[Post has been updated with minor clarifications on Routes 24, 28, 33, 48, 62, 73, 75, 78, and 373.]

With ULink launching next weekend and Metro’s huge service change happening one week later on March 26, Metro released its official service change information page this afternoon, and County Executive Dow Constantine has issued a media release about the changes. Those familiar with the service change website will notice a number of substantive improvements to the interface, including station area maps and the ability to filter routes to see only additions, deletions, reductions, extensions, and more.

There are a number of ULink related changes we’ve covered exhaustively, but also a number of grab bag improvements across the system. Wi-fi has now been added to the Downtown Transit Tunnel as a Metro project, with Sound Transit adding cell service in all tunnel stations coming this summer.

Metro’s info is clearer and more user-friendly than we’ve seen, and you should check it out. But here are the basics on one page. Please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes or left anything out.

Better Frequency

  • Route 8 will improve from 15 to 12 minutes.*
  • Routes 24 and 33 will be offset to provide 15-minute service from Magnolia to Downtown until 11:30.
  • Route 48 will terminate at UW and will improve from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.
  • Route 49 will improve from 15 to 12 minutes.
  • Northeast Seattle Routes 65, 67, and 372 will double from 30 minutes to 15 minutes.
  • Route 70 will run every 10 minutes during more of the peak period, instead of just during peak-of-peak today.
  • Route 75 will improve from 30 minutes off-peak and 15 minutes peak to 15/10.

Added Trips

  • Rapid Ride E will add four peak trips in each direction.
  • Route 5X will add one PM peak trip at 4pm.
  • Route 27 will add one PM peak trip at 5:14pm.
  • Route 36 will have its last two trips through-routed with Route 70 to the University District to provide service when ULink isn’t operating. The route will leave Beacon Hill at 12:25 and 12:55am.
  • Route 76 will add 3 trips in each direction, running until 10am southbound and until 7pm northbound.
  • Route 77 will add one southbound peak trip at 7:17am.
  • Route 101 will add a handful of new trips on weekdays and weekends.
  • Route 105 will add 3 northbound trips on Saturday morning, bringing frequency up from hourly to roughly half-hourly beginning at 8am.
  • Route 120 will add 5 southbound trips that will bring PM peak frequency to 6-8 minutes and extend 15-minute service until 8:15pm.
  • Route 179 will add 2 peak trips in each direction.
  • Route 190 will add 2 peak trips in each direction.
  • Routes 214, 216, 218, and 219 will each add a trip and have some schedule tweaks.
  • Route 240 will add 2 southbound trips and 1 northbound trip.
  • Route 255 will add 1 morning trip originating in Downtown Kirkland, 1 afternoon trip to Totem Lake, and will move from Tunnel Bay B to Bay A. Yay for single-bay northbound tunnel operations.
  • Route 301 will add 1 trip in each direction.
  • Route 316 will add 3 morning trips and 2 afternoon trips.

New Routes

  • Route 38 will replace Route 8 between Mount Baker and Rainier Beach, running every 15 minutes.
  • Route 45 will take over for Route 48 between Loyal Heights and UW Station, running every 15 minutes. It will also move to University Way to form the core service on the Ave alongside Routes 71, 73, and 373.
  • Route 62 will be a new mega-route offering new connectivity and unprecedented frequency on NE 65th Street, running every 15 minutes all day from Sand Point to Downtown via Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Green Lake,  Wallingford, Fremont, Dexter, SLU, and Belltown. Former Route 16 riders from Wallingford to Downtown will see a frequency boost from 20 to 15 minutes, offset by the marginally slower Dexter routing.
  • Route 63 will be a new peak express from Northgate to First Hill, taking over for Route 242 between Northgate and Green Lake, and offering new peak service between Northgate-SLU and between SLU-First Hill. In the afternoons, the route will join Route 64 and 309 using a new routing between First Hill and SLU via 8th Avenue.
  • Route 78 will take over for Route 25 between UW and Laurelhurst, running roughly every 35-40 minutes between 6am-7pm on weekdays only. Together with Route 65, the two routes will provide 5 to 8 buses per hour between UW Station and UVillage. Southbound between UVillage and UW Station, riders can also catch routes 31, 32, and 67.

