The new timetables take effect September 30th. The big news is five Sounder round trips serving South Tacoma and Lakewood Stations (the five earliest northbound and latest southbound). The Sounder change will take place “in October”, not on October 1st with the other weekday changes.

As usual, Link is unchanged. Here are the bus changes:

Route 510: Minor schedule changes; stop closes at Broadway and 38th St
Route 512: Stop closes at Broadway and 38th St
Route 513: Significant schedule changes
Route 522: Northbound trips now run on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle
Route 532: Stop closes at Broadway and 38th St
Route 540, 542, 545, 555, 556: Yarrow Point freeway station closes eastbound only due to construction.
Route 540, 542, 556, 586: Stop closes at 15th Ave NE and NE Pacific St.
Route 586: Two morning northbound and two afternoon southbound trips added starting September 24; all trips now end at Tacoma Dome Station
Route 590: Trips added and major schedule changes; new stops added in north downtown Seattle
Route 592: Major schedule changes; major route changes in Seattle; new stops added in north downtown Seattle; all trips serve DuPont station
Route 593: When Sounder begins service to Lakewood and South Tacoma stations, all 593 trips will change to 590 and will no longer serve South Tacoma Station.
Route 594: Two southbound trips added; minor schedule changes; new stops added in north downtown Seattle.
All downtown Seattle routes: The Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle will end starting September 29. You will need to pay as you enter the bus at all times.

57 Replies to “ST Releases Fall Schedule”

  1. I was looking at the Bumbershoot schedule and thinking…if I had a fast way to use transit and get there from Kent East Hill I might go.

    But I don’t…even after 20 years of spending, I don’t have rail on weekends and holidays, and there is no express bus service (which I have asked for time and again).

    Am I being cranky, or is this a valid expectation…?

    1. You would have great service if you lived in Seattle, instead of way the hell out on KEH.

      1. Difference is density between Queens and Kent is astronomical. Apples to Oranges. That said, a RapidRide route should go from Kent to Seattle and skip Tukwila.

      2. Distance between Ephrata and Quincy = 18 miles.

        Wow! This is fun!

        What were we talking about again?

      3. John, have you ever looked up how long it actually takes to get from Central Park to JFK? You have to change trains at least once. And walk the entire width of Central Park.

        People don’t go between JFK and Central Park, however. Unless they’re forced to.

    2. If you can afford the admission price, you can probably afford a cab to Airport Station, and the extra fare for the monorail. Go in style!

      1. I believe that we instituted weekend express bus service regionally, it would be a gigantic boon to commerce AND transit, especially on Event Days, but any weekend really.

      2. ST runs a lot of regional express routes on the weekends. Just not, apparently, one that runs directly to where you live. Providing that service would mean cutting other service that people actually use.

      3. Not true. We can easily fund an express bus between Seattle and Kent by cutting fat out of the System elsewhere. Just combine the 577 and 594 into one route and reroute the 578 from Federal Way to Kent. Problem solved.

      4. Under my proposal, direct service between Federal Way and downtown Seattle would still be available on the 594.

        On weekends, the 594 runs at the same frequency as the 577 and 578 combined, so service between downtown and Federal Way would be unchanged.

        I don’t remember the details on weekdays, but I think the 594 runs every 15 minutes, which should be more than adequate for Federal Way. If overcrowding becomes an issue, swap the smaller buses for larger articulated buses.

        During the weekday peak period, of course, the 578 would continue to be replaced with the 577 as it does today, because not to do so would amount to ST needlessly running buses and trains that merely compete with each other.

      5. Eliminate the SODO jog an the running time between Seattle and Tacoma would be no longer than it is today.

        Serving SODO and serving Federal Way take the same amount of time, so swapping the two would merely cancel each other out. However, there are lots more people traveling between Kent and downtown than between Tacoma and SODO, so ridership-wise, this change would be a big win.

