The New Year brings good news. In expectation of clearer roads and a milder weather forecast, King County Metro will begin to restore transit service previously suspended by snow. Metro will deactivate the Emergency Snow Network (ESN) at 4 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 2

All Metro bus routes active on weekends will operate on their regular schedules starting Jan. 2 where road conditions allow.  

Metro vehicle maintenance crews have shifted away from chaining and retrieving stuck buses and have started repairs to damaged buses that operated during the winter storm. Metro is assessing the number of available buses and whether any routes may need to remain temporarily suspended on Monday, Jan. 3, as additional repairs are completed. 

“Our transit professionals kept the region moving safely during the recent snowstorms,” said King County Metro General Manager Terry White. “Now we turn our attention to repairing buses damaged over the past week and again operating the broader all-day transit network that riders rely on.” 

Riders traveling on Saturday, Jan. 1, should review what routes are operating on the Emergency Snow Network before traveling. On Sunday, Jan. 2, online resources will be updated to reflect any lingering snow routes where road conditions continue to be difficult for transit service. Masks are required on all public transportation.  

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Water taxi, Access and on-demand services 

  • Water taxi: The West Seattle route is not operating Jan. 1. Service will resume on Sunday, Jan. 2. 
  • Access paratransit currently provides only lifesaving and emergency trips depending on conditions and availability. Access continues to provide life-sustaining medical transportation. For Sunday Jan. 2, 2022, Access will continue to provide only lifesaving and emergency trips and will increase availability as routes become clear.  Some roads in outlying areas of the county might continue to be impassable. Rides requested for riders who are not yet certified by Access will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. During this time, customers who are not certified to use Access that need to connect to life-sustaining medical services can call 206-205-5000 to request services between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Access is working closely with bus service to meet the needs of all of our customers. 
  • On-demand services: Via to Transit in south Seattle and south King County, Ride Pingo to Transit in Kent are temporarily not operating due to road conditions. Community Ride in Sammamish is temporarily not operating Saturday due to road conditions and does not operate on Sundays. 

Customer Service updates 

Options to Pay for your transit trips include:  

  • To load value to your ORCA card, call Customer Service (206-553-3000) or visit Funds will be available 24-48 hours after your purchase. 
  • To add funds immediately, visit an ORCA Retail Outlet close to home or at a Ticket Vending Machine located at Link Light Rail stations and several regional transit centers. 
  • Purchase a mobile ticket through the Transit GO ticket app to use it right away. 
  • Use cash. Please have the exact fare ready; drivers do not carry change. If you are transferring, ask the driver for a paper transfer at the time you pay. 
  • Enroll in reduced fare programs from home:  
  • Apply for ORCA LIFT, Subsidized Annual Pass, Senior and Disabled Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP), and ORCA Youth cards online with Metro’s Reduced Fare Portal: 
  • Call Public Health to enroll in ORCA LIFT and Subsidized Annual Pass or renew your card: (800) 756-5437. 

Tips and tricks for riders 

  • Visit and click on the regional map to access status updates on your route. 
  • Transit Alerts: Riders should sign up or update route subscriptions to receive Transit Alerts via text and email for their bus routes. Routes can change quickly depending on conditions.  
  • Real-time updates show whether a bus trip is operating when it’s due to depart or if it’s been canceled.  
  • Text for Departures allows riders to text their bus stop number to 62550 and receive the next bus trips headed their way or a cancellation notice. Riders can save 62550 in their phones in advance. Metro’s real-time departure information can become less accurate during a storm and rough road conditions. 
  • “Next departures” is available on both the Puget Sound Trip Planner webpage and the Puget Sound Trip Planner App. Riders can check these sites to see whether their trip is reporting its position and estimated arrival time. 
  • Follow @kcmetrobus on Twitter to see the latest travel tips and service information. 
  • Riders who intend to use Metro’s services Friday, Dec. 31, should visit the Emergency Snow Network webpage to view details about routes in operation and to identify their options. 
  • Posted timetables on Metro’s “Schedules & Maps” page are a good point of reference for the roughly 60 ESN routes operating Saturday, Jan. 1, but unforeseen road and weather conditions may result in delays or unplanned reroutes. 
  • Customers should be aware that Puget Sound Trip Planner and third-party apps will not reflect ESN service and will not be accurate for planning itineraries on ESN days. However, once riders know which ESN route they want to use, other Puget Sound Trip Planner features, such as maps, bus stop locations, and timetables for ESN routes, are valid. Puget Sound Trip Planner and other apps are still accurate for planning trips or getting schedules for regular service days.

Traveling around Puget Sound? Our partner transit agencies have details about service during snow in their areas