How riders can speed up RapidRide

Use an ORCA card to pay your fare.
It’s faster than feeding cash into a fare box. Multiply that small time savings by every passenger on the bus, and you get a noticeably faster ride. You can buy an ORCA card online at, at a ticket vending machine at any Link station (including all Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel stations*), or at any Metro Transit or Regional Partners Pass Sales Outlet (locations are listed at

*A ticket vending machine is being installed this week at Convention Place station in the transit tunnel.

Use off-board ORCA readers and board through the back doors.
At stations with off-board ORCA readers, you can pay before you get on the bus and then board through one of the back doors (between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. only – at other times, all riders enter through the front door for security reasons). Where this option is available, it’s a great way to cut down the bottleneck at the front of the bus. We’re working with the City of Seattle to install ORCA readers in downtown Seattle, with the goal of having them in place by fall 2013.

Exit via the back doors.
You can cut the amount of time the bus spends at your stop by leaving through the back doors, so other passengers can start boarding through the front door right away.

photo: passengers approaching and exiting from a stopped bus

Exiting through the back doors allows other passengers to start boarding at the front.

If you’re standing, move away from the doors.
This will allow others to board or leave the bus more quickly. Small delays at each stop add up to a longer ride, so preventing those delays gets everyone where they’re going more quickly.

15 thoughts on “How riders can speed up RapidRide

  1. Where should people post feedback about the new Rapid Ride? I think it’s a step in the right direction but Metro needs to eliminated the Queen Anne detour. The Rapid Ride should stick to the 15th corridor until 3rd. If it’s acceptable that neighborhoods like Ballard and Magnolia need walk 10-15 minute to a Rapid Ride then it should be equally acceptable that Queen Anne residents do the same.

  2. This blog is intended to be a place where community members can both learn about and discuss RapidRide, so you’re in the right place for posting general feedback about RapidRide service. We forward substantive comments to the appropriate Metro staff member(s). To notify Metro about specific incidents or situations, please use one of the methods listed on Metro’s contact page ( to reach Metro’s customer services.

  3. Is it correct that riders cannot use the back doors at all after 7pm?! I thought that was the old policy that has been replaced.

  4. Is there an official source of realtime arrival information on the web? It seems like a step backwards that I can no longer look up realtime status (via onebusaway) before walking to the stop.

  5. in response to brendan it appears that you must pay your fare or tap your orca on the coach or show your valid transfer to the driver. i think off board payments should be 24/7 though. Existing policy states using back door on EXIT is permitted and encouraged when safe to do so.

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  7. Metro – how about providing riders some incentives to use ORCA – instead of DISINCENTIVES??

    Maybe a daypass on ORCA?
    Or a discount or bonus for using ORCA?
    Or making ORCA transfers as useful as paper transfers, which usually are valid longer than ORCA

  8. Two things:
    1) KCMetro must rid itself of paper transfers – please make that a New Year resolution for 2013 Dow, Council, and Metro Management
    2) Printed Timetables for Rapid Ride, (and ST for Link, too). For those of us in low frequency areas (Admiral, NW Seattle, Madison Park) we NEED to know when RR arrives at our transfer point to allow for the transfer to the far less frequently operated bus. It is an condescending insult to transfer passengers not to print timetables for ALL KCMetro routes.

  9. I usually do this – but the ORCA reader at my stop at NB Hwy 99 & S 240th on the A Line has been out of service for weeks (along with the real-time arrival board). Any idea when this will be fixed?

  10. Or, Instead of just cutting the Queen Anne stops we can cut all of Downtown too. I noticed RapidRide would be really really fast if it didn’t have to go through downtown.

    Oh wait… then it doesn’t go to places where ridership comes from. Yep, thats a problem.

    And please, everyone, exit through the rear whenever possible, such a simple thing that saves so much time.

  11. I agree with Clark (10/25 posting). Rapid Ride D detouring through Queen Anne on its way downtown makes a circuitous trip that is hardly “rapid.” Even worse from Ballard to Downtown, though, is the 40 — best described as “serpentine.”

  12. Re: exit by the rear doors. I often travel on Metro with my bike. It’s really necessary that I exit via the front door so the driver knows to wait for me to dismount my bike from the carrier. Also re exiting by the rear doors the drivers are not persuasive enough and stressing to passengers that it’s much better if they do exit to the rear.

  13. rapidride: – the red brochure for the C&D lines has a statement over the picture of the bus that “RR buses have three doors for quick ‘on and offs’ at each stop. They are in use from 6 am – 7 pm…”. So what is the confusion about this policy? Is the brochure incorrect? Please clarify. (P.S., I think the policy as stated in the brochure is dumb, except in cases where, in the driver’s best judgement, a particular stop could be unsafe due to street activity.)

    N: try this link for tracking buses:

    Clark: The RR “detour” through Queen Anne is not primarily to benefit the area residents. It gives riders frequent and late evening service to venues that are visited by many people from all over the city. Examples are Key Arena, Seattle Center, Pacific Science Center, Children’s Museum, Glass Garden, Seattle Opera, and the Intiman, Bagley Wright and Center House theaters. To speed up RR the City needs to get involved and ban single occupancy vehicles on the RR route, at least during peak commutes.

  14. The choice of the name “Rapid Ride” led me (understandably, I think) to expect my trip to take less time than it did on the old local bus for the same route. This name was false advertising — the D from Ballard to Downtown takes basically the same time as the former 15 local. The false advertising inevitably leads to disappointment.

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