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Metro Transit Division

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Seattle, WA 98104
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Pacific Highway South RapidRide

A special new bus service is coming to Pacific Highway South

Beginning in 2010

Metro Transit is planning more frequent, streamlined bus service—with increased security and an eye-catching new style—for Pacific Highway S/International Boulevard (State Route 99).

This new service, called RapidRide, is scheduled to begin in 2010. It will replace Metro’s Route 174 along Pacific Highway S/International Boulevard between S 316th Street in Federal Way and S 154th Street (International Boulevard) in Tukwila.

Everything about RapidRide—the buses, the stops, the way it operates—is being designed to keep people moving throughout the day in this heavily used transit corridor.

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RapidRide corridor will connect communities

One purpose of RapidRide is to connect communities by operating in a major transportation corridor. The Pacific Highway S RapidRide will give riders streamlined service to destinations along the route and to places where they can transfer to other buses and light rail.

At the south end of the route, the Federal Way Transit Center will give riders connections to buses serving Tacoma, Pierce County, and Auburn—including Green River Community College.

The Link Light Rail Tukwila International Boulevard Station, opening in 2009, will be at the north end. Riders will be able to transfer to and from Link Light Rail, which is expected to make 31-minute trips between Tukwila and Seattle’s Westlake Center frequently throughout the day. RapidRide passengers also will be able to connect to buses that serve Burien, Tukwila, the city of SeaTac, the Duwamish area and downtown Seattle.

Along the RapidRide corridor there will be a total of 13 major stations plus intermediate stops. A station near Highline Community College will provide connections to buses serving Kent, Des Moines and Burien. A station near Sea-Tac International Airport (S 176th Street) and the Link Light Rail airport station will provide bus connections to Pierce County, Auburn, Kent and Burien. RapidRide will serve Sea-Tac Airport by connecting with the Link Light Rail station at S 176th Street, without entering crowded airport roads.

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How will RapidRide be different from regular bus service?

Buses will come so often you won’t need a schedule.

After RapidRide service begins, Metro’s plan is for buses to arrive every 10 minutes during the busiest morning and evening travel hours. At other times between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., buses will come every 15 minutes. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., service will be similar to what it is today.

Boarding will take less time.

RapidRide buses will have low floors and three doors, so people can get on and off quickly. A new, trial fare payment system will allow riders with passes to pay as they enter any door. The inside of the buses will be designed to make it easier for passengers to move to seats and exits.

Have you heard of bus rapid transit?

RapidRide is Metro’s version of a new concept in public transportation: bus rapid transit, or BRT.

In a BRT system, buses and the corridor in which they operate are designed to provide frequent, steadily moving, day and night transportation that is convenient, comfortable and reliable.

Buses will move more, stop less.

RapidRide stations and stops will be placed where the most riders gather, within easy walking distance along the corridor. Bus stops will be farther apart so RapidRide trips will be faster. Metro planners are working with communities along the line to choose the best places for stations and stops.

Buses will use the new HOV lanes on Pacific Highway S/International Boulevard. As buses approach intersections, they will send signals to traffic lights, requesting that green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster.

Lights, frequent service and security staff will increase safety.

All RapidRide stops will be lighted so people can see around themselves and be seen. With buses arriving twice as often as they do today, people will spend less time waiting at the bus stop.

Metro Transit Police will often be present on buses and at bus zones for fare enforcement and other security monitoring.

RapidRide stations and buses will have special features and a unique style.

At the busiest stops, where many people catch the bus each day, Metro will build stations with enough room for the expected number of riders. These stations—placed about every mile along the route—will have shelters, benches and trash receptacles. The shelters and signs will look different from those you see at regular Metro stops—they will have a special RapidRide style and color scheme. Waiting areas will be well-lit, increasing security. Electronic real-time signs will tell people the actual number of minutes before the next bus will arrive.

Between the major stations, RapidRide bus stops also will have signs and other features to give them the distinctive RapidRide look. In some cases shelters and benches may be added or improved. Stop-request signals, which people can use to alert the bus driver when they are waiting for a bus at night, may be provided at these stops.

The buses will be easily recognized with the RapidRide design and color scheme. They’ll all be high-capacity, low-emission hybrid vehicles designed especially for RapidRide.

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RapidRide is funded by Transit Now

Transit Now logo
www.kingcounty.gov/transitnow

Voters launched RapidRide when they passed the Transit Now initiative in November 2006.

Transit Now increased the sales tax by one-tenth of one percent to pay for a 15-20 percent expansion of Metro Transit service over 10 years. King County is expected to add over 200,000 new residents by 2020, and Transit Now is helping Metro keep up with this growth.

New services funded by Transit Now include:

  1. RapidRide service in five busy corridors (Pacific Highway S, West Seattle, Ballard/Uptown, Aurora Avenue, and Bellevue-Redmond)
  2. More all-day, two-way service on heavily used routes
  3. New bus service for growing residential areas
  4. Partnerships with major employers and cities to add new service in rapidly expanding employment centers
  5. Expanded rideshare and paratransit services.

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RapidRide timeline

2007
    Planning
    Public outreach

2008
    Design

2009
    Construction

2010
    RapidRide service begins

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Produced by Community Relations,
King County Department of Transportation
October 2007

Jan. 11, 2010