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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

More frequent, reliable bus service will soon connect more riders to congestion-free light rail


Riders across King County will see milestone transit improvements in just a few weeks: Sound Transit expands Link light rail on March 19 by opening the University Link light rail extension to Capitol Hill and the UW, and Metro implements the third phase of Seattle voter-approved service additions to make bus service more reliable and frequent for Seattle neighborhoods.


King County
City of Seattle Sound Transit

Tens of thousands of people across Seattle and King County will soon benefit from better integration of Metro and Sound Transit service that connects more riders to expanded light-rail service. Metro will also implement the third phase of service expansion approved by Seattle voters in November 2014 that will deliver more reliable and frequent bus service for Seattle neighborhoods.

The service improvements will go into effect March 26, a week after the new University Link light-rail stations at Capitol Hill and the University of Washington open March 19 with trains coming every six minutes during peak periods. The additional bus service in Seattle will include more routes connecting commuters to South Lake Union.

“We will soon deliver more frequent bus service to more neighborhoods, connecting riders to fast, reliable, high-capacity light rail,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is also Chair of the Sound Transit Board. “It’s an example of how Metro and Sound Transit are working together to create a more convenient, seamless transportation network.”

“Thanks to voters, we now have completed the largest expansion of bus transit in Seattle since Metro was founded,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Now West Seattle commuters can ride the C Line straight to South Lake Union without changing buses. And in neighborhoods all over the city, frequent transit service is only a short walk away.”

Riders can now see updated details online about the Metro changes to bus service and Link light rail extension. Riders are encouraged to consider ORCA card options to take advantage of free transfers between buses and light rail in the new and expanded network.

An estimated 80,000 daily bus riders will see buses coming more often at more times of the day on designated corridors in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill, with better local service connecting neighborhoods with the new light rail stations. Metro’s bus changes will deliver more reliability and frequency, helping more people commute or make spontaneous trips without needing a car.

The changes make it easier for people to access the regional transit network, make new connections and deliver on the County Executive’s promise to increase access to opportunity for those who depend on transit as their only way to get around.

Capitol Hill ULink Changes - Sound Transit
Capitol Hill services changes. Click to enlarge.

UW Link Changes - Sound Transit
UW service changes. Click to enlarge.

As part of restructuring service, three dozen routes will see changes in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill. The more frequent grid of bus service will triple the number of households in Northeast Seattle neighborhoods near 15-minute service. The changes will double the number of Capitol Hill households near 12-minute service. This launches a new era of transit options that will help people reduce driving and meet our climate goals.

The improved transit network fulfills the Executive’s direction to more fully integrate Metro and Sound Transit – intended to improve the experience for riders and make efficient use of our resources. King County Metro also worked closely with the City of Seattle, Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington on restructuring bus service, including service funded by Seattle voters in Prop 1.

Key Metro bus route changes for Link, Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill

  • New or improved connections to University of Washington Link Station on existing and new routes 31, 32, 45, 48, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, 78, 372 and 373.
  • New or improved connections to Capitol Hill Link Station on routes 8, 10, 11 and 49, and on unchanged routes 9, 60 and the First Hill Streetcar that will also connect with Link.
  • Route deletions or replacements: Routes 16, 25, 26 Local, 28 Local, 30, 66X, 68, 72 and 242 are deleted and replaced by other service options.
  • Improvements on routes 64X, 74X, 76 and 316.
  • Increased frequency on routes 8, 12, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 73, 75 and 372X;
  • More reliable service on routes 8 and 48. Often delayed by traffic, these routes will each be split into two shorter routes: Route 8 will be routes 8 (Seattle Center to Mt. Baker) and 38 (Mt. Baker to Rainier Beach); Route 48 will become routes 45 (Loyal Heights to UW Link Station) and 48 (U-District to Mt. Baker).
  • New route 62 creates new east-west connections between Sand Point, Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Green Lake, Wallingford and Fremont.
  • New route 63 connects NE Seattle neighborhoods with South Lake Union and First Hill employment sites.
  • New night and weekend service on routes 8, 12, 67, 70 and 372X, and
  • Route 43 is retained with 30-minute peak period only service on weekdays.

