Archive for the ‘ORCA’ Category

They say it’s taboo to break-up on Valentine’s Day, but this year, we encourage you to do so. Break up with your old commute! Stop sitting in traffic all alone, or simply try something new! Maybe your relationship with the bus has gone stale and that shiny vanpool’s caught your eye; or maybe you’re in need of a partner who’s more outdoorsy and has two wheels… Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to be your matchmaker.

So, how do you find a ridematch anyway? It’s as easy as 1-2-3 with Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Watch the video:

Intimidated by biking Downtown? Use our Downtown Bellevue Bike Map to find a route that’s your speed.

What’s the bus got to do with orcas? Choose Your Way Bellevue will catch you up with all the tips and tricks.

As always, we’re here to help with your questions. Now get out there and meet your (commute) match!

Friday, February 3rd, 2017 3:38 PM | by Paige Anderson | Add a Comment

Planning of Commute – Anxiety Level 6/10

I would consider myself an intermediate Seattle bus traveler. I used to ride the bus every day to get to work in South Lake Union, or to neighboring areas like Capitol Hill and Queen Anne, but never one to take me across multiple cities. So in regards to intercity public transportation, I’m a novice at best. So the night before my second day at my new job in Bellevue, I decided to map out my path of travel and outline any red flags such as road closures and “what if” scenarios if buses were late. Using this time resting my eyes, meditating, maybe actually having breakfast – sounded a lot more tempting than driving during rush hour to get back home in Seattle. I used every source I could think of: Google Maps, One Bus Away, Metro Trip Planner – anything that could give me a good sense of timing.

Morning of Commute – Anxiety Level 7/10

I found that I could take the bus right outside my door down to the University Street tunnel station and transfer easily to a bus that came about every 8-15 minutes to downtown Bellevue. As I waited, I noticed I didn’t have reception down in the tunnel station. I glanced across the way and saw a sign that said free Wi-Fi on the platform! PERFECT! I quickly logged in and checked my One Bus Away app and notice that my bus was running behind. If I had checked before I could have made it in time for the bus ahead of it, but after getting a little confused with which way to head off of the bus, I just barely missed it. A gentleman next to me mentioned that usually this bus is right on time, so I’ll count today as an anomaly. Once it arrived a few minutes later, the bus was a bit crowded, but I was able to get on. As we were cruising swiftly by traffic on I-90 I realized that we were quickly making up time for the late departure. I arrived at the Bellevue Transit Center and at work a few minutes late, but not bad for a first timer.

Week 2 of Commuting to Bellevue– Anxiety Level 1/10

Two weeks later – When I wake up, I quickly check my One Bus Away (an app a fellow bus rider suggested to me), to see when my bus is arriving, I keep it on hand as it updates regularly and I can easily walk out my door about 2 minutes beforehand. I now have a routine down and can sometimes catch an extra wink or two in the morning due to how consistent my travel time is now into work. The 550 has been on time (give or take 2-3 minutes) every day, and I’ve always scored an open seat.  I’m glad I didn’t let one hiccup deter me from trying the route again, but it comes by so often that even if you do miss a bus, you know the next one is just right around the corner.


  • No “Cutsy’s”! –Unspoken protocol for commuters traveling to and from the Eastside, make sure to wait in whatever line is forming for the bus at your platform. When your bus arrives, some may get on, others won’t, just step forward and make sure not to jump ahead of anyone that is getting on the same bus! On day 1, this formal line was a foreign concept to me as it’s usually a free for all on Seattle downtown buses, but I quickly learned that you either get in line, or wait until the end of it to get on.

Overhead space for extra items

  • Have extra bags or books? The Sound Transit buses have overhead space compartments for just those things. Another plus was overhead extra lighting, so make sure to bring that book or set of notes to review!
  • Stand clear of the back doors or they won’t be able to close.
  • Have your fare ready!
  • Also, make sure to enjoy the view!

    View off the I-90 bridge

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 9:59 AM | by Sandee Ditt | Add a Comment

Construction has begun on East Link’s downtown Bellevue Tunnel. Starting June 13th, contractors will close a portion of 110th Ave. NE to replace the soil under the roadway. The current substrate consists of loose fill which it is not adequate for the tunneling operation. The loose substrate will be replaced with a concrete like material and the roadway will be restored, allowing full access during tunnel construction.

Phase one of the closure will last approximately five weeks (June 13th to late July).

110th closure Phase 1

The initial closure will block all lanes in both directions of 110th Ave. NE from NE 6th St. to the loading dock of City Center Plaza. The 110th Ave. entrance to City Center Plaza will be closed during this phase of construction, but there will be limited access via the loading dock. Please contact property management for more details. Both the City Hall visitor entrance and the Skyline garage will continue to be accessible via 110th Ave. NE, but drivers will have to access it from the south.  Vehicle access to Skyline Tower, City Center Plaza and Bellevue City Hall will be restricted to a right turn only from westbound NE 4th St.. The sidewalk on the western side of  110th Ave. NE between NE 4th St. and NE 6th St. will be closed. The sidewalk on the east side will remain open.

