Rapid Ride – advertised to be just what it sounds like, a faster trip with fewer
stops, this new form of public transportation is just taking off after launching its first line of service
Rapid Ride is a bus system provided through King County Metro in partnership with the places it serves. Its goal is to be a fast and efficient ride between cities.
This new system is intended to make long-distance bus commutes easier. It doesn’t make stops like a local bus; Rapid Ride is designed more like a train with just a few stops along the road to its destination. Their website boasts that these buses “Move more, stop less.”
The buses will follow routes that link two cities with some stops along the way at major transit points. Line A links Tukwila and Federal Way, and stops at places where local buses come through for the cities in between.
Line A is the only Line currently operating, though Line B will be opening in October. This new line will be linking Bellevue Transit Center to Redmond Transit Center with stops at Overlake Hospital and Crossroads Mall, which is minutes from BC.
Lines C, D, E, and F are also in progress, transporting around Seattle, Burien, and Southcenter. These Lines are forecasted to open between this winter and 2013.
These buses use more advanced technology than their local counterparts; at Rapid Ride stops, there is an electric sign telling exactly how long it will be before a bus arrives. There is also an Orca card scanner at the bus stops to reduce congestion on the bus due to slow payment. A fare officer will make sure the outboard fee is paid. Inside the bus, there is a view screen displaying the next stop.
According to the King County Metro website, the “new interior design makes it easy for passengers to move.” The goal is for maximum time efficiency and the bus is designed so that exiting and entering can be smooth.
Efficiency in every way is the main goal for Rapid Ride buses – time efficiency, space efficiency, and environmental efficiency as well. That is why these buses are all low-emission hybrid vehicles; part electric and part diesel engine.
In order to avoid city traffic and keep the ride as fast as possible, Rapid Ride buses have a signal that will change stoplights to green, similar to the signals found in ambulances.
e new parking fee at Bellevue College, students are encouraged by the ASG to take the bus instead of driving to school. Upon Line B’s initiation in October, Rapid Ride will be another option for students who wish to avoid driving.
Rapid Ride can be paid for with an Orca card; these cards are available through BC’s Orca pass program, in which a student taking more than five to ten credits can get half off a preloaded card of a set amount.
The Rapid Ride project was begun by voters in November, 2006 when the Transit Now initiative was passed. The purpose of this initiative was to improve public transportation.
Funding for Rapid Ride comes from many places, including the cities it serves, Washington State sales tax, and, more recently, state and federal grants.