Sound Transit service improvements respond to fast-growing demand

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Sound Transit will launch improvements and changes to ST Express regional bus and Sounder commuter rail service starting Saturday, Sept. 20, to serve growing numbers of transit riders. The changes include a new ST Express route, changes to 16 routes, deletion of one ST Express route, and more Sounder commuter rail trains serving both the south and north corridors.

 “These improvements will encourage more new riders to climb aboard by making Sound Transit service even easier and more convenient for commuters,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

Seventeen of Sound Transit’s twenty-four express bus routes will see changes, such as new trips to increase frequency, minor schedule adjustments or major rerouting to places like new transit facilities. 

New ST Express Route 599 service will begin connecting Sound Transit’s newly completed Lakewood Station with Tacoma Dome Station starting on Monday, Sept. 22. The new route will give Lakewood residents a smooth and easy connection to Sounder commuter rail service until Sounder service reaches South Tacoma Station and Lakewood Station by 2012.  In addition to Sounder connector service, the opening of Lakewood Station will add 22 trips to the popular ST Express service between Seattle and Lakewood on ST Express Route 592.

The Sounder commuter rail schedule will expand with three new round-trip trains starting Monday, Sept. 22. Two new weekday round trips on Sounder’s south corridor include a sixth peak-direction train and the second reverse-commute train. Sounder’s north corridor will see a fourth round trip, with schedule changes that will improve the coordination with ferry schedules to better serve the new Mukilteo Station.

Last week, Sound Transit’s latest ridership numbers showed an overall 25 percent increase in ridership from July 2007 to July 2008—five times higher than the national growth rate for transit ridership in the second quarter of 2008. Sound Transit’s growth included a 38 percent increase on Sounder commuter rail.

Over the last three years Sound Transit worked with community members around the region to identify priorities for meeting growing demand for transit services. Additional light rail, commuter rail and express bus expansions are proposed as part of a mass transit measure that will go before voters on Nov. 4. Information on the proposed expansions is available online.

Complete information about the Sound Transit schedule and route changes that get underway on Saturday can be found online: Download a Transit Guide or Read the Rider Alert.

The changes include:

ST EXPRESS REGIONAL BUS

ST Express Route 510 (Everett-Seattle): Revised routing to serve the South Everett Freeway Station; trips added and schedule adjustments; route will no longer serve Eastmont Park-and-Ride

ST Express Route 511 (Ash Way-Seattle): One morning trip added

ST Express Route 513 (Everett-Seattle): Schedule adjustments; route will continue to serve Eastmont Park & Ride

ST Express Route 522 (Woodinville Seattle): Three morning and three afternoon trips added; minor schedule adjustments

ST Express Route 532 (Everett-Bellevue): Revised routing to serve the South Everett Freeway Station; trips added; minor schedule adjustments and discontinued routing through downtown Everett and at Eastmont Park-and-Ride

ST Express Route 540 (Kirkland-U.District): One trip added; revised routing and stops added in the U-District along 15th Avenue NE to NE 43rd Street

ST Express Route 554 (Issaquah-Seattle): 15-minute midday service between Eastgate and downtown Seattle; minor time adjustments; stop change on Sunset Way in Issaquah

ST Express Route 555/556 (Issaquah-Northgate): Minor time adjustments; revised routing via 15th Avenue NE and NE 50th Street in the U-District

ST Express Route 574 (Lakewood-SeaTac): One southbound trip added and minor schedule adjustments

ST Express Route 577 (Federal Way-Seattle): One southbound trip added; one northbound trip added and major schedule adjustments

ST Express Route 582 (Bonney Lake-Tacoma):  One eastbound and one westbound trip discontinued due to low ridership

ST Express Route 586 (Tacoma-U. District): Stop added in U-District at NE 40th Street

ST Express Route 590 (Tacoma-Seattle): 19 trips added; schedule adjustments

ST Express Route 591 (Lakewood/Tacoma-Seattle): Route discontinued; trips replaced by added trips on Route 590 and Route 592

ST Express Route 592 (DuPont/Lakewood-Seattle): Stop added to serve Lakewood Station; major schedule adjustments; 22 trips added

ST Express Route 594 (Lakewood/Tacoma-Seattle): Stop added to serve Lakewood Station

ST Express Route 599 (Lakewood Station-Tacoma Dome Station): New route travels between Lakewood Station and Tacoma Dome Station to connect to Sounder commuter rail; this route will use Pierce Transit buses

SOUNDER COMMUTER RAIL

South line: Two round trips added; minor schedule adjustments

North line: One round trip added; minor schedule adjustments

LINK LIGHT RAIL

Light rail service between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport is on schedule to open in 2009, with service to Tukwila starting in July and to the Airport starting in December. Free shuttles will carry riders between Tukwila and the airport between July and December.

No changes to Tacoma Link light rail service