With the opening of the Link light-rail extension to the University of Washington, many bus routes will be changed, in part, to shuttle riders back and forth to the station.
The start of light-rail service at the University of Washington will bring the biggest shake-up to Seattle-area bus service in more than three years.
Transit agencies will flood the station area with buses every few minutes, to bring passengers to the light-rail line and carry them the last mile to their home or office.
More than two dozen connecting bus routes from Seattle, the Eastside and Snohomish County will stop next to the station, or on campus at nearby Stevens Way. Many are funded by shifting 80,000 yearly bus-service hours from King County Metro Transit routes that will terminate north of the Montlake Cut and no longer go downtown.
Check your bus route
To see changes to your Metro route, go to: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-projects/link-connections/
The changes take effect March 26-28, a week after the March 19 UW Station opening. Some longtime bus riders will consider their commute improved by light rail, and less vulnerable to gridlock. Others will find a bus-to-rail transfer to be a hassle.
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On the other hand, Metro reassures riders “you won’t have to take the train if you don’t want to.” The agency contends that 4,000 commuters using I-5 buses will enjoy the same service, or even more trips downtown per day.
Many Northeast Seattle riders heading downtown will need shuttling to the UW Station until 2021, when the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate stations open.
In particular, that means more east-west buses on seven routes to help commuters travel the 1.2 road miles between the train station and the U District. A bus will appear “every couple minutes” at peak, and as frequently as every eight minutes midday.
Metro figures to gain 16,000 daily passengers within three years, from the travel demand created by the two new stations.
• Route 48 is being split, to run only between Mount Baker Station, UW Station and the U District, for better reliability. The 48’s northwest segment to Crown Hill becomes a new Route 45.
• Laurelhurst will get a short new Route 78 to University Village and UW Station, to replace the discontinued, low-ridership Route 25 to Eastlake and downtown.
• Several routes to downtown on the I-5 express lanes will stay there instead of detouring to UW Station. The peak-only Route 76 from Wedgwood will increase from 10 trips each direction to 13. Trips will also increase on 74X from Sand Point, Route 316 from Shoreline and North Seattle College, and Route 64X from Jackson Park and Wedgwood.
Local service is also about to change for riders away from the train route.
• More frequent east-west buses will serve Northeast 65th Street. A new local Route 62 between Sand Point and Green Lake will run every seven minutes at the busiest times, and every 15 minutes or sooner most of the day.
• The old Route 16 is being terminated. Instead, the new 62 local super-route will continue past Green Lake and meander through Wallingford to the Fremont Bridge and Belltown.
In other parts of the city, upgrades will be funded by the $60 car-tab fee and 0.1 percent sales tax Seattle voters approved in 2014.
The most important will be splitting the RapidRide C and D lines downtown. The D arriving downtown from Ballard will go to Pioneer Square instead of merging onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct as the C.
And the C Line from West Seattle will divert off Third Avenue and terminate in South Lake Union instead of continuing to Ballard as the D. The C will use general-traffic lanes that are being converted to transit lanes on Westlake Avenue North, shared with bus route 40 from Crown Hill and the South Lake Union streetcar.