Last night's bus-to-train-to-bus trip to and from a party in the south end of Seattle - I live in the north end - inspired me to write a little mass transit personal history. That's right: to the best of my recollection, here's every bus route I've ever taken in the Seattle area. I used King County Metro
to fill in gaps in my memory. Unless otherwise specified, "downtown" means downtown Seattle.
1 - It goes up the steep south slope of Queen Anne Hill, a.k.a. the Counterbalance after the old trolley, but I just used it to bop around downtown.
2 - From downtown to party with friends in the Central District (CD).
3 - To get off Queen Anne Hill and go to work, where I parked during the Super Bowl victory parade.
4 - From downtown to party with friends in the CD.
5 - Goes down Phinney Ridge near my lake place to downtown. Also good for getting my legs waxed in Fremont, or to dates in the numerous bars & restaurants.
[I wish I'd taken the 6 before it was discontinued in 1999. It mostly went around Green Lake, so I had no need of it at the time. It sounds like a useless route so it should be gone, but what a lovely trip that must have been.]
7 - Back in my day, whippersnapper, it went from the UW, down Broadway, then through downtown all the way to the south end. They've amputated the north end of the 7 and replaced it with the 49, which is of course 7 squared. I can't help but wonder if Metro has some mathematically inclined punsters working for them.
8 - Part of this route goes near Lambert House, but I also jumped on it with m'boy near the Seattle Center.
9 - Probably? It goes on Broadway, so it's likely.
10 - Used to go right to Lambert House, and still goes pretty close. These days I mainly take it between Lambert House and Capitol Hill station.
11 - Goes near Lambert House. Before the train I would take the 10, 11, or 43 from 4th & Pike, depending on which one came first, how big a hurry I was in, and whether any cute women got on.
12 - The bus to Dr. Leather Bear.
16 - Discontinued. Green Lake-Wallingford-downtown, so I took it to get my hair cut and probably to dates in Wallingford.
17 - Discontinued. Went from downtown to Ballard. I lived in Ballard with Ex during the mid '90s.
21 - Goes from downtown to the Tickler's in West Seattle.
26 - Downtown to Fremont via the Fremont Bridge, which unlike the Aurora Bridge is a drawbridge and therefore slower. I remember taking this at least once when an accident shut down Aurora.
28 - I needed to get closer to home in Ballard, so I jumped on this one.
29 - Another Queen Anne route. I think I've taken this.
32 - Goes up Elliot past the old CSPC.
40 - Goes from downtown up Dexter through Fremont through Ballard. Good for errands in the north end.
41 - Maybe I've taken it in the tunnel downtown, but no further. For you non-Seattle folks, there's a tunnel for buses and light rail trains that runs underneath downtown, mostly underneath 3rd Ave. ETA 14-Nov-2016: Took this one all the way to Lake City for a little clubbing action.
43 - Another one to Lambert House. It used to go between Downtown, Capitol Hill, the UW and Ballard, but I think the UW-Ballard leg became the 44.
44 - Today's UW-Wallingford-Ballard route. Much Younger Woman's place is near this route.
45 - Green Lake to the UW, where there's now a train station. 'Nuff said.
47 - Goes up Capitol Hill. Duh.
48 - From the CD, about 10 blocks from Lambert House, to the UW. It used to go all the way to Green Lake; that segment of the route is now the 45. There's a song
49 - Goes up Capitol Hill right to the Siberian Siren's. My bus of choice for that before the train.
50 - If I need to go between Ex's & Othello station, maybe
I can catch this. It's infrequent & nearly empty, which is reflective of the rich neighborhoods it goes through.
55 - I think I took this to or from nerdvana
60 - Another Broadway bus, so it's likely.
62 - The replacement for the 16, so yeah.
66 - Downtown to Northgate, for shopping with the Siberian Siren!
70-74 - All routes between downtown and the UW. I lived on these when I was in school. The 74 express goes right to Much Younger Woman's.
82 - A night bus that goes from downtown and winds its way through Wallingford and Green Lake before eventually going more or less near my place. Colorful!
101 - Another tunnel-only bus for me.
106 - Took it to the party in the south end last night.
107 - Took it from
the party in the south end last night.
124 - Took it to the body shop where they took the poor Sanctimobile last week. It goes to Georgetown, where artists (used to?) do their thing and where there's fun to be had.
194 - Discontinued. Took this to the airport once, I think, in the pre RapidRide days. Or was that electrolysis? Goes way south, down 99.
