Two express bus routes will begin Sept. 30, linking the Thurston Region’s urban core with King and Pierce counties.
Sound Transit will extend its existing Seattle-DuPont route to downtown Olympia, with buses serving the Capitol Campus, Hawks Prairie park-and-ride lot, DuPont Station, Lakewood Station, and State Route 512 park-and-ride lot. Northbound buses will depart from the Olympia Transit Center every 30 minutes between 4:12 a.m. and 6:42 a.m., timed for weekday work shifts in Seattle. Southbound buses will depart downtown Seattle every half-hour between 3:20 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. Tickets cost $3.50 per one-way trip on Route 592, which will take about two hours but require no transfers.
For its part, Intercity Transit will operate two-way express travel between Tumwater and Lakewood. Ten northbound buses will depart from the state Department of Labor & Industries building in Tumwater between 5 a.m. and 5:10 p.m., on weekdays. Eleven southbound buses will depart Lakewood between 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., also serving the Capitol Campus, Hawks Prairie park-and-ride lot, Lakewood Station and SR 512 park-and-ride lot. The fare on the new Route 609 will be $3 per one-way trip.
A total of $4.2 million in state Department of Transportation grants and a small Intercity Transit match will support the operation of the bus routes for the next two years. An Intercity Transit news release noted that transit officials anticipate strong ridership. And if the two routes are successful, officials hope for additional grant funding that could sustain service into 2017.
Intercity Transit operates the only bus routes between Thurston and Pierce counties, and crowded long-distance routes often have standing passengers. Once the new service begins, there will be a total of 70 weekday transit trips to and from Thurston County.
Visit Intercity Transit to see maps, schedules and fare information related to the new express routes.