When the RapidRide B Line launches in Redmond and Bellevue on Oct. 1, riders will see some differences between buses rolling out on the Eastside and those currently serving the A Line (from the Tukwila International Blvd. Link station to the Federal Way Transit Center).

Dow Contstantine looks at new red and yellow bus
County Executive Dow Constantine checks out one of the first B Line buses (click to view larger).

For one thing, the front end of the B Line buses will have a slightly different shape than the A Line buses, due to a change in the bus model being offered by the manufacturer. It’s still pretty clear they’re members of the RapidRide family, however, due to their distinctive red and yellow color scheme.

On the inside, most users will notice a different type of seating throughout the bus. The new stainless steel seats are far lighter than the steel, plastic, foam, and upholstery seats on most Metro buses, which will help Metro cut fuel costs. Eventually, all Metro buses will use the new style seats – the B Line buses are just the trendsetters.

Bus interior showing seats
Stainless steel seats (click to view larger)
Bus interior showing seats
Click to view larger

Also, in addition to the usual wheelchair securement area, the B Line buses will offer Metro’s brand-new passive restraint system for wheelchairs. Customers using wheelchairs will just roll in, facing the back of the bus, and set their brakes – no buckles or straps needed. A padded backstop will keep wheelchairs from moving if the bus brakes suddenly, and a handy pole will prevent lateral movement during sharp turns – and also provide a convenient stop-request button.

Wheelchair securement area on bus
New-style wheelchair securement area – no straps! (Click to view larger)

This system will allow wheelchair users to board and exit more quickly, helping RapidRide get you there faster.