There is a broad range of choice when it comes to transportation in Seattle, regardless of whether you are interested in traveling by land or by water. King County Metro offers local and commuter buses in Seattle, while Sound Transit operates commuter rail, light rail, and regional express buses in the Puget Sound area.
What is the main transportation in Seattle Washington?
Walking, bicycling, driving, riding buses and light rail, or taking a boat are some of the most prevalent modes of transportation in Seattle.
1. Buses system
- Best for: saving money and experiencing various regions of Seattle
- The cost is one dollar.
- More Information & Schedule: King County Metro
The bus system in Seattle is wonderful, and using public transportation is a terrific way to get about if you’re looking to explore the city on a budget.
The King County Metro bus system serves Seattle as well as the nearby communities of Bellevue and Vashon Island. Because the bulk of King County Metro buses stop in downtown Seattle, switching between routes is simple.
Taking the bus allows you to explore the city like a resident. Furthermore, since all buses are accessible, they are fantastic solutions for those with mobility issues. It is simple to plan a bus excursion. Apps such as the King County Metro travel planner, One Bus Away, and even Google Maps may be used to check bus routes, timing your excursions, and more.
Advantages of the Bus:
- One of the most affordable ways to tour Seattle
- Low-stress, ecologically sustainable mode of transportation
- There are several tools available to assist you in planning your vacation.
The bus’s disadvantages:
- If you’re traveling a long distance, you may need to take many buses.
- The majority of bus services terminate between midnight and 1 a.m.
- The frequency with which different buses operate varies.
Helpful Tip: If you plan on using the buses or other forms of public transportation in Seattle, get an ORCA card transit pass before you arrive. One may be purchased for $3 at the Seatac Airport Station. You can quickly add money to them through the myORCA app or at light rail stations, eliminating the need to carry or spend cash for every travel.
- Save money by exploring districts with “clustered” stores, pubs, and restaurants.
- The cost is nothing.
Because of Seattle’s high walk score, it’s easy to get about on foot. Many communities, especially those with substantial business districts, are walkable. Some of Seattle’s nicest districts, such as downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, and Fremont, are readily accessible by foot.
Walking is a terrific way to explore all of the city’s nooks and crannies and discover hidden treasures. Make sure to include some comfortable walking shoes in your packing list, and you’ll be fine!
Walkers should bear in mind that Seattle has a lot of hills, so you’ll have to cross some of them. Also, before you go for a stroll, check the weather. The weather may force you to reconsider your traveling alternatives.
Advantages of Walking:
- Absolutely free
- A fun method to explore and discover hidden treasures
- It is simple to do in many communities.
- When there is heavy traffic, this is really convenient.
Walking has the following disadvantages:
- Because Seattle is steep, it may be exhausting.
- If it’s raining, this isn’t the most pleasant alternative.
- Some bigger communities are less walkable than others.
- Best for: exploration and getting around big neighborhoods
- Cost: $-$$
- Emerald City Bike Tour, Recycled Cycles, and Pedego are all good places to start.
The Burke-Gilman Trail and the Elliott Bay Trail are two picturesque routes. Bike around major areas such as Ballard and West Seattle.
If you want to mostly cycle during your vacation, use Seattle’s bike map to help you choose the finest, most convenient routes.
- There are several bike-only lanes around the city.
- Excellent for long or short treks.
- There are several bike rental establishments.
- Environmentally conscious
- Unless you have an electric bike, hills may be tough.
- When it’s raining or chilly, it’s less enjoyable.
Related Reading: Both Seward Park and Myrtle Edwards Park offer excellent cycling routes. Check out my post on the finest XXXXX for more information on additional bikeable areas!
4. Ferries in Washington State
- Best for: island exploration, day tours, and breathtaking vistas
- Cost: $-$$$
- Washington State Ferries is where to book.
The ferries are a well-known feature of Washington (which is why riding them is one of the best cheap things to do in Washington state). Ferry trips are not only convenient for traveling about, but they also provide spectacular views of the mountains, skyline, and Puget Sound.
