Metro and Seattle DOT team up to ease Route 8 traffic choke points

Route 8 riders can look forward to more-reliable service starting in 2017.

That’s when Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation are scheduled to begin work on a number of traffic and parking revisions from Lower Queen Anne to Capitol Hill that will help keep Route 8 on schedule.

Plans include more green time for traffic signals at Denny Way and Fifth and Sixth avenues, and left-turn restrictions at several intersections to avoid traffic tie-ups that slow everyone down.

The most significant change will convert the center westbound lane of Denny Way between Stewart Street and Fairview Avenue into an eastbound bus-only lane. This measure alone will cut Route 8 travel time by about 60 seconds, with minimal impact on traffic according to our traffic studies.route8_map_blog

On Capitol Hill, on-street parking will be restricted on short sections of Denny Way, Olive Way, East John Street, and East Thomas Street. Also in the works are two expanded bus stops on Olive Way and East John Street so buses don’t have to leave and re-enter heavy traffic, and to provide more space and amenities for waiting passengers.

Many of these improvements will help traffic flow a little more smoothly for everyone, a win-win for both transit riders and motorists.

Metro received grants from the Federal Transit Administration to fund the improvements. The funds will cover SDOT’s costs to design and make the improvements, and also Metro’s costs to add new shelters, benches, and better lighting at bus stops from Denny Way and Second Avenue to 15th Avenue East on Capitol Hill.

To reduce construction impacts, Metro and Seattle are working to coordinate improvements with nearby projects such as the Denny Way Substation Project at Fairview Avenue.

Route 8 serves an estimated 10,000 riders a day, connecting people in Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Madison Valley, Judkins Park, and Mount Baker to the Capitol Hill and in Mount Baker Link light rail stations as well as major employment hubs like South Lake Union.

Though reliability increased when Route 8 was divided into two separate routes in March 2016, late buses are still a problem, especially during rush hour and major events at the Seattle Center.

The project improvements will be made in phases during 2017 and 2018.

UW-Stanford game: Plan for Friday delays, service revisions, and no Husky P&R shuttles

Commuters, take note: The Pac-12’s biggest game of the year Friday between the Huskies and Stanford is going to mean rush-hour delays and route revisions for some buses in the area  of Husky Stadium.

Tens of thousands of fans are expected to converge on Husky Stadium to see the No. 10 Huskies take on the No. 7 Cardinal. Kickoff is at 6 p.m., and traffic is going to be a scrum for buses around the Montlake Triangle and the U-District.

Metro urges riders to prepare for delays and plan ahead: Several buses serving the UW light rail station will be rerouted before and after the game. Riders should check Metro’s service alerts for updated information and the times when reroutes are
scheduled to take effect. Some buses won’t be rerouted until the game is almost over, and some won’t be rerouted at all.

Below is a list and map of affected routes. Click on each number for specific information regarding that route:

When buses are rerouted out of the Husky Stadium area, riders headed to or from the stadium can walk or ride a free shuttle the rest of the way. The UW Link shuttle operates about every 7 1/2 minutes, starting from University Way Northeast just north of Northeast Pacific Street. It will serve stops along Pacific before turning around at 22nd Avenue East and Montlake to provide westbound service back to the University District.

Metro supervisors will be on-hand near the stadium to help people with directions.

No park-and-ride shuttles: Since the UW-Stanford game wi
ll not be on a weekend, Metro is not operating Husky Shuttle service from area park-and-rides, as has been provided in partnership with UW during Saturday games. Husky fans who normally ride Husky shuttle service should contact UW ohusky_stadium-1r visit UW’s website for information about transportation options.

Fans also are encouraged to ride Link light rail, which now runs from Angle Lake to the University of Washington.

For information about regular transit service to games, or to plan other trips, visit Metro Online or Metro’s online Trip Planner. When planning your trip, check Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

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

 

 

Metro is correcting map label errors

Metro has identified and is correcting minor map label errors on printed timetables for some routes – labels that depict connections to some routes that are were deleted or changed as part of the March 26 service change.

Once these errors came to our attention, we quickly updated and corrected our online maps and timetables. If new ones emerge, we will address them just as quickly. Next up: we are working to print pocket cards to notify riders of the identified errors and then will take steps necessary to reprint timetables.

