This is King County Metro’s back door policy, stated in my words:
Passengers may exit through the back door on any trip that is pay-as-you-enter at any time, except at downtown bus stops when the Ride Free Area is not in effect (7 pm – 6 am).
Jim O’Rourke, Metro’s Manager of Operations confirms:
Current policy is as Oran states – back door is OK outside of the CBD.
As for the signs on buses, Linda Thielke, Metro spokesperson, says “[management] will work to see what can be done to get the signs altered; but it may take some time unless it’s already part of the decal campaign for this summer.” The policy change by Metro’s Operations folks probably didn’t reach everyone, thus signs that continue to conflict with the new policy.
So there you have it. I hope that riders, drivers and management will all get the memo on this policy for consistency and efficiency of bus unloading.