the easy distribution of ORCA cards at the new LINK station at Sea-Tac, arrivals level of the airport and at the various hotels in the area.

      “Who cares if a tourist has to pay an extra $2”? I do. It is simply unfair. Public transit isn’t some private club with a secret handshake and it shouldn’t behave like one. Public transit is part of the infrastructure and needs to be available to all.

      1. How is it not available to all? You pay for the train and then you pay for the bus. Simple. No tourist would ever know that it was ever any different and probably wouldn’t expect it to be so. Every city on the planet has a different fare system, it’s just part of being in a new city. I can’t even remember the last city I was in that had paper transfers, let alone free transfers.

      2. Our transfers are pretty liberal too. Last time I took muni you were supposed to get the paper transfer punched and it was only good for two rides. Course, nobody ever seemed to punch it or really pay any attention to my fare at all. I have no clue if BART fare was transferable to Muni as I never tried–I doubt it though.

        For all its faults, our transit system here is pretty nice.

      3. Um… every city in Germany has free transfers (Bus, S-Bahn, Subway, light rail, streetcar), so does Minnepolis (bus, rail), Paris (Metro and RER), and NYC (local bus and subway on the MTA). Oh, Chicago charges 25 cents for transfers. I expect not to pay twice because most transit systems in North America and Europe work that way.

      4. Most larger cities are requiring people to use some sort of farecard in order to transfer without paying extra. I was talking about cash fares and transfers.

        Chicago doesn’t give transfers to customers who pay with cash, you have to use a farecard.

        New York MTA allows you one transfer from bus to bus if you pay with cash aboard the bus. For bus to subway transfers you have to use a Metrocard.

        In Paris if you use a t+ ticket you are only allowed transfers between the same mode, train to train, bus to bus, and only in the same direction of travel. If you buy a ticket on a bus from the driver you are not allowed a transfer.

        In San Fransisco if you transfer from BART to Muni you only get a 25 cent reduction on your Muni fare.

        In Denver if you transfer from light rail to bus, you have to pay an upgrade if your bus fare is higher than the value of your light rail ticket, and the transfer is only good if you are traveling in the same direction.

        In San Diego a one-way light rail ticket is not valid for transfers to a bus.

        LA Metro doesn’t allow transfers if you pay with cash.

      5. When I was living in Turkey, no transfers were available. You paid every time you entered a bus, train, ferry, etc.

    4. [They] will be forced to pay two separate full fares on a trip TO the Airport, but can go FROM the Airport for just the Link fare

      How is it any different? You pay $2.50 once each way. I don’t understand where you’re getting two fares.

      1. Erik was talking about someone without an Orca card doing rail-to-bus and vice versa, which is where he’s getting two fares: one for the bus, one for the train. He was confused, thinking that Link would stop accepting Metro transfers but that Metro would keep taking Link transfers, so it would be more expensive in one direction than in the other. But as it says, each agency will only accept its own transfers, so regardless of direction the tourist would pay the same two fares.

    5. Actually, I think infrequent users paying a complete fare when transferring from rail to bus is common. When I visited DC last month, the buses would not accept the Metro pass, and vice versa, but the electronic card that commuters use does allow for seamless transfer–similar to here. I ended up using my DC Metro pass for the subway, and just paying cash for the bus. Not a big deal.

    6. I am sure that many working poor, infrequent senior citizen transit users, and homeless people will all have ORCA cards. What a wonderful idea!

      1. You mean they can’t afford the future $5 cost and a private Internet connection, or can’t afford to put fares in at the TVMs?

      2. The regional reduced fare permit is now on ORCA, and all subsidized bus tickets will soon be given out as an ORCA. There are also going to be retail outlets, like Bartell’s, where you will be able to buy an ORCA. The barrier to getting an ORCA is not that high.

      3. Actually, the way senior citizens get their passes and the way homeless get tickets will both be on ORCA.

    7. “A bus transfer is valid for full fare on Central Link light rail until December 31, 2009.”

      It’s unfortunate that they worded it like that. They should have said “a paper bus transfer” since ORCA can transfer you from bus to rail and vice versa.

    8. Are they going to make it easier to transfer from Link to a northbound Metro bus with an ORCA card? Right now you are supposed to walk upstairs to the mezzanine to tap out of Link, then back downstairs to get your bus. It’s cumbersome. It isn’t uncommon to transfer from Link to MT 7X, 41, 255, etc.

