Community Transit will add a commuter line between the Lake Stevens area and downtown Seattle this morning with the opening of its transit center on the west side of the lake. Route 425 will begin weekdays-only...

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Community Transit will add a commuter line between the Lake Stevens area and downtown Seattle this morning with the opening of its transit center on the west side of the lake.

Route 425 will begin weekdays-only service at 5:15 today, taking commuters from the new Fourth Street Northeast stop to a number of Seattle stops, ending at Olive Way and Terry Avenue. Downtown Seattle stops will include Stewart Street and Ninth Avenue, and Fifth Avenue and James Street.

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Riders can board the 425 bus at the transit center, which consists of bus bays, shelters and public phones. The center, near Frontier Village Shopping Center, cost $4.5 million, Community Transit officials said.

Lake Stevens-area residents for years had requested an additional stop and a commuter route between the lake and Seattle, said Tom Pearce, a Community Transit spokesman. A number of commuters now use the Mariner Park & Ride at 128th Street Southwest and Fourth Avenue West or take local routes to Everett to connect with a commuter route to Seattle.

The transit agency first considered the new service in 1998, but a shortage of tax revenue prevented the idea from developing, Pearce said, until a 2001 tax initiative was passed. Construction began in May.

Community Transit hopes the new service will add to its ridership, and local officials believe it will be successful. Linda Diver, the president of the Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce, said recent local population growth has been fueled by King County residents looking for more-affordable housing.

“We’re seeing a lot of people from Seattle and the Eastside moving out here,” Diver said. “We’re pretty excited about the opportunity.”

Though most of Community Transit’s commuter routes to Seattle cost $3, the one-way charge for the new service is $3.75, Pearce said. The higher price is consistent with prices for Community Transit’s other commuter services north of the Snohomish River and will help cover the cost of running the buses, Pearce said.

A one-way trip is expected to take an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to complete. Four round trips are planned Mondays through Fridays, with other buses leaving the Lake Stevens area at 5:45, 6:11 and 6:35 a.m. Buses will depart Seattle at 3:36, 4:06, 4:36 and 5:07 p.m.

Community Transit will continue to operate local Route 221 — between Lake Stevens, Marysville and Quil Ceda Village on the Tulalip Reservation — and Route 280 — between Everett and Lake Stevens — from their current stops until Feb. 13. They will then move to the new transit center.

Christopher Schwarzen: 425-783-0577 or cschwarzen@seattletimes.com