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No, that’s not how to spell Loyal Heights, nor University District

These are the routes identified as having map discrepancies in map reference boxes, transfer points or footnotes: 10, 26, 28, 40, 41, 47, 48, 49, 63, 64, 65, 67, 70, 71, 74, 75, 76, 169, 197, 249, 252, 255, 257, 268, 271, 308, 345, 347, 348, and 372.

Other errors we are addressing: We found two missing letters in the cover map of Route 45 (Which should read Loyal Heights and University District). Also, one southbound 6:53 a.m. trip for Route 308 was mistakenly left off of that timetable, and it will be reprinted.

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The 242 was deleted, so will not be serving Northgate

 

 

If you think you have found an error, please let us know so we can quickly address it, in online or in printed materials. We work hard to offer clear accurate information about Metro service and want to correct any errors in materials as they are found. Contact us by phone (206-553-3000) email (customer.comments@kingcounty.gov) or on Twitter (@kcmetrobus) or Facebook (@kcmetro).

We REALLY don’t like finding errors in our materials that could confuse our customers – we know you rely on our maps and timetables to be accurate. We’re focused on meeting that expectation.

Changing bus service to create a better transit network serving neighborhoods and Link light rail on March 26 has meant a lot of planning – and now putting buses on new paths for riders. Thanks for your patience as we make these transit improvements and our apologies for any confusion these errors have caused.

Bus changes start March 26: Where to get help, ORCA

UPDATE! ORCA LIFT staff will be at UW Station 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 26; they will be at Capitol Hill Station 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 26. Background on qualifying for reduced fares is at our ORCA LIFT site.

If our online information about the March 26 bus changes doesn’t quite answer your questions, Metro Transit is extending its customer service phone and sales hours to help support riders during this upcoming weekend’s big service change.

purple_timetables3_croppedCALL: The Metro Customer Information  phone lines  will be open on Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Customers can call and talk to a live operator for complete route information, and translation services, too. The number is 206-553-3000, TTY Relay:  771.

VISIT: In addition, Metro will be at the main entrance at both the UW and Capitol Hill link stations with their mobile ORCA To Go sales. Metro will be staffing these locations on Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.   Customers will be able to buy all types of ORCA cards, including youth, adult, senior, and RRFP (regional reduced fare permit) cards directly on site, and load E-purse or transit passes on them.

Any customer with an existing ORCA card can load E-purse value and passes at the ORCA vending machines also located at both stations.   The days of operation for the on-site mobile ORCA To Go will be dependent on customer demand, but Metro anticipates them to be active through April 2.

UPDATE: Connecting between Metro and Link: working toward a single ticket program for the homeless and very low income

UPDATE:  Good news – Metro has been working since our last post on a good short-term approach that will help both human service agencies and their clients cover transportation needs – and we think we’ve worked it out.  In recent weeks, we’ve been asking human service agencies to provide Sound Transit passes and Metro tickets to clients as a way of ensuring they get where they need to go.  By mid-June, we will begin distributing a “combo ticket” that will enable our clients to more easily connect between Metro buses and Link light rail.  The product will consist of a ST Link day pass and two Metro 1-zone peak tickets all in one. Meanwhile, Metro and ST continue to work toward a longer-term solution using the ORCA system.

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New “combo tickets” will have one Sound Transit Link light rail pass and two Metro tickets starting in mid-June.

ORIGINAL POST: With Link now carrying riders to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, the ORCA card is the most efficient and cost-effective way to transfer from a Metro bus to light rail. But for those experiencing homelessness or have little to no income, who receive free bus tickets or Link passes from human service agencies, the connection is not so easy because the tickets and passes are not accepted between systems.

Metro HS TicketMetro and Sound Transit share a commitment to make transit accessible to all. That’s why we’ve been exploring ways to integrate these two very similar human service ticket programs.

This year, Metro is providing more than $3 million worth of reduced fare tickets to human service agencies.These tickets are accepted on both Metro and ST Express buses. We offer these tickets at an 80 percent discount, with human service agencies paying the remaining 20 percent.

Sound Transit provides an unlimited number of all-day passes worth $6.50 that are sold to these same human services agencies for $1.00 each, an 85 percent discount.

