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Metro bus routes: More changes in Federal Way
Significant changes to a few bus routes serving Federal Way are designed to increase service and efficiency.
King County Metro Transit began service revisions Feb. 6. The modifications include discontinuing some routes, expanding some existing routes and rerouting still others. The changes will affect Federal Way transit riders, specifically those relying on Metro route 194 and Sound Transit routes 565 and 903.
The adjustments are part of a countywide service update, which affects more than 80 bus routes. The update was undertaken in partnership with Pierce County's Sound Transit. It is in response to Sound Transit 2, the 2008 initiative to expand mass transportation in the Puget Sound region, said Jack Lattemann, King County Metro Transit lead transit service planner. The two agencies work together to ensure transit service along the Interstate 5 corridor, he said.
"We both sat down and tried to figure out how to make the best use of the resources we had available," Lattemann said.
To and from Seattle
Metro Route 194, a late-night service between Federal Way and Seattle with four stops along the way, including the Seattle-Tacoma airport, has been replaced by a combination of link light rail and expanded Sound Transit Express bus service. The adjustment took effect Feb. 6.
"The 194, more or less, became superfluous," Latteman said.
Sound Transit's ST2 plan provides funding for express buses to replace the 194 route, Lattemann said. Sound Transit routes 577 and 578 replace Metro's route 194. Sound Transit's express bus lines each take approximately 15 to 20 minutes less than the time the 194 took to reach Seattle from the Federal Way Transit Center, Lattemann said. They travel in the HOV lanes and do not stop until they reach downtown Seattle, he said.
"They provide as good or better service than the 194 had," Lattemann said.
Riders should see little changes. Like the 194, Sound Transit routes 577 and 578 will also run until late at night — until 10 p.m. traveling southbound from Seattle Mondays through Saturdays, and 7 p.m. traveling the same direction on Sundays, Latteman said. Patrons departing Federal Way will catch the buses at the transit center, 31621 23rd Ave. S.
Sound Transit's bus fares vary slightly from King County Metro's. Riders traveling to and from Seattle using 577 or 578 at peak times of the day will pay $2.25, saving 25 cents, compared to riding Metro's former 194. Non peak-time travelers will pay 25 cents more, Latteman said. Riders generally are willing to make a trade-off and pay slightly more for a faster service, he said.
"People usually do want to go faster if possible," Lattemann said. "Now, seven days a week, people have a fast trip to Seattle."
For transit-goers wishing to reach the airport from Federal Way, Sound Transit route 574 is available. This route travels right to the airport, said Mike Bergman, Sound Transit manager for service planning. The route has always existed, but now makes more stops along the way to replace those dropped when King County Metro route 194 died, he said. Some folks had heard that Sound Transit and King County Metro would force transit-goers to ride link light rail instead of take the bus, but that is not the case, Bergman said.
To and from Overlake/Bellevue
Sound Transit Route 565 to the Eastside will be discontinued. Express route 566 will take its place.
"The ridership on that particular length was relatively low," Lattemann said.
Riders wishing to reach Bellevue and Overlake from Federal Way must now take Metro route 181 or Sound Transit route 578 to Auburn Station and transfer to route 566. But beware, without an ORCA card, transfers between King County Metro and Sound Transit buses are prohibited. Riders also have the option to ride Sound Transit express bus routes 577 or 578 to downtown Seattle, then transfer to route 545 or 550.
"We've been working really closely with King County Metro to make sure we have a coordinated system and the service changes mesh together as much as they can," Bergman said.