George V. Reilly

Light Rail

Light Rail confusion

I rode Seattle’s new Light Rail system for the first time yesterday morning. I walked to the new Beacon Hill station. It took me just over 20 minutes at a brisk pace, so I’m not likely to walk there often. I could have taken the 60 bus to the station, but it only runs every 30 minutes.

When I got to the Beacon Hill station, I couldn’t figure out if my book of $2.00 tickets for Metro bus tickets were valid on the train or not. The first three workers I asked didn’t know either. The cop I asked said “yes”, so I took the elevator 167 feet down to the platform and rode the train into the Pioneer Square station next to the Smith Tower. After looking on the Sound Transit website, I don’t think the cop was right.

I’m not the only one who’s confused either. Seems like everyone else is confused too. Bus transfer tickets work, at least, and light rail tickets are accepted as transfers on the bus. Unlike the buses, there’s no ride-free zone for the light rail in downtown Seattle.

We took the light rail home from the Mariners game last night and trans­ferred to the 36 bus after a short wait. (The 36 runs down 15th after 7pm; the 60 and the 39 stop running about 9pm.)

I found the trains and the Beacon Hill station to be clean and pleasant. The train reportedly runs every 7½ minutes, which I haven’t confirmed. It certainly travels faster than the bus.

The light rail seems nice, but I’m not likely to use it often.

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