To help West Seattle residents and commuters cope with the upcoming closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the subsequent changes to the area’s bus routes, King County Metro is expanding its “Ride2” on-demand shuttle service to serve the Alaska Junction bus hub and the West Seattle Water Taxi terminal at Seacrest Park.
Ride2, which launched nearly two months ago in Eastgate, uses a smartphone app or a phone service to summon a shared van operated by a contractor like Chariot. The Eastgate pilot, which has been completely fare-free, has seen an average of 100 rides per weekday and 1,600 app downloads—a far cry from what such a service can do for an area with distributed demand that is harder to serve with traditional buses.
Beginning Monday, December 17, Ride2 trips can be requested during peak periods (5 am to 9 am; 2:30 to 7 pm) to and from the Alaska Junction bus hub at California Avenue and Edmunds Street, as well as the King County Water Taxi terminal at Seacrest Park. Trips are not allowed to be pre-scheduled, with expected wait times of 10 to 15 minutes. A separate Ride2 app will be required for the West Seattle service. The service area covers most of peninsula’s north and eastern halves, from Alki and the Admiral District to High Point and Delridge. The Ride2 coverage area also include stretches of West Marginal Way on the Duwamish Waterway that are completely unserved by current bus routes, as well as large swaths of West Seattle that are between parallel routes.
The West Seattle vans will be operated by Hopelink and cost the same as a normal Metro bus ride using a valid fare from a loaded ORCA card, ORCA Lift, a paper transfer, or cash. All trips must either originate or terminate at the Alaska Junction or Seacrest Park hubs, with the intent of serving as a last-mile connection to other transit options. The year-long West Seattle pilot will be funded by Metro and a $1 million contribution from the city’s Transportation Benefit District Fund.
In addition to the new Ride2 service, King County Metro is boosting water taxi and bus service to and from West Seattle. Beginning on January 14, the West Seattle Water Taxi will receive an additional vessel to bring 20-minute headways during the morning and afternoon rush hours (a total of 12 sailings). The water taxi will also run several mid-day sailings that will remain until March. Bus routes 773 and 775, which connect the water taxi to Alki and the West Seattle Junction, will also be boosted with new trips and run on 20-minute headways. A parking shuttle will also run between the Seacrest Park terminal and an off-site park-and-ride lot.
The RapidRide C Line and other bus routes currently using the viaduct to reach downtown will be redirected onto two interim surface pathways through SODO on 1st Avenue and 4th Avenue. Schedules will be adjusted to compensate for the longer travel times expected on these routes, which are in the ballpark of 50 to 100 percent longer in Metro’s models. Metro will deploy 20 buses on standby to make up for late or cancelled trips on certain routes during the three-week viaduct closure.