[Correction: In the original post I incorrectly stated that Routes 522 and 577 were only gaining 2 trips and 1 trip, respectively. They are actually gaining 3 trips each during peak periods. The table below has been updated.]
While June’s Prop-1 funded transit service additions were welcome and badly needed, many of them were the unsexiest of fixes: more layover time, schedule stretching for reliability, added trips here or there. But beginning next Saturday, Prop 1 will fully be in effect, and if you care about spontaneous mobility through frequent transit it’s truly a red-letter day. Beginning September 26, Seattle will be the closest it’s ever been to being a place where you can count on frequent transit service, 7 days per week.
In another ‘growth dividend’, the booming regional economy is also enabling Metro to add service on its own, doing things such as boosting Rapid Ride E from 12 minute service to 10 minutes. Read the whole package here, but below are some highlights of what you have to look forward to:
More Link Service: Sound Transit will run 25% more peak-hour trains, arriving every 6 minutes instead of every 7.5 minutes. To make room in the tunnel, routes 76, 77, 216, 218, 219, and 316 will move to surface streets. All Issaquah service will now share a common pathway on 2nd/4th avenues.
No More ‘Reduced Weekday’ Service: Buses will now run regular weekday service on minor holidays such as Veteran’s Day, the Day After Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, and Presidents Day. That means more service on routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, 36, 40, 41, 43, 44, 50, 56, 60, 64, 70, 76, 77, 124, 131, 132, 522, 540, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555, 556, 560, 566, 577, and 578.
Massive Systemwide Frequency Upgrades: Most core routes will now feature frequent service on Saturdays, and many (such as 5, 21, 40, 41) will have frequent Sunday service too. The 70-series gets a huge boost and is simplified, with the 70 running frequently 7 days per week, and the 71/72/73 becoming full-time express routes. There’s even brand new service that doesn’t exist today, such as Saturday service on Route 67 and Sunday service on Route 68.
Many other small changes are in store too. Community Transit will not add any service, but will stretch its peak commuter schedules at a cost of $2M, strictly due to congestion on I-5. Sounder schedules will stretch a bit to account for Positive Train Control, providing later departures for the 4 daily trains that originate/terminate in Tacoma rather than Lakewood. Downtown Seattle layovers and peak alignments will shift significantly, with many routes no longer using Stewart St, different routes using 9th/Pine for layover, and more. Please check your route to be aware of your specific changes.
But the overall picture is more transit for more people, and we’re just getting started. Consider this your pre-ULink appetizer, and thank you to Seattle voters for approving Prop 1.