Major Route Revisions

  • Rapid Ride C will join Route 40 in South Lake Union. Combined with the South Lake Union Streetcar, peak service from SLU to Westlake will improve from 12 trips per hour to as many as 22 trips per hour. Westlake Avenue will have new bus-only lanes as well, though they’ve been watered down in places to allow right turns at Denny Way. Newly uncoupled from the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Rapid Ride D will now serve Pioneer Square.
  • Routes 26 and 28 will run their ‘express’ routing at all times, skipping Fremont and using Aurora instead of Dexter to access Downtown. Route 26 will also take over for Route 16 between Green Lake and Northgate with frequency reduced from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Route 28, meanwhile, will use 39th instead of 46th to access the Aurora bridge, getting service a bit closer to Fremont.
  • Route 43 will become peak-only, running 9 southbound trips and 7 northbound trips (pink-shaded trips below go all the way Downtown). In addition,  Route 44 deadheads will run in service signed as Route 43 between Montlake and Boren/Yesler, leading to a bizarre service pattern where there is one mid-day trip at 3:55pm, a handful of evening trips, and 4 night owl trips between UW Station and Capitol Hill after Link is out of service.
Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 12.11.02 PM
Screenshot from OneBusAway for Southbound Route 43 at UW Station
  • Route 67 will shift from 5th Ave NE to Roosevelt Way NE, taking over Maple Leaf service from deleted Route 68.
  • Route 71 will no longer run Downtown, but will offer local service between Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, The Ave, and UW Station, running every half hour on weekdays and Saturdays between 7am-10pm, with no Sunday service.
  • Route 73 will no longer run Downtown, but will offer local service on 15th Ave NE between Jackson Park and UW Station, running every half hour on weekdays and Saturdays between 7:30am-10pm, with no Sunday service. Southbound from 6:00am-9:30am and northbound from 1:45pm-6:45pm, Route 373 will replace Route 73.
  • Route 74 will no longer run on the Ave, but will run via NE 50th Street and Roosevelt Way before hitting the I-5 express lanes. It will also add a handful of trips and be the sole remaining tunnel bus between Downtown and the UDistrict.

Deleted Routes

  • Route 16 will be deleted and replaced by Route 26 between Northgate and Green Lake, and by Route 62 between Green Lake and Downtown. Riders between Northgate and Green Lake will see a frequency cut from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, while riders from Green Lake to Downtown will see a boost from 20 minutes to 15 minutes. 
  • Route 25. Most able-bodied Route 25 riders can use routes 47, 49, 70, or 78. Riders on Boyer and Lakeview will have no service.
  • Route 30. Added trips on Route 74 will compensate during peak periods, as will increased frequency on all adjacent arterials.
  • Route 66. Peak-period riders can use Route 63 between Northgate, SLU, and Downtown. Southbound riders headed to Eastlake will need to transfer to Route 70 in the University District.
  • Route 68. Service on 25th Ave NE will be replaced by doubling service on Route 372, and service on Roosevelt Way NE will be replaced by Route 67.
  • Route 72. Riders in Lake City headed to Upper Roosevelt or Downtown should use Route 522, which will have an added stop at Lake City Way and NE 85th St. Riders on Ravenna Ave should use more frequent route 372. Riders from Roosevelt to the UDistrict will have Routes 45 and 71.
  • Route 242.  While most trip pairs on Route 242 are met by other routes (including Routes 63, 247, 541, 542, 545, or 555), riders riding all the way from Ridgecrest/Northgate to Overlake will need to transfer.

*Though in the case of Route 8, it may be more accurate to say that 5 bunched buses will come at once instead of 4 each hour. </snark>

72 Replies to “Metro’s ULink Service Change Page Is Now Live”

  1. It’s pretty obnoxious they can’t or won’t get the new schedules online until the day before the changes. Some of us might need to do some planning, especially if our commute is disrupted.

    1. The schedules are online at OneBusAway.org. Just put in your route, pick your stop, select “Complete Timetable”, and pick a day after March 26.

      1. Thanks for the tip. If this technique is yielding correct information, the 28X Northbound will now truncate at 9:00 PM. It’s not the end of the world–I can take a D or a 5–but this is a somewhat significant service cut that was very much not indicated in the information they provided about the coming service change; at no stage in the service revision process did they indicate 3-4 hours of weekday service would be cut. Is it possible the OBA data is incomplete? If not, how many other routes are seeing this kind of unadvertised service reduction?

