Martin just tweeted that Seatac Airport Link Station will open on December 19th at 10am. This station will be the new south terminus of our light rail line. More details to come.

Ben: As a regular 194 user, I want to point out that the “32 minute” versus “36 minute” nonsense is just that – nonsense. On top of all the user quality points like offboard payment and plenty of space, both improving boarding times and reducing delay, your average wait for a Link train will be half that of the 194 – off-peak, you’ll probably save ten or fifteen minutes in door to door time.

60 Replies to “Breaking News: Airport Station opens December 19”

  1. It took the S-Times only 3 sentences to get in their first dig at Airport Link. Their third sentence reads:

    “Airport ridership is not expected to be enormous, but the station adds prestige, as transit leaders exorcise the “route-to-nowhere” label their opponents used earlier this decade.”

    Such is the S-Times, but this is good news in any case.

    1. I dunno; every time i’m on the train, plenty of fare-paying passengers seem to be going “nowhere”, but then again, the Stimes is against transit every step of the way.

      1. So far, ridership on the recently opened Seattle-Tukwila line was around 16,100 per weekday in October

        Where did they come up with this information? I’ve been looking for the October numbers for about a week and haven’t seen anything.

        Overall I thought the article was fair. Stopping two miles from the airport was a source of bad publicity; although I think the result, Tukwila Station will prove to be an important component in it’s own right.

        The article says 4,000 boardings in 2030. I thought the opening of the Station was the primary reason for the increase in system ridership to 26,000 in 2010? I don’t really get the part about “[People] at First Hill hospitals, can choose trains rather than cabs or autos.”

        Was it really $269 million for two miles and one station? I’m glad it adds prestige because that much money would have provided decades worth Express Bus service to the airport with 7-1/2 minute headways.

      2. Unfortunately it did cost that much. A lot of the cost was rebuilding the airport drives to comply with the Port’s demands. That’s what happens when two huge public agencies butt heads. Another reason for the high cost was that only one company bid on the construction – the bid went out at the height of the building boom. I’m glad we’re building University Link during a recession, something like 15 companies bid on the tunneling work and drove the cost down.

      3. I go “nowhere” once a week just to savour the fact that my 40 year wait for rail transit in my home city is over!

    2. As a Beacon Hill resident I sort of take it for granted that the Times considers everything south of I-90 to be “nowhere”. Their coverage certainly reflects the opinion.

    3. yes … and they did so well with their recommendations this past election.

      I haver said this before … the wrong paper closed its doors.

    4. I think the train to nowhere talk started when Paul Schell suggested that we build light rail from the airport to South Lander Street, without continuing on to downtown. That had to have been the stupidest light rail suggestion ever.

      1. The “train to nowhere” comments had more to do with stopping the line at the Tukwila Station then they had to do with Mayor Schlachtenhaufen’s odd suggestions. The critics pounced on that terminus as being “nowhere”. It was only after the money was found in the South King subarea to make it to the airport that the “nowhere” comments went away.

      2. They had to separate the projects because for FTA grant eligibility – there was a dependency on the Port. Money didn’t have anything to do with it.

  2. Nice 194 love quote to close it out: “The bus trip takes a scheduled 32 minutes in normal traffic, compared to 36 minutes for the train.”

    1. Yes, because we all know that the Seattle Times editors take the 194 whenever they need to get to the airport. They certainly don’t take a cab or drive. ;)

      1. I really miss the 194 aboard the Bredas. No luggage space unless you commandeered the wheelchair spots. Hoping the stinky diesel motor would start at IDS. Praying for no red-light runners on Spokane (We still have that worry with LINK). Leaning into the turn at Spokane, and then the one at S 129th Street. Hoping the bus wouldn’t topple over or break in two. Wishing we had just splurged for the Gray Line Airporter bus. Such memories…ah and then the transition to SR 518 (another tight curve) as the bus would quickly slow down from 60 to just over 30 mph causing cars to nearly rear-end us. Holding one’s breath as the driver had to play chicken with the other vehicles as the transiton on-ramp lane ended. Would the Breda make it up the hill or would we be forced to walk to the terminal from the old Doug Fox parking lot (site of today’s Tukwila terminus)?

        If we made it up the hill to Bow Lake, such elation! Then…can we make it through the cruising SUV’s or triple-parked station wagons and make to the Metro bus zone at Door 4, then moved to Door 2, and now its present location at the La Quinta? (OK, Iam exagerating, but boy have Public Transit Users been treated like Typhoid Mary).

        Then, waiting for eveyone to “pay as you exit” and explaining to the wiating out-of-towners who were trying to board at Sea-Tac that, no, “194 S. Federal Way P&R” was not headed to downtown Seattle

        Sniff…such fun times.


      2. Sorry, brain fart!

        4th sentence should say “praying for no red-light runners on the streets that intersect(ed) the E-3 busway”.