Integrating these two programs will require solving a number of technical issues and will take some time. We don’t have all the answers yet, but Metro and Sound Transit are committed to creating a solution.

void Link day pass (3)To meet the immediate need, we’ve asked rider advocates to work with us on ideas for a short-term fix that can make it easier to transfer between bus and rail with a human-service ticket or pass.

Our ORCA LIFT reduced-fare program has proven itself as a national model. Fully integrating related programs offered by two agencies is another way we’re working to provide as seamless a ride as possible – for all our customers.

ORCA cards make transfers between buses and Link free and easy

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Editor’s note: This post is the first in a series about using an ORCA card to connect between buses and Link. The next post will share a few example riders’ trips to show how ORCA works with Link.

Now that Link light rail and our northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill bus changes are just around the corner, we’re hearing a lot of questions about how fares will work when using both buses and Link light rail to make trips. Having an ORCA card will be the easiest and cheapest way to pay.

This post will hopefully help you better understand how to navigate the Metro and Sound Transit system seamlessly, how ORCA can work for you, the different ways to get an ORCA card, and how to use it. We’ve created a few example riders who are updating their planned trips because of the new Link service. Read about their decisions in our next blog post and how to ride buses and trains together with ORCA in practical terms.

First things first: If you don’t already have an ORCA card, let’s get you one ASAP. Connecting between buses and trains is faster, easier and less expensive with an ORCA card. Cash just takes more time when boarding the bus and the paper transfer you get isn’t accepted on the train.

There are card types for everyone – adults, youth, seniors and people with disabilities (Regional Reduced Fare Permit), and people with little or no income (ORCA LIFT). Due to the type of information that is required to get some of these cards, the place you can get one will vary per card type. However, once you get your card you can load passes or e-purse value (think cash) at any location.

To get your ORCA card, take one of these steps:

  • Check out the Metro Fares & ORCA webpage to learn about the process and various fares and use the ORCA website to get your card. You can order adult cards via the ORCA website. You can also download a form to get adult and youth cards by mail. You will need proof of age for the youth card order, which is explained on the ORCA website.
  • Visit a customer service center to speak to a Metro employee in-person; you can get help at both King Street Center in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood as well at the Westlake Customer Stop in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. The Westlake location is only open the first and last four business days of the month, and only sells adult and senior cards. The King Street location, however, is full service and sells all ORCA types. You can register for a regional reduced fare permit (RRFP) in order to get a reduced fare ORCA card, and you can also order adult, youth and senior cards. ORCA LIFT cards, however, cannot be ordered as this location, but rather at the Public Health office just down the block in the same building.
  • Visit one of dozens of retail locations at supermarkets and stores.
  • Use an ORCA vending machine at train stations, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, and at major transit centers throughout the region.
  • Connect with an ORCA To-Go sales van in your community.
  • Talk to your employer to see whether you have a pass program (if you don’t, there’s information about signing employers up at Metro’s Employer Commute Services website).
  • Call 206-553-3000 or 1-888-988-ORCA to talk to someone who can get you a card.

For ORCA LIFT reduced fare cards, you need to register at ORCA LIFT enrollment locations to check your eligibility and issue you a card. In many instances, the ORCA To-Go sales van will be accompanied by the ORCA LIFT registration table so you can register and receive an ORCA LIFT card, and then put a reduced fare pass and/or E-purse value on it at the same time.

ORCA cards make paying for bus, train and ferry rides across the Puget Sound region easier and can save people money.

Here are a few of the ways you can use your card:

  • Some people load their ORCA card with money and pay each fare as they go, utilizing the two-hour transfer window for the original fare to go between buses and Link as long as the fares are of equal or lesser values. If the fare is higher on the bus or train you transfer to, then your E-purse on the card will just deduct the difference in fare after the transfer credit is accounted for.
  • More frequent riders typically buy a monthly pass to save money. With an ORCA card, there are many levels of fares to choose from so you can decide what value works best for you. Our customers typically figure out a fare that covers most of their daily rides and any trip with a more expensive fare will have the difference subtracted from their account.
  • And then there are people who get ORCA cards through their employer, school or other programs.

