Space Needle fireworksSound Transit has announced the closing times for Link Light Rail and Tacoma Link for getting home from New Year’s Eve festivities.

  • Link Light Rail’s last train out of SeaTac Airport Station will depart at 12:10 a.m., a half hour earlier than on a typical weekday.
  • Link Light Rail’s last train out of Westlake Station will depart at 1:13 a.m., a half hour later than usual.
  • Tacoma Link’s last streetcar will depart Tacoma Dome Station at 12:36 a.m., two and a half hours later than usual.

Additionally, the Seattle Center Monorail will run until 1 a.m., with a fire-department-required break from 11:15 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. If you want to ride the monorail, remember to bring cash, as it still hasn’t joined the ORCA pod.

A year-long ridership study is expected to begin early next year, funded jointly by SDOT and the Seattle Center. Since the point of the ridership study is to protect the profits for the Seattle Center and Seattle Monorail Services (not accounting for the City’s role in paying for all the maintenance), hopefully the study will consider how many more people would spend more money at the Seattle Center if riding the monorail involved a free transfer from the public transit system, and what impact a nearby Ballard Link Station would have on existing monorail ridership, especially when taking Ballard Link would be a free transfer for many.

Holiday schedule changes for transit throughout the region were covered earlier this month.

12 Replies to “Extended New Year’s Eve Service”

  1. Last train leaving Westlake should be at least after 2 am. And not just for NYE but every Fri, Sat and every major “drinking” holiday. A bonus would be if it was free to ride on these holidays.

  2. I’m assuming the earlier-than-normal last departure from the airport is to allow Sound Transit to get a long line of trains staged at Westlake during the show, allowing southbound trains after the show to depart one right after the other, as soon as they fill up, rather than the usual practice of 15-minute headways after 10 PM. At least, I hope I’m right. 2-car trains running every 15-minutes seems to asking for a major capacity crunch after an event like this.

    Or, perhaps Sound Transit could go even further and couple the trains together during the fireworks show, allowing for 4-car trains after the show to get everybody home. Have the finally torn down the wall to allow 4-car trains to turn around north of Westlake Station?

    1. Given that ST has been testing trains all the way to UW Station for several weeks, now, it is safe to assume the demising wall is out of the way.

      We’ll see if ST has a special surprise for early Saturday morning.

      1. There is zero chance they’ll open U-Link this early; they likely don’t have the necessary approvals for public access to the stations, for example. However, with some extra supervisory staff they can probably operate 3 and 4-car trainsets south from Westlake.

      2. @ronp –

        Search Sound Transit for “agency progress report” and you can get a reasonable amount of detail. I believe that the most recent one is October 2015. The pre revenue service timeline is still holding at March 10, with a revenue service deadline of March 26. (when the Metro re-org happens).

    2. Is the fireworks display really that big of an event? I know there is other stuff going on (Pioneer Square, etc.) but it seems like most of those folks will stay later. I would be surprised if a two car train is filled (but what do I know).

  3. Stopping this early is silly for New Year’s Eve since there are fireworks at midnight.

    It’s also too bad that there isn’t a way to have U-Link run temporary service to Capitol Hill since the neighborhood is a major NYE destination. Let’s hope ST runs later next year once this station is open!

    1. The fireworks are in Seattle, not SeaTac. If the show ends at 12:20 (the end of the fire department break), that’s plenty of time to get downtown and onto a train by 1:15.

      It is odd that the agencies perpetually extend late-evening trains but not buses, as if everybody lives near a train station, when 80% of Seattlites live near a bus stop instead. Why does Rainier Valley and Tukwila get extra evening service from the fireworks when Ballard and Capitol Hill do not. Are people in southeast Seattle and Tukwila more likely to want to watch fireworks? Why? What about the people who have to wait an hour to get onto overcrowded buses going their direction?

      1. I agree with your last paragraph. Not only are there plenty of people watching the fireworks, but way more people partying until last call in places like downtown, Ballard and Capitol Hill. Running buses an extra couple hours would make a lot of sense, since this is a time when buses run fairly quickly.

  4. You’d think someone would sponsor a free monorail ride on New Year’s Eve. As sponsorship opportunities go, it would seem a natural for anyone associated with the revelry. Like craft brewers or distillers.

  5. @baselle and @jason – thanks, I totally misread the comment and did not realize it was about 4 car trains headed south. Very cool if that happens!

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