        As an added bonus, this change would make the 574 in its present form somewhat redundant, since Federal Way->SeaTac already has the A-line (which is just as fast as the 574 when you include the time spent waiting at the bus stop), and Federal Way->Tacoma would now be served by the 594 as well.

        Some of the 574 service hours could be converted into non-stop trips between downtown Tacoma and the airport, others could be reinvested to make the new 594 route more frequent, for example, every 20 minutes on weekends vs. every 30, or every 10 minutes on weekdays vs. every 15.

        As to the freeway stations along I-5 that are covered today by the 574, I say just abandon them. Except for the commuter expresses to Seattle, hardly anyone uses those stops anyway.

    3. Long-distance transit is always going to be a commuter mode from suburbs like that. All-day transit in the suburbs is for people to reach basic necessities, for which they don’t need to go that far.

      If I lived out there and wanted to go to Bumbershoot, I’d drive to S Renton P&R and take the 101 into town.

      1. Not completely true. Some people who live in the city have occasional reasons to visit the suburbs. There are occasional events there. And there are also lots of people who live in the city, but have family and friends who live out there.

        Suburban P&R’s are also good places for people in the city to meet people in the suburbs for carpooling to locations far beyond anywhere Sound Transit will ever serve. For instance, if you live in Seattle (and don’t own a car) and want to go to Mt. Ranier with a friend who lives in Tacoma, the 594 means you can meet up anywhere in Tacoma served by the 594 that’s convenient for your friend to drive to. Not having the 594 either means your friend in Tacoma needs to drive a 90-minute round trip to Seattle to pick you up (and again to drop you off), or you have to pay the $90 or so it costs to rent a car for the entire day. As the operating costs of the 594 are far below $90 per person, but bus comes out as a significant win.

      2. P&Rs are effective places to meet people and drop them off. To make them good places for people to wait, you’d make them more into real transit centers with pedestrian amenities and TOD.

      1. You can thank the Angels!

        I would love to see expanded Sounder service for special events such as the marathons, Seahawks pre-season, Apple Cup, international futbol friendlies, and even Folklife and Bumbershoot (though the latter two may not pencil out due to lack of kickoff/first-pitch and final whistle times).

        I didn’t see it specified whether special event Sounder runs would reach Lakewood.

      2. I think I counted last year at how many of the 104 weekend days Sounder ran due to the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders and I came up with 42 days (if someone has more accurate information, please correct me). Would it really take a lot more to add the other 62 days? I mean, one train to Seattle from Tacoma and Everett in the morning and then a return train in the afternoon?

        I do think there would be some demand and a bit of a boon to the downtown Seattle economy. Too bad they can’t do an arrangement with the Monorail and offer transfers on Storm days.

        Maybe once (and if) we get NBA and NHL teams and if the new arena is located in SODO, ST would start weekend trips for those games. That would fill in the rest of the 64 days quite nicely.

      3. I agree…also a night owl say at 10:30 pm leaving Seattle southbound.

        They have the two reverse sounders at 4:30 and 5pm which I have taken in to the symphony etc…but then I’ve stuck on the milk run 150 getting back. It turns a pleasant evening in the city into a chore.

    4. Historically, the reason Kent doesn’t have an all-day express — unlike Redmond, Issaquah, and Bothell — is that it got Sounder instead. When ST told the residents of Kent/Auburn/Puyallup that the tradeoff for getting more Sounder service was not getting much else from ST (ST Express or Link), they preferred to go with Sounder. I think that was a mistake because Sounder has very limited hours as JB’s original question attests, but Sounder does cut 2/3 off the travel time for Seattle-Kent and Puyallup-Auburn compared to the 150 and 578, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. (The situation reverses for Seattle-Tacoma because the track makes a large detour to reach Sumner and Puyallup, so the 594 is 5-10 minutes faster than Sounder.)

      In general, there should be all-day expresses or limited-stop routes between all urban villages and emerging suburban downtowns, and a reasonable number of expresses directly to downtown Seattle because it’s the region’s primary transfer point. We can argue about whether that specifically means Federal Way-Seattle, Kent-Seattle, Renton-Seattle, Redmond-Seattle (which is struggling with off-peak ridership), or whether a transfer at SeaTac, Highline CC, or Rainier Beach is adequate.

