Photo by David Rosen - Map courtesy of Metro Transit
RapidRide Line C began Saturday Sept. 29 with service from West Seattle to downtown. Initial ridership was light with the real test of the new line expected to happen on the Monday morning commute.

RapidRide begins in West Seattle on the weekend; The true test comes Monday

Information event at Westwood Village today 11am to 4pm

The RapidRide C Line began in West Seattle Sept. 29 with, as expected, light ridership. It replaces portions of routes 54 and 55 between Westwood Village and downtown Seattle via the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal and Alaska Junction. It will operate via SW Barton St, Fauntleroy Way SW, California Ave SW, SW Avalon Way, SW Spokane St and the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Weekend service is every 15 minutes, weekday service is every 10 minutes.

Victor Obeso, who as Manager of Service Development handles all the route planning for Metro acknowledged on this first day of service that the ORCA cards and the bus stop next bus notification readers were not working. "We hope to have that corrected by Monday," he said.

But the true test of the new service comes Monday morning as commuters crowd on and capacity and the lack of an actual bus schedule are challenged. This is part of a major service revision for the transportation agency which include the start of the RapidRide C and D lines, five new routes, two re-numbered routes, 17 discontinued routes and changes to over 50 other routes. The Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle also ends on Sept 29 with passengers now required to pay on entry for all trips in King County.

If you have questions about the new service Metro will hold a Q and Q at Westwood Village, near the Barnes & Noble store at 11am-4pm today.

Line C provides connections with bus routes that serve Alki, the Admiral District, Genesee Hill, High Point, South Seattle CC, White Center, Burien and SeaTac International Airport.

Northbound trips to downtown Seattle will leave from a new bus stop eastbound on SW Barton St just west of 26th Ave SW by Westwood Village. Southbound trips to Westwood Village operate southbound on 3rd Ave serving the bus stops at Cedar, Bell, Virginia, Pike and Seneca streets, and the bus stop westbound on Columbia St just east of 2nd Ave.

New buses on the service are energy efficient, low-emission hybrid vehicles with low floors and three doors for easier, faster boarding. Other features include front-mounted, 3-position bike racks, accessible ramps at the front door, security cameras, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, automated ‘Next Stop' display and audio announcements and more destination signs.

In preparation for the new service new stations and stops have been constructed with shelters with improved weather protection, interior lighting for safety and visibility, accessible boarding platforms, benches, trash receptacles, bicycle racks (at many locations and by request), and a stop request light you can trigger at night to signal the bus driver you’re there. Stations include "real-time" bus arrival signs, lighted maps, and ORCA card readers.

RapidRide has a fare payment system that features ORCA card readers at many stations. At these stations, riders can tap their cards to the ORCA card readers before boarding buses and enter through the back two doors. If a bus stop doesn't have a card reader or if you're paying with cash or tickets, you must enter through the front doors. Riders with a valid paper transfer or non-ORCA pass can enter through the back doors at all stops.

Metro has provided a grid that explains the changes, HERE.

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