      2. Getting the same result from Metro’s trip planner. How does it make practical or economic sense to continue SB service until 1:00 AM while ending NB service four hours earlier? And why on earth do they think it’s reasonable to sweep a service cut like this under the rug until a new schedule goes live. The “link connections service change page is still basically lying about this (service till midnight, ti claims; no indication that’s only one direction.)

      3. If service is shown as continuing southbound until normal close of service, it’s some sort of data entry glitch. As you implied, djw, the buses have to get to Holman Road to head back south.

        Metro clearly reads this blog so they’ll fix it soon. I hope they say “Thank you” to you guys for catching it.

      4. Might be a in in service move of a bus that would otherwise be deadheading from another route.

    2. They don’t display timetables on Metro’s website until the day before? This is Easter weekend. Undoubtedly, people will be visiting relatives and many – particularly students at UW, the area most affected – will be using transit!!! And it is the weekend of the democratic caucus. Again, democrats from precincts in the city are the type of people who heavily use transit. How on earth did these people think that this was a good date to implement, and why can’t they just release the new timetables a few weeks in advance so people can plan ahead???

    3. Metro’s Trip Planner, both desktop and mobile, and Puget Sound Trip Planner app, also allow you to view schedules for any date. Click Route Schedules and enter a date and select a route and you can see the schedules. This seems to work as a good bridge for people who want to see the schedules, or plan a specific trip.

      1. Thanks. It has the current route numbers but not the new ones. I couldn’t get the 62 in the list.

      2. Thanks for the heads up, Jeff. But i don’t think the general public is aware of this. A separate page for new schedules on Metro’s website would be extremely helpful. Otherwise, we sorta have to ‘dig around’ for the info.

      3. The new schedules are accessible from the service change page, if you click on the route the summary box has a button for the schedule PDF. But existing route numbers are not accessible that way. So schedules for new route numbers are in a different section of the website from existing route numbers. Something to fix for the next version.

        Paper timetables will be available March 18, according to the service change page.

    4. Last service change they got the schedules up about a week before the change where both before and after schedules were posted. I just checked and it’s not up yet but I would be surprised if it’s not up by the 19th.

  2. How the times change! I remember being a UW student in the late 1990s… lots of nights standing on the Ave waiting for whichever of the 71/72/73 would come first. Whatever did show up first was a slow old Breda bus that was usually packed to the gills and took forever to load and unload through the front door, and then slogged down Eastlake towards downtown before entering the tunnel. At the time the thought of a fast ride downtown on a train was literally a pipedream, as this was in the middle of ST’s near implosion.

    Exciting news for the U District and great to see that Metro is fully leveraging the transit investment. Further northern expansions of Link can’t come soon enough… Brooklyn will be the real game changer for this area.

  3. The 75 will be 15 minutes midday, up from 30 minutes. The 74 additions replace the 30 only peak direction (downtown AM, Sand Point PM). For reverse peak you’ll have to somehow get to the 62 at 65th (ten blocks away) or the 75. However, the 62 will give new service between Fremont and Sand Point, and you can take it all the way downtown if you prefer a one-seat ride that’ll probably take an hour.

  4. Note that the revised 28, while it will be express on Aurora, will run on Leary and 39th, which is not the “express routing” people may think of in the context of today’s 28X.

  5. Maybe they should renumber the non-downtown route 43 trips as maybe route 46 or something.

    1. Those trips already exist today, they’re signed as “43 CAPITOL HILL” instead of “43 DOWNTOWN VIA CAPITOL HILL.” It’s a little awkward to watch to see if the display toggles, but there’s no need for a whole route number. The same thing happens with the 10, and probably a slew of other routes.

      1. That made sense since the non-downtown trips were so rare. But since there will be so many more non-downtown trips of route 43, I think it makes sense to call it a different route.

  6. Does anyone actually use the on bus or in tunnel WiFi? Is it really worth us spending money on?

    1. YES! One of the most frustrating things is to be stuck in the tunnel and lose all connectivity. WiFi is actually way more important as many cell phones can make calls over wifi.

