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RapidRide R Line

Coming to south Seattle

We're working to bring RapidRide to south Seattle, to provide better, more reliable bus service and amenities! The RapidRide R Line will upgrade the current Route 7 and serve neighborhoods between Downtown Seattle and Rainier Beach, including Chinatown-International District, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Hillman City, Brighton and Dunlap.

King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are working together on planning, outreach and engagement efforts in south Seattle. To learn more about construction for the Rainier Avenue S. Bus Lane project, visit SDOT's website.

Project overview

Route 7 has been a consistent form of transportation for south Seattle communities—a lifeline that has helped create a sense of place for many historically underserved communities. As this route is one of Seattle's busiest, serving over 9,000 riders per day, a replacement by the RapidRide line is vital. It will also be one of five future RapidRide Lines that will become part of Metro's growing transit system that will give riders access to better connections and reliable service.

RapidRide R Line will:

  • Run between downtown Seattle and create a new connection to the Rainier Beach Link light rail station
  • Increase access to reliable and frequent transit in south Seattle
  • Improve the quality and ease of connecting to transit safely, including the infrastructure, amenities and technology riders use to access transit

The goals for the RapidRide R Line include:

  • Increasing access to more reliable transit service in south Seattle
  • Improving the quality and ease of connecting to transit safely through sidewalk, ramp and crossing improvements
  • Reducing delays at intersections and locations along the route
  • Improving riders overall experience with enhanced buses, upgraded boarding areas, new shelters and benches, improved lighting, and real-time bus arrival information at stations

Benefits of RapidRide

Buses first

In many areas, RapidRide travels in red “bus only” lanes, with special traffic lights timed for faster service.

More access

Enjoy all-door boarding. Tap your ORCA card to pay at a station or by any door inside the bus.

More often

Buses that come more often and provide consistent service.

Community engagement


In 2019, Metro partnered with the community to identify station locations, proposed changes to improve bus speed and reliability, and changes to make it easier and safer for people to get to and from the bus.

Community engagement included briefings to partner organizations, narrated and captioned presentations, in Amharic, Chinese (simplified Chinese narrated in Mandarin; traditional Chinese narrated in Cantonese and Mandarin), Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese.

There were also two virtual town halls with live interpretation in Amharic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and creation and distribution of a multi-lingual poster with project information.

In 2020, revenue shortfalls created by the COVID-19 pandemic required Metro to pause design work on the RapidRide R Line. From March 2020 through December 2020, Metro shared information about the concept plan online.

What we heard

Prior to pausing work, Metro collected feedback from community members that live, work and travel throughout south Seattle. The following themes from the community helped shape the RapidRide R Line design:

Safety and accessibility

  • Better, safer access to stations, especially for people with mobility challenges
  • Concerns about personal safety

Community and outreach

  • RapidRide is unfamiliar
  • Clearly communicate how and when community can influence decisions
  • Concerns about fares and fare enforcement

Improved service

  • Concerns about service for riders south of S. Henderson Street
  • More reliable service in south Seattle and improved connections to other transit options
  • Community values Route 7 for access to essential services
  • Concerns about distance between stations
  • Community members have been underserved and deserve better service as soon as possible

To learn more about what we heard and our detailed engagement process, past reports are available in our resource library.

In 2023, the Seattle Department of Transportation made several street improvements along Rainier Avenue S., including the addition of bus-only lanes and new traffic signals, sidewalk improvements, new pedestrian crossings, and upgraded ADA-compliant curb ramps, as part of the Route 7 – Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridor project.

Project process and timeline

  • 2019 to 2020

    Planning: Concept plan

    Metro engaged with community members, community-based organizations, businesses and agency partners to come up with station designs, changes to make taking the bus more reliable, changes to make it easier for people to walk, ride, or roll to the bus and changes to make driving the bus more comfortable.

    Note: The project was paused in late 2020 to focus on rider safety and to recover from lost revenues brought on by declining ridership, all results of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 2024

    Planning: Concept plan update

    Metro is preparing to restart the project in 2025, in coordination with SDOT. We will engage the community and share an update on the RapidRide R Line concept plan, including alignment and proposed station locations, which will provide a foundation for future work. Frequent Route 7 bus service along its existing route will continue until the start of the RapidRide R Line.

  • Future project phases

    Community engagement will continue during future design phases, eventually leading to construction of new stations, roadway improvements, and other elements that create a safe, comfortable RapidRide experience.

    RapidRide R Line launch: Service for R Line will begin following completion of construction.

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