    2. If the 194 is anywhere near capacity and loaded with luggage, it is difficult to move around and more than uncomfortable. It can take minutes to simply exit the bus and pay your fare up front. And the frequency is just bad. I look forward to taking light rail home for Christmas. :)

      1. While it has been a good service that has served a well-need niche, I can’t see how anyone can say that the 194 is a superior service to Link. The 194 is an airport express service with variable service times ranging from a (minimum) 32 mins up to 60 mins. Link is a guaranteed 36-minute ride, eminently more comfortable, can carry far more passengers per run, is able to make 12 stops and serve multiple neighborhoods along the way …all for an added 4 minutes over the (minimum) running time of the 194. The only thing I could possibly miss about the 194 is the $1.75 off-peak fare.

      2. I would say it’s more like a guaranteed 40 minute ride, but I expect that to improve. :)

        But yes, I added something here about the better service.

        And that off-peak fare is going up!

    3. pfft. They’ve obviously never used the 194 to catch a plane before. I’m looking forward to the increased reliability that comes with its own ROW. I’ve been so close to missing planes because the 194 was late or didn’t come at all. Love having to shell out $40 for a cab because the 194 did not show up…

      1. Well I am going to miss the 194. Going from one bus to two or three buses is going to mean a longer commute and less time at home. Speaking for myself, the things I really hate about the bus are not going to get better on Link. As long as there are people who never learned about using there indoor voice and shout all kinds of vulgarity, people playing there music so loud that everyone can hear it event hough there wearing ear plugs or the people who think that everyone needs to hear there music so they don’t even use headphones and people who call you a rasist, hater and other colourful insults if you ask them plitly to stop. At least on the bus I can try and get the bus driver to help. On link I am just stuck.

      2. Well, there’s always the emergency button that calls the train operator. People seem to forget that it exists. I heard a Link operator announce over the PA to someone talking loud on their cell phone, it was so loud that she heard it in the cab. If it’s reasonable, I’m sure the operator will try to help.

      3. Well my experiences make me skeptic. Sometimes I can get help but they are few and far between. I’ve been told everything from “so?” to I can’t do anything. True Story; I was on a bus once and a bunch of guys in the back were smoking both pot and ciggaretts. I went and told the driver and asked if he could do something, He told me that if I did not sit down and leave him alone he’d call the police and have me removed for harrassing him.

      4. Yeah, it really depends on the driver and the route. I’ve heard of bad experiences on the 174 and the 358. Imagine yourself as the bus driver in that position, how would you handle that? The driver could get up and tell them to stop but what if they don’t stop or escalate the situation? Then the police would be called but would they even respond to that call? I haven’t experienced troublemakers on my commute; the routes I ride on are pretty calm and clean, even on the midnight run. So I don’t know how often the transit police actually come on to buses.

        That driver seemed unreasonable. Harassment? That’s ridiculous. You should report him.

        I think Link is easier to police than buses. There are only 13 stations on the entire line which are well lit and monitored.

      5. Actually it was the 132. I did report him. He refused to pick me up a few weeks later. He said he would not take rats. But I used to ride the 174. I’ve seen all kind of things on there. I even had a driver who only stopped at stops he wanted to. I know he was reported on many times but he kept driving for years. I am just grateful I got off at the last stop.

  3. from the STimes article …

    Starting the first week of December, live trains will release passengers in Tukwila southbound and proceed empty to the airport.

    I guess this means that the problem of which platform will be over.

    1. Yes! Center platform all the way.

      University of Washington Station will also be center platform – we shouldn’t see this issue again anytime soon.

      1. Will the 200th St Station be center platform too? If the federal funds come through for that station, and we end up building it long before the rest of the South Link stations, it would be a real shame if it wasn’t built with a center platform.

  4. another question …

    is the Airport station (or rather the lack of one) the reason why the 194 still runs?

  5. Don’t forget the other advantages of LINK over the 194. More frequency (every 10 minutes on LINK, vs every 15-30 minutes on the 194), and greater span of service(especially Sunday nights). And as others mentioned, much faster loading.

      1. And that’s before the eventual service increases.

        And those trips carry three times as many people!

  6. I have ridden the 194 many times and am happy to see it disappear. Link is much better for all the reasons already mentioned.

    1. Actually, the 194 will exist after February. I heard from Metro Staff that the DAILY 4:35AM outbound trip (serving the night owl riders) will remain, since LINK light rail does not operate that early. I think the remaining trip will operate only to the airport and be renumbered to avoid confusion with the existing 194.

  7. I can’t stress that one of the biggest advantages over Link is that it serves far more neighborhoods than the 194. 194 is an express, it’s a straight shot to the airport after it leaves the SODO Busway. Rainier Valley residents are blessed with the ability to get to the airport via Link. Even if I lived on a hut between Boeing Field and I-5, I still would not be able to get to the airport by public transportation.

    1. Regardless of whether it is $2.50 o $2.75, it’ll be vastly less than the $8.10 BART now charges each way between SFO and downtown San Francisco – outrageous.

      1. UKP 26 one-way First Class on Heathrow Express to London-Paddington!

        Now THAT is outrageous! Even if the gentleman always, etc.

      2. Not to mention the blaring televisions, mostly ads, and the purple interiors – HEX is dreadful – I’ll us the Piccadilly line any day for GBP4.

    2. I think the Seattle Times made a mistake. The ST Guide says $2.50 in the fare matrix. They probably get the upcoming METRO TRANSIT fare increase scheduled for January 2010 mixed up (It will cost $2.75 on route 194 during peak periods).

Comments are closed.