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Sept. 22, 2010

Debut of RapidRide tops Metro Transit’s seasonal service changes that begin on Oct. 2

UPDATED Sept. 24, 2010: The parking changes at the Burien Transit Center have been delayed.

King County Metro Transit is ready to roll out the first of its six RapidRide lines, along with other new bus routes, and schedule and routing adjustments. All are part of Metro’s fall service change that begins Saturday, Oct. 2.

Bus riders across Metro’s service area should check fall schedules for the routes they use most often to see what’s new. They can prepare by picking up a new orange timetable, Special Rider Alert brochure, or use the online Trip Planner for some advance research. Be sure to input a date of Oct. 2 or later, when using the Trip Planner.

The highlight of the Oct. 2 service change is the debut of RapidRide “A Line,” which replaces Route 174 between the Federal Way Transit Center and Tukwila International Boulevard Link light rail station. The A Line will provide 15-minute service most of the day, with 10-minute service during peak commute periods. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, all trips will be free on the A Line.   
RapidRide marks a new generation of Metro bus service that includes newly designed shelters, signs, and buses. The distinctive red and yellow buses are low-emission hybrid-powered vehicles with low floors and three doors for faster, easier boarding. RapidRide buses will use HOV lanes along Pacific Highway South and International Boulevard. Along this 11-mile stretch, riders will also see more green lights and will experience other improvements that are expected to cut travel times by up to one-third.

RapidRide will be testing a new fare payment system that features ORCA card readers at 26 major stations. At these stations, riders can tap their card before boarding buses and enter through the two back doors. If a bus stop doesn’t have a card reader, or if you are paying with cash or tickets, you must enter through the front door. Riders paying with cash or tickets will be issued a transfer as their proof of payment.  Fare enforcement officers will be randomly boarding buses and checking for proof of payment.

Additional RapidRide lines debuting over the next three years will serve busy transit corridors in West Seattle, Ballard, Bellevue, Redmond, Shoreline, Burien, Tukwila, and Renton

Also starting in October and continuing next year, Metro and Sound Transit will be adding nearly 130 bus trips a day across the State Route 520 bridge. These service enhancements, along with park-and-ride and bus stop improvements, are in preparation for the electronic tolling that is coming to the 520 bridge next year.

In addition, Metro has a new Route 910 in Auburn, and service has been added to five Seattle-area routes through Transit Now partnerships.

Metro is making some scheduling and routing changes this fall to save money, preserve bus service, and operate more efficiently. In some cases, you may notice differences in the schedule for your route, along with longer wait times for transfers or irregular spacing between bus trips. Unfortunately, due to reduced sales-tax revenue for transit, Metro also had to eliminate some trips on designated routes. These trip reductions were chosen to minimize the disruption for bus riders whenever possible.

Here’s an overview of the Metro Transit service changes that begin Oct. 2:

• New routes – RapidRide A Line will connect Federal Way to Tukwila. Route 910, in partnership with the city of Auburn, will provide service between north and southwest Auburn.

• Added service – Trips will be added on Seattle-area routes 5, 7, 30, 60 and 75 through Transit Now partnerships. There is additional SR 520 service this fall on Metro routes 265 and 271 and with new ST 542. And, in other areas of the county, there is increased frequency of service on routes 164, 168 and 245.

• Discontinued – Route 174 is being replaced by RapidRide A Line.

• Future closure – Changes to parking at the Burien Transit Center that were to begin on Oct. 2 have been delayed. Sometime this fall, a long-term temporary closure of the parking lot at the Burien Transit Center will begin. When that happens, interim parking will be available at 1st Avenue South and South 148th Street. Two new bus stops on 1st Avenue South will be served by Metro routes 121, 122, 123, 131 and 132 starting Oct. 2. There is no change in bus service at the transit center.

• Routing and schedule changes, including some deleted trips – Routes 14, 16, 17, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 43, 45, 46, 53, 57, 65, 66, 68, 101, 105, 110, 113, 121, 123, 125, 129, 134, 139, 148, 149, 152, 164, 168, 177, 179, 182, 190, 196, 202, 209, 210, 212, 214, 232, 242, 245, 251, 255, 265, 266, 271, 304, 331, 342, 345, 346, 372, 600, 903, 919 and 925.

Metro updates its routes and scheduling three times a year to improve service and keep up with the changing needs of transit customers. Bus riders can find all the fall changes detailed in the Special Rider Alert brochure, which will soon be in Metro information racks and posted online. New orange timetables will soon be available on buses and in Metro displays. The information is also in the online Trip Planner. Enter a travel date of Oct. 2 or later to find the updated service.

Beyond bus service, Metro’s Rideshare Services provides resources for carpooling, vanpooling or vansharing. Carpooling and vanpooling match people traveling to common destinations. VanShare helps those who need to make a connection to or from bus service. You can VanShare from home and connect to your bus, or use VanShare from the bus stop or park-and-ride lot to complete a trip to work.

For information about all the services Metro provides, visit Metro Online, or call Metro Customer Information at (206) 553-3000.

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