Another New Year’s Eve of Free and Extended Bus and Streetcar Service


New Year’s Eve is nearly upon us and many Puget Sound transit agencies have you covered if you are looking to ring in the New Year. Service will be extended later into the night on some bus, streetcar, and light rail lines in addition to the monorail. King County Metro plans to make taking the bus and streetcar an attractive option by providing free service.

“There’s no better night to leave your car at home than New Year’s Eve, and with free fares you can ride Metro transit, celebrate late, and not have to worry about parking or a safe ride home,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement. “There’s no better way to kick off the new year than with your friends at Metro, who will make sure you get to the Seattle Center festivities–or wherever the night takes you–and back home again.”

Metro will operate a reduced weekday (i.e., less commuter service) schedule on December 31st, but Night Owl bus routes and the Seattle Streetcar lines will operate later into the night. Regular Night Owl routes will come with extra trips and run until 5am on January 1st while the First Hill and South Lake Union Streetcar Lines will run until 1am on January 1st. Extra and later bus service will be provided as need on popular nighttime routes. Night Owl service includes Routes 3, 5, 7, 11, 36, 44, 48, 49, 65, 67, 70, 120, 124, and 180 as well as the RapidRide A, C, D, and E Lines, but many other routes run past midnight and may benefit from extra service. Metro riders can also make later night requests for Via to Transit in Southeast Seattle until 2am on January 1st. All of these Metro services, in addition to dial-a-ride transit (DART), Access paratransit, Community Van, and Community Ride, will be free from 7pm on December 31st to 4am on January 1st.

Sound Transit is again providing extra light-night light rail and streetcar service. In Seattle, Link light rail service will be extended until 2am on January 1st using a regular weekday evening frequency. The Tacoma Link streetcar will also run until 1am on January 1st using a regular weekday evening frequency. ST Express bus service, however, will not be extended later into the night. Sounder commuter rail riders should also be aware of a modified holiday schedule:

  • From Lakewood, trains will depart at 4.36am, 5.26am, 6.26am, 6.46am, and 11.16am northbound. From Tacoma, trains will depart at 7.20am, 4.06pm, and 5.15pm in the northbound direction. From Seattle, trains will depart at 6.05am, 7.55am, 2.35pm, 3.35pm, 3.55pm, 4.15pm, 5.20pm, and 6.30pm in the southbound direction.
  • From Everett, trains will depart at 6.15am and 7.15am in the southbound direction and return from Seattle at at 4.33pm and 5.35pm in the northbound direction.

Riders should be aware that other transit agencies may be operating some reduced service on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, depending on time of day and type. Our roundup by transit agency and service type is below:

 New Year's EveNew Year's DaySpecial Notes
King County Metro
MetroReduced Weekday + UW Reductions + Extended*Sunday *Night Owl routes will be extended to 5am with added service
King County Water TaxiRegularNo Service
Seattle StreetcarWeekday + Extended*Sunday*Extended to 1am (January 1) for both lines
Via to TransitWeekday + Extended* Sunday*Service will be extended later into the evening for Southeast Seattle
Sound Transit
Link Light RailWeekday + Extended*Sunday*Extended to 2am (January 1)
Tacoma LinkWeekday + Extended*Sunday*Extended to 1am (January 1)
Sounder Commuter RailReduced WeekdayNo Service
ST ExpressWeekdaySunday
Community Transit
Local RoutesWeekdaySunday
Commuter RoutesReduced WeekdayNo Service
Seattle MonorailRegular + Extended*Regular***1am (January 1) is last train, temporary suspension from 10.45pm (December 31) to 12.20am (January 1)
**9am to 10pm
Pierce TransitWeekdaySunday
Kitsap TransitWeekdayNo Service
Intercity TransitWeekdayNo Service
Everett TransitWeekdaySunday
Washington State FerriesWeekdayRefer to Schedules**Ferries operate on different schedules with some additions and reductions
Amtrak CascadesWeekdayWeekday

Revellers at the Space Needle and Seattle Center should take note of the later Seattle Monorail service, which will run until 1am on January 1st. While fares (payable with ORCA passes) will still apply, the monorail offers a quick ride out of the congested Uptown area and to other transit options. Aside from Metro-operate services, all other transit agencies will be collecting fares of New Year’s Eve.

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Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.