“E” Means “Enhanced Transit Experience for Aurora!”

RR E LinePic RESIZE

And that’s exactly what transit riders will be getting along Aurora Avenue N between Shoreline, north Seattle and Downtown when they use the new RapidRide E Line.

This Saturday Seattle will celebrate the arrival of King County Metro Transit’s RapidRide E Line. The E Line replaces Aurora Avenue Route 358, Metro’s second highest ridership route, serving 12,000 rides each weekday.  This marks the first RapidRide service to appear in several North Seattle and Downtown area neighborhoods.

The E Line is part of an ongoing partnership between SDOT and Metro to improve mobility in Seattle.  RapidRide service features transit lanes, transit signal priority, frequent all-day service, well-lit shelters, real-time “next bus” signs, off-board ORCA card payment, and buses with three doors and free Wi-Fi.  SDOT also installed pedestrian improvements, including new sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, and a new pedestrian signal (at Aurora and North 95th).

RapidRide E Line services are scheduled to operate frequently:  Every 12 minutes or better throughout the day, every 12-15 minutes on weekends, and every 15-20 minutes at night.  Route 358 already runs frequently, but RapidRide includes an overall 25% increase in service frequency.  These additions will allow the E Line to operate as a 24-hour service.

More than 18 miles of designated northbound and southbound BAT lanes in Seattle and Shoreline have already improved travel time by getting buses through congested areas. The initial E Line schedule will shave another one to nine minutes off each trip, depending on time of day and how far a rider is traveling. Off-board ORCA card readers, expanded use of bus rear doors, and traffic signal priority will all work together to speed boarding and get buses through faster and more reliably.

RapidRide E Line is the third RapidRide service to arrive in Seattle.  The C and D lines to West Seattle and Ballard started service in September 2012 and have seen ridership increase by 10-25% over the routes that were replaced.