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Plan your trip for bus-to-light rail connections at Northgate

Community Transit and partner transit agencies will implement fall service changes over three days beginning Saturday, October 2nd. The changes are significant for many Snohomish County bus riders.
Northgate light rail bus route integration overview map. Image courtesy of Community Transit.

From a September 20, 2021, Community Transit press release.

Community Transit and partner transit agencies will implement fall service changes over three days beginning Saturday, October 2nd. The changes are significant for many Snohomish County riders.

The biggest change is the connection of all Community Transit 800-series bus routes, and three Sound Transit bus routes (511, 512, 513), to light rail at Northgate.

Those buses will no longer serve the University of Washington, U District and downtown Seattle directly. Instead, riders will transfer at Northgate Station and board a light rail train on the 1 Line (Link) to any of those destinations.

New bus schedules and trip planning data are now available to plan bus-to-light rail trips after the October service change.

Trip Planning Tools

Light rail trains will operate approximately every eight minutes during peak hours. Light rail travel time from Northgate to the University of Washington is expected to take six minutes, and from Northgate to downtown Seattle the trip is expected to take 14 minutes.

Community Transit 400-series routes and Sound Transit Route 510 will continue to provide direct service between Snohomish County and downtown Seattle.

In addition to the bus-to-light-rail connections at Northgate, some local routes will have trips added to accommodate increasing ridership, and there are several minor route changes in north Snohomish County.

Full details of the fall service change are at communitytransit.org/newservice.

Since mid-August, Community Transit staff has been talking to riders at transit facilities, speaking to community groups, and will host a virtual meeting on Monday, September 27th, at 6:00 pm to help customers map out their bus-to-light rail trips.

Fall service change dates

Saturday, October 2nd:

  • Sound Transit 1 Line (Link) light rail opens three new stations: Northgate, Roosevelt, and U District.
  • Sound Transit route 512 begins connecting to the 1 Line at Northgate Station.
  • King County Metro fall service change goes into effect.

Sunday, October 3rd:

  • Community Transit fall service change goes into effect for local routes.

Monday, October 4th:

  • Community Transit Routes 810, 821, 860, 871, 880; and Sound Transit Routes 511 and 513 begin connecting to the 1 Line at Northgate Station.

Rider tips

UW start date: Fall Quarter at the UW begins on Wednesday, September 29th. Community Transit riders will continue to take a bus directly to UW that first week, then make the bus-to-light rail connection the second week of school, starting Monday, October 4th.

Additional service changes near UW: King County Metro is changing its bus service around the UW campus. Riders should check Metro’s fall schedules for possible connections at the U District and University of Washington stations.

Bus riders on the 500- and 800-series routes are encouraged to use ORCA cards to take advantage of the two-hour transfer window, in which your bus fare will include your ride on light rail.

Light rail fares are calculated by distance, and the current maximum light rail fare will be $3.50. Be sure to tap on and tap off when you ride light rail. People paying with cash will have to pay for each trip separately.

Northbound bus frequency: On weekday afternoons and evenings, 800-series routes will leave Northgate Station every 15-minutes to ensure quick trips back to Snohomish County. Sound Transit’s 511, 512, and 513 will also provide service to Snohomish County every 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the route.

New trips from Northgate: King County Metro is changing its bus service at Northgate. Snohomish County riders should check Metro’s fall schedules for new trip options, such as to South Lake Union, as well as First Hill and Cherry Hill.

Fall Quarter at the UW begins on Wednesday, September 29th. Community Transit riders will continue to take a bus directly to UW that first week, then make the bus-to-light rail connection the second week of school, starting Monday, October 4th.

University of Washington transit map. Image courtesy of Community Transit.

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