      I would say that Pacific Highway, Kent, and Renton are gateways to different parts of South King County, and deserve separate “priority routes” to downtown. (“Priority” being a purposely vague term here.) South King County is a significantly larger area and higher population than the Eastside, so one route on Pacific Highway is not sufficient. The 150 is not acceptable as the main trunk route to Kent: it has too many turns and traffic around Southcenter. 60-minute travel time to Seattle is not reasonable. Reasonable would be 30 minutes, perhaps stretching it to 40 on the outside. It would be one thing if Kent were out-of-the-way like Covington, but it’s right in the center of south-central/southeast King County, a perfect transfer point.

      All this points to Kent Station, which both Kent and ST have agreed is the focus point for transit/shopping/entertainment and an emerging urban village. East Hill is a different matter. I can see it as a future urban village with a frequent local route to Kent Station and Renton. But JB (sometimes) resists midrise urban-village density, preferring a decentralized sprawly approach as East Hill is now. That hinders transit’s effectiveness. I would say, when Metro gets some money, if should just install a frequent route for East Hill, and hope that’ll encourage East Hill to densify over the next decade or two. Sometimes you have to install transit before the development because the development won’t happen otherwise.

      1. I doubt too many people who choose to live in Kent east hill, just because there’s a frequent bus. If you want to ride the bus frequently, you’re much better off choosing a place in Seattle.

      2. There is no frequent bus yet, although three overlapping routes provide 15-minute (?) service to Kent Station on opposite sides of the street. (Like the 13 vs 4 situation on the top of Queen Anne, where the 13 goes south to downtown and the 4 goes north to downtown.)

        People who want the best transit service will always live in Seattle. But there are other factors too. (1) A lot of jobs are in Kent, especially blue-collar warehouse jobs. (2) Some people grew up in Kent and don’t want to leave their hometown and family. (3) Some people can’t afford to move because they have a minimum-wage job, are taking care of kids, and/or are disabled. (4) Some people believe cities are bad and unsafe and have bad schools, and they’ll only live in suburbs.

    1. On balance, ST’s willingness to send the 592 to north downtown directly and bypass the Busway Crawl shows a lot of courage. The end of the RFA will have a larger impact on the 594 than the extra stops at the end of the line will.

      Those new maps of downtown Everett, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Seattle are way cool!

      The one thing missing, and I’m glad it isn’t there, is how to pay a one-county fare on a route that has stops in two counties. We’ll see if this becomes a problem.

      1. If the 592 can skip the busway crawl, why can’t the 594 do so also? Unless there’s a Sonics game going on at a SODO arena that does not exist, there is just not enough demand between Tacoma and SODO to justify the added time for everyone else.

        Furthermore, the time saved by skipping the busway crawl could pay for a 594 stop in Federal Way with no net increase in travel time.

      2. to reply to asdf. There are riders going to Safeco Field/CenturyLink Field from Tacoma. Skipping the SODO busway would be a disservice to them and with the elimination of the RFA, would be forced to transfer and pay again (since ST does not issue transfers). Most of these people tend to to be occasional riders and probably pay cash. There is also employment centers down in the SODO area. 594’s are already crowded and making an additional stop in Federal Way will make things worse, unless frequencies are improved. Also, most the 578 ridership is between Seattle and Federal Way.

      3. Riders going to Safeco Field/CenturyLink Field from Tacoma can easily walk to the stadium from Pioneer square. Even though it looks quite a bit further as the crow flies, when you consider the detours to access the railroad overpasses connecting stadium station to the stadiums today, the additional walking distance to get to Pioneer Square is not that much more, since the walking route from the stadiums to Pioneer Square is a straight line.

