Frequently Asked Questions
What are local public transit systems doing to keep travel safe for passengers?
King County Metro and Sound Transit continue to implement health and safety practices based on local, state, and national recommendations.
- Daily disinfecting of each bus
- Upgraded air filters
- Set passenger limits to support local physical distancing
- Mask requirements
- Added health partitions
- Backdoor boarding (when possible).
What should I do as a passenger to stay safe
As a passenger, you are required to wear a mask or face covering. You should maintain 6 feet social distancing guidelines while on the bus, wash your hands after the trip (and sanitizer could also be used during the trip), and allow for extra time during your commute in case your first-choice trip is already at capacity or you feel it’s too full to ride safetly.
Please plan before taking each trip by visiting the Reduced Schedule page to ensure your route is operating, check the Canceled Trips page, and use Text for Departure to confirm the status of your specific trip.
How do I tell if the bus is over-crowded?
Buses are subject to the same local indoor guidelines and regulations across the city. That means the number of passengers is limited to the type of bus to ensure proper social distancing is possible.
- 12 passengers / 40-foot bus
- 18 passengers / 60-foot bus
How will we know when the bus is at capacity?
When a bus reaches or exceeds the optimal number (listed above), the driver will pass subsequent bus stops, unless current passengers wish to exit. Drivers will show their bus is at capacity by switching the external destination sign from the “Essential Trips Only” reminder, to “Coach is Full, Sorry.”
What happens if the bus passes me up because it’s at capacity?
Bus drivers will stay in frequent contact with Metro’s Transit Control Center, alerting them if they reach capacity and if they must pass a bus stop due to capacity. The Control Center will send another bus on that route.
King County Transit is also able to monitor and track (in real-time) both capacity on the bus, as well as those passed by at bus stops. With this collected data additional routes and busses will be added in the future where demand is high.
How can I ensure that I will have a spot on the bus?
It is difficult to guarantee a spot on a bus, especially during regular commuting hours. If you have flexibility in your schedule, one option could be to travel outside high peak times You can also check the Reduced Schedule page on the King County Metro website to help plan.
What will happen if a passenger isn’t wearing a mask? Will masks be enforced?
Unfortunately, the bus driver will be focused on driving safely and will not be enforcing the mask requirement. However, language has been updated from Please Wear a Mask to Masks Required on all busses. This language is noted in clear signage in the bus, on the doors, and on all marketing efforts, communicated in English, Spanish, and use of Graphics/Symbols.
When will transportation return to normal?
King County Metro is able to adapt as Seattle moves into different phases and is working to meet demand by adding buses and trips when able.
How do I stay up-to-date on transportation and commuting?
King County Metro Transit
- Seattle & King County’s COVID-19 webpage
Other King County Services
- Changes because of COVID-19: https://kingcounty.gov/about/news/covid-service-changes.aspx
- Download the OneBusAway app
How can I stay safe while walking between Kerry and Main Campus and the Seattle Center?
South Lake Union (Main Campus) is one of the busiest neighborhoods in Seattle. It’s the hub for Amazon and the biotech industry, so, being out and about in this part of town you’ll find people going to and from work and people discovering cafes and eateries during the lunch and dinner times. The main campus is just off one of Seattle’s main streets, Denny Way, with bus and light rail stops a block away.
The other campuses (Kerry Hall and Seattle Center) are in adjacent neighborhoods and are accessible by public transportation, but are also within walking distance. If you choose to walk, Kerry Hall is approximately a 20-minute walk up Denny Way, and Seattle Center Campus is approximately a 25-minute walk down Denny Way. Ride-shares are also popular in Seattle, a typical fare from Main Campus to either Kerry Hall or Seattle Center would be about 7-8 bucks.
Nevertheless, staying safe, like in any other city, is important to keep in mind. So, walking with a buddy, staying on main roads, and walking without earbuds are three tips to keep in mind anywhere you are.
What do I do if I miss class because of the bus?
If this happens, please send a message to your faculty member as soon as possible. The most important thing you can do, if you miss class for any reason, is to communicate as quickly as you are able. Faculty should have information in the syllabus about their preferred methods of communication.
What should the email say, if I am running late because of the bus?
An example of a message could look like this:
“Dear Professor/Dr. X, I am currently waiting for a bus to come to campus and the last bus was already at capacity and had to pass my stop. I am on my way and will arrive as soon as I can”
Will I be docked points if I miss class because of the bus?
Faculty are aware of the operating procedures of the public transit systems at this time and many also use public transportation in town. You should not be penalized for what is out of your control. However, if you repeatedly miss class because of the bus, that will likely be cause for concern and the faculty member, or a Student Success Coach, may reach out to talk to you in more detail about the obstacles you are facing in getting to class.