This post is for my peeps who ride Metro (or may want to ride Metro) in the North part of Northeast Seattle. I’m talking ‘bout Lake City, Olympic Hills, Jackson Park, Pinehurst, Northgate, and Maple Leaf. My hood.
March 19th, 2016 is when the LINK Light Rail station at Husky Stadium opens! Along with that will come changes to our Metro bus lines on March 26th. I just got a mailer from Metro celebrating this #ULink2016 event by offering me a free Orca card with a pre-loaded one-week pass so my family can try out the new bus lines. I hope everyone who got such a flier takes them up on their offer. There’s definitely a learning curve, but once you get familiar with Metro, it’s great to have the option of taking the bus wherever you need to go. My kid is a big fan, and I love spending extra time outside and in a relaxed state of mind (usually…) when I take the bus instead of driving.
Metro has a pretty comprehensive webpage about the changes, a file summarizing the changes in NE Seattle, and a number you can call if you are just utterly confused about how to commute (206-477-3835). Seattle Transit Blog is a great source of info, too. I guess they are known for making better maps than Metro itself, and they are making a new map, the #Bus2Link edition, that will be available March 19th when the LINK stations open.
How does this change my Metro bus commute?
Here’s how I can best summarize what’s happening. The downtown bus tunnel is full of 71-72-73 buses currently, but it looks like Metro has decided to route all those riders to the LINK instead. This is probably a good idea, as it will simplify things in the tunnel. I have to admit, it’s a little scary to be losing route 72 entirely, though I do remember when I used to commute to UW from Lake City Way near Maple Leaf, other riders called it the “slow, dumb bus,” I guess because it was a circuitous route regardless of whether you were going to the U or downtown.
People in Ravenna may miss it, but those who preferred the 372 will be happy to hear that Metro has placed all its chips on it. It’s a more direct line between the U-District, Lake City, and Bothell. Service will be more frequent and will run ‘til midnight. It goes down 25th Ave. NE past U-Village and up into the UW campus. To transfer to the LINK, you’d just get off at Stevens Way & Rainier Vista (at the bottom of the huge lawn on campus) and walk down Mason Rd. and across a pedestrian overpass to the stadium.
The 73 is not being cancelled, but it will be reduced. It will no longer run on Sundays and has reduced hours, from 7am-10pm. It will run to the Husky Stadium LINK station, no longer going all the way downtown. It also won’t be duplicated by the 373, meaning that when the 373 is running during rush hour in a given direction, the 73 will not be running in that same direction (though it will run in the other direction). Also worth noting is that the 373 will stop at all 73 stops when it’s replacing the 73. Thanks to a commenter on Maple Leaf Life for pointing that out.
Looking for more options?
Here’s the good news. The new 67 is the one you want to get to know. It’ll run from 5am-1am weekdays and 6am-1am weekends, every 8-30 minutes. It’ll go from Northgate Transit Center to Northgate Way & Roosevelt, then south on Roosevelt, down The Ave, and to the LINK at Husky Stadium. So for those of us near 15th Ave. NE where the 347/348 (which are not being revised) run, it’ll be convenient to transfer to this frequent bus near the Walgreens on Northgate Way & Roosevelt to get to either UW or downtown. The 75 will also be coming more often, so if you’re transferring at that intersection with the Walgreens, that’ll be another option to get to UW or downtown.
UPDATE 3/9/16: Today, Metro announced that you can now plan your trip on the revised schedules using their Trip Planner webpage or app. Just be sure to select a date after March 26th.
It never hurts to have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C (your walking shoes, the Uber app, or that Car2Go card in your pocket?) when you take Metro. I’m hoping some former reliability problems will be better now that they’ve shortened many routes to end at the U-District. But until I see how this new system works, I’ll keep following my cardinal rule: a bus in the hand is worth two that may or may not be coming soon. The fastest bus is usually whichever one comes first. Happy riding, and don’t forget to smile!
UPDATE 4/2/16: This post has been updated to include links to the new schedule pages for each route.