Editor's note: The following press release is from King County Metro.
SEATTLE – The first day of commuting is in the rear-view mirror after King County Metro Transit made major service changes over the weekend, including launching RapidRide C and D lines, other route changes and new requirements for riders to pay when boarding.
“We’re grateful to all of our transit customers for their patience and for making this first day of the transition go as smoothly as it did,” said Kevin Desmond, King County Metro Transit general manager. “As expected we saw some delays to transit service during the morning and evening commutes, but overall buses and trains kept moving.
“Once everyone adapts to these changes in the coming days and weeks, we expect transit operations to settle into a steady, more reliable rhythm.”
Metro is tracking reports of delays, full buses and issues with electronic signs, and considering ways to address those issues.
Riders during the afternoon commute saw delays and several full buses heading out of downtown Seattle. To help keep buses and trains moving in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel during the evening commute, Metro personnel used portable ORCA card readers to help riders board buses at Westlake, University Street and International District tunnel stations. Portable ORCA card readers also were used to help riders board during the evening commute at Third Avenue and Pike Street, Third Avenue and Union Street and Columbia Street at Second Avenue.
Earlier, during the morning commute, buses across the system saw some delays as Metro operators and bus riders familiarized themselves with new routes and stop locations. There were reports of a few full West Seattle buses and some challenges with some of the RapidRide electronic signs, issues Metro is working on for Tuesday’s morning commute.
Metro continues to urge riders to review new printed timetables and route maps – or see them online at metro.kingcounty.gov – and plan ahead to have an ORCA card or fare ready when boarding, especially during afternoon commutes. The Ride Free Area ended in downtown Seattle Sept. 28 and riders now are required to pay their fare at the time of boarding.
Some continued bus service delays are expected in downtown Seattle as bus riders, transit operators and traffic continue to adjust to route changes and the pay on entry system. Metro personnel were available to answer rider questions at key transit stops in downtown Seattle, Ballard, Burien, West Seattle and Northgate during Monday’s peak commute times.
The changes to routes and elimination of the downtown Ride Free Area are part of an effort to preserve bus service as well as improve transit ridership and productivity to make tax dollars go further, Desmond said.
Tools for riders
Metro Transit has many tools online:
- Route changes and Metro’s online trip planner are online at metro.kingcounty.gov
- Pay-on-Entry/Ride free area elimination information:
- RapidRide information page: metro.kingcounty.gov/travel-options/bus/RapidRide
- ORCA card information page: www.orcacard.com
- Customer Service email@example.com or 206-553-3000 (call volumes and wait times might be longer this week)
Information about Metro Transit services is online at metro.kingcounty.gov.