Many years ago, traffic planners around the country talked a lot about “rubber tired rapid transit.” The idea was to use transit buses on dedicated routes with regular schedules, just like a commuter train or streetcar. Now some three decades later, Seattle is enjoying its own iteration of this idea, known as “Rapid Ride.” Rapid Ride now has four major routes, taking travelers north, south, east and west on high traffic routes. The buses come at regular intervals, so you never have an unpredictable wait, and the stops are strategically placed to pick up a maximum number of riders with a minimum number of stops.
On my first ride, I enjoyed the speed and convenience of getting from the far reaches of West Seattle to the heart of downtown Seattle in mere minutes and in reasonable comfort. Most of the Rapid Ride stops are well marked, have their own weather covers, and are served with readers that show the arrival time of the next bus. On my second trip, I zipped in from Ballard after a long walk through town. Again, quick and reliable. My next adventure will be from downtown to Bellevue. For anyone working in the downtown core, the new Rapid Ride service adds commuting convenience at a far lower cost than a personal vehicle.
Check out the routes and features at http://metro.kingcounty.gov/travel-options/bus/rapidride/