Starting this Saturday, March 23, all bus routes will move out of the tunnel and on to city streets to help with the Washington State Convention Center construction and make way for an expanded Link light rail system. Here’s what to expect:
All-door boarding and new transit pathways
On March 23, 41 downtown Seattle bus routes will see changes. Many of these adjustments match up with Metro’s service change schedule, adding more routes and a few new stop locations. Sound Transit’s Route 550 will also have new stop locations. Take a look at Metro’s timetable changes to see if your route has been revised.
TCC and other advocates worked hard to win more transit priority through the One Center City planning process. Now we are seeing that come to fruition with all-door boarding on 3rd Avenue and new transit pathways on 5th and 6th Avenues in downtown Seattle.
- All-door boarding on 3rd Avenue. In September 2018, Metro extended 3rd Avenue’s transit-only hours from 6 am to 7 pm every weekday. Starting March 23, buses on 3rd Ave will use all-door boarding during weekday commutes to improve bus speed and reliability. Riders can tap their Orca cards on reader machines along Third Avenue or Metro staff with Orca card readers will assist with boarding. People paying with cash still need to board at the front door.
- New transit pathways on 5th and 6th Avenues. New transit pathways will ensure buses are quick and reliable during PM peak-only times. Bus routes include: 74, 76, 77, 252, 255, 257, 301, 308, 311, and 316. TCC staff checked out the new lane and the new bus stop on 6th Avenue and Union Street. See photo above!
Moving towards our transit future
The removal of buses from the transit tunnel marks an exciting moment in the Puget Sound region’s transit expansion story. Starting March 23, the tunnel will turn light rail only. In addition to riders experiencing improved light rail reliability once buses are removed, the tunnel will soon serve as a transfer hub as Sound Transit continues to build out its expanded Link light rail lines.
22 new light rail stations will open across the Puget Sound over the next five years.
- 2021: University District, Roosevelt, and Northgate stations
- 2023: The eastside Blue Line serving 19 stations between Overlake and Northgate
- 2024: Nine new stations in Lynwood, Federal Way, and Downtown Redmond
TCC will continue working on advising the West Seattle/Ballard Link light rail extensions and help Sound Transit with the development of new transit lines to ensure that stations and alignments maximize ridership and access for those that need it most, and support land use near stations that encourages equitable development. You can weigh in on the West Seattle and Ballard extension’s latest route and station alternatives by April 2 here.
We are excited to watch our transportation system grow, connecting our region and creating fast and reliable transportation options. Thank you transit riders for keeping our transportation system moving and being flexible during these changes.