RapidRide I Line
At Metro, we’re working to connect the cities of Renton, Kent and Auburn with frequent and reliable rapid bus service.
Public transit is an important part of how we will meet the diverse needs and priorities of our rapidly growing region. This growing transit demand requires more access to steady and consistent service—enter the RapidRide I Line.
RapidRide I Line improvements
King County experienced a budget gap in 2020 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we can no longer launch all new RapidRide lines by their previously planned dates. RapidRide I Line is now scheduled to launch in 2025. As part of our investment in the region’s recovery, we’re prioritizing building new RapidRide lines based on the following factors:
- Project status
- Equity impacts
- RapidRide policy goals
- Community feedback
RapidRide I Line will upgrade Route 160 (previously Route 180, combined with former Route 169) connecting the cities of Auburn, Kent, and Renton. When RapidRide I Line launches in 2025:
- Buses will come more often and more reliably.
- We will add service at night and on weekends.
- Many stations will be upgraded with lighting, seating, and real-time arrival information.
- All-door boarding and ORCA card readers on buses will mean faster loading and unloading for all passengers.
- Improved sidewalks and street crossings will make it easier and safer to get to/from bus stations.
Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Plan
The RapidRide I Line will begin service in 2025. To help facilitate this new route, we are implementing mobility plan in south King County, serving communities within the West Valley and East Hill. This plan will integrate RapidRide, other fixed-route and dial-a-ride transit (DART) buses, and our Community Connections Program.
Starting in March 2019, we launched a three-phase community engagement process including the assemply of a Mobility Board made up of those who live, work, and travel within Renton, Kent, Auburn, and other surrounding communities. The board, includes community members, community-based organizations (CBOs), and jurisdictional partners to help develop the Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Plan (AMP).
As a result, a network of service was developed in partnership with the local community, designed to increase local bus service; add fast, frequent, and reliable bus rapid transit service through the RapidRide I Line; and provide additional fixed-route and flexible services. The changes have improved the places people can get to by transit, at more times of day, throughout the project area.
What’s happening now?
In 2019, we heard from communities and used feedback they shared to develop initial design concepts for the RapidRide I line. In late 2019, we presented these concepts, including the RapidRide I Line route alignment, stations, and priority areas to improve access for people walking, biking, and rolling to the bus. Throughout 2020 and early 2021, we worked directly with communities and other partners to gather input and inform decisions on:
- Projects that improve safety for walking, biking, and rolling in the corridor.
- Projects that improve access to transit by making it easier, safer, or more convenient to get to-or wait for-the bus.
- Station features, locations, and amenities.
- Ways to improve bus speed and reliability on congested roads to keep people moving as our region grows.
Reporting back to the community
In Spring 2019 we introduced RapidRide I Line to community members and gathered feedback on priorities for transit service. We conducted a second round of engagement to gather input on station locations. Then we shared the concept developed using community input, including route, station locations and access improvements.
Since 2019, there have been two surveys, two online open houses, stakeholder interviews with community-based organizations, onboard outreach, tabling at community events, and briefings to local Councils and city staff. We formed a Mobility Board made up of community members representing diverse backgrounds.
Community members and stakeholders who participated in engagement activities overwhelmingly support RapidRide expansion and the more frequent and reliable bus service it will bring throughout the day, into the evening, and on the weekends. We heard from people who work, live, shop and play in Renton, Kent, and Auburn, that shared helpful feedback like:
- Interest in a range of transit options including RapidRide and more flexible options that meet the needs of the communities served.
- Desire for service to community amenities and services such as shopping centers, transit centers, medical centers, schools, and residential areas.
- Support for even spacing between stops.
- Support for more transit connections and better access to stations (i.e. improved sidewalks and pathways to stations).
- A mandate to continue to lead with equity and prioritize serving communities who have been historically underserved, as well as people with mobility challenges.
- Concerns about station placements and their proximity to critical public services.
- Concerns about quick intersection signals and pedestrian crossing times.
We used this feedback to refine design concepts for RapidRide I Line. Community input helps shape a RapidRide I Line that works best for everyone. Thank you for your continued participation and feedback throughout Metro’s design phases.
Resources & Reports
Why upgrade to RapidRide?
Routes 169 and 180 (now combined to form the new Route 160) had some of the highest rates of ridership retention in the entire Metro system during the pandemic. Route 160 has been one of our top performing routes in all time periods—morning, afternoon, evening, and weekends—through the pandemic.
In an analysis performed in 2019, over two-thirds of Route 169 riders, likely future RapidRide I Line riders, use the route to transfer to or from other transit service including the RapidRide F line, Sound Transit’s Sounder Train and Sound Transit buses.
Improvement to transit service in south King County will serve both existing and future communities in Auburn, Kent, and Renton.
Engaged communities on local needs and priorities:
Metro engaged riders, community members, and stakeholders to gather input about how they would like to use transit to get around.
Metro worked with partners, including the Mobility Board, to develop draft concepts based on community input.
Gathered feedback on concepts and developed proposals:
Community members, stakeholders, and partners gave feedback on draft concepts and RapidRide I Line station locations. Metro worked with the Mobility Board and other partners to refine concepts and develop a preferred Area Mobility Plan proposal and RapidRide I Line design concept based on public feedback.
Feedback on Area Mobility plan proposal and RapidRide I Line concept final recommendation:
Community members, stakeholders, and partners reviewed Metro’s final proposal and RapidRide I Line concept; Metro finalized Area Mobility plan concept recommendations.
Metro shared the Area Mobility Plan recommendation and RapidRide I Line concept with King County Council for adoption.
RapidRide I Line 30% design:
Metro refined the conceptual design based on community feedback and available funding.
Area Mobility Plan recommendations were included in Fall 2020 service changes. Routes 180 and 169 were combined to form the new Route 160.
Metro continues to refine conceptual design with community input on station locations and projects to improve access or make the bus faster and more reliable. Metro begins right of way acquisition process as needed.
Finalize the route, station locations, access improvements, and capital projects.
Metro will analyze impacts and expected outcomes of the design and eventual operations, including construction impacts for people who drive, walk and ride in the area.
Approve final design and hire contractor
Metro will gain approval on RapidRide I Line final design plans and hire a contractor to build the new station locations, access improvements and capital projects.
Build roadway, intersection, and access changes
Begin service on the new RapidRide I Line
Metro estimates service on the new RapidRide I Line will begin in Fall 2025.