Changes to Metro Service September 29 (not just the end of the Ride Free Area)

Thousands of riders will see changes to their routes starting Sept. 29. Dozens of routes will have different bus stops, travel on different streets or have changed schedules. Some low-ridership routes will be eliminated and buses moved to serve more people.

Riders can now go online and see a summary of the changes Metro has planned and use the online trip planner to map out which routes work best for them. Printed rider alert brochures will be distributed in coming weeks and teams of Metro personnel will be on the streets at the end of September and first week of October to answer rider questions. For our riders  who are limited in their English proficiency or without access to the internet, we recommend getting help from a case worker, friend or family member who can go online to understand the changes, or calling a Metro customer service representative at 553-3000 to learn what routes are changing and how to make regular trips using the new system after Sept. 29.

Sept. 29, there will be no free rides in downtown Seattle and riders will pay when boarding the bus. Metro is transitioning to a pay-on-entry system on all buses. Eliminating the downtown Ride Free Area, which has been in place nearly 40 years, will raise needed revenue and preserve transit service. Riders should prepare for initial delays as lines form to pay fares when boarding. Riders can speed up boarding times and be ready for the pay-on-entry system by getting an ORCA card. For those who relied most on the Ride Free Area to reach services in downtown Seattle, a free circulator shuttle will be implemented in association with the city of Seattle to serve those who need to access downtown human services and health resources.

Metro also is launching two new RapidRide lines Sept. 29, with frequent service and special features. RapidRide C Line will travel between downtown Seattle and West Seattle, and RapidRide D Line will travel between downtown Seattle and Ballard via Uptown.

Tools for riders

Metro Transit has many rider tools available, with more planned in coming weeks. If you’d like an alternate format of any of these materials, please feel free to contact us.

  • Route changes and Metro’s online trip planner are online at:
  • Pay-on-Entry/Ride free area elimination information:
  • Multilingual video about the end of the Ride Free Area (languages include Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian and Somali) is available online at
  • RapidRide information page:
  • ORCA card information page:
  • Area specific route maps (coming soon)
  • Tips for getting help from customer service via phone in your own language, a brochure in 13 languages (coming soon)