Burien, Mercer Island shuttles debut June 8 to connect key places in communities

New Burien shuttle freshly wrapped and ready for riders – keep an eye out. Service begins June 8.

New Burien shuttle freshly wrapped and ready for riders – keep an eye out. Service begins June 8.

Burien and Mercer Island residents are eager to welcome new transit service June 8, when Metro launches community shuttles to connect riders with popular destinations via direct service.

The shuttles will operate as two-year demonstrations as part of Metro’s Alternative Services program.

Burien shuttle
Burien residents will be able to board the new Route 631, restoring weekday service previously provided by Route 139. Route 631 will connect Gregory Heights and Seahurst to critical places like the city’s downtown area, Burien Transit Center and Highline Medical Center. It also will offer flexible service in the Gregory Heights neighborhood.

Route 631 is the outcome of community input and a partnership between the city of Burien and Metro. Hopelink will operate the shuttle under contract.

During an outreach period early in 2015, the city and Metro heard from area residents about their transportation needs and how improved services would affect their lives. Over 50 residents attended a community meeting and nearly 200 answered a survey. Residents favored a predictable, scheduled service to get to medical appointments, downtown services and the transit center.

“I’m going to sleep better tonight knowing I’ll have this transportation,” one resident said after a sneak peek of the new vehicle earlier this month. Several others shared that they were impressed with the size of the van and the ease of getting on and off. Route 631 adds a feature that former Route 139 lacked: a flexible area where riders can reserve a pick-up or drop off beyond the route.

Mercer Island shuttle
On Mercer Island, a new peak-hour community shuttle, Route 630, will provide flexible service in east Mercer Island and trips to First Hill and downtown Seattle. The service is jointly funded by Metro and the cities of Mercer Island and Seattle through the regional partnership program created by Seattle’s Proposition 1. Hopelink will operate the shuttle under contract.

Some commuter transit service was eliminated last year because of low ridership numbers. Metro worked with both Seattle and Mercer Island to expand commute options and reduce the number of drive-alone trips on already-clogged highways and city streets.

Another new service will be debuting for Mercer Island riders traveling to the park-and-ride called “TripPool.” Through a free app, users can ask for a ride in a volunteer-driven community van and get picked up at home and dropped-off at the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, where the new Route 630 shuttle awaits, as well as existing service on Metro routes 201, 204, 216, 981, 989, and Sound Transit routes 550, 554.

About the new Burien Community Shuttle – Route 631

  • The shuttle will operate every 30 minutes Monday through Friday from about 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The route forms a one-way clockwise loop with marked stops from the Burien Transit Center to Highline Medical Center, along SW 160th Street and 21st Avenue SW and SW 152nd Street.
  • The new route will provide a midday complement to peak Route 123 between the Gregory Heights and Lake Burien areas and downtown Seattle.
  • From the Burien Transit Center, riders can connect to seven all-day routes and three peak-period express routes to destinations such as downtown Seattle, Sea-Tac Airport, Highline College, Southcenter, Renton and downtown Bellevue.
  • ADA-eligible riders can also use Access and riders 55+ or disabled can use Hyde Shuttle.
  • Riders in the Gregory Heights neighborhood will additionally be able to take advantage of both scheduled marked stops as well as a new flexible service allowing them to call ahead to request a pick-up or drop-off.
  • Standard peak and off-peak fares will be charged, accepted in cash or ORCA card.
  • The shuttle will use a new 19-seat, “low-floor” vehicle, which speeds boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.

About the new Mercer Island Community Shuttle Metro – Route 630

  • The Route 630 will operate five morning and afternoon trips between Mercer Island and downtown Seattle Monday through Friday.
  • 30-minute service will be offered weekdays between 6:15 to 8:15 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m.
  • The shuttle will use a new 19-seat, “low-floor” vehicle, which speeds boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.
  • Riders will be able to plan their trip using Metro’s online Trip Planner and track location status in real time.
  • In addition to scheduled service, flexible service will be offered in the Shorewood neighborhood. Riders can call ahead for a ride off the route.
  • Standard peak and off-peak fares will be charged, accepted in cash or ORCA card.

Explore Metro’s neighborhood pages to learn more about other transit services in and around Mercer Island.