You can PokémonGo further with an ORCA card

By Adam Jabari Jefferson, KCDOT Multimedia Specialist

For a Pokémon Go trainer, traveled distance makes the difference between bagging your 16th Caterpie in Seattle’s Occidental Square and catching a wild Seaking from the suspension bridge at White Center Heights Park.

The “go” in the game’s title urges exploration. There are 200+ bus routes in King County. The twin Water Taxis shuttle more than 500,000 passengers a year between Seattle and Vashon Island and West Seattle.

Zubat Pokemon cartoon image on a bus with text reading PokemonGO further with an ORCA card

Boat, bus and Link light rail connections help us and our virtual avatars access real spaces. And they all accept the ORCA Card.

Public transit is integral to Go’s augmented reality world. Even the ORCA LIFT enrollment office sits between two Pokéstops. And that’s where my journey began. Equipped with an ORCA card, bicycle and fully charged phone, I embarked on a catch-‘em-all quest through King County.

Graphic with red circle and line warning riders to not look down at their phone while walking in traffic(Smart trainers never bike, drive or walk while staring at their phone. Be safe out there.)

Like an Eevee drawn to incense, I took the proliferating pocket monsters reported in King County Parks as an invitation. I racked my bike aboard a 36 bus bound for Beacon Hill. At my transfer point to route 60 is a bus shelter photo mural where I viewed a “City Under Construction” and collected several Pokéballs. We crossed the South Park Bridge too quickly to visit any of its three Pokéstops. Other passengers, quietly lost in books or music, listened for their stops to be announced (unaware of the lurking digital beasts).

In Southwest Seattle, I cycled half-a-mile, phone in my pocket – Seriously! Look up at the road, trainers – into unincorporated King County where Steve Cox Memorial Park hosted a carnival for White Center Jubilee Days. Joyous noise and families filled the playground. A son and father, phones in hands, chased Poké pets along the ball field. We exchanged smiles and knowing nods as the giggling duo tracked Clefairy.

We are looking at one another. It’s a strange, refreshing byproduct of this mobile game. Your phone is out and so is mine. The way we walk, curiously searching the space around us, reveals our common ground. You, stranger, also are a trainer. We share the same excitement for a wild Weedle. And in our interaction, we learn to better navigate both worlds.

Take a survey, share input on park-and-ride parking

Our customers count on quick access to reliable parking at our park-and-rides. Yet many tell us it’s getting harder to find spaces, especially as more people use transit.1795

We also know some of our park-and-ride spots are being filled by people who aren’t there to catch a bus, vanpool, or carpool—instead, they’re going to nearby businesses, apartments, or construction sites.

Metro is now looking at a range of options to improve management of parking at our lots and garages, and we want your input.1830

One option might be permits for priority parking, similar to a program Sound Transit will roll out this fall.

We’d like your thoughts about permit parking, as well as any other ideas to help us better manage parking at our park-and-rides.

Take this 10-minute online survey to tell us what you think, or contact us at or 206-263-9768.

The deadline for comments is Friday, August 19.

Learn more
Project website:
Sound Transit parking permits:
Metro Connects (our DRAFT long-range plan – see Pages 35-42):

Best kept secret: Bus driving career

Abdi Elmi has a motto: having a career driving a bus for Metro is one of the best kept secrets in the region.

Elmi, a Metro Base Chief in Bellevue, is from Somalia, and his story is one of triumph and hard work to overcome adversity. As a teenager he and his family fled the civil war in Somalia, and he lived in a refugee camp for several years.

Later he brought his family to the US, and came to Seattle in 2009. In 2012, he was hired as a part-time driver while going to the University of Washington, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. He was promoted to chief in 2015.

Photo of Abdi Elmi, Metro base chief, standing next to a Metro bus

“If you like customer service, you would love this job,” says Abdi Elmi, Metro Transit base chief and former bus driver.

Metro is hiring, and Elmi will share his story and perspective on working for Metro at a free info session coming up July 26, where people can learn more about being a bus driver. Transit demand is growing and bus drivers are the backbone of transit service and the key connection to customers every day.

Drivers are part of the community and the economy, and connect with riders to make a difference. And by working for the county, there are good benefits, starting out with flexible part-time hours with room to grow into a full-time career.

Come to the event to hear Elmi’s inspirational story and understand the application process to become a transit operator, whether you want part-time flexible work or a full-time career. Space is limited so register today. Light refreshments will be provided. You also can go online to see our job description and application information.

  • WHEN: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 from 8-9:30 a.m.
  • WHERE: King Street Center Building – South Jackson Place 8th Floor Conference Center, Seattle, WA 98104 – View Map King County Transit

Learn more about becoming a transit operator at this information session and consider joining our team to support the growing demand for public transit throughout King County. We would love to meet you July 26!

