King County Metro will offer more frequent and reliable bus service on some of its most popular routes beginning this fall thanks to significant investments by Amazon and the City of Seattle.
Amazon’s investment will provide 22 additional weekday trips for two years across some of Metro’s busiest routes serving West Seattle, Shoreline, Ballard, and Capitol Hill. The additional service provides room for roughly 1,700 weekday boardings, and includes the RapidRide E Line and C Line, and Routes 8, 40, 62, and 63.
The additional service hours will be part of Metro’s September service change, which will add 88,000 service hours annually on more than 50 bus routes. This includes 20,000 hours under a separate partnership with the City of Seattle, thanks to the 2014 Seattle Transportation Benefit District.
“We will provide faster, more reliable transit service on some of our most popular routes, thanks to our partnerships with Amazon and the City of Seattle,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Demand for transit continues to grow throughout our region, and we are stepping up to deliver.”
Amazon will invest $1.5 million to fund additional Metro service. The company has paid more than $60 million since 2014 to support public transportation by providing ORCA passes to its employees through Metro’s ORCA Business Passport program.
“Adding 12,000 hours of additional bus service across the county and city’s busiest routes will benefit all King County and Seattle residents,” said John Schoettler, Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities at Amazon. “More than half of our employees get to work in ways other than a single occupant vehicle – including more than 20 percent that take the bus. We are excited to see the increased capacity, and will continue to work with Metro and the City of Seattle to find innovative solutions that provide long-term transit options for the region.”
Since 2015, the City of Seattle has purchased transit service through the voter-approved Seattle Transportation Benefit District. It currently invests $40 million each year to provide more than 270,000 hours of Metro service. The Seattle City Council recently approved changes to allow for investments in more routes across the city, such as the RapidRide E Line, that connect North Seattle neighborhoods to downtown Seattle.
This September, the Seattle Transportation Benefit District will pay for about 20,000 hours of increased Metro service on 12 routes. This includes improving the Routes 41 and 70 to 10-minute service, adding peak period capacity on Routes 8, 17, 18, 40, 56, and RapidRide C, D, and E Lines, and adding late evening trips on Routes 7 and 106. In total, this will add more than 50 weekday trips to some of the busiest routes in Metro’s system, providing capacity for more than 4,000 additional weekday boardings.
“As Seattle continues to grow, we must continue our strong investments in transit, which is the backbone of our transportation system. Adding more trips on Seattle’s busiest routes gives more people more options to get around our great city,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Metro has increased bus service across King County by 15 percent since 2014. Transit ridership in the greater Seattle area continues to lead the nation, reaching a record 122.2 million trips last year.
More service and better reliability on Metro’s most popular route
Passengers on the RapidRide E Line – Metro’s highest-ridership route with more than 17,000 weekday riders – will benefit from 14 additional trips each weekday. Amazon and the City of Seattle will each fund an addition 2,500 services service.
Benefits to the RapidRide E Line will include:
- 9 additional southbound trips, including 3 morning peak trips
- 5 additional northbound trips, including 2 afternoon peak trips
- Schedule improvements to reflect current traffic conditions
The RapidRide E Line connects Shoreline, North Seattle, and downtown Seattle along Aurora Avenue and serves customers with diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Its ridership growth has been largely fueled by job growth in South Lake Union in recent years.
Creating partnerships to meet growing demand for transit
Amazon is the latest partnership Metro has created to meet the growing demand for transit and the largest current private-sector contribution to directly fund bus service. Metro also has partnerships with Microsoft and the cities of Redmond, Sammamish, and Issaquah that provide about 9,000 hours of bus service each year. Metro covers two-thirds of the costs under those agreements.
The University of Washington’s football program pays for 4,500 hours of additional shuttle service during Husky home games. Public and private school districts purchase service for students.
Visit the Executive’s news release for more information, relevant links and quotes.