Extending RapidRide C and D lines

In the third phase of service additions resulting from Seattle’s Proposition 1, Metro is extending the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union and RapidRide D Line to Pioneer Square. Metro has maps and details online.

Improvements were made at stations and stops along the new C Line extension in South Lake Union, and the busiest locations will soon include new customer information kiosks with real-time arrival information and off-board ORCA card readers.

Ridership on Metro’s six RapidRide lines has grown 53 percent over predecessor routes since the first line launched in 2010. RapidRide C Line alone has grown 94 percent since service increased in 2011, now over 9,000 weekday riders. RapidRide D Line, launched in 2012, has increased 61 percent, with over 12,000 weekday riders.

Suburban King County Metro bus improvements

Metro is making service and reliability investments to more than three dozen routes serving suburban King County and parts of Seattle, drawing on WSDOT grant funds, City of Seattle partnership funds, diesel savings and higher than projected sales tax revenue collections.

  • Added trips: routes 77, 101/102, 120, 179, 190, 214, 216/218/219, 240, 255, 301, 316, 372 and RapidRide E Line.
  • Reliability improvements: 101/102, 105, 111, 114, 128, 131/132, 166, 167, 168, 177, 178, 179, 180, 190, 192, 193, 216/218/219, 240, 245, 257, 268, 269, 277, 301, 309, 311, 316, RapidRide E Line and improved frequency on Route 915.

Sound Transit route changes

Several Sound Transit routes also will see service adjustments March 26, including routes 522, 541, 542, 550 and 554.

  • Route 522 will serve a new pair of express stops on Lake City Way NE.
  • Routes 541 and 542: A new peak route 541 will operate between the Overlake Park-and-Ride and the University District via the University of Washington Link station, with buses every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon peak commutes. Combined with Route 542, which will have new midday service between Redmond and the University District, there will be buses every 7-8 minutes between Overlake and the University District along the SR-520 corridor during peak commute periods.
  • UPDATE: Route 550 arriving in Seattle from 3-6 p.m. weekdays will continue to travel in the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. All trips will serve the transit tunnel as usual.
  • Route 554: Twelve new trips will be added, so buses will come about every 15 minutes during the morning and afternoon peak periods.

ORCA cards and transfers

As Link light rail expands and bus service adjusts to create better connections, having an ORCA card becomes the best way to take advantage of the improved network. Riders can choose several options for monthly passes, or load money onto an ORCA card. A variety of ORCA card types are available for youth, senior, and disabled, as well as the ORCA LIFT card that provides reduced fares for income qualified adults. Details are online, at ORCA ticket vending machines and key retail locations around the region, or by phone at 206-553-3000.

King County Metro, Sound Transit, the City of Seattle and the University of Washington worked together to make it as easy and convenient for riders to use this improved, more frequent, more reliable network of bus routes.

Riders will experience convenient transfers between frequent buses and light rail trains. Also, stops are being relocated at key transfer points to shorten walk times. Local transit agencies, Seattle, and the University of Washington are coordinating to create better wayfinding, signage and passenger information, and as well as improved shelters and lighting at stops.

Free Wi-Fi in the Downtown Transit Tunnel

King County Metro Transit has installed Wi-Fi in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to enable customers to access the Internet, bus apps and trip planners to check schedules and see bus arrival times while they are in the DSTT. Customers also will be able to use this publicly available Wi-Fi network on tunnel bus platforms at Westlake, University Street, Pioneer Square and International District Station. An estimated 25 users will have optimal Wi-Fi service at each end of a tunnel platform at the DSTT stations.

Starting in mid-2016, cell service will be available in transit tunnels and underground stations.

Relevant links


We will soon deliver more frequent bus service to more neighborhoods, connecting riders to fast, reliable, high-capacity light rail. It’s an example of how Metro and Sound Transit are working together to create a more convenient, seamless transportation network.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive, Sound Transit Board Chair

Thanks to voters, we now have completed the largest expansion of bus transit in Seattle since Metro was founded. Now West Seattle commuters can ride the C Line straight to South Lake Union without changing buses. And in neighborhoods all over the city, frequent transit service is only a short walk away.

Ed Murray, Seattle Mayor

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, King County Executive Office, 206-263-1250

Bruce Gray, Sound Transit, 206-398-5069

Rick Sheridan, Seattle DOT, 206-684-8540

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography