King County Metro this week started Route 635, which circulates as often as every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon peak times.

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Commuters in the waterfront suburb of Des Moines have a new way to reach the Angle Lake light-rail station, where the 1,120 park-and-ride stalls often fill weekday mornings.

King County Metro this week started Route 635, which circulates as often as every 15 minutes during morning and afternoon peak times. The short buses have 19 seats, room for five people to stand, and can bring two wheelchairs aboard.

During trips to and from Marine View Drive South, buses travel South 216th Street and pass the new Des Moines Creek Business Park, where 1,600 Federal Aviation Administration employees will relocate this year.

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That’s no guarantee people will fill the seats — in neighboring SeaTac, some 85 percent of employees for Alaska Airlines drive alone to work, despite proximity to SeaTac/Airport and Angle Lake light-rail stations.  Ridership goals haven’t been established yet in Des Moines, because the business park is new and one of the streets was built less than six months ago, said transit spokesman Scott Gutierrez. After the FAA completes its move, Metro will set ridership targets a few weeks from now, he said.

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If the shuttles prove popular, they might become a model for other suburban stations. Community Transit, for instance, aspires to deliver most of the 18,000 daily riders for Sound Transit’s Lynnwood City Center Station in 2024 on local or cross-county buses, as 1,900 planned park-and-ride stalls overflow.

Metro will spend about $314,000 to operate Route 635 this year.  It’s one of 25 “Community Connections” demonstration programs by Metro, to provide flexible, lower capacity local services.  These include a downtown Redmond loop providing only nine daily runs, which could increase after light-rail stations open there, perhaps in 2024.