Sound Transit sets baseline budget, schedule for Stride Bus Rapid Transit

The Sound Transit Board Thursday adopted a final budget and schedule for the new Stride bus rapid transit (BRT) service, including a new bus base and BRT lines on SR 522/NE 145th Street and I-405. Sound Transit expects to begin construction of some project elements this year and to open for service between 2027 and 2029.

BRT was part of Sound Transit’s 2016 voter-approved system expansion program ST3. According to an agency press release, Stride will offer high-capacity transit service with connections to light rail in Bellevue, Tukwila, Shoreline and Lynnwood.

When Stride begins operating, trips between Bellevue and Burien will take approximately 40 minutes; trips between Lynnwood and Bellevue will take approximately 35 minutes; and trips between Shoreline and Bothell will take approximately 37 minutes. These travel times are an average of 20 minutes faster than current ST Express bus service in these areas.

“Today’s action is a significant step forward in expanding and connecting our regional high-capacity transit network,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Stride will provide fast, frequent reliable service to thousands of riders on the I-405 and SR 522 corridors, and seamless connections to Link light rail and regional bus services. We look forward to beginning construction on these BRT projects.”

The Stride project includes the Bus Base North, and BRT lines between Lynnwood and Burien on I-405, I-5 and SR 518 (S1 and S2 lines), and between Shoreline and Bothell on SR 522/NE 145th (S3 line). The combined budget for the Stride BRT program is $2.35 billion. This total budget exceeds the realignment cost estimate as assumed in the financial plan by approximately 14%. Factors contributing to additional costs include inflation, market factors, scope changes and schedule impacts.

Bus Base North (BBN)

The Bus Base North will be the first Sound Transit bus operations and maintenance base, serving the full Stride BRT fleet and a portion of the ST Express fleet, with a total capacity of 120 buses. The operating facility will provide storage, maintenance, charging, fueling, washing, repairs and deployment of the bus fleet.

The Stride bus fleet will include Sound Transit’s first battery electric buses, for a cleaner, more sustainable way to travel in the region. There will be a fleet of double decker buses on S1 and S2, and 60-foot articulated buses on S3. Buses will be in operation most of the day, charging each time they layover at route termini.

The BBN is expected to open for service in the fourth quarter of 2027. The approved budget for the Bus Base North is $499.5 million.

I-405 Stride Bus Rapid Transit 

The I-405 BRT project will establish a BRT system from the Lynnwood Transit Center to the Burien Transit Center via I-5, I-405 and SR 518. The project consists of several elements, including new and upgraded transit centers, limited new park-and-ride capacity, freeway BRT stations, and non-motorized access improvements to the stations. Sound Transit components that are within WSDOT’s Brickyard to SR 527 Improvement Project are part of the I-405 BRT north line (S2). The I-405 BRT will connect to the regional transit system at three Link light rail stations and the SR 522/NE 145th BRT line.

The Stride S1 line between Burien and Bellevue is expected to open in the third quarter of 2028, and the Stride S2 line between Lynnwood and Bellevue is expected to open in the second quarter of 2029.

The approved budget for the I-405 BRT project is $1.27 billion.

SR 522/NE 145th Street Stride Bus Rapid Transit

The SR 522/NE 145th BRT Project establishes bus rapid transit service along the corridor, primarily operating in business access and transit (BAT) and bus queue bypass lanes for nine miles between Shoreline and Bothell, with separate, connecting service options to Woodinville. The Stride S3 line is expected to open in the second quarter of 2028.

The approved budget for the SR 522/NE 145th Street BRT project is $581.5 million.

More information about Stride BRT is at www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion/stride-bus-rapid-transit.

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