        Nor do I buy the argument that we have to provide one seat rides everywhere because ST does not issue transfers. Anyone who doesn’t want to pay twice should get an Orca card. And if that’s too much hassle for occasional users, we need to be focusing our efforts on making the process of getting an Orca card easier. For instance, suppose instead of simply paying the regular fare, you could stick a $20 bill into the farebox and get back a new Orca with $12.50 preloaded onto it (deduct the $5 fee, plus the fare for the current trip).

        Yes, there are a few employment centers in the SODO area, but there’s not much compared to downtown itself. They do matter, but they don’t draw enough people to justify direct service to Tacoma. This is especially true on weekends, when the SODO employment centers are virtually deserted.

        I’ve ridden the 594 a few times, mostly on weekends and, while it’s not empty, it’s not anywhere close to full either. I’ve ridden the 577 on a weekend once and found it practically empty. Now these buses might still be full during peak commute times, but off-peak, at least from what I’ve seen, there is plenty of extra capacity to combine the routes. Especially considering that the 594 trips today tend to use shorter buses, rather than the longer articulated buses. Given the large number of articulated buses that serve routes which operate only during the peak, there should be plenty of idle articulated buses to take over the combined 577/594 route off-peak.

        Finally, I’m not sure what the ridership between Seattle and Kent would be under the modified 578. But I do know that it is unreasonable to extrapolate from current ridership statistics that people in Federal Way want to travel to Seattle all the time, but people in Kent only want to travel to Seattle during peak commuter hours.

        Rather, the reality that people in Kent still want to travel to Seattle at all times, but most of the time, they either drive to Tukwila and take Link, or drive all the way because the 150 is so abominably slow.

        Even better, the revised 578 could potentially stop at south Renton P&R on the way to Seattle, replacing the 101. At present, traffic delays would be a problem. But with aggressive signal priority for the left turn off Grady Way, it might be doable.

    2. If the buses are already stuck in traffic on Stewart, they may as well open their doors a couple times at Yale and 9th.

  2. Whatever Lakewood and South Tacoma Sounder commuters are going to be paying to get to their jobs in Seattle ($4.75?), it’s not enough. People who choose to live an unsustainable lifestyle should not be enabled and rewarded with low train fares, they should be severely penalized.

      1. It’s hard to take the comment seriously when he didn’t even read the fare chart: $5 from South Tacoma to Seattle and $5.25 from Lakewood to Seattle via Sounder. But with $3.50 being the bus fare, and the bus being faster and more frequent, I think the 592 will continue to be the mode of choice for nearly all Lakewood-Seattle commuters.

        Personally, I think Pierce County is shooting its economy in the foot by making it easy for residents to get to jobs in downtown Seattle, and increasingly hard to get to jobs in Pierce County.

      2. The problem is the jobs are in King County; Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, REI, Eddie Baur, Weyerhaeuser, et al. Quick, name the big corporate players in Pierce County. They don’t even make pickels any more in Nalley Valley. Snohomish has the same issue as blue collar jobs are just disappearing. Pierce gets a boost from the Port of Tacoma but without the military it would be turn out the lights. Snohomish also is fortunate to have Naval Station Everett and Boeing but it’s mills have gone the way of the doh doh bird. The growth in Snohomish County is largely because cheap real estate makes it a bedroom community for Seattle and the eastside.

      1. And herein lies the problem. The capacity of the 592 is negligible compared to the capacity of the Sounder train, so if everybody who rides the 592 switched to the train instead, we would save money by not needing to operate the 592, at the zero marginal cost of filling in empty seats on a Sounder train that’s running anyway.

        But by operating the bus and setting the fare to be cheaper than the train, we create an artificial demand for the bus that justifies trips that are really nothing more than ST competing with itself.

        Yes, the 592 does provide one-seat rides to DuPont and the Sounder does not. But, anyone who lives in DuPont can easily drive themselves to Lakewood and catch the train there.

        If we’re going to have any buses going between Seattle and DuPont, DuPont should at least be a stop on the way to Olympia. But spending so much money exclusively on people who choose to live so far from work is just crazy.

