After decades of serving millions of bus customers, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel will pivot exclusively to Link light rail service starting early March 23 – but not without a moment to mark the milestone.
The double-track, 1.3-mile-long transit tunnel opened September 15, 1990. From the beginning, planners intended light rail to eventually use the tunnel. It closed for construction in 2005, so that both buses and Sound Transit Link light rail service could use shared lanes and platforms. Light rail service officially started on July 18, 2009.
In the wee hours on Saturday, King County Metro Route 41 will be the final scheduled trip in the tunnel, leaving Northgate at 12:30 a.m. and heading southbound through the tunnel to conclude its trip at International District Station (IDS) around 12:53 a.m.
Our marketing team will celebrate with customers on the northbound platform of IDS with music and Metro swag starting at 11 p.m. Friday.
King County Metro has scheduled a commemorative trip on one of the original Breda tunnel buses and on Metro’s current coaches following the arrival of the Route 41 at IDS.
Riders are welcome to join Metro as we celebrate this commemorative ride and travel north in the tunnel to Ninth Avenue and Olive Way where the buses will stop and let passengers board and exit. This will be the only stop before returning to the transit tunnel, traveling south back to International District Station and officially ending all bus transit service in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.
The original Breda tunnel bus will also be parked on Fifth Avenue South between South King Street and South Weller Street from 11 p.m. Friday to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday for public viewing.
Want to join us and celebrate the last time Metro buses travel through the tunnel?
Plan ahead! There’s no way to predict how many riders will attempt to board the final in-service bus trips through the tunnel. To help, Metro is scheduling a handful of additional buses as a commemorative ride from International District Station.
- 11 p.m. Friday, March 22, to 12:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23: Visit the Breda bus on Fifth Avenue South between South King Street and South Weller Street.
- 12:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23: The final in-service southbound Route 41 to use the tunnel leaves Northgate at 12:30 a.m. and will arrive at International District Station at approximately 12:53 a.m. Riders can then disembark and board a special northbound Breda bus and bus caravan at 1 a.m.
- 12:15 a.m. Saturday, March 23: The last Sound Transit Express Route 550 leaves Bellevue Transit Center at 12:15 a.m. to arrive at International District Station at approximately 12:43 a.m. (trip ends at 9th/Olive). Riders can then disembark and wait to board a special northbound Breda bus and bus caravan.
- 1 a.m. Saturday, March 23: Ride the Breda or one of Metro’s special coaches for free for a commemorative last express round trip northbound through the tunnel from International District Station. These buses will make no stops at Pioneer Square Station, University Street Station or Westlake Station. The Breda will exit the tunnel and serve the Ninth Avenue and Olive Street bus stop and return to International District Station on surface streets; the other Metro buses will serve the Ninth Avenue and Olive Street bus stop and return southbound through the tunnel, returning passengers to International District Station.
The event concludes when all customers disembark Metro buses at IDS and exit the platform.
Sound Transit construction crews are scheduled to begin work once the tunnel is closed for the night, following the final commemorative bus trip.