Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2017, for President's Day.  
King County logo

Final recommendation sent to King County Council on Feb. 14, 2017

Last fall, Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation asked late-night transit riders—and potential riders—to give us feedback about our Night Owl bus network.

The proposal  Have a say

Survey results

We got more than 4,500 survey responses, talked with riders on the buses, and worked with groups that represent the diverse needs of our riders. We used this input to shape the recommendation now before the King County Council. If the council approves the recommended changes, they will go into effect this September.

Seattle's investment

The City of Seattle contributes significant funding to late-night transit service. In fact, they cover the full cost of late-night service on several routes. With this recommendation, the city would more than double its investment, funding about 75 percent of the additional service. We would also establish new late-night connections throughout Seattle and provide late night cross-town transit options for the first time.

Background

As our metropolitan region continues to grow, our need to travel 24/7 is also growing.

Today, Metro has about 40 routes with some level of late-night service (between midnight and 5 a.m.) throughout King County. Of these, 20 provide trips after 2 a.m. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) funds all service on Night Owl Routes 82, 83, and 84, and partners with Metro to fund additional Night Owl service on the C and D Lines between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

It’s been many years since we looked in detail at how well this service is working, so Metro and SDOT reached out to riders last spring to learn more about their transit experiences between midnight and 5 a.m.

We used that feedback to create a proposal that features service on more routes, improved connections to destinations such as SeaTac airport, and added trips that would provide all-night service on more Metro routes.

We received feedback on that proposal during outreach in the fall and used that input to shape the final proposal that was transmitted to the County Council on Feb. 13.

Contact us

Metro Transit Division
King County Department of Transportation
KSC-TR-0411
201 South Jackson Street
Seattle, WA 98104-3856

Tristan Cook
Send Tristan an email
or call 206-477-3842

Recommendation

Features

Many of our routes with frequent daytime service don’t run after about 1 AM This proposal would add trips to some of our busiest routes, so buses would come throughout the night.

Recommended: Provide hourly all-night service on the C Line, D Line, and E Line. (These routes have all-night service today, but not at the hourly level.) Provide two more late-night round trips each on routes 3, 5, 11, 44, 48, 65, 67, 70, and 120.

Sea-Tac Airport operates 24/7, but doesn’t have easy transit access late at night for travelers and airport employees.

Recommended: Provide night transit service between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport after Link light rail stops service at night. Extend some trips on Route 124 to Sea-Tac Airport between around 1 AM and around 3:30 AM when Link isn’t running. This would remove the need to transfer between Route 124 and the A Line, and would provide service directly to the airport terminal.

Routes 82, 83, and 84 are night routes only, providing service that begins and ends in downtown Seattle between 2:15 AM and 4:30 AM. Their routing does not match that of bus routes that run at other times of day. Throughout our outreach, people told us they find these routes confusing.

Recommended: Delete these routes and instead provide new all-night trips on the C, D, and E lines and routes 3, 5, 11, 44, 48, 65, 67, 70, and 120. Riders would still have service to nearly all the same destinations, along with many new ones, using these well-known routes.

Note: Some parts of some streets will lose night service under this recommendation. They are shown with red lines on the proposal map.

Today, most of Metro’s late-night bus routes meet at Third Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle at 2:15 AM and 3:30 AM. They park for five or more minutes to allow riders to transfer between routes.

Recommended: Routes would serve Third Avenue and Pike Street about every 20-30 minutes. This would give riders more transfer opportunities throughout the night.

These changes would also create a more-efficient network by reducing the amount of time buses spend parked in downtown Seattle at night, and eliminate the current 5-10 minute delay for riders who want to continue past Third and Pike without transferring.

Proposal map (PDF)

Recommended changes by route

This recommendation would change service on 16 Metro routes. Use the route buttons below to see a description of the recommended change for each route.

Route 3

Seattle Pacific University – Downtown Seattle – Judkins Park

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 5

Shoreline Community College – Greenwood – Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 11

Madison Park - Capitol Hill - Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 44

Ballard – Wallingford – UW Station

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 48

Mt Baker to University District

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 65

Jackson Park – Lake City – University District

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 67

Northgate – University District – Children’s Hospital

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 70

University District – Eastlake – Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 82

Downtown Seattle - Queen Anne - Green Lake - Greenwood

Recommended: Replace Route 82 with new service on routes 3, 5, and 44 that would provide similar coverage.

Route 83

Downtown Seattle - University District - Maple Leaf - Ravenna

Recommended: Replace Route 83 with new service on routes 48, 65, 67, and 70 that would provide similar coverage.

Route 84

Downtown Seattle - Madison Park - Madrona

Recommended: Replace Route 84 with new service on routes 3 and 11 that would provide similar coverage.

Route 120

Burien Transit Center - Westwood Village - Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Add Night Owl trips between about 2 AM and 5 AM.

Route 124

Tukwila International Boulevard Link station - Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Extend Route 124 to Sea-Tac Airport between around 1 AM and around 3:30 AM when Link light rail is not operating. Trips at other times of day would still end at Tukwila International Boulevard Station.

RapidRide C Line

Westwood Village - South Lake Union

Recommended: Provide hourly all-night service on the C Line.

RapidRide D Line

Crown Hill - Ballard - Seattle Center (west) - Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Provide hourly all-night service on the D Line.

RapidRide E Line

Aurora Village - Downtown Seattle

Recommended: Provide hourly all-night service on the E Line.

Have a say

Metro’s public comment period for this project is now closed. The Night Owl recommendation will be considered at the King County Council’s Transportation, Economy, and Environment (TrEE) Committee as early as Tuesday, March 7, 2017. It will then go to the full King County Council for a final vote.
Members of the public can provide comment to councilmembers by email or through public comment at a Committee or Council meeting. Please visit the TrEE Committee webpage for more information.

Sign up to receive updates about future outreach related to the late-night service network

Customer services offices
Lost & found
Comment forms