Get ready to hear more colors attached to the word Link more regularly. Sound Transit is expanding use of color designations for Link light rail lines beginning in this month’s service change. As seen in its September 2019 schedule book and system map, Central Link (UW-Angle Lake) becomes the Red Line, East Link becomes the Blue Line, and Tacoma Link becomes the Orange Line.
ST has been gradually rolling out the color names in its ST2/ST3 project communications since their introduction in 2015. Up to now, the public did not know which color Tacoma Link would receive, if at all, given its differences to Central Link. However, ST left a hint in its September 2016 system map by changing Tacoma Link’s line color from purple to orange at the same time Central Link got its current shade of red. The Orange Line moniker appeared publicly as early as this past July. Eagle-eyed reader Al S. noticed the change in ST’s System Expansion Communications style guide and Tacoma Link expansion project materials.
What colors can we look forward to in ST3? Green and purple have been designated as line colors in ST’s style guide. Based on current project maps and service plan, we can infer that the Ballard Link extension is the Green Line and South Kirkland-Issaquah Link is the Purple Line. Stride, ST’s BRT brand, is represented by gold. How each Stride line will be identified has not yet been revealed.
Sound Transit’s Link light rail won’t be the only system in the region to use line colors. Community Transit’s Swift BRT already has its own rainbow of colors in use and in the works. In a statement previously made to STB, the two agencies “felt that the two modes were distinct enough to not be easily confused.” How passengers will react to that remains to be seen.