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Transportation

March 18, 2013

Metro revises schedule for RapidRide E and F lines

King County Metro Transit has revised the scheduled launch dates for the RapidRide E and F lines, allowing time to complete needed construction on facility upgrades and features that will make future service more reliable.

Before launching service, construction is needed on over 100 bus stops and stations and upgraded transit signals at more than 60 intersections – which stretch across two corridors, 21 miles and six cities.

Metro reviewed and revised the construction timelines with cities to reflect the complexity of the work needed to launch service on these two lines, said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager.

“Our customers will agree that it’s better for us to reschedule the launch of service until everything is complete and the technology is tested and working,” Desmond said. Rider amenities needed before launching the service include next bus arrival signs and ORCA card readers at stations, as well as coordinated traffic signals for buses.

“We learned clear lessons after the rocky launch for the C and D lines last year and are taking these steps so things go smoother for our customers with these lines,” Desmond said.

Both RapidRide E and F lines previously were scheduled to launch September 2013. Under the new schedule, RapidRide E will begin service in February 2014, replacing the existing Route 358 which carries nearly 12,000 weekday riders between Shoreline and downtown Seattle. RapidRide F now is slated to launch in June 2014, replacing Route 140 between Burien, Sea Tac, Tukwila and Renton. Route 140 carries about 3,500 weekday riders.

By revising the launch schedule, RapidRide service will better be able to provide the speed and reliability riders expect. The F Line is planned to travel on corridors where a handful of major street and regional transit projects are under way. Those projects are scheduled to wrap up in spring 2014. Waiting to launch RapidRide F Line until after that work is complete avoids reroutes that would have added time and delay to service.  The E Line will face similar challenges with construction in Shoreline and Seattle along the Aurora Avenue corridor.  However, that construction, while it will create some delays, will not result in alternate routing.

The E and F lines are the last of Metro’s six planned RapidRide routes. The current budget for the full RapidRide program is $194 million, including $121 million in federal, state and local grants – of which $12.4 million go to jurisdictions for supporting improvements.

Metro’s red and yellow RapidRide buses are scheduled at least every 10 minutes during commute times and provide all-day service. Buses have low floors and three doors to speed boarding and exiting, with off-board ORCA payment at many locations. Together, the four existing RapidRide lines carry about 28,500 weekday riders, a figure expected to continue to grow.

RapidRide ridership figures

  • A Line (Federal Way, Tukwila) increased 47 percent to 8,200 daily riders (launched 2010)
  • B Line (Redmond, Bellevue) increased 14 percent to 5,800 weekday riders (launched 2011)
  • C Line (West Seattle, downtown Seattle) increased 33 percent to 6,200 weekday riders (launched September 2012)
  • D Line (Ballard, downtown Seattle) increased 9 percent to 8,300 weekday riders (launched September 2012)

More information about Metro Transit’s RapidRide service is online.