REMINDER: SR 520 Tolling Starts Dec. 29

King County has made some information regarding SR 520 bridge tolling available and we have posted it below. In case you have yet to purchase your Good To Toll Go! sticker, be sure to pick it up before you cross the bridge. It will only cost you more money if you procrastinate beyond December 28th.

A message from King County Metro about SR 520 Tolling

On Thursday, December 29, the Washington State Department of Transportation will begin tolling private and commercial vehicles that travel across Lake Washington on the SR-520 Bridge. Metro and Sound Transit buses and registered vanpools are exempt from the tolls.

King County Metro Transit and its partners have an array of transportation services to help people cross the bridge toll-free.

There have never been more alternatives to driving solo across the SR-520 Bridge. Over the past year, Metro and Sound Transit have increased daily bus service in the SR-520 corridor by 20 percent – that’s a gain of about 6,500 seats and more than 130 new daily bus trips serving riders on both sides of the bridge.

Visit www.kingcounty.gov/getyouthere and click on the “520 tolling” image for:

  • A list of Metro and Sound Transit bus routes that cross Lake Washington;
  • map of Eastside park-and-ride locations with free parking in the SR-520 corridor, with information about how many spaces they have and when they usually fill up on weekdays; 
  • How to find a seat on an existing - toll-exempt - vanpool or form