221 - Downtown Redmond to Crossroads Mall and points south in Bellevue. Yup.
230 - Discontinued. Crossroads to downtown Bellevue if I remember correctly. Just getting around the east side, which by the way really sucks on the bus after 1900.
234 - Kirkland to Bellevue. I only took this one a few times because ew, Bellevue.
238 - Totem Lake to south Kirkland. Errands.
245 - My regular commute for much of my Microsoft days. Kirkland to Crossroads to south Bellevue.
248 - A newer route through Kirkland. I took it once to run errands.
251 - Discontinued. It was my regular commute route twice, once in the early '90s and later when I lived in Kirkland, pre-Microsoft. Back in the day, it went way out to east Redmond and crossed the 520 bridge. It also wasn't heavily used and drivers would go like bats out of hell all over the east side.
254 - Discontinued. My old backup east side commute route. In the mid-2000s in downtown Redmond I saw a small metal sign indicating the 254's route, affixed to a utility pole, bearing the original Metro logo from the 1970s. I'm sure the removal effort missed it. I kind of want it.
255 - Still a workhorse for Kirkland to downtown Seattle. I used to take it with m'boy to the end of the line, then get weird ramen at the Seattle Uwajimaya. He rides it to & from school now.
271 - Downtown Bellevue to the UW. I think
I took this one once or twice? I definitely wasn't a regular rider.
358 - Discontinued. My old commute route from here at my lake place to downtown. Good: the stop was maybe thirty feet from my front door. Bad: the damn thing filled up at least once a week. Worse: a driver was once shot to death
on the bus, leaving the bus hanging partway off the Aurora Bridge. That's when they changed the route number from 359 to 358. I wish I were making that up, but I'm not. The 358 was notorious among drivers for being a sort of hazing experience for new drivers. It has been replaced by the RapidRide E line.
[Route numbers in the 500s are Sound Transit express buses.]
540 - Redmond to the UW. I've taken this for long lunches with intrepid_reason
545 - Redmond to downtown. I've taken this one to Pride parades, and met other queers on it.
550 - Bellevue to downtown. I've taken this to Emerald City Comicon with my son.
560 - Bellevue to the airport. Ex just couldn't believe I didn't mind taking this to the airport, but really, the ST buses are pretty comfy with their plush seats.
594 - Electrolysis in Tacoma.
[I've discovered, thanks to an old & buggy version of Metro's arrival screen software, that the RapidRide routes are internally known by route numbers in the 670s. RapidRide A is 671, and so on. I'll use their external names, but in internal order
RapidRide A - On 99 well south of Seattle. I've taken this from the airport train station to Norwescon.
RapidRide B - Bellevue-Microsoft-downtown Redmond. A former backup commute line.
RapidRide C - Downtown to West Seattle. I've taken this to the Tickler, and possibly to aaminahlefae
RapidRide D - Downtown to Ballard. I've taken this to the CSPC or to see friends, but it didn't exist when I lived in Ballard.
RapidRide E - My usual commute bus, the replacement for the 358. Fairly colorful, but usually dependable.
Each route has its own personality. The E is full of dour commuters, sharing a bus uneasily with the mentally ill and homeless of the far north end. The 5 often features women who are either drop-dead stylish or going to & from yoga. The 45 is full of college kids. The 545 is full of Microsoftees with their laptops open. The 10 is almost as young as the UW routes, but queerer.
I've alluded to the route numbering system, so I might as well tell you all I know: the single- and perhaps lower double-digit routes are the old trolley lines, maybe tweaked in a few places. These days they are trolley buses. That's right: some buses in Seattle are powered by electrified cables above the streets.
- The single- and double-digit routes don't stray too far from central Seattle.
- Numbers in the 100s run to or exclusively in the area south of downtown.
- Numbers in the 200s are east.
- 300s are north.
- There is no west because that's Puget Sound, Vashon Island being served by 100s.
- 400s are run by Snohomish county's Community Transit and therefore go way the hell up north.
- The 500s are, as I mentioned, the long-haul express buses run by Sound Transit, the same agency that runs the light rail & commuter trains.
- The 600s are (Shhh!) the RapidRides, so called because of their fancy card readers at stops and streamlined routes.
- There are a few 800s in the stupidly rich parts of the east side which are apparently used as buses to private schools.
- I believe the 900s are Dial-A-Ride for the disabled.
I may have some kind of mass transit mania, but I will resist any attempt to cure it.
ETA: I keep remembering more routes, so I have to add them. Have to.
ETAA: I can't believe I forgot the 245!