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Bellevue-Redmond RapidRide

A special new bus service is coming to Bellevue, Redmond

Beginning in 2011

Metro Transit, in partnership with the cities of Bellevue and Redmond, is planning streamlined bus service - with an eye-catching new style -that will provide frequent trips all day along a busy corridor between the two cities.

This new service, called RapidRide, is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2011. It will operate between the Bellevue Transit Center and the new downtown Redmond Transit Center via Crossroads and Overlake. RapidRide will travelon major arterials - NE Eighth Street, 156th Avenue NE, NE 40th Street, and 148th Avenue NE, replacing Metro routes 230 and 253 on these streets.

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

The comment period was over February 1, 2008; however, you may read the questions asked by clicking on the questionnaire link below.

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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 1 a.m., buses will come every 30 minutes.

Boarding will take less time.

RapidRide buses will have low floors and three doors, so people can get on and off quickly. Depending on the outcome of a pilot project, a new fare payment system might be used that would allow riders with passes to pay before they board the bus, and enter through any door.

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, at reasonable walking distances along the corridor. Bus stops will be farther apart than they are on typical routes, so RapidRide trips will be faster. Metro planners are working with the local communities to choose the best places for stations and stops.

Other features might be added to speed up RapidRide service. For example, as buses approach intersections, they could 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 more often than they do today, people will spend less time waiting at bus stops. Metro Transit Police will be on buses and at bus zones more often 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 buses each day, Metro will build stations with more 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 realtime 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 recognizable with the RapidRide design and color scheme. All buses will be high-capacity, low-emission hybrid vehicles designed especially for RapidRide.

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RapidRide corridor will connect communities

One purpose of RapidRide is to connect communities by serving a major transportation corridor. The Bellevue-Redmond RapidRide will give riders streamlined service to destinations along the route, including major employers, stores, medical and other services, and residential areas.

Some of the major destinations:

  • Overlake Hospital
  • Neighborhoods along NE 8th Street
  • The Crossroads area
  • The Overlake area and Microsoft campuses
  • Neighborhoods along 148th Avenue NE north of NE 40th Street
  • The north end of downtown Redmond, a compact, transit-oriented neighborhood.

RapidRide also will stop at the Bellevue, Overlake, and new Redmond transit centers, connecting with buses serving the Eastside, Seattle, south King County, Lynnwood, Everett and other places. Sound Transit routes 550 and 545 and Metro Transit Route 271 will provide service every 15 minutes all day between the Eastside, downtown Seattle, and the University District.

RapidRide will provide convenient connections to other Eastside bus routes. Metro will begin a planning and public outreach process 12 to 18 months before RapidRide starts in fall 2011, to consider possible changes to routes serving downtown Bellevue, Crossroads, east Bellevue, Overlake and downtown Redmond.

Metro, the cities and a community advisory panel are in the process of determining the route and bus-stop spacing-and would like to know your opinions. Please see the map for details.

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RapidRide timeline

    Public outreach


    Permitting and construction

Fall 2011
    RapidRide service begins

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RapidRide is funded by Transit Now

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:

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

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Produced by Community Relations,
King County Department of Transportation
January 2008

Jan. 8, 2008