Buses, trains and ferries in the Puget Sound region will operate at full capacity starting in July.
On Saturday, King County Metro buses will return to normal capacity, the agency announced, as will other Metro-operated services such as the Seattle streetcar, water taxis, van pools and Access paratransit.
On Metro buses, full capacity is 51 people standing and sitting on 40-foot bus and 83 people on a 60-foot bus.
Regular passenger limits will also begin Saturday on Sound Transit’s Link light rail and Express bus routes.
The move comes after Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to lift most physical distancing restrictions and mask requirements throughout the state Wednesday and as ridership grows toward pre-pandemic levels.
Inslee’s order also includes dropping distancing requirements on transit. However riders must continue to keep 6 feet from bus drivers, except when paying fares.
A federal mask mandate remains in place through at least September for public transit systems, such as buses and light rail, and on board airplanes. Passengers may remove their masks at bus stops, on ferry decks and other outside transportation areas.
Normal capacity will begin on Sounder, Tacoma Link and on ferries on Thursday. Customers will no longer be instructed to stay in their vehicles when boarding a ferry.
Other transit systems in the region, including Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit and Pierce Transit, will also resume normal passenger capacity on Thursday.
Kitsap Transit also will resume regular operations at the Annapolis ferry dock and adjust some bus routes.
During the pandemic, Metro had cut its capacity limits to 12 people on 40-foot buses and 18 people on 60-foot buses. In April, the agency increased those limits to 20 people on 40-foot buses and 30 people on 60-foot buses.
“We’re excited to welcome more riders back to transit this summer,” said Metro’s General Manager Terry White, in a statement. “By resuming normal capacity on our buses and other services, we’re supporting the region’s ongoing recovery and our growing ridership.”