FireworksDon’t be caught off guard by the significant transit service reductions on Friday, July 3, the day the federal government is observing as the Independence Day holiday. Very few transit agencies will be running a regular weekday schedule. Some will even shut down completely. Others will be shut down Saturday and open for business Friday.

However, on the night of Saturday, July 4, the South Lake Union Streetcar and * Tacoma Link will be in service later into the evening. ** The ferry from Vashon to Fauntleroy will have an additional sailing, at 11:25 pm.

Washington State Ferries is taking extra measures to handle the 350,000 passengers they are expecting over the holiday weekend, including spacing cars more tightly, and having police directing traffic at the downtown Seattle ferry dock. Check WSF’s terminal status page for the most up-to-date information on your route. Walking on is strongly encouraged. There should be more than enough space for the expected walk-on crowds, and ample space to transport bikes. If you want to avoid long lines, 4-6 pm Wednesday and Thursday evening is the wrong time to take the ferry.

If you are planning to take the ferry between Port Townsend and Coupevile, or any of the Anacortes / San Juan ferries, and taking a car, making a reservation is strongly encouraged. And then, be there 45 minutes before scheduled departure. ** Several additional sailings are planned for the Anacortes ferries July 1-5.

For-hire, taxi, and rideshare services with special deals this weekend, or any free-ride-home services, are welcome to mention those deals in the comment thread.

Service Levels for the various transit agencies in the region for July 3-4 are below the fold:

Friday, July 3 Saturday, July 4
King County Metro Sunday schedule Saturday schedule
Sound Transit Express Sunday Saturday
Central Link Sunday Saturday
Tacoma Link weekday * Sunday frequency 5:30 am – 10 pm
Sounder none none
Pierce Transit Saturday Saturday
Community Transit Sunday Saturday
Everett Transit weekday Sunday
Kitsap Transit none Saturday
Intercity Transit weekday Sunday
Skagit Transit weekday none
Island Transit none none
Mason Transit weekday none
Jefferson Transit weekday none
Washington State Ferries ** Friday ** Saturday
West Seattle Water Taxi Saturday Saturday
Vashon Water Taxi none Sunday
Monorail 7:30 am – 11 pm 8:30 am – 11 pm
South Lake Union Streetcar 6 am – 11 pm 6 am – midnight

23 Replies to “Expect Crowded Transit & Unusual Schedules July 3-4”

  1. Maybe not of great interest to STB readers, but Whatcom Transportation Authority has regular service on Friday and no service on Saturday.

    1. I’ve ridden the bus to Anacortes. There may not be too many STB readers there, but the transit network certainly sends Everett transit users that far.

  2. Thank you for the warning. Friday morning in Lake City:

    No 312
    522 – 30 minutes
    41 – 30 minutes
    No 372
    72 – 1 hour

    That will be a surprise for the troops.

    1. Good point. Wow, I expect a fair amount of swearing at the bus stop (I know I would). That’s a lot of bus service cut down to bare bones.

  3. Oh yeah. Friday morning, people (sans the ones who read up on special schedule days), most of whom still work on the day before independence day, will be lining up at bus stops expecting a weekday schedule (because it’s Friday). It’ll be interesting to see how it will play out. Those waiting for frequent routes (like RapidRide) won’t notice very many changes, although they may think their bus is running late, and they should see their bus packed to the gills. Those taking hourly and half-hourly bus routes may find themselves waiting a long time for their bus. Those waiting express routes may wait longer and experience very crowded buses if they’re lucky (meaning their express runs 7 days a week, or has a variant that runs off-peak like 577, 550, 590->594, 510->512, etc). The ones that aren’t lucky are waiting for a bus that will never come (197, 596, 9, 303). Some will figure out that things are different, some won’t. Some who don’t figure it out may find themselves stranded because their route stops running earlier on Sundays (route 181, for example, stops running over 2 hours earlier on Sunday than both Saturday and weekdays).

    Thank God Seattle has Uber.

    1. Some years ago when the Martin Luther King holiday started to be observed by government agencies but not by most businesses Metro went to a Sunday schedule on that day and to put it mildly it did not go over well with the traveling public. Many complaints and it was also the last time Metro went with a Sunday schedule on that holiday. Now they operate a reduced weekday schedule on King day which still leaves some people unhappy but at least it is not a Sunday schedule.

    2. If the bus stop has a schedule and it hasn’t been vandalized, it says at the top the route is running Sunday service or isn’t running on the 3rd.

      1. There should be special ALERT notices posted on buses/stops well in advance. How many people read the fine print posted on the schedules?

    3. There are a great number of us in the professions (and likely in other jobs) who have this day off. It’s not just the government by any means.

      Not saying that the bus schedules are or are not adequate, just saying that if you have paid holidays at all, this is one of the six or so days that you would almost assuredly have off (as opposed to MLK Day, Presidents’ Day and the like).

      1. Good point. I looked and I did have the day off. One fewer person on the Lake City buses. We will see, though.

  4. It seems insane to me that there is less service on Friday the 3rd than there is on Saturday the 4th on a fair number of these agencies.

    1. As community transit responded legally the 3rd is the holiday for legal purposes. So they run a Sunday schedule them. Also more ridership probably on Saturday due to the 4th.

  5. It’s an indictment of government agencies that they run a Holiday (Sunday) schedule on Friday July 3 — when despite the fact that it’s a government holiday, quite a few businesses will be open and people will be commuting and shopping – and then run a Saturday schedule, which has more service and better span – on July 4, which will be treated as the actual holiday by virtually everyone.

    It just proves that there is no one with common sense who can look at the situation and say something sensible… like let’s run the Holiday schedule on July 4, and the Saturday schedule on July 3. That’s cost-neutral and better matches demand.

    When gov’t agencies act stupidly and non-sensibly, that’s what generates distrust and dislike of them, certainly deserved in these decisions

    1. TriMet will operate regular weekday schedules on the 3rd. There will be many empty buses. This will generate an uproar among a certain other group of anti-government critics.

      It all depends on what group of blowhards wins on the talk radio ballot box. Somehow, up there, the save a bundle by pissing off your customers crowd has won.

      1. We’re running more service on Saturday, the lowest demand day, and the least service, probably inadequate, on a pseudo weekday. In what universe or political party does that make sense?

    2. Actually there will be more demand on Saturday due to the fireworks and such. Friday is a holiday for most.

      1. More retail and offices are open on the 3rd, and more people will be going about their business. The 4th will be much deader other than the Fireworks show, and by then a lot of routes aren’t running or running very infrequently.

  6. I’m actually surprised that they are running normal Saturday schedules on the 4th, but that’s a huge win for me because I will be out and about more that day. As for tomorrow-thankfully I only have to bus back one way, and I’m fully expecting the 65/75 to be running rather late.

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