Just an update on the Ride Free Zone in downtown Seattle. The Ride Free service was discontinued a couple of months ago. The busses are all pay-as-you-enter now, and no more free bus. Sad to see it go!
There is a limited ride free area in downtown Seattle between the hours of 6am - 7pm. After these hours, the fare varies from US$2.25 to US$3.00 for adults between 19-64 depending on Peak Zones. Children, youths and seniors have reduced rates.
You can also purchase a metro ticketbook in various increments for various price ranges. I suppose that sounds confusing. Probably should look at the website.
I was told by the travel agency who made the bookings for us to take the Greyline Express Van from the airport for $7.00 to the hotel. The price has gone up since 1994
Gray Line - Limited downtown hotels only - $10.25 one way / $17 round trip 206-626-6088
I did not take this service because I wasn't going to a downtown hotel, but to the training headquarters. But this looks like a lower cost option than a cab and more convenient than a regular bus especially with baggage.
In 2011, we had a Town Car pick us up at the airport because the alternative was to get the Shuttle Express (Cross skybridge 3 or 4 to the airport parking garage, then go down to the 3rd floor. Shuttle Express curb check-in is located near the purple elevator banks) or else take the light rail (more walking with luggage and a wheelchair). This cost us $45 plus tip for us and all our luggage
I also had a shuttle from the hotel to the cruise ship docks.
Apparently Seattle Metro encourages bike riding. I would have thought the city to be too hilly for that, but I guess not.
This is what the metro site says about it:
"Every Metro bus has a bicycle rack that can accommodate two bikes, and many of our vanpools are also equipped for transporting bikes. No special permit or extra fare is required.
"Metro does not permit bicycles inside buses for safety reasons.
"Bicycles may be loaded or unload at any bus zone at any time except in the Ride Free Area between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. During these hours, loading and unloading bikes is restricted to a route's first and last ride free stop and the tunnel stops at Convention Place and International District. This is a safety policy to reduce the potential of too many cyclists being between buses in heavy downtown traffic."
When we were in Seattle in 2011, Bob was looking at the street and he commented that there was some device on the front of the buses (it was a bike rack but Bob at first thought it was for skis and then said you'd need an engineering degree to work it) (photo 2)
The Metro Buses proved to be a convenient and effective method of transportation. The downtown and outlying areas appear to be well served by this system. An online trip planner is available. This will aid in determining the routes to take as well as proving a schedule.
Seattle's Public Bis System is under the supervision of King's County and is named metro transit, being such, it combines service patterns typical of city and suburban bus networks. The city network, descended in large part from the Seattle Transit system of converted streetcar routes, is arranged in a hub-and-spoke pattern centered on downtown Seattle, with lesser amounts of crosstown service. Routes in the city network are numbered from 1 to 79, with special late-night "Owl" routes in the 80s and the waterfront streetcar and its replacement coach numbered 99.
King County Metro Fare Type
Cash Fare Per Trip One-Month PugetPass Price
Metro Youth fare
Metro One- and Two-zone Off-peak
Metro One-zone Peak
Metro Two-zone Peak
It looks like they were building a subway and switched to a bus tunnel. This tunnel links downtown with 6-9 stops. It's free travel through the downtown area. It follows along below 3rd Ave and 4th Ave.
Northend is below the Westport Center - Pine St and 5th Ave.
The Southend is just east of the Smith Tower (historic white high rise, east of Pioneer square) - James Ave at 3rd Ave.
Sorry the pictures out of focus - The lights aren't enough for the camera and there is constant motion.
In between all the advertisements for Greyline Airporter & Shuttle Express, I'd like to tell you about public bus service to/from Seatac airport.
From downtown Seattle you can take the #194. This is an express bus that takes about 30 minutes and runs at least every half hour from 4:30a - 10p. At other times, you can take the #174. This is at least 15 minutes slower, but runs throughout the day. This service costs $2.00 during peak time (weekdays 6a - 9a & 3p - 6p) and $1.25 at all other times. From Downtown Seattle you can catch either bus south on 2nd Av, leaving from Pike, Seneca, Marion, James and Jackson. At the airport, catch either bus at bay # 2 at the main terminal to downtown Seattle.
King County Metro is an excellent transportation system and their web site is extremely helpful.
The trip planner tool allows you to enter your starting address and destination address and the time you either want to depart or arrive - and then gives you a few bus route options.
Rider information is also available by phone, if you don't have access to a computer during your trip. And bus schedules are available all over town.
Also, busses have bike racks on the front, so you can bike a while / bus a while : )
The bus system in central Seattle is extensive and regular. The best streets on which you can catch a bus are Fourth (northbound) Second (southbound) James or Pike (eastbound). The Transit Tunnel serves suburban buses but it's closed for renovation and installation of light rail. Suburban buses are temporarily on the surface of Third Ave. Also, the historic waterfront streetcar will close soon for construction of a sculpture park.
The monorail is great for trips between downtown and Seattle Center or the Uptown neighborhood.
Commuter rail is available during morning and evening rush. It ends at King Street Station on the south edge of downtown. Amtrak also stops there.
Otherwise, if you can afford to pay for parking - I would recommed renting a car. It's sad but true that Seattle has few transit options right now, but things will be improving when light rail opens in 2009 and the streetcar system expands to Lake Union.
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