Thousands of King County commuters will see changes to Metro bus routes and services beginning Sept. 29.
The biggest will be the elimination of the ride free zone in downtown Seattle. All buses will shift to a pay-on-entry system. Metro officials warned today that riders likely will see delays as lines form at the front doors of buses; entry will no longer allowed through the rear doors.
Riders can speed up boarding times by getting Orca cards, said Kevin Desmond, Metro Transit general manager.
“We need riders to start preparing now so they understand how they’ll be affected by our planned route changes.”
A free circulator shuttle operated in cooperation with the City of Seattle will run downtown and to Harborview Medical Center for those passengers who have relied on the ride free area to get to human-service agencies and health-care providers.
Metro expects to save $2 million annually by eliminating the ride free zone, which has operated since 1973.
Thousands of riders also will see changes to their routes and customary bus stops. Some routes will travel on different streets. Metro is launching two new RapidRide lines Sept. 29 with frequent service to West Seattle and Ballard.