    2. The service being installed in the tunnels is cellular, not WiFi. I don’t use WiFi on the bus because it’s usually slow and a hassle to connect to.

      1. David, we have Wi-Fi live as of today on platforms in the tunnel, should help riders get notifications and get ready for service change. Let us know if it works for you. Cell service will follow via Sound Transit in mid-2016.

      2. I used the WiFi in the tunnel this evening at Pioneer Square Tunnel Sta. Connected right away and was especially good in the mezzanine. Kept it on during my entire downtown tunnel trip north just to see how it handled the tunnel between the stations. There was one point where it dropped but it picked up again. Thank you, Metro!

      3. Whoa! Hoorah! wi-fi in tunnel would be great for seeing if a 71/2/3 is coming soon or a 255. Though I guess with service change there will be less strategic decision making to get to UW now.

      4. @jt –

        Oh I don’t know. I think the strategic decision making is in a different place. For me it means I check the schedules for the bus stops after the Link drops me off at Husky Stadium and do so in the tunnel. Will I meet the 65 at stop x or walk up and meet the 75 or the 372 at stop y?

      5. I have a basic phone, so as long as I can send/receive texts to OneBusAway. Still helpful in the tunnel after the service change. Do I wait in the tunnel for a 74 or head up to the surface for a 64/76?

    3. More and more transit systems are installing cell or WiFi service in their tunnels. The particular arrival information boards used by TriMet requires it to work. There should be some data capacity already on the lines for the credit card and ORCA machines.

      In the overall scheme of things, having that ability in tunnel stations does a lot of good for not a huge investment

      If a truck loaded with fish ever overturns at the south entrance to the tunnel, the notifications sent to passengers will pay for the installation costs.

    4. OneBusAway didn’t work in the tunnel before there was wifi. It was frustrating sometimes.

  7. I hope someone tells the drivers, otherwise it’s chaos on the 26th,
    Shear Chaos, I tell you!

  8. I’m not saying it’s useless, but the ridership on the new 38 won’t be too great… I don’t understand why we need an all day bus shadow for Link on MLK but not on CapHill-UW Link.

    1. Would expect a good many changes and adjustments over the next several years. So might be a good idea to form a shadow committee of planners, operating personnel, and citizens who understand both politics and transit in order to be politically ready to make sure that, this time, the changes will make sense.

      The 43 has been taken away before. Anybody remember Steve Benn, the late transit activist who organized a movement to get it back. Either the former riders along 23rdgoing to Group Health Hospital will change politicians’ minds. Or there’ll be enough bus-bridge incidents to make it seem like a good idea.

      Selfish thing here. When the new artics come into service, it’ll be great to frequently ride my favorite run the 7, all the way up to Prentice Street. Great view of the lake. And also some really great food and coffee in Columbia City.

      Will also enjoy the 43. Not worried. Problem with the 44 is that it ends in Ballard.


    2. The shortest distance between any pair of stations along MLK is 1.1 miles. There is no other bus service on MLK. There should be some kind of local bus service to get people to and from the light rail stations that doesn’t require them to walk a half-mile. And the portion of Route 8 that currently serves Rainier Valley does get a fair amount of use.

      1. Fortunately, there’ll still be bus service along MLK:

        The south part of Route 8, between the Mount Baker Transit Center and Rainier Beach, will be renumbered as Route 38, with no routing changes.

    3. Like I said below, TC- especially as the new subway goes through its teething period…..the turn wire from 23rd to Thomas is still there!

      Meantime, help found the shadow committee in my comment. Will be some valuable training in both transit and politics.


      1. How do you figure? The 49 doesn’t get closer to Husky Stadium than Campus Parkway & the Ave.

      2. The 36/49 is the official recommendation for late-night northbound trips. When ST and Metro get more into shadows and replacement buses as Link is extended, it probably won’t be a single route to all stations because buses can’t zigzag underground like trains can. A bus that serves Westlake-Capitol Hill-UW-UDistrict would have to follow the 43’s route, and that’s significantly slower than going from Capitol Hill down 10th Avenue to the University Bridge to 11th to UDistrict. So it makes sense to do the latter evenings when a lot of people go to bars but hardly anybody goes to the Husky Stadium area. It’s a similar situation with Stadium-SODO-Beacon Hill, where you can go up the Holgate viaduct or Columbian Way but either way bypasses either SODO or Bacon Hill unless you backtrack. So Rainier Valley is shadowed by the 8 (soon 38), and downtown to TIB and SeaTac is shadowed by the 124. And on Capitol Hill Metro has been positioning the 49 as the most frequent route, so that will be the shadow and it bypasses UW Station. And it deleted the all-day 43 which would have been a complete shadow.

