Roads Scholar: What's So Rapid About This Ride?

Metro's new RapidRide bus
Metro rolls out spiffy new buses. What's in it for you?

Another bright, shiny new innovation as we struggle towards transportation efficiency: Metro's gradual rollout of the new "RapidRide" bus system. Already zipping around on the east side and the south end, some Seattle neighborhoods will soon have this service (details below), and those neighborhoods will rejoice. Why?

RapidRide does away with a lot of the unknowns of bus-ridership, such as "Did I just miss a bus by 10 seconds?" "Will another bus be along within the next hour?" "Will my bus pull over at every single stop, making my ride an odyssey?"

RapidRide buses:

Come at least every 10 minutes during peak hours (every 15 during off-peak);

Follow the exact route coming and going;

Have 3 doors (faster boarding!);

Have air conditioning, free wifi, security cameras, etc.

The shelters:

Display minutes until the next bus on an electronic sign (!);

Allow you to scan your Orca card before boarding (so you can board at any door).

And best of all:

RapidRide buses send signals to traffic lights, so green lights stay green longer or red lights switch to green faster.

This...this is starting to look like transit is a priority!

You've already seen the sleek new bus stops rolling out around Ballard, West Seattle and elsewhere. Here's the official Metro service roll-out schedule, complete with links:

  • A Line—Tukwila to Federal Way on Pacific Highway S / International Boulevard (now in service).
  • B Line—Bellevue to Redmond on NE Eighth Street and 156th Avenue NE via Crossroads and Overlake (now in service).
  • C Line—West Seattle to downtown Seattle using Fauntleroy Way SW and California Avenue SW (coming in fall 2012).
  • D Line—Ballard to Uptown and downtown Seattle along 15th Avenue NW (coming in fall 2012).
  • E Line—Aurora Avenue N (State Route 99) between Shoreline and downtown Seattle (coming in 2013).
  • F Line—Burien to Renton via Tukwila and Southcenter (coming in 2013).