Monday, August 27, 2012

Seattle & Area’s Light Rail Systems

Here are the different types of light rail in Seattle and the broad vicinity. Note that Seattle’s famous waterfront streetcar line has been out of commission for over half a decade, hence its exclusion.  I hope to someday be able to add it.

For people not familiar with the One Regional Card for All (ORCA) card, it’s a card you can put money on to make travelling faster, as you simply tap the card on busses, trains, ferries, etc. It costs $5 but Sound Transit offers a discount in some areas to people who use ORCA cards.  A First Hill streetcar line (Metro Transit) is currently under construction and will be added to the below once it’s running.  There are also plans for an East line from Seattle through Bellevue to Redmond (Sound Transit) and there are also plans to extend the Central Link below north to Lynnwood and south to Federal Way.

Fares are as of August 2012.

  1. Seattle Monorail (Seattle Monorail Services): Only two stops: Westlake Center (downtown Seattle) and Seattle Center as it's mainly a tourist attraction holdover from the 1962 World's Fair. $2.25 each way. Does not accept ORCA cards.
  2. Seattle Streetcar, South Lake Union Line (Metro Transit): this was originally going to be called the South Lake Union Trolley, hence its nickname the SLUT.   Travels from Westlake Center to Fairview & Campus Drive (five stops in between both ways, most notable Lake Union Park. Northbound it switches over from Westlake to Terry but not on the return.  $2.50, accepts ORCA cards and Metro Transit transfers (this is the only service that accepts transfers).
  3. Central Link (Sound Transit): This trail starts at Westlake Station in the Downtown Transit Tunnel (thus stopping at every stop in the tunnel except Convention Station) and terminates at SeaTac Airport.  11 stops in between.  All stops are in Seattle except SeaTac Airport (Seatac) and Tukwila International Blvd Station (Tukwila).  Fares one way range from $2 to $2.75 depending on distance. A day pass costs twice the cost of a one way fare the same distance. Accepts ORCA cards.
  4. Sounder: Seattle to Everett (Sound Transit): Four stops total (King Street Station in Seattle, Edmonds Station, Mukilteo Station, Everett Station).  Some routes are run by Amtrak and those skip Mukilteo.  True Sounder trains cost $2.75-$4 and accept ORCA cards.  Amtrak rides have a special fare and I don’t know the rules there.
  5. Sounder: Seattle to Everett (Sound Transit): Seven stations total (King Street Station in Seattle, Tukwila Station, Kent Station, Auburn Station, Sumner Station, Puyallup Station, Tacoma Dome Station in Tacoma). Fare ranges from $3-$4.75 depending on distance and accepts ORCA cards.
Tacoma Link (Sound Transit): Six stops in Tacoma, from Tacoma Dome station north to Theater District Station.  Union Station is a notable stop. Free

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