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Here’s a whirlwind trip I took this morning using an $8.00 Day Pass.

6:45am Purchase $8 Day Pass at Columbia City Station, ride Link Light Rail to downtown Seattle
7:40am Board King County Water Taxi at Pier 52 to Vashon Island
8:02am Water Taxi arrives at Vashon Ferry Terminal, catch Metro Route 118 at Vashon Ferry Terminal
8:07am Route 118 departs
8:35am Route 118 arrives at Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, wait for Tahlequah-Point Defiance ferry
8:50am Scheduled departure time of ferry but due to road construction at the terminal we are delayed about 10 minutes
9:14am Arrive at Pt. Defiance Ferry Terminal
9:21am Pierce Transit Route 11 departs Pt. Defiance ferry terminal for downtown Tacoma
9:57am Arrive downtown Tacoma
9:58am Board Tacoma Link to Freighthouse Square
10:08am Arrive Freighthouse Square
10:30am Board Sounder train to Seattle
11:38am Arrive King Street Station, catch First Hill Streetcar to Broadway for lunch
~1:30pm Walk to Jackson Street and catch Metro Route 36 home

Vehicles used on the trip: Light Rail, Water Taxi, Diesel Bus, Washington State Ferry, Diesel Bus, Tacoma Streetcar, Heavy Rail, Seattle Streetcar, Electric Trolley

For a more relaxing itinerary would suggest a stop on Vashon for breakfast, a stroll along the waterfront at Pt. Defiance and some time in downtown to explore the wonders of Tacoma. There are additional northbound Sounder trips at 4:06pm, 4:30pm and 5:15pm and plenty of trips from Tacoma to Seattle on Sound Transit Route 594.

10 Replies to “A Quick Multi-Modal Tour of Puget Sound”

  1. So you paid the extra fare on the King County Water Taxi and the Washington State ferry trips out of epurse money on the ORCA card?

    1. My e-purse was used for the additional fare on Sounder and the Water Taxi, ($1.75 each, I think). There is no charge to take a WSF from Vashon, round trip fare is collected on trips to the island.

    2. You’re the reason day passes are so expensive. :) Other agencies don’t try to put commuter rail and inter-county express buses into local day passes, usually because they’re run by a different agency.

  2. I did a similar trip a year ago. Same itinerary (apart from precise times) but starting/ending point was my house (not yours …) and I interpolated several hours of walking around Pt. Defiance Park, coming home on the afternoon Sounder. I used my monthly pass plus E-Purse.

    Really enjoyable outing.

    1. I’ve done it too, and it’s a great trip. If you time the schedules right, it doesn’t really take all that much longer to get to Point Defiance through Vashon than through Tacoma. In a car, you would never choose to take two ferries over zero ferries – by bus, it’s completely different.

      I’ve also done varients of the trip that involve walking the Tacoma section or biking the Tacoma and Vashon sections. They’re both great trips. Unfortunately, with the 594 only able to carry two bikes, the bike variant is pretty much a trip that you can only do alone. (A group of 2 is possible, but risky).

  3. I’ve heard of a few people doing this, including incorporating a trip across Vashon Island and through Tacoma. That’s about the most interesting trip you can do. Other long-distance trips suffer from the problem that you can’t go very far wihthout backtracking on the same ST Express route or having long boring segments, which is pretty much why not many people are going to get $10 of value out of their passes, and thus why the fear that people will make huge expensive trips is overrated.

    Another interesting trip is 554 from Seattle to Issaquah TC, 208 to the Snoqualmie T, SVT (Snoqualmie Valley Transportation’s Valley Shuttle) to Duvall, 224 to Redmond, and 545 to Seattle. I did that in 2014. SVT is free with a Metro transfer but I put a dollar donation in anyway. It’s not coordinated at all in Snoqualmie so you may end up waiting 30-90 minutes for a transfer, but perhaps you can go to the railroad museum in the meantime or a quick look at Snoqualmie Falls. (It appears that you can take the trail from the T to the Falls and catch the shuttle there, although I can’t guarantee it, and be careful crossing the highway because the cars are fast.) At the north end it was a 10-minute transfer, although I don’t know if it’s always that good. As a bonus you go past two New Urbanist towns, Snoqualmie Ridge and Redmond Ridge, and the rural Snoqualmie Valley.

    Less interesting than that is a trip to Maple Valley, or possibly Black Diamond and Enumclaw.

  4. You could do a Water Taxi to Vashon, WSF to Southworth, then transfer to Kitsap Bus/Passenger Ferry combo to downtown Bremerton, and WSF back to Seattle. I think the only supplement would be for the Water Taxi portion? Definitely some interesting and scenic options along the way.

  5. Our suburban/exurban transit network is just good enough to provide several of these kinds of loops. If I so wanted, I could do the Everett → Smokey Pt → Stanwood → Mt. Vernon → Oak Harbor → Clinton → Mukilteo → Everett loop on CT/SKAT/IT.

    1. Unfortunately, many of these loops involve buses that don’t run on weekends. So anyone with a normal job can’t do it without burning vacation.

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