Sound Transit service change includes new route, temporary service reductions

March 21 service change adds new Route 544 between the Eastside and South Lake Union, closes the Star Lake park-and-ride lot, temporarily reduces service on some routes due to COVID-19

Publish Date

Service changes for Sound Transit’s express bus service taking effect March 21 will add a new Route 544 providing peak-only service between Overlake and South Lake Union; and make schedule adjustments to select routes to improve reliability. The Star Lake park-and-ride lot will also close for construction of Federal Way Link.

While these service changes will remain in place indefinitely, where noted below some are subject to temporary modifications based on reduced rider demand and staffing availability as Sound Transit and partner agencies respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Temporary weekday rush hour trip reductions effective March 23:

  • Route 522: 13 fewer trips
  • Route 541: will not operate until further notice
  • Route 542: 10 fewer trips
  • Route 545: 26 fewer trips
  • Route 550: 27 fewer trips
  • Route 555: 4 fewer trips
  • Route 556: 2 fewer trips

All routes are subject to change at any time based on these circumstances. Information about COVID-19 service reductions are available from Sound Transit at https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/changes-affect-my-ride/reduced-service and King County Metro https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/transportation/metro/schedules-maps/reduced-schedule.aspx.

Permanent service changes include:

  • A new ST Express Route 544 will provide peak-only, bi-directional service between Overlake and South Lake Union via South Kirkland. As part of its approved North Eastside Mobility Plan, King County Metro will realign its Route 255 to serve the University of Washington Link light rail station. To improve transfers to Link, westbound trips on Routes 255, 541 (note all trips on Route 541 are temporarily canceled due to COVID-19) and 542 will drop passengers off at the new Bay 4, directly adjacent to the University of Washington Station.
    ST Express Route 540 will be discontinued, and Route 541 will be revised to operate only some of the highest ridership trips (note all trips on Route 541 are temporarily canceled due to COVID-19). Sound Transit will reinvest service hours from these routes into new Route 544.
    These changes will create a new connection between Overlake, South Kirkland and South Lake Union, and will retain service to the University of Washington with the realigned Route 255.
  • Four southbound ST Express route 590 trips during the morning peak and five northbound 590 trips during the evening peak will be eliminated due to low ridership. Alternative service is available on Route 594 or Sounder trains.
  • ST Express Routes 511, 512, 513, 541, 542, 566, 574, 578, 586, 594 and 595 will all have minor schedule changes to improve on-time performance. Some stops and signage will also change.
  • The Star Lake park-and-ride lot located at S. 272nd Street and Interstate 5 in Kent will close permanently on Sunday, March 22, to make way for construction of a new Link light rail station on the site as part of the Federal Way Link Extension project.

After the Star Lake park-and-ride lot closes, King County Metro bus routes 183 and 190 will no longer serve the lot. Route 190 and ST Express Route 574 will continue serving the Star Lake freeway bus stops located on the I-5 northbound on-ramp and the southbound off-ramp at S. 272nd Street. Service to all other bus stops in the area will not change.

Commuters who use the Star Lake park-and-ride lot should use the Redondo Heights park-and-ride lot, located at 27454 Pacific Highway S. From Redondo Heights, commuters can take Metro Route 190 to reach the Star Lake freeway stops on I-5; or take the RapidRide A line to catch Link light rail at Angle Lake Station, or bus connections at Tukwila International Boulevard Station.

Details on all of the March 2020 service change are available at www.soundtransit.org/servicechange.