 Phase two of the closure will continue for an additional five weeks (Late July-early September).

110th closure Phase 2

During phase two, the western-most lane will be reopened to southbound traffic. At this point, vehicles traveling southbound on 110th Ave. NE will have access to the City Center Plaza and Skyline Tower garages, but vehicles exiting the garages must exit southbound on 110th Ave. NE.

Although the construction site is relatively small, traffic impacts are expected to spread beyond the immediate area. Diversion is expected on NE 8th St., NE 4th St. and NE 2nd St. as well as 112th Ave. NE and 108th Ave. NE.

Customer and visitor access to Bellevue City Hall remains available from northbound 110th Ave. NE and westbound from NE 6th St.

 Transit access to the Bellevue Transit Center will not be affected and all bus service will continue as scheduled.

Choose Your Way Bellevue wants to help you find other transportation options.

  • Contact us for custom commute plans and carpool/vanpool matching.
  • During the 110thAve. NE closure, Choose Your Way Bellevue is offering new transit riders* ORCA cards preloaded with a $10 E-purse, to get you started.
  • King County Metro VanPool is offering five days of free rides in operating vanpool and vanshare commuter vans.
  • Contact info@cywb.orgfor more information on the ORCA and VanPool promotions.


To help you get through construction, we are inviting new transit riders* to apply for a preloaded $10 ORCA card (while supplies last) or five free rides in a KC Metro commuter van. Whether you want to commute to the office, ride to the Bellevue Collection for shopping and dining, bus to Seattle for a Mariners game, or if you want to try the Sound Transit 560 or light rail to the airport, we have your first trips covered.

We will review your application, and if approved, will mail you an ORCA card within seven business days.


  • *A new transit user is anyone who has not used transit more than three times in the past three months.
  • Participants who have previously received an ORCA card from Choose Your Way Bellevue are not eligible for this promotion.
  • If you are already taking advantage of your employer’s ORCA benefit, you are not eligible for this promotion.
  • For more details contact Choose Your Way Bellevue, please email
  • Limit one per person and one per email address.

Our team is also available to help you plan a transit trip through our online commute inquiry form.

 How it works

  • Submit a request for a preloaded $10 ORCA while the promotion is available here.
  • The ORCA cards will be mailed out by Choose Your Way Bellevue staff weekly.
  • Limit one per person.
  • Limit one per email address.
  • For the KC Metro commuter van promotion find a van with a seat or for tips on finding a van, contact Once you find a van complete this form.
Friday, June 3rd, 2016 9:38 PM | by Jason Hampton | Comments (1)

With so many transit resources available it can be hard to know where to begin! Especially for those with specific needs it can be especially challenging to find information. Below are some basics to get started; and remember King County Metro, Sound Transit, and Choose Your Way Bellevue are always available to assist you.

ST Accesibility_455

Image thanks to Sound Transit

For those with disabilities: All regular Metro and Sound Transit services are designed to be as inclusive as possible, and service animals are always welcomed aboard. All Sound Transit services and facilities are 100% Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant and all light rail facilities feature level-boarding platforms for easy roll-on access.

Those with specific needs that preclude them from using the regular service may choose to utilize Metro’s Access Transportation which takes riders anywhere served by bus, streetcar or light rail. For those who meet ADA eligibility requirements, Metro’s Paratransit services may also be utilized. To qualify for such services users much verify their eligibility. Call (206) 263 3113 to speak with someone about your eligibility, or click here.

Image thanks to King County Metro

Image thanks to King County Metro

Reduced Fare: To receive a reduced fare ORCA Lift card (good for both Sound Transit and Metro), riders must verify their income by visiting one of the enrollment locations (list here: or by bringing the appropriate paperwork to an ORCA To Go event. Be aware though that the hours of operation for enrollment locations are not standardized. Once received, the ORCA Lift card is valid for two years, regardless of an increase in income, and may be used on Metro, Kitsap, and Sound Transit buses, Sound Transit light rail and Sounder trains, King County Water Taxi, and the Seattle Streetcar. To check your eligibility call (206) 553-3000 or (800) 756-5437 or click here.

Senior/Disabled and Youth ORCA cards can reduce fare costs as well. To find out about eligibility requirements click here. Adult and Youth cards are available by mail; other cards are available in person and require proof of eligibility. For more information about obtaining ORCA cards click here.