      1. We transferred from Link to the ST 550 last night. We had to go upstairs to switch platforms but were able to use ORCA readers on the platform at IDS. If you didn’t have to switch platforms there was no reason to go upstairs.

      2. The IDS station has ORCA readers on the platform level, I usually transfer there to a 7X. You’re also more likely to get a seat if you transfer at IDS.

      3. Westlake also has them. It seems like they ought to just put them on every platform; even though the theory is that people should only transfer at the first or last available stops, it’s just that: theoretical.

      4. I read somewhere that the ID station is the official place to transfer between trains and buses. But ST has not gotten the word out to non-transit junkies.

        If you’re transfering from train to bus, you don’t really need to tap out. It will charge the maximum possible fare for your train trip, which since you’re getting off in the tunnel will be the same as your actual fare anyway. If you got on in the middle of the line, there’s no destination from there that costs $2.50, so it only charges you $2.

        The main issue is transfering from bus to train, where you do need to tap in to avoid the fine.

      5. The new Sound Transit schedule books say at the bottom of the Link timetable: “Transfer from bus to light rail without leaving the platform at the International District/Chinatown Station or at the Southbound Westlake Platform.”

      6. Though I ride Link from Beacon Hill, where the fare is $1.75 to Westlake, and $2 to Tukwilla & Seatac. So if I don’t tap out at Westlake I will be charged 25¢ extra, as they have no idea which way I rode from Beacon Hill.

    9. If you’re an infrequent user, get an ORCA card. If you’re a tourist, inject the extra money into our economy. If you don’t want to deal with this, take a $90 cab ride.

  5. I noticed a typo in the section regarding transfers in the transit tunnel. Route 102 is listed as a transfer option, yet Metro doesn’t have such a route, not in the upcoming service change or currently.

    1. Rt 102 will be replacing all Rt 101 Fairwood trips. Makes it less confusing, and allows all Fairwood trips to be funded as a “South” route, not a 50/50 split like the 101 currently is.

  6. Did any one else notice that the newly published timetable actually has longer travel times, at least in the northbound direction? The timetable indicates a 36 minute trip from Tukwila Internation Boulevard Station, 38 from Airport/SeaTac station when it opens. Also of note, northbound travel is now estimated at 34 minutes from Tukwila IBS to Westlake. In both directions travel time is now 2-4 minutes greater than the original estimate and now there is a difference in northbound and southbound travel times.

      1. I’d imagine those will tighten up in the future, too. Performance is noticeably better now than in the opening week.

    1. It seems like it could go a teensy bit faster in a couple sections… some Link operators seem to be a bit more aggressive with the acceleration, which is fun. I wonder if it makes more than a few seconds’ difference in travel times.

      1. I believe the issue is signal priority. In the contra-peak direction, you don’t get it and that costs you a couple of minutes.

      2. Slow Link drivers miss lights they’re supposed to be getting, even peak. I’ve seen drivers cost us five minutes by being slowpokes.

    2. Made it in 30 minutes from Tukwila to Westlake the other day. The operator only opened the doors for about 10 seconds at each stop. There seems to be a lot of variability between operators, some hold the doors for close to a minute even though no one is boarding. Over ten stops that can add up.

      1. I was on a Northbound train on Friday morning, and the driver was going very slow from where I boarded at Beacon Hill until Stadium station (a section that contains grade seperation, plus 2 grade crossings with barricades.) It almost seemed as though he was ahead of schedule and was trying to lose time. The overall trip from BH to Westlake was 20 minutes. That’s 7 minutes longer than usual.

        I’m surprised at the variability in drivers. Some stop at the middle of the platforms, some go nearly to the end, amd a few stop in the first half. And don’t get me started on the propensity of a few to ring the bell excessively when entering a station, and all the way down the platform.

  7. “Some stop at the middle of the platforms, some go nearly to the end, amd a few stop in the first half.”

    I haven’t seen that happening. There is a mark that shows where the nose of the train stops (it’s a pattern of neon yellow bumps) and drivers do seem to stop at that mark. There are also ribbed sections of the platform which are intended to be right in front of two of the doors. If you stand on the ribbed area, there will be a door right in front of you. Sometimes they are about two or three feet off, but I haven’t seen a train yet where it was further than that. Then again, I am not usually riding during rush hour…

    Now, I have had trips where the driver seemed to be going oddly slow. I wonder what that’s all about.

    1. If the train does not stop with the ribbed square being aligned with the train doors, ST risks a lawsuit under the ADA.

      1. Only for a pattern of failure, and even then it wouldn’t be ST who would face the lawsuit, it would be Metro.

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