Washington State Ferries operates a number of routes around the state, including many significant ones in Seattle. Routes to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island depart from downtown Seattle’s Colman Dock at Pier 52. Another boat to Vashon Island sails from West Seattle’s Fauntleroy port.
The ferries may be reached by walking, driving, or biking, albeit driving is the most costly alternative. Although you may purchase ferry tickets online, doing so does not guarantee you a space on the ship if you are driving. It is important to note that ferries are loaded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Benefits of the Ferry:
- One of the most beautiful ways to tour Washington
- Run on time every time
- You may choose to walk, drive, or ride your bike.
- If you’re walking or bicycling on, you may use your ORCA card.
The ferry’s disadvantages are as follows:
- If you drive on, it is expensive.
- If you miss a boat, you could have to wait a long time for the next one.
5. Light Rail Connectivity
- Best for: entering the city from the airport, traveling from south to north Seattle
- Cost: $
- Sound Transit Schedule and Additional Information
The Link Light Rail is a portion of the Sound Transit system that is useful if you are flying into Seattle Tacoma International Airport. It’s the cheapest method to go from the airport to the city.
The light rail serves numerous communities in south Seattle and extends all the way to Northgate. You may pay with an ORCA card at the station platform card readers. Just be sure you touch your card as you exit the train to avoid overpaying.
The link light rail, which travels on lines above and beneath, is an excellent method to escape heavy rush-hour traffic. Many of the locations I recommended in my post about where to stay in Seattle are really near the light rail line since it is fast, convenient, and dependable. Take a look at it before deciding where to stay.
Advantages of Light Rail:
- An excellent technique to avoid traffic
- One of the most punctual and dependable types of public transportation
- Simple method to get between north and south Seattle
- The quickest and least expensive method to go from Seatac airport to Seattle
Light Rail’s disadvantages:
- During sporting events and other large events, it might get congested.
- Service is terminated between the hours of 12 a.m. and 1 a.m.
6. Taxis and ride-sharing services
- Best for: convenience and a low-stress mode of transportation
- Cost: $$-$$$
- Booking Options: Lyft, Uber, Yellow Cab
Taxis and other ride-hailing services abound in Seattle. To utilize them, you only need to have the app linked with the service you wish to book. Lyft, Uber, and Yellow Cab are the most popular in Seattle.
While utilizing rideshares on a regular basis might become costly, these are the finest alternatives for folks who want to go out late at night to drink and bar hop. This is due to the fact that they operate at all hours of the night and can securely transport you home.
Advantages of Taxis and Ridesharing:
- Relaxing and stress-free
- To save time, you may plan future pick-ups.
- You won’t have to deal with Seattle traffic at all hours of the night.
The disadvantages of taxis and ridesharing services are as follows:
- One of the most costly modes of transportation
- A smartphone, the appropriate app, and a service to call are required.
- Best for: saving money, swiftly traveling via First Hill and SLU
- Cost: $
- Seattle Streetcar Schedule and More Information
The Emerald City’s streetcars are traditional types of transportation. Seattle streetcar lines were formerly 48 miles long, making it one of the city’s most important sources of transit in the nineteenth century.
There are currently just two streetcar routes. You may take the First Hill streetcar from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill. The South Lake Union Streetcar runs from downtown Seattle to Lake Union.
The streetcars are pleasant, clean, and seldom crowded, making them an excellent choice for a leisurely commute. They aren’t necessarily the quickest choice when compared to other modes of transportation, but they are comfortable, accessible, and straightforward to use with an ORCA card.
The Streetcar has the following advantages:
- It is simple to go from downtown to South Lake Union, or from Pioneer Square to Cap Hill.
- Not as congested as other modes of public transit.
The Streetcar’s disadvantages:
- Route restriction
- It is not always more convenient or quicker than other forms of transportation.
- The best way to go to Seattle Center from downtown.
- Cost: $
- Seattle Monorail Schedule and Additional Information
The Seattle Monorail is a show as well as a method of transportation. It was created for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and is still in use today as a stylish Seattle icon.
This futuristic-looking transport connects Westlake Station in downtown Seattle to the Seattle Center. It puts you off near the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture, two of Seattle’s top attractions.