    4. Shadows, if advertised right, can attract a great number of riders. See the Swift/101 combination up here in Snohomish County, which are the 1st and 6th highest ridership routes in the system (the only ones between are the 115/116 and 201/202, two sets of routes that combine for frequent service). The 101 runs every 30 minutes on the southern end of the Swift route (the north end is picked up by Everett Transit), though it has some awkward stop placements near Swift stations because of the level-boarding platforms.

  9. So here is where the buses that get new route numbers before they go through the campus become a problem. If I’m an new rider wanting to use the light rail, and I’m coming in to campus on the 65, how does the map on the Metro Connections page showing the bus stop locations near Husky Stadium show me where I alight the bus? It doesn’t, it only talks about the 31/32 stops on Stevens Way. Similarly if I’m coming in on the 31/32, the map doesn’t show where I get off.

  10. Would expect a good many changes and adjustments over the next several years. So might be a good idea to form a shadow committee of planners, operating personnel, and citizens who understand both politics and transit in order to be politically ready to make sure that, this time, the changes will make sense.

    The 43 has been taken away before. Anybody remember Steve Benn, the late transit activist who organized a movement to get it back. Either the former riders along 23rdgoing to Group Health Hospital will change politicians’ minds. Or there’ll be enough bus-bridge incidents to make it seem like a good idea.

    Selfish thing here. When the new artics come into service, it’ll be great to frequently ride my favorite run the 7, all the way up to Prentice Street. Great view of the lake. And also some really great food and coffee in Columbia City.

    Will also enjoy the 43. Not worried. Problem with the 44 is that it ends in Ballard.


  11. Major change for Eastside riders is that the 541 starts peak service from Overlake on the 28th, and the 542 will add some mid day service to the UW on the same day. This is huge in that it starts to fill in the hole left when the 271 could no longer transfer riders at Evergreen Point. Disabled riders heading east from the UW have been denied access to anything going someplace other than Bellevue due to the inaccessible Montlake stop. More is needed, but this is a great start.

  12. And the only hint that they are changing the route of the 49 is this in the “Route Revisions” section:

    “All southbound trips to downtown Seattle will leave from a new terminal on 12th Ave NE, just south of NE 47th St.”

    You have to be very familiar with the trolley routes to know this means that the 49 will be turning on 45th instead of continuing on 15th.

  13. Everyone has a different definition of “major route revisions”, but the 31 and 32 will go down Wallingford to 35th Street, along the old route of the 26, to Fremont, instead of down 40th to Stone Way and then to 35th Street.

  14. I’ll admit my first thought when I saw the picture is “why is UW station sponsored by Telemundo?”

  15. I hope they bring back the 66. If the route is important enough to start a Rapid Ride (Roosevelt HCT) on the exact route in five years why are they deleting it now?

    1. Yes the whole corridor will become HCT, but the 66’s unique sections have never performed all that well. The successful Northgate-UDistrict corridor is seeing big investments via Route 67, and the UDistrict-Eastlake-Downtown corridor is getting a frequency boost via Route 70. Through riders from Roosevelt-Eastlake suffer by the 66’s deletion, but they are a small portion of the route’s ridership.

    2. Yes. Losing the 66 will be hard for those who live in the Roosevelt corridor and work in the South Lake Union neighborhood, also for patients and staff at the UW Roosevelt clinics. Having to make a cumbersome detour east via the U-District makes no sense at all.

      1. If they commute during hours, they can take the 63 and actually have a faster ride than before the change. For patients and staff at the UW Roosevelt clinics, the 70 doesn’t really require a detour east. You can just walk south to campus parkway instead. Or, ride the health science express shuttle.

