My oh My… Mariners baseball by bus
I’ve been taking the bus to Mariners game for the past few years… it’s the ONLY way to go (unless you take the Sounder… more on that later). A friend recently told me that the parking garage next to Safeco field costs $40. Wow.
From Olympia, we decided to drive to the Lakewood Station (take exit 125/Bridgeport Way, turn right on South Tacoma Way. The garage is on your left, in about 3 blocks). This year-old station has a multiple-story parking garage. Enter the garage at the far NORTH end, where there is a left hand turn lane and light. We caught the Sound Transit express #594 at 11:30. This bus runs every 30 minutes (on the hour and half hour) during the weekend. I discovered that my ORCA card can be read while it’s still in my wallet! That certainly saves that bit of shuffle and digging to get to the ORCA. Need I remind you that the OCRA card is certainly easier than having the correct cash? Anne still doesn’t have an ORCA card, so she paid $3.00 for this trip.
We arrived an hour after departure from Lakewood, within a block of the Safeco field, at Royal Brougham and 4th. This stop is right next to the “Link” (light rail which travels between the SeaTac airport and downtown Seattle) Stadium stop. No doubt there will be other Mariner fans on the bus, which is evident by “M” caps and/or baseball shirts with the wearer’s favorite player’s name and number.
Walking toward the Stadium, there are a few vendors. You can buy everything from peanuts, to licorice, to hot dogs…at a cost significantly less than inside the stadium.
There is a new pedestrian train-track overpass, which snails up and over the tracks… and then down stairs (or elevator) to the northeast stadium entry gate. We took a scenic walk to the 3rd level, where we found Ivars fish and chips, and then our seat, with a great view just to the left of home plate. After seven innings, the Mariners were ahead 1 – 0. We decided it was a good time to leave (while they were still ahead).
The southbound #594 bus leaves from Royal Brougham/4th Avenue every half hour, approximately on the hour and half hour. Since we left the game early, there was no problem getting on the first bus. Sound Transit adds buses to this run at the end of a game, and there is a Sound Transit employee who directs passengers to the correct bus. I’ve never waited more than 10 or 15 minutes to get on a bus.
Taking the Sounder to Mariner games:
Sound Transit operates the Sounder commuter train, which primarily serves standard work-week folks (except, check out the recent “Littlest Rebel” post… which includes a Sounder ride). However… the Sounder makes special weekend runs for the Mariner games. The Sounder leaves the Tacoma Dome station (which is north of the actual Dome) at 11:00. On the weekends, there is plenty of parking at the Tacoma Dome station (or you could take Intercity Transit 603 to Tacoma). The ORCA card works for the Sounder. (For those non-ORCA riders, the cost is $4.75 one way, or $9.50 round trip.) The Sounder passes through Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent and Tukwila, before arriving at the King Street Station in Seattle. Follow the crowd walking past the Qwest sports stadium, and on to Safeco Field. There are several vendors along this route… and lots of fans to get you geared up for the game.
The Sounder departs 30 minutes after the end of the game (even if the game goes into extra innings). This is plenty of time to get back to the train. Be sure that you get on the TACOMA (southbound) train. (There is also a NORTH bound train that goes to Everett).
Check up-to-date schedules and pricing at www.soundtransit.com
Don’t forget to get your ORCA card, at www.ORCAcard.com
Post Preview: The Emerald Downs horse race track has a free shuttle bus that picks up Sounder passengers at the Auburn station. I’ll report on that adventure later this summer…