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Changes for Metro Transit, Water Taxi riders as #99closure wraps up

Summary

With the SR-99 closure wrapped up, Metro Transit is preparing for buses to return to regular routes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct starting early Monday morning, May 9.

Story

Water taxi ridership reached records during the closure; Metro standby buses kept people moving

With the SR 99 closure wrapped up, Metro Transit is preparing for buses to return to regular routes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct starting early Monday morning, May 9.

The King County Water Taxi will continue to operate its additional Vashon Island round trips on Monday, May 9. Additional on-street and Pier 2 parking in West Seattle will remain available on May 9 for commuters who want to take the water taxi. The parking and additional Vashon round trips will not be available starting Tuesday, May 10.

Water taxi routes carried thousands of additional riders, and Metro operated hundreds of standby buses to help keep people moving.

Water Taxi: over 30,000 riders in first 9 days

The West Seattle and Vashon Water Taxi routes carried record numbers of riders during the 99 closure. Preliminary tallies from April 29 through May 7 show the two routes carried an estimated 30,000 riders, compared to about 13,500 riders the week before.

“We’re thankful to everyone who looked at other travel options besides driving during the closure, and thrilled to see ridership this high,” said Paul Brodeur, director of King County’s Marine Division. “We hope riders continue to see the water taxi as a good option for their trips to and from downtown.”

The West Seattle route roughly tripled its typical ridership as riders took advantage of additional parking options and regular spring service. The service on that route carried more than 24,000 riders compared to a typical 8,000 riders over the same time period. The single-day peak ridership to and from West Seattle was 3,269 riders on May 2, more than triple the riders compared to the week before.

Vashon route ridership climbed by a total of 900 riders during the 99 closure as riders took advantage of additional round trips. Ridership peaked at 1,100 on May 4 compared to about 900 the week before.

Metro Transit: +200 standby trips helped keep riders moving

Twelve routes that had been rerouted during the 99 closure will return to regular routes on the viaduct early Monday, May 9, with the start of service. Metro supervisors and staff are prepared to change and update bus stop signage on Sunday so customers are aware when buses return to normal routing.

Metro had 22 standby bus assignments available on weekdays and another eight on weekends, which helped keep transit service on schedule in the face of traffic delays and gaps in service. Metro deployed these buses when needed, making more than 200 additional trips April 29 through May 6. Those buses carried an estimated 7,000 riders, helping to reduce delays for riders using regular transit service. Ridership data is still being collected, but early indications point to higher ridership on RapidRide C, D and E lines.

“We appreciate all that riders did to adjust their trips to make the closure go smoothly,” said Rob Gannon, interim general manager of Metro Transit. “Our drivers deserve a lot of credit for navigating reroutes and delays to keep riders moving despite traffic.”