      2. The 67 will continue to serve the UW Roosevelt clinics. It stays on Roosevelt until Campus Parkway.

  16. Regarding the 28X: Please note that route will not be “skipping Fremont”. It will still be traveling in Fremont, just not ‘downtown’ Fremont. There are hundreds of Fremont residents on N. 39th Street and surrounding streets who will have access to and plan to use this this route, including myself.

  17. Doesn’t the 36 currently run later than 12:55? Looking at the schedule now, the last two southbound trips leave 3rd and Pine at 01:13 and 02:14. The last two northbound leave Othello at 01:56 and 02:56

  18. I might have added the 10 to the revisions section, although it may not be major–but it will directly serve the Capitol Hill station via Bellevue/Denny/John rather than continuing on Pine with the 11. (I wish the 11 had made that change but alas, it was not to be).

    1. Yes, it should be mentioned. It may be small enough to be an “Administrative Change”, but it’s a substantial change for passengers in the area, of which I am one. I’m glad it restores all-day access to Capitol Hill Station, but it will make it more difficult for me to get to Trader Joe’s/Central Coop in the evenings (when the 11 turns half-hourly). Still, with limited service hours, my gut feeling is we should keep all-day routes on both Pine and John until we see how trip patterns actually change.

      And I can’t support the 11’s John-19th kludge: that was truly a kludge, going north to go south. It may have been a necessary stopgap in that scenario, but it wasn’t worth keeping under any other circumstances. Even though it would have solved my Trader Joe’s problem (by keeping the 10 on Pine, which is full-time frequent).

      1. I didn’t like the 19th kludge either; I’d have preferred the 11 to stay on John to Madison as the 8 does but that wasn’t to be. Since the 8 wouldn’t work on Pine, at this point I agree with you that we should see what happens with the way things are now. It’ll mean a 3 block transfer but at least in my case it’s saving 2-3 blocks on the downtown side (plus probably 10 minutes).

        I do like being able to hop off the 11 at TJs and get on a later one on the way home, though!

  19. Am I correct that nothing really changes for the 5 and 40, aside from adding a trip or two?

  20. The Site lists:

    Reliability improvements: 101, 102, 105, 111, 114, 128, 131, 132, 166, 167, 168, 177, 178, 179, 180, 190, 192, 193, 216, 218, 219, 240, 245, 257, 268, 269, 277, 301, 309, 311, 316, RapidRide E Line

    What is a reliability improvements? The page specifically calls out increased frequency.

    1. Usually that means either extra time in the schedule or an extra bus at certain times of day to allow for more recovery time.

  21. Am I right that all the rerouting will occur essentially at the same time as the closure of 99 for Bertha tunneling? In other words, one government agency is going to do X that will negate what another government agency is doing at the same time for completely different reasons?

  22. Conspiracy: fail. The improvements in northeast Seattle and the changes in Capitol Hill will be barely affected by 99. When I-90 or 520 have construction, we don’t say it negates Metro restructures in Seattle, it just makes routes through the construction less reliable temporarily. State highway construction is like a natural disaster: there’s not much Metro can do about it. The state did give Metro mitigation funding for extra service early in the tunnel project, but it notoriously did not preserve transit lanes on Aurora during the last closure.

    1. There has been a lot of resistance to these restructures in my neighborhood. Having them occur at a time when the traffic patterns will be in a difficult traffic situation anyway won’t help people learn if the restructures are viable, and some will simply take to their cars out of spite. That’s not a good recipe.

  23. No service on Boyer/Boylston? How about operating the 25 via existing route 47 through Summit Ave E, down to Lakeview, continuing via current route 25, then as the new route 71, but use NE 55th instead of NE 65. That would cover the two new gaps that seem to be missing service.

  24. The Westlake lane revisions between Mercer and Denny are planned terrifically HORRIBLE and now we can anticipate NB left lane being CLOGGED with drivers trying to get to I5 and not being able to get over to the right lane in time (given that all the right-laners now have to sit there through the lights until they can get into their right lane down near Mercer). Plan on more illegal turns/blocking onto Mercer (currently without SPD enforcement of traffic laws) while also blocking the left lane thru-way, in addition to more surface street accidents as drivers try to avoid vehicles turning left and right off of Westlake into the Amazon SLU campuses while dodging pedestrians, oncoming traffic, and buses/light rail. It was a fully functioning arterial in this city with light rail integration! Yay, now it’s another bottleneck.

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