To help riders, improve reliability and speed up service by 10 minutes or more when traffic is congested on Stewart Street, Metro is moving inbound Route 41 trips to Downtown Seattle to travel instead on Union Street starting Saturday, July 27. This revision will be in effect at all times, seven days per week.
The change is intended to let Metro riders avoid significant morning congestion on the Stewart Street I-5 off-ramp and surface street and will assist an estimated 2,100+ morning riders by shortening their trip by 5-10 minutes on average. Riders also will benefit from faster service any time Stewart is congested.
It means inbound Route 41 will no longer serve two stops (Seventh & Stewart and Third & Pine) and will instead serve two new stops (under the Convention Center when the southbound I-5 Express Lanes are open and on Union between Fifth and Sixth Avenues at all times). About 500 riders currently use first two stops daily and will likely exit instead at the two new stop locations.
Metro is making the change after fielding concerns from customers and bus drivers about longer travel times – sometimes making for a very long trip just to reach the first downtown bus stop. Route 41 shifted from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel to surface streets in March. Analysis shows that median travel times stretched 10-15 minutes longer in the morning peak than during other times of day. The delays are caused by I-5 ramp and downtown street congestion.
By moving Route 41 to Union Street, buses will avoid the worst of the inbound delays.
Metro’s planning and service quality teams surveyed riders and bus drivers and showed them the benefits and tradeoffs of the Union Street routing. A large majority (79 percent of riders surveyed and 94 percent of Route 41 bus drivers) supported having the faster travel times and better reliability with having to potentially travel farther between the new bus stops and their destination.
Online information sources, including Metro’s trip planner, One Bus Away, and others will reflect the new routing beginning July 27. Transit alert details also are posted.
Alternative transit options for those affected – For those traveling between north downtown and Northgate, customers may use the Route 63X to access north downtown and South Lake Union via stops on Fairview (at Denny, Harrison, and Mercer). Customers that currently board Route 41 at the Stewart Street and 7th Avenue stop may use Route 70 to make that connection.
We appreciate the patience of riders and will continue to listen to customer concerns about transit service and monitor performance.