The City of Seattle funded the extension of the RapidRide C Line to South Lake Union and the RapidRide D Line to Pioneer Square. These changes were designed to improve the reliability of the two lines while connecting riders to growing employment markets.
From the time they started service, the RapidRide C and D lines have been heavily used. Ridership since launch has grown 94 percent on the C Line and 61 percent on the D Line. Together, the two routes carry more than 21,000 riders each weekday.
The two lines were originally designed as a single, 20-mile route to save operating and fleet costs. However, its length made the combined route's reliability an issue. These problems should improve with the lines operating separately from one another.
March 2016 Service Change
The C Line has been extended to South Lake Union via Westlake Avenue, providing a new direct connection between West Seattle and South Lake Union.
The D Line has been extended to Pioneer Square via Third Avenue, with temporary routing along James Street and Fifth Avenue during the Yesler Way Bridge rehabilitation project. The D Line layover is on Fifth Avenue, south of Terrace Street.
The separation of these lines will turn what was a one-seat ride for some customers into a trip requiring a downtown transfer at either Third Avenue and Virginia Street or Third Avenue and Pike Street.
To make these changes, the City of Seattle invested in both service hours and capital improvements. The extensions, along with some added trips on the C Line, require an additional 54,000 annual service hours. Operating costs for the extension will be paid through funds from Seattle's Proposition 1, in accordance with the Transit Service Funding Agreement. This includes service hours and an operating cost for additional buses. Funds have been committed for the five-year period covered by Proposition 1.
Stations and stops along the new C Line extension in South Lake Union now have RapidRide branding and signage, and the busiest locations have customer information kiosks with real-time arrival information and off-board ORCA card readers. Seattle is paying for these capital improvements through a separate funding mechanism, as called for in the Transit Service Funding Agreement.