King County Metro Transit is popular locally and admired nationwide for its innovative transit services, pioneering green practices, and visionary approach to meeting the transportation needs of the county’s growing population.

In a service area of more than 2,000 square miles and 2 million residents, Metro operates more than 200 bus, trolley and Demand Area Response Transit (DART) routes that serve destinations across the county. Every bus is equipped with a bicycle rack and a wheelchair lift.

5 best things about Capitol Hill

Live or work on Capitol Hill? A free ORCA card can help you catch more PokemonGo! Take advantage of the 5 best things in these great images by Robyn Jordan, a Lowell Elementary School art teacher, and find ways you can give your car a break.

Sign up by Aug. 7 with King County In Motion and get great rewards while helping reduce traffic and improve the environment!Cartoon of the 5 Best Things about Capitol Hill; includes people watching at the park, night life culture, space needle nearby, options for travel, buses, streetcars and light rail; sign up by Aug. 7 for free rewards like an ORCA card



‘Metroadeo’ featured precision drivers at their finest

Metro Transit’s finest operators competed this week to prove just how awesome and precisely they can drive a 40-foot-long Metro bus at the annual ‘Metroadeo.’


2016 Metroadeo winners

Drivers snaked their buses through left and right turns, passenger stops and tight spaces. It takes care to adjust your speed and set up just right to perform each of the maneuvers, all scored by judges with a sharp eye and high expectations for precision.

“Our operators are great, but the top Roadeo finishers are amazingly good– true technicians of their craft,” said Rob Gannon, Metro Transit interim general manager.


Tammy Klein, No. 1!

This year’s No. 1 driver is Tammy Klein, a Ryerson Base operator – now a five-time winner of the Metroadeo! (2009, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016).

Tammy will represent Metro at the state roadeos in September, competing against transit drivers from Washington State, and next year’s international competition sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Congratulations to all of the winners! Metro is proud of you!

(Think you have what it takes? Metro is hiring! Search “Transit Operator” at the King County jobs site.)


Chai Kunjara takes 2nd place!

1st          Tammy Klein

2nd        Chai Kunjara

3rd         Tom Ponischil

4th         Sheila Malbrain

5th         Ahmad Yousefbeigi

6th         Billie Farris

7th         Chuck Riess

8th         David Crock

9th         Janet Palmer

10th       Francis Lebel

Transit service connections, reroutes for Fourth of July celebrations

MetroFireworksAvatar_largeFourth of July daytime parades and nighttime firework shows are planned across King County, and are expected to draw tens of thousands of people. As you explore how to get to these events using transit, please review planned reroutes and service adjustments that are scheduled to be in place for the holiday. We also have some tips for how to get home after the big show on Lake Union.

In observance of Independence Day on Monday, July 4, Metro Transit will operate a Sunday schedule, with 25 additional buses put in service following the major fireworks display at Lake Union. Metro offices, including the Customer Information office and the Lost and Found, will be closed.  If a Metro bus route does not normally operate on Sunday, it will not operate on Independence Day.

Transit service Monday night following the Lake Union fireworks display
While crowds will trickle into the Gas Works Park area throughout the day for festivities, everyone is leaving at about the same time after the fireworks, leading to likely service delays and overloaded buses. Here is some information to help get you home:independence_day2

  • Ride routes 32 & 44 from the Wallingford area to the Link light rail University of Washington Station; 10-15 minute service after 10:00 PM; Route 44 service until 2:00 AM; Route 32 will be rerouted between Stone Way N and the U-District.
  • To downtown Seattle, ride routes 5, 40 or 62 from the Fremont area; service operates about every 10-15 min until almost 1:00 AM.
  • From Aurora Av N, the RapidRide E Line operates to downtown every 15-30 minutes until about 2:00 AM.
  • Ride routes 26 & 40 to Northgate from Fremont and Wallingford respectively; service operates about every 30 minutes until about 1:30 AM; Route 26 will be rerouted off of NE 40th St.
  • Between downtown Seattle and the University District, ride Route 70 via Eastlake Av E; service about every 15 minutes until 1:00 AM; last trip northbound from downtown is 1:06 AM; last trip southbound from the University is 1:51 AM.
  • The South Lake Union Streetcar is operating additional trips after the fireworks display ends.
  • Additional buses will be used to mitigate overloads.

Other holiday transit service notes include: Continue reading

Congratulations! Gary Archer is Metro Transit’s 2016 Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year!

In a surprise ceremony Wednesday, lead mechanic Gary Archer was named Metro Transit’s 2016 Vehicle Maintenance Employee of the Year – to the smiles and applause of his coworkers and team at South Base in Tukwila.

It’s the second time Gary has won the award, unprecedented in Metro’s history. Archer was selected by his peers, more than 600 vehicle maintenance workers across Metro’s seven bus bases. Gary first won the Employee of the Year award in Vehicle Maintenance in 2003.

