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New commuter shuttle service to make its debut on Mercer Island

Summary

A new transit alternative debuting June 8 will make commuting to work between Mercer Island and First Hill/downtown Seattle easier.

Story

Partnership between Metro, Mercer Island and the city of Seattle will offer peak weekday service to First Hill and downtown Seattle

A new transit alternative debuting June 8 will make commuting to work between Mercer Island and First Hill/downtown Seattle easier.

The new Route 630 shuttle is the product of an innovative partnership between Metro Transit and the cities of Mercer Island and Seattle to fund a two-year demonstration to help offset the loss of commuter transit service canceled last fall due to low ridership. The shuttle will operate weekday peak-only service between SE. 46th Street/Island Crest Way and downtown Seattle via First Hill and will include a key connection to the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride.

“We’re making it more convenient for Mercer Island commuters to get to and from Seattle each day without having to drive or park downtown,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our partnership with the cities will deliver flexible shuttle service that will take more cars off our clogged freeways and bridges.”

The three-way partnership to create the Route 630 included extensive input from Mercer Island residents and an agreement between the agencies to fund customized service targeting areas of high transit demand during the most intensive ridership periods of the day. In addition to weekday peak commuter trips to and from downtown, the route will also offer flexible service boundaries in the Shorewood area where riders can call ahead to request a pick-up or drop-off beyond marked stops.

"The residents spoke and we took action," said King County Councilmember Jane Hague who represents Mercer Island as part of Council District 6. "I am pleased that we are providing innovative results for transit riders on Mercer Island."

"Mercer Island transit riders were heavily impacted by the Metro service cuts last year," said Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett. "This new service is an exciting first step in rebuilding our local access to transit. We appreciate Metro’s dedication to finding creative solutions and Seattle’s willingness to share costs. I hope all Islanders will take advantage of the route and make it a success!"

About the Metro Route 630 shuttle

  • The Route 630 will operate five morning and afternoon trips between Mercer Island and downtown Seattle Monday through Friday. 
  • 30-minute service will operate between 6:10-8:13 a.m. and 4:02-6:32 p.m. weekdays.
  • The Metro shuttle will have 19 seats and come equipped with a wheelchair lift and a two-slot bike rack.
  • Riders will be able to plan their trip using Metro’s online Trip Planner and track location status real time.
  • In addition to scheduled service, flexible service will be offered in the Shorewood neighborhood. Riders can call ahead for a ride off the route.
  • The shuttle will accept standard Metro fares and will be ORCA equipped.

And yet another travel benefit is coming this summer when an additional flexible rideshare option is launched for Mercer Island riders looking for a new way to get to the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride. The shared commuter van service, driven by volunteers who are commuters themselves, will provide an additional commute choice while helping to reduce park-and-ride overcrowding. Drivers and riders will use a mobile phone app to book trips. TripPool will be free for drivers and free for riders already paying for their transit trip with an ORCA card.

Metro and the city of Mercer Island are also exploring the concept of a community van that could provide local service throughout the day to a variety of destinations on the island using an online scheduling system.

Learn more about Metro’s Alternative Services program by visiting our website.