Sound Transit’s new schedule books are out. The September 22 service changes include some bad news and little bits of good news. Seven ST Express bus routes, including the two with the highest ridership (routes 550 and 545), are losing trips. Routes 511 and 580 are the only routes gaining trips. Some routes are losing a little span of service, and some are gaining.
Route 510 is losing two trips, both in the afternoon peak, with trips from 3:55 to 5:35 becoming more spread out.
Route 511, however, is gaining a trip, improving frequency and altering schedule times from 4:06 pm to 6:18 pm.
Route 513 is losing one northbound afternoon trip, impacting the timing of all northbound 513 runs. On the bright side, the last trip will start five minutes later, extending span of service.
Route 522 is ending its Bothell detour and returning to Main St eastbound. However, the ongoing Main St construction could force continued stop changes after the service change, so check Alerts. In addition, the stops at Bothell Way NE & Ballinger are being closed.
Route 541 is losing a morning trip in each direction. The cancelled eastbound trip is the last one, reducing span of service. The last morning eastbound 541 will now leave its UW Station stop at 8:43 am. The westbound span of service remains intact by spreading out the trips. A few other time adjustments have been made to various 541 trips.
Route 545 is losing two afternoon trips, one eastbound, reducing frequency from 2:32 to 4:11 pm, and one westbound, reducing frequency from 2:45 to 4:35 pm.
Route 550‘s path is getting even worse. The route is already suffering from the closure of South Bellevue Park & Ride and the I-90 express lanes. Now, due to closure of the express lanes into and out of downtown for East Link construction, its path through south downtown will feature loops in the SODO. At least it will continue to have use of the Busway and the Transit Tunnel for 6 more months. (After that, it will at least have new bus-only lanes on 4th Ave S.) On top of that, instead of adding service as mitigation, an eastbound afternoon trip is being cut, reducing frequency from 2:32 to 4:11 pm, and a westbound afternoon trip is being cut, reducing frequency from 3:55 to 4:15 pm. Many other trips are getting minor time adjustments.
Route 554‘s path is getting the better re-route in Seattle, following Rainier Ave and Dearborn St. Six weekday eastbound trips, spread out through the day, are being cut, with the first trip starting 8 minutes later than currently. On the positive side, the last trip will start 21 minutes later. Four westbound weekday trips are being cut, with span of service improved on both ends, starting the first trip 7 minutes earlier and starting the last trip 17 minutes later.
Route 580 is getting at least one new trip, but the schedule book was not internally consistent on how many, or where they would go. ST has not gotten me a clarification as of publication time.
Route 592 is losing a southbound trip, reducing frequency from 5:22 to 6:22 pm.
Minor trip time adjustments are being made to routes 540, 555, 556, 560, 566, 574, and 590 on weekdays, and 594 on weekends.
The only change for Sound Transit rail services is the final arrival time for South Sounder trip 1512, which will show on schedules arriving at King Street Station at 8:05 am instead of the current 8:02 am. This is the trip which departs Lakewood Station at 6:46 am.
One other change of note between the March and September schedule publications was the change for all reduced fares on ST Express to be the one-county fare, regardless of distance traveled. That means low-income-qualified riders and riders (those who aren’t already getting free passes through their public schools) age 6-18 can ride any ST Express bus for $1.50, the same as for Link, Metro buses, and Seattle Streetcars, with transfer credit lasting two hours on ORCA. Seniors age 65+ and riders with disabilities get the same deal, but for the even lower price of $1.
For ongoing live-day schedule changes, ST encourages riders to subscribe to Alerts.