Non-English Resources: We recognize the current and growing need for resources in additional languages. At the bottom of both Metro and Sound Transit webpages, a language preference may be selected for viewing online resources. For help planning trips or other information Metro’s Customer Service line can be reached at (206) 553 3000. By pressing “1” for an interpreter, callers may discuss their inquiry in over 200 languages. The City of Bellevue’s number for language assistance is (425) 452 6800.

No matter how you utilize your transit options, transit agencies always welcome your feedback, particularly if there is a way for these agencies to better serve those with specific needs. You can contact Sound Transit, King County Metro, or Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Editor’s Note: All information compiled from Sound Transit and King County Metro. For specific questions please email or Sound Transit and King County Metro.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 9:57 PM | by Paige Anderson | Comments Off on Access: Metro and Sound Transit are here to help!

New Link service to the University of Washington (UW) started March 19 and buses change March 26. But what does that mean for Bellevue commuters?

u link image_image 1On Saturday, March 19, Sound Transit expanded to serve two new stations on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium. The two new University Link (U-Link) stations connects to existing Central Link that currently runs from Westlake in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel to SeaTac airport. During the first week of new U-Link service to Husky Stadium, use current bus service to connect with light rail. From Saturday, March 19 through Friday, March 25, commuters can use existing bus service to reach the Link stations.

From Sound Transit: University Link Extension Map

From Sound Transit: University Link Extension Map

From Sound Transit: University Station map

From Sound Transit: University Station map

One week later, on March 26, Metro’s spring service change will take effect. Metro produced a great interactive map that shows the Link light rail alignment, and another page that outlines the service changes route by route. There are no eastside buses that will see significant impacts with this service change; but if you travel on a local Seattle bus or if you connect to the Metro 271 or Sound Transit 555 to travel to Bellevue check your route here. The Metro 271 routes and times will remain the same.

Bottom line:

We’ve listed some of the changes below, but remember that Choose Your Way Bellevue is here to help you navigate these changes and plan your trip. Contact us for a custom commute plan.

Call us: 425-990-3097

U-Link by the Numbers:

  • Frequency: Trains will run the following schedule, always running at the very least every 15 minutes from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on weekdays & Saturdays; and from 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. on Sundays.

Weekday Frequencies

5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. Every 15 minutes
6:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Every 6 minutes
8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Every 10 minutes
3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Every 6 minutes
6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Every 10 minutes
9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Every 15 minutes


Travel Times

  • Metro 271 from downtown Bellevue to Montlake: 26 minutes + transfer to Link: ~5 minutes, and Link to Pioneer Square: ~12 minutes = 43 minutes.
  • For those who have relied solely on a ST 550 trip from downtown Bellevue across I-90 to reach downtown Seattle: With the new U-Link opening, consider a trip to downtown Seattle across SR-520 from Bellevue, using ST 555/556 in the peak periods, or Metro 271 then a 2 minute walk to transfer to the U-Link towards downtown Seattle.
    • Note: depending on Bellevue Way or I-90 construction, SR-520 routes + Link might be the best option. Stay in the loop with the Choose Your Way Bellevue news feed or twitter alerts.
  • Link: 8 minutes from UW station to downtown Seattle (Westlake station).
  • Link: 4 minutes from UW station to Capitol Hill; 4 minutes from Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle. Check out the station tour page for more info on the Capitol Hill station (between Broadway Ave E and 10th Ave E and just north of E Denny Way).

A Seattle tip: reminder that all downtown Seattle tunnel buses stop at every tunnel stop. So if you are trying to get to a specific downtown tunnel stop, every Seattle tunnel bus will get you there.

ORCAORCA and transfers: Remember that you can transfer you fare from Link to a Sound Transit bus or a King County Metro bus with an ORCA card; paper transfers do not work between Sound Transit buses/ Link and Metro transit. Read more about orca cards and transfers at

Summary of some of these U-Link-related services changes

While many bus routes on the Eastside aren’t changing, there will be new ways to connect to areas near the new light rail stations by bus. Metro is providing buses every 7 minutes most times of day to the Ave from the UW Link station.

Places like U Village, Seattle Children’s, and Magnuson Park will be served almost as frequently by bus from the Link light rail station. On Capitol Hill (4 minutes from downtown by light rail), people can get to 15th Avenue and Volunteer Park with buses coming every 10-15 minutes by the station. We encourage you to try to make bus-to-bus and link-to-bus connections for non-work related trips. The best way to try this will be us to Metro’s Online Trip Planner in early March with a date after March 26 when schedule and stop information will be fully loaded into the system.

Also, for a direct express across the lake from Redmond to the UW Link Station, the new ST Express route 541 will offer 48 new trips a week (weekdays, mostly in the peak) between Overlake in Redmond and UW Station, starting March 26.

Quick links to prepare for the changes

You can start preparing now by doing the following:


–Choose Your Way Bellevue staffer Augusta

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 12:34 AM | by augusta | Comments (1)




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