skip to main content



RapidRide "A Line" – October 2010
Quick Facts

The RapidRide A Line operates on Pacific Highway South/International Boulevard between the Tukwila International Boulevard Station and the Federal Way Transit Center.


As of Sept. 30, 2010, the annual ridership on this 11-mile corridor was about 1.67 million. Ridership is projected to increase 50 percent after five years of operation, to over 2.5 million annually.


Annual hours of service on the corridor will increase by nearly 50 percent; from 35,000 annual hours to 69,000 annual hours.
Bus service will be frequent. Buses will arrive every 10 minutes on weekdays during the busiest morning and evening travel hours, every 15 minutes during most other times of the day until 10 p.m., and less frequently from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. daily.

Travel Time Savings

The A Line, through a combination of bus stop consolidation, expedited fare collection using three doors, and transit signal priority, will experience faster travel times. Travel times will improve over the next few months as some elements such as transit signal priority are adjusted to achieve optimum efficiency. Through a combination of elements, the A Line is expected to operate about 30 percent faster than the Route 174 it is replacing.


The A Line will operate in HOV lanes for most of the 11-mile trip. (A final mile of HOV lane in Federal Way will be completed in 2011.)

Stations and Stops

The A Line has 27 RapidRide stations installed at bus stops that have the most use. Passenger amenities at stations include: passenger-activated bus stop lights to signal that a rider is waiting, pedestrian lighting, benches, bike racks, trash receptacle, a large shelter with interior lighting, a customer information sign with real time arrival information, and an ORCA card reader. Remaining stops may have smaller shelters with interior lighting or a RapidRide marker and passenger-activated bus stop lights, benches, bike racks, and trash receptacle. The actual amenities installed at each location may vary depending on the space available at that bus stop.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

The entire A Line corridor is covered by a wireless network linking buses, signals and stations into a single network using IntelliDriveSM technology. Stations will soon have real time information signs that provide bus arrival times once Metro has calibrated data.

The A Line corridor has 18 intersections equipped with transit signal priority – either extending or providing green lights for arriving buses. All RapidRide buses are equipped with security cameras and free WiFi connection.

RapidRide Buses

The A Line operates with a fleet of 16 New Flyer 60’ Advanced Style articulated buses with a new red, black and yellow color scheme. These buses have hybrid electric/diesel engines, low floors, a wheelchair ramp, three doors and a front mounted bike rack. The interior is gray tones with red flooring. There are 48 seats upholstered in non-slip vinyl. A modified seating configuration provides more space to make it easier to get on and off the bus. The bus has arched stanchions and additional stop request buttons. There is LED lighting throughout the bus.

Fare Collection – Proof of Payment

RapidRide fares are the same as other Metro service. On the A Line, Metro is trying out a new approach to fare collection. All riders pay before or as they board the bus. At RapidRide stations with an ORCA card reader, riders tap their card before boarding the bus and then enter through the two back doors. Riders with a paper transfer or non-ORCA pass can also enter through the two back doors. Riders who pay with cash or tickets need to enter through the front door and will receive a paper transfer as their proof of payment. Fare enforcement officers randomly board the buses and request proof of payment. Riders without proof of payment are subject to a citation and fine. Initial fare enforcement will focus on rider education about RapidRide fare procedures.

Program Costs and Grant Funding

The program budget for implementation of the first six RapidRide lines is $215 million. The budget includes:

  • Corridor and roadway improvements - $50 million
  • Passenger facilities - $35 million
  • Buses (113) - $128 million

To date, the RapidRide project has received over $60 million in state and federal grants. Another $20 million in grants is pending federal budget approval. Metro will apply for additional grants in the future.

The A Line Soundscape

Funded by King County’s 1% for Arts program, the A Line Soundscape is an audio form of art intended to explore and enhance the rider’s experience along the A Line. As an audio portrait of the corridor, the soundscape offers riders a unique transit experience that features local, route-sourced elements. Sound artist Christopher DeLaurenti explored the corridor, recording its many sounds and creating a repository of field recordings. Riders can listen via cell phone (206-651-5981) or interact with the art by adjusting the audio files using the WiFi connection provided on the bus. (


See more at:

Inside Transportation