Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

A first bus ride!

The littlest Rebel-by-bus took his FIRST bus and train ride this past week. Max, my seven month old grand nephew, was visiting from Fairbanks. He, his Mom, Grandma, and I drove to the Lakewood Station to catch the 10:00 am bus. I used my ORCA card, Polly and Sarah paid $3.00 each. As soon as Max was settled on his Mom’s lap, he was wide-eyed and gazing out the big window. He was a very happy little one all the way, smiling and giggling at anyone who smiled at him. We arrived at approximately 11:15 at 4th and Seneca in heart of downtown Seattle. We were greeted at the Westlake Mall area by a woman handing out free daffodils… a gift from the Pike Place Market, to celebrate the first day of spring.

We met family and friends for a pleasant lunch at the Seattle Art Museum (1st and University) TASTE restaurant. Fun and inventive food (beet cake?!), at a reasonable price. We toured the Calder exhibit (mobile maker extraordinaire) at the SAM, then strolled the Pike Place Market, which is two blocks north of the SAM. The daffodils in window boxes along the roofline of the Market were in full bloom.

We walked (slightly downhill) down 1st Avenue to the Union Street train Station to catch the Sounder commuter train for the ride home. The Sounder has seven southbound afternoon runs, between 3:15 pm and 6:15 pm.
See for schedules and details.

The best way to enter the Sounder area is to take the pedestrian overpass and stairway that is on the west side of 4th Avenue, close to the Union Street Station clock tower. (Take a left on Washington Street from 1st). I had my ORCA card, so with a tap on the ORCA reader at the top of the stairs leading to the Sounder, I was set to go. Sarah and Polly used the convenient ORCA kiosk, down the stairs close to the train, to buy two one way tickets to Lakewood ($4.75 for an adult, one way) for the 5:40 train.

Again, Max was a very happy camper. We sat in the top level of our car, having only a handful of other riders joining us. The smooth and quiet ride stopped at Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup before ending the run at the Tacoma Dome. North of the Puyallup station we had a FULL view of Mt. Rainier, complete with all-in-bloom yellow daffodils as a lovely foreground. What a picture!

We arrived at the Tacoma Dome right on time (6:39 pm), just about an hour from our beginning. One hour travel time between downtown Seattle to Tacoma on a Friday afternoon is FAST; much better than fighting that I-5 traffic! At this time (March 2010), the Sounder’s southern terminus is the Tacoma Dome. The Sound Transit bus 599 waits for you next to the train, to take you directly to the Lakewood Station, at no additional cost.

This trip was another reminder of the convenience AND cost savings in taking public transportation. Weekday parking at the SAM (Chase Center) costs $21 for 5 hours (or more). Three adult fares, round trip from Lakewood to Seattle, costs $18. Yes, we “splurged” and took the Sounder one way… for an additional $1.75 each, or $5.25 in total. So, the three of us spent a total of $23.25 on transportation. Wow.

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