Sound Transit recently revealed that as of September 19, 2020, Link Light Rail will run every 15 minutes during the day on weekdays and weekends, and every 8 minutes at peak. Link will still drop down to 30 minute headways in the evenings. This will be the first time since early April that Link will be running frequent service, as well as the first time since early January that Link will be more frequent at peak than Connect 2020 frequencies. While not as frequent as “normal” service, the restoration of frequent service is a welcome development. In recent months, restoration of Link service has been well behind that of Sound Transit and King County metro bus service, with many major corridors getting frequent bus service while Link still lacks frequent service at all (even at peak). This has been particularly bad for Kirkland riders, as back in March, Metro restructured route 255 to end at UW, with the expectation of frequent Link service to pick up riders headed to downtown.
With the drop in peak-hour ridership likely to continue long term as commuters adjust to the new normal of COVID-19 and offices embrace working from home, it seems unlikely that Link will return to 6-minute headways before East Link opens in 2023. When that happens, both lines will run every 8 minutes individually (barring unforeseen circumstances, as COVID-19 has shown), doubling the frequency north from downtown Seattle to every 4 minutes.
Sound Transit will also bring Sounder South to nine daily round trips, up from seven, while Sounder North will remain at two daily round trips. Sound Transit Express bus service will also be adjusted, with route 512 being restored to full service along with more minor changes to other routes. Routes 541, 544, 555, 556, and 567, which are currently suspended, will remain suspended as of September. Sound Transit stresses that service is subject to change even before the following planned service change in March 2021, similar to how it’s been for the past few months. Because of this, Sound Transit will not be providing printed route schedules for September 2020 (but will likely keep updating PDF schedules of its routes on the reduced service page).