Success: First time bus adventurer!
Many thanks for Liz Boston for sharing her experiences as a SOLO bus rider travelling between Lacey and Seattle! A true Rebel; way to go, Liz! Here are the details:
With the cancellation of the SPSCC trip on February 21, 2017 to Klondike National Park in Seattle and no experience yet riding the buses from Lacey to Seattle myself, Mary Williams was so kind to share her advice with me on how to do it on my own. I thought I would share the details on this ‘guest’ blog posting, in hopes of encouraging others to venture out on their own using public transit between Lacey and Seattle.
I caught the 605 bus at about 11am in Lacey at the Martin Way Park & Ride, and arrived at Lakewood 512 Park & Ride about 15 minutes before the 594 bus. It travels through Tacoma on its way to Seattle. The stop right after the Seattle sports arenas was 4th and Jackson, and someone had pushed the red STOP request button so I just confirmed the location by asking the bus driver. Got out, used the AMAZING bathrooms that Mary had told me about in the former Union Station that is now Sound Transit owned. I took photos of the Ladies Room and the station’s waiting room!! I could just picture ladies in 1920s outfits using the facilities after a long train trip. Long skirts, big hats. The Ladies Room even has a row of well-lit full length mirrors still.
My other goal was to figure the path to Swedish Medical Center on First Hill (Broadway and Marion) for future trips via the First Hill Streetcar. Bought an adult ORCA card at the kiosk machine at the top of the escalator leading to the bus tunnel (just to the right of Union Station, as you’re exiting). Next I figured out what Inbound and Outbound meant for the First Hill Streetcar (Inbound is toward center/water, outbound is away from center towards First Hill.) Asked a fellow rider how to use the machine for tapping the ORCA card before boarding. LOVED the Streetcar, huge windows and a slower pace. I got out at the Broadway and Marion stop, and found my Swedish destination. Had lunch, bought some new boots at a specialty shoe store near Swedish (and left the box with the store so it was easier to carry home.)
Then I used the First Hill Streetcar to come back to Union Station and went past to the last stop Occidental and Jackson. Got out and visited Klondike National Park, it was quite interesting! Not enough time to spend there, but since its free I’ll visit it again. Found the stop for Bus 592 – I didn’t realize it was at 2nd and Yesler , not 4th and Jackson, until I looked carefully at the bus schedule. Waited 8 minutes. Took Bus 592 to Lakewood P&R, luckily waited 1 minute for 605 bus back to Lacey. Total of 2 hours back, not bad for 4:45 departure in rush hour. And a lot more relaxing than driving. I am now a public transportation convert! And look forward to using my ORCA card over and over. Many thanks to Mary Williams for the directions and encouragement!
For anyone needing to go to either Swedish Medical Center on First Hill (the main hospital, not Cherry Hill) or Virginia Mason Hospital or the Polyclinic on Broadway, here are the directions in summary:
- Bus 605 from Lacey Park and Ride to Lakewood 512 Park and Ride Transfer station in Lakewood $3.00
- Bus 594 from the Lakewood 512 Park and Ride $3.75
- Get off at 4th and Jackson, the stop after passing Safeco Field. Optional, take a quick restroom break inside the former Union Station building. Beautiful and clean!
- If you need to buy an adult Orca card or refill any Orca card, use the automated machines on the platform there in the International District transfer station. There is no ticketing or cash taken on the streetcar.
- Walk up Jackson to 5th. Cross half way over Jackson to the long platform/median in the center of the street, which is the stop for the First Hill Streetcar. Use the Outbound stop. You wave your Orca card at the reader before or when the streetcar arrives, it’s sort of an honor system. (I suppose they periodically check passengers somehow.) $2.25 for a 2 hour ride with as many stops as you want. $4.50 for the day if you get back on longer than 2 hours later.
- To go to Swedish or Virginia Mason, get off at the Broadway and Marion stop and walk to your building. There are several Swedish Medical Center buildings in that area, and Virginia Mason is about a 3 block walk downhill.
- Reverse order to return.
Optional, on the return trip between 2:30pm and 6:12pm, you can get off streetcar at the last stop, Occidental and Jackson, and walk north up 2nd Ave to Yesler. The 592 Express bus picks up there during rush hours in the afternoon – look at the bus stop sign. It goes directly to the Lakewood 512 Park & Ride without going through Tacoma or any other stops before Lakewood. A time saver! But be sure to get out at Lakewood to get your 605 bus back to Lacey, or you could get stuck in Dupont! Only every other 592 bus continues to Olympia and the 592 buses that do go to Olympia do not stop at the Lacey Park and Ride, only to Hawks Prairie Park & Ride and downtown Olympia.