It is inexpensive to operate and operates often. While it is not practical for exploring beyond the Seattle Center, its sleek, 1960s-era architecture makes it a worthwhile tourist attraction to ride at least once.
The Monorail has the following advantages:
- Runs often and on time
- Interesting tourist attraction
The Monorail’s disadvantages:
It only runs between downtown and Seattle Center; it is not useful for reaching anyplace else.
- Best for: day drives or weekend getaways, comfort, and magnificent vistas
- Cost: $$-$$$
- Amtrak is the best way to travel.
The author works on her laptop on the train to Portland.
On a train journey to Portland, I’m doing some writing and admiring the scenery.
Taking the train from King Street Station in the International District is a wonderful choice for a day trip or weekend break from Seattle.
This is an excellent way to see other amazing cities in Washington state, such as Tacoma, or to go as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. Amtrak’s website allows you to easily order tickets online.
The trains are pleasant and provide beautiful scenery. If you pick this means of transportation, make sure you thoroughly plan out the specifics of your journey. You don’t miss a train back or discover you don’t know how to get around the next city when you arrive.
- A gorgeous and enjoyable way to get out of the city.
- There is no need to consider driving, parking, petrol, and so forth.
- Driving provides more independence and flexibility.
- You are constrained by train route timetables.
Public transportation seattle airport
For visitors to the city, the Seattle Airport provides a range of public transit options. Rail and bus services from the transit station take travelers in minutes to downtown Seattle, Sea-Tac Airport, and other destinations including as Tacoma.
Shuttle services from the airport to local hotels and adjacent places are also available. Car, taxi, and ridesharing services are also accessible near the airport for individuals who need to go from one point to another fast. Visitors to Seattle may easily make their way about the city thanks to the city’s many public transit choices.
The Best Ways to Get from Seatac Airport to Downtown Seattle:
- Use the Light Rail.
- Taking Uber from Seatac to Seattle
- Take a taxi from Seatac Airport
- Utilize Lyft.
- Take an Airporter from Seattle International Airport to Seattle Hotels.
- Get a car rental.
The Link light rail train from Seatac airport to downtown Seattle costs $3.00. Fares vary depending on distance, with the lowest being $2.25 and the most costly being $3.50, however it is presently $3.00 between the airport and the downtown e
The Link light rail system links downtown Seattle to SeaTac Airport with 11 stations. The trip from the airport to Westlake Center takes about 37 minutes and costs $3.00 each way (youth 6-18: $1.50; seniors 65+ and disabled: $1.00). Visit soundtransit.org for more information about Link light rail.
The cost of public transit in Seattle
Seattle has a fantastic public transit system. It offers a variety of services, including buses, trains, and the Link light rail, all of which are accessible with the Seattle Card.
Fares vary per route, but cash tickets, passes, and day/monthly tickets are available for passengers of all ages, including students and kids.
To make things even easier, there is a Sea-Tac Airport Shuttle and a smartphone app that allows you to pay tickets and watch itineraries in real time.
Buses are your best buddy if you’re on a tight budget. King County Metro Transit, which is part of the King County Department of Transportation, operates the majority of buses in Seattle. The website includes transportation schedules, maps, and a travel planner. To keep things simple, all bus fares inside the city boundaries of Seattle are $2.75.
Adult one-way fares will rise to $3.50 beginning January 1, 2023. Youth fares, presently $1.50 one-way, will rise to $1.75 one-way on January 1, 2023.
App for using Seattle’s public transit
Using the Seattle Transit app is a convenient method to navigate the city’s public transportation network. This program connects users with ticket vending machines at Angle Lake stations, enables them to plan itineraries, accepts payments from debit/credit cards and even PayPal, and allows users to buy tickets directly from the machines.
In addition to connecting users to taxi services, the app provides users with access to scooter-share services in Capitol Hill, WSDOT Seatac Airport, International District, and Chinatown.
The myORCA app has made it possible to manage your ORCA card at any time, from any location. Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, and Washington State Ferries accept ORCA for fares and transfers
To order more cards, go to myORCA.com. Unfortunately, you can’t use your phone in place of your ORCA card just yet. Your ORCA card is still required for fare payment.
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