      2. Actually the “artificial demand” would running a more expensive to operate train and killing the faster and cheaper bus service (fig. 1).

        But spending so much money exclusively on people who choose to live so far from work is just crazy.

        Agreed, see fig. 1 ;-)

      3. So is there any reason not to set the bus price to $5.25? It would sure help with Sound Transit’s budget. Some people would still take the bus because it is faster and runs when the train doesn’t. But a lot would just switch to the train.

      4. Does Sounder have enough empty seats for the 59x riders? (Either including or excluding the 594.) I heard it does not, and ST does not have sufficient railcars in its near-term budget.

  3. A couple other things I notice.

    (1. ST added 1-2 minutes to DSTT travel time, from 8 minutes to 10 minutes between Westlake and IDS. We’ll see if that’s enough. =)

    (2. For the first time, there will be reverse-peak 592s all the way into Seattle in the afternoon. Previously there was one southbound in the morning but no equivalent in the afternoon, though ST did monetize some deadheads from DuPont to Lakewood (and they ran entirely empty). I assume this new service is in lieu of reverse-Sounder service to Lakewood?

    1. I don’t see the scheduled travel times on Link in any official place any more. The 550 schedule shows travel time between ID Station and Convention Place, 8 minutes off-peak, 9 minutes AM peak, and 10 minutes PM peak.

      But, yeah, that is realistically how long it will take to get between ID Station and Westlake, if the peak capacity problem doesn’t cause a meltdown.

  4. What the hell? Why close the 38th st stop in Everett? Does it really add that much time? Or will they have the buses use the Pacific onramp instead of Broadway?

    1. I’m not too thrilled about it either but I can see two possible reasons for doing it:
      1. Southbound that stop is adjacent to a heavy construction zone by Memorial Stadium.
      2. In both directions the bus has to make a rather severe lane shift to reach the stop from the HOV ramps and vice versa. I was on a 510 one night that wrecked into a car/SUV which had been stopped at the curb just before the northbound stop and pulled out just in time to get creamed by the bus. It seems to me the driver wasn’t expecting a bus from two lanes over to pull in all the way to the curb.

  5. Why does that bus look so loooooong? Is it a hybrid? Did they move the batteries/capacitors (or whatever is up there on most hybrids) off the top of the bus?

      1. I ride a similar model (without the fancy styling) everyday. Hate it. The windows are too small and too high above the seats. I feel like sitting in a bathtub. And in mostly sun-deprived Seattle, that makes it worse.

      2. or….good choice st. pierce transit just drives the buses that sound transit purchases.

    1. It’s just a visual illusion. The windows are not that tall, and the unbroken lines make the bus look even longer. It’s 42 feet long just like most “40-foot” buses with aerodynamic fairings.

  6. If you read the timetables the changes for routes operated by King county metro are effective on September 29 not the 30th which is true for buses operated by community transit and pierce transit.

  7. What I would like to see is better service on the weekends from ST during the summer months. On Sundays the 550 runs every 30min, Mariner game, Sounder game or not. The 550 on weekdays is jam packed with sports fans with 15m service. On Sundays the 550 could run every 20m, or better. Service also needs to run in closer intervals later in the evening. After 7p on weekends, it goes to 30m….and every bus is packed full. This could also apply to some Metro service as well, such as the 41. Places where LOTS of people park and take the bus into Seattle (and then the SAME amount of people back home).

    On the Sounder note, why not count weekend trips in Round Trips? The trip from Tacoma in the morning, could flip and go back, and do the same later. There are people in Seattle that may want to go to Kent, the fair in Puyallup, or even Tacoma for museums etc. One train, can run back and forth, it was done with the Coaster Commuter Rail in San Diego, pretty much from start up they ran one train starting at 9:30a and finishing up at 7:30p for 4 round trips. Just recently, they added Sunday service for the Summer, and late night Friday night trips. Sounder could do this for the summer months, at least, and at times when traffic and events are at highs, like the holidays.

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