With ORCA cards, transfers between buses and Link – and buses and buses for that matter – are easier and cost less.

This is especially true for all our riders who will be using the new Link light rail stations at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill. Simply tap your ORCA card as you walk or roll through the system: tap the card when you get on the bus, before you get on the train and when you get off the train. Remember light rail fare is determined by how far you ride. If you don’t tap when you get off the train, you will be charged at the highest fare. If you’re using RapidRide, then you can tap your card at RapidRide stations before getting on the bus the make boarding faster. The first trip you take determines the fare you pay.

If you make a connection to another bus or train within two hours, then it’s a transfer. Transfers are free as long as the second (or third or …) trip isn’t more expensive than the first. If it is, then you’ll be charged the difference, which in most cases in the county is less than a dollar. Any trip that costs more than your monthly pass will come out of your E-purse.

If you don’t have an ORCA card, make sure to get one set up today at a customer service outlet near you or call 206-553-3000. And don’t forget to see if you qualify for the new ORCA LIFT reduced fare card. You may also qualify for a Regional Reduced Fare Permit or  youth fare to make traveling less expensive.30810

More frequent, reliable bus service will soon connect more riders to congestion-free light rail

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You’ve heard that this is a huge month for Metro and Sound Transit and the City of Seattle. Not only is University Link light rail opening (March 19), Metro is restructuring service (March 26) to make better, more frequent connections for riders. Also, Metro is implementing the extension of the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union as part of voter approved Prop 1.

Purple timetables will soon be on the street, but our online resources are king. You can see route changes that might affect you on our service change website. Customer service folks also are available (206-553-3000) to help with trip planning and any questions you might have. Also, there are maps showing the network of service near the University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations, and Sound Transit’s ULink info page is chock-a-block full of info for the launch of train service to Capitol Hill and UW.

Key to all of this is helping people make sure they are informed and ready for the changes in service, as well as understanding that using an ORCA card allows for free and easy transferring between buses and trains.

Overall, tens of thousands of people across Seattle and King County will soon benefit from better integration of Metro and Sound Transit service that connects more riders to expanded light-rail service. An estimated 80,000 daily bus riders will see buses coming more often at more times of the day on designated corridors in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill, with better local service connecting neighborhoods with the new light rail stations. Metro’s bus changes will deliver more reliability and frequency, helping more people commute or make spontaneous trips without needing a car.

As part of restructuring service, three dozen routes will see changes in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill. The more frequent grid of bus service will triple the number of households in Northeast Seattle neighborhoods near 15-minute service. The changes will double the number of Capitol Hill households near 12-minute service. This launches a new era of transit options that will help people reduce driving and meet our climate goals. Continue reading

Metro surveying bus riders ahead of Link light rail extension to Capitol Hill, UW

As Metro Transit gears up to revise and improve bus service in March, you’ll see transit and research staff aboard buses, asking riders about their experiences and travel patterns in the Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill areas.

The on-board survey – planned 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays from Feb. 19 through March 18 – will help establish a baseline of customer satisfaction and ridership patterns on Metro routes in areas around the upcoming Link light rail expansion. A follow-up study is planned later this year to learn how the changes have affected passengers and to learn their opinion of the changes.

Survey workers wearing Metro vests will be riding a sample of bus trips during the weekday, handing out and collecting surveys from customers. Surveys will be available in six languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, Somali and Vietnamese. Routes where riders can expect to see staff include routes 8, 10, 15, 26, 28, 30, 43, 48, 49, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 242, 316, 372 and 373.

Metro worked with riders last year to understand what bus service you wanted in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill. Planned revisions will better connect riders to new Link light rail stations and establish a frequent, reliable network of bus service that riders have asked for. An estimated 80,000 daily riders will see more frequent service on designated corridors in Northeast Seattle and Capitol Hill – this doubles the frequency of buses along some key corridors that have never seen more than half-hourly service.

Thanks in advance riding transit and helping us improve your service!

Link Connections – King County Metro bus riders will see many changes in March

Link Connections

Link is coming to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium on March 19, 2016. Metro and Sound Transit have worked with the public to plan how bus service will connect with new light rail starting March 26, 2016.