Mechanic Gary Archer“Seeing Gary today with his colleagues, it was clear to me what a quiet, humble man of integrity he is,” said Rob Gannon, interim Metro Transit general manager. “His team is truly inspired.  He is a model of leadership for all of us.”

Metro hired Gary as a mechanic in December 1979. He was promoted to his present position as a lead mechanic in September 1982. Throughout his more than 36 years with King County, he has received numerous commendations for his outstanding work.

Thanks to his hard work leading a team of mechanics, nearly 300 of Metro’s 1,400 buses are ready to roll out of South Base every morning for transit operators. Gary has dedicated his career to providing safe, dependable vehicles for bus riders and transit operators – key to keeping commuters and the economy moving.

Winning the award a second time shows the continuous admiration and respect Metro’s mechanics have for Gary. He is known for his people skills, confidence and focus on teamwork. He is admired for being solid, fair, even-tempered, a mentor, humble, honest, well-liked, dependable and a problem solver. We’re honored to have Gary Archer as a part of our team in Vehicle Maintenance!

#PrideMetro: King County and the community stand together, march together

Editor’s note: See how transit service will be adjusted during Pride Festival and Pride Parade celebrations.

Pride parade photo with bus and celebrantsIt’s Pride week and our transit community is again celebrating across King County. You’ll see Metro at the #SeattlePride festival and in the parade on Sunday, where King County employees and their families are again supporting our LGBTQ riders and employees following the values of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –  the symbol of our county and an international icon for justice, equality and peace.

VIew of pride parade from atop a bus, with balloonsAs a county and an agency we embrace the values of inclusion, diversity and excellence on behalf of the people we serve. We stand up for, support and ally with our gay and LGBTQ employees and riders – and our community is stronger for it.

Sadly, we’ve seen the power some take from others with their words and actions on our buses. Each slight, intended or not, eventually pools together and deepens the terrible stain of hate, homophobia, racism and violence in our culture. We want riders to feel empowered to stand up to hate when they hear it on our buses, see it at bus stops, anywhere it lives.

sideview of pride parade from bus mirror with balloonsAs a community, we know individual acts help form a shield against hate and work to help heal the hurt – and serve as examples to others who wondered afterward ‘what should I have done?’ A ride on Metro can be a place where people from all over our community come together and demonstrate respect and support for one another.

So look out for each other today, tomorrow, and every day. Speak up, smile and support each other on every ride. Together, we’ll get there.


Help shape the future of Access Transportation – Tell us what you think by July 10

AccessBoardingInformación en español

NOTE: This post was edited on July 1 to indicate that the due date for participation has been extended from July 5 to July 10.

Metro needs your feedback to help shape the future of Access Transportation, Metro’s ADA paratransit service.

We’ll reach out to the public several times this year to learn about what’s working well and how Access could be improved. Your feedback will inform Metro staff as they plan for new Access contracts that will take effect in 2018.

In this first phase of outreach, we want to hear about how we’re doing with Access service, what’s most important riders, and ideas for improvements.

Tell us what you think about Access Transportation by July 10

Learn more

Excellent event weekend ahead, but plan for traffic, bus delays and reroutes

This weekend has fantastic fun in store between the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and the Fremont Solstice Parade and fair. Transit is always a great and inexpensive way to get around, but first do some homework because more than 30 bus routes will face reroutes and delays as a result of event street closures.

RocknRollMarathonlogoRock ‘n’ Roll Marathon: From the start of service until the marathon clears and streets are reopened, bus routes in Seattle will face reroutes and delays.

  • Routes will be affected in the East Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Downtown Seattle, Columbia City, I-90, Rainier Valley, Leschi and Seward Park areas.
  • Reroutes and delays will affect routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28, 36, 38, 40, 48, 50, 62, 120, 124, 125, 131, 132, RapidRide C, D and E lines.
  • Service on the First Hill Streetcar also will be affected by the marathon, and will not serve stops south of South Washington Street on Saturday from the start of service until about 2:30 p.m.
  • A temporary free Saturday morning Rainier Valley area shuttle will help riders connect to transit service from 5:30-10:30 a.m. during the marathon. Event information is on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon website.

FremontSolsticeFremont Solstice Parade: Routes 31, 32, 40 and 62 will be rerouted from about 2:15-6 p.m., off of North 35th Street and Fremont Avenue North, traveling instead on nearby streets.

Metro will operate a shuttle between downtown Seattle and the south end of the Fremont Bridge via Westlake Avenue North every 15 minutes from noon until 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Event information is on the Fremont Solstice Parade website and Fremont Solstice Festival website.

FremontArtsCouncilParadeMetro’s Service Advisories page has specific reroute details and times. Transit reroute start and end times may be subject to change.