In the early 1990s, I was working on Capitol Hill and became part of the Broadway Business Improvement Association. One of the pet projects of the Broadway BIA was to establish a direct bus link between the Capitol Hill and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods. Prior to 1995, a bus trip from the Seattle Center to Capitol Hill required a transfer in downtown Seattle. The effort to establish the direct bus line between the two neighborhoods had been on-going since the late 1970s, with Metro steadfastly refusing to create the connection–usually citing a perceived lack of demand or lack of vehicles (a real problem in the 1980s). Finally, after nearly 2 decades of wrangling with Metro, a grand bargain was reached where service on other routes would be reduced and a new route–the 8–would run every 30 minutes, 6am to 6pm, weekdays only between Group Health Hospital and Lower Queen Anne. The 8 began service on Monday morning, February 13, 1995 and has been successfully serving riders every since.
The Rider Alert pamphlet for February 11, 1995 details the reductions and changes on routes 2, 10, 12, 13 and 43 needed to fund service hours for the 8. I don’t have a timetable from February 1995 that shows the original service schedule; but, this timetable shows that within 1 year evening service had been added. Weekend service, service until 11pm, the extension to Madison Valley and Rainier Valley and 15 minute peak headways all followed within a couple of years. Despite Metro’s initial misgivings, the 8 has been a huge success, and in 2014, it would be difficult to imagine what transit ridership would be like without the 8.