Transferring

Learn how to transfer between bus and rail.

As Link light rail expands to serve more of our region, bus routes will change to better connect you to fast, frequent, reliable trains. Remember to build in extra time the first few times you make the transfer.

Familiarize yourself with the new 1 Line stations by checking out the maps and 360-degree photo below.

Map illustrating walking path for transfer from bus to link at the Northgate Station.

The bus transit center at Northgate lies directly below the elevated station, so you won't need to cross any streets to transfer.

To catch the next Link train, head up to the station mezzanine, tap your ORCA card, and continue up to the train platform. When you transfer from Link to bus, don't forget to tap off at a card reader on the mezzanine, then head down to board your bus.

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Northgate Station here!

Map illustrating walking path for transfer from bus to link at the Roosevelt Station.

For a smooth transfer experience, new stops are coming to Roosevelt Station. There will be a future bus stop (currently under construction) at 12th Ave NE at NE 67th St. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Roosevelt Station here!

Map illustrating walking path for transfer from bus to link at the U District Station.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at U District Station here!

Bus service in the U District area

To coincide with new Link service, King County Metro is also updating their on-campus bus service to better serve the U District and University of Washington stations. Check out the new U District bus service map here or use Trip Planner to plan your trip.

Sound Transit passenger taps their ORCA card at a Link station.

An ORCA card is the only way to pay for transfers between different services such as trains, buses and streetcars.

As long as you transfer within 2 hours, your original fare will be credited toward the next leg of your journey.

For example, if you use your ORCA card to pay the $3.25 ST Express bus fare and then transfer to Link, the $3.25 fare you've already paid will also count toward your ride on Link. So instead of paying two separate fares, most passengers enjoy completely free transfers with their ORCA card. (If the second leg of your journey costs more than the first, you'll pay only the difference, still saving money.)

Tap on, tap off

ORCA calculates the cost of your trip and deducts that amount from your account. Link and Sounder fares are calculated by how far you travel, so remember to tap your ORCA card on the yellow card reader at the start of your trip and at your destination, or you'll be charged the highest fare from your origin. On buses, tap the reader by the driver when you board. No need to tap off a bus ride.

Need an ORCA card?

Don't have an ORCA card yet? You can purchase a regular adult card from Link station ticket machines (which accept cash, credit or debit cards) and at retail locations throughout the region.

Learn more about fares, ticket machines and how to get an ORCA card here.