On Saturday, March 19, Sound Transit will expand Link light rail to Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations, one week before Metro’s spring service change takes effect on Saturday, March 26. This new extension of the Link light rail network features frequent, fast service between downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington near Husky Stadium.

Especially in areas with new Link service, transit customers will need to know that they will continue to use current bus routes and schedules for one week before new ‘Link Connection’ bus service becomes available.

During the first week of University Link service, use current bus service to connect with light rail
From Saturday, March 19 through Friday, March 25, the following routes will serve the new Link light rail stations:

  • Capitol Hill Station – at Broadway & E John St: Currently served by Metro bus routes 8, 9, 10, 11, 43, 49 and 60, as well as the new City of Seattle First Hill Streetcar.
  • University of Washington Station – at Husky Stadium: Currently served by
    Metro bus routes 25, 31, 32, 43, 44, 48, 65, 67, 68, 75, 167, 197, 271, 277, 372
    and 373, and on Sound Transit Express routes ST 540, ST 542 and ST 556.

Many bus routes change March 26
Starting Saturday, March 26, Metro’s spring service changes will take effect. These changes, shown on Metro’s Link Connections page, include a redesigned network of bus service to better connect riders with Link light rail and to provide new connections and service improvements you’ve told us you want, featuring:

  • New or improved connections to University of Washington Link Station on existing and new routes 31, 32, 45, 48, 65, 67, 71, 73, 75, 78, 372 and 373. See where these – and other routes that aren’t changing – connect to the University of Washington Link station;
  • New or improved connections to Capitol Hill Link Station on routes 8, 10, 11 and 49, and on unchanged routes 9, 60 and the First Hill Streetcar that will also connect with Link;
  • Route deletions or replacements: Routes 16, 25, 26 Local, 28 Local, 30, 66X, 68, 72 and 242 are deleted or replaced with other service.
  • Peak service improvements on routes 64X, 74X, 76 and 316;
  • Increased frequency on routes 8, 12, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 73, 75 and 372X;
  • More reliable service on routes 8 and 48 – currently often delayed by traffic; they will each be split into two shorter routes;
  • New east-west connections between Sand Point, Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Green Lake, Wallingford and Fremont on new Route 62;
  • New connections to South Lake Union and First Hill employment sites on
    new Route 63;
  • New night and weekend service on routes 8, 12, 67, 70 and 372X, and
  • Route 43 maintained with 30-minute peak period service on weekdays.

Find out how your routes are changing on Metro’s Link Connections website.

Other changes
In partnership with the City of Seattle, Metro’s RapidRide C Line will be extended to serve South Lake Union, and will no longer continue as the RapidRide D Line to Ballard. The RapidRide D Line will be extended to serve Pioneer Square, and will no longer continue as the RapidRide C Line to West Seattle. Read more.

Background
Implementation of Link light rail service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, and the related bus network revisions, are a culmination of several years of work by Metro, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle, along with many other stakeholders, and have included an extensive multi-phase public outreach that has featured online information, surveys and comment periods, public meetings and a Sounding Board composed of area residents. The King County Council adopted these changes on October 19, 2015. Additional administrative changes have been made since Council acted in October. For details on the history of this project and what has changed over time, read our series of blog posts categorized as Link Connections.

What do riders need to do to prepare, and when?
Starting now, riders can prepare for changes by:

You can plan bus trips to and from the new Link stations now by using current timetables in Metro Online, or by using a travel date of March 25 or earlier and
entering the station names as your destination or starting point in Metro’s online Trip Planner. Specific information about University Link trips and schedules will be in the
Trip Planner in early March.

In early March, we’ll let you know when you can:

  • Use a travel date of March 26 or later in Metro’s online Trip Planner to plan transit
    trips in the new network that will be effective on March 26;
  • Sign up for Transit Alerts for any new routes you may be riding, and
  • Review – during the week prior to March 26 – any trip plans or other information
    you may have previously obtained, as minor revisions may have been made.

Online timetables for Metro service effective on Saturday, March 26, will be posted
on the Metro Online website on the afternoon of Friday, March 25.

This will be the first of several updates related to transit service changes associated with the upcoming expansion of Link light rail to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. We’ll keep you informed as new information becomes available via this blog and on social media using the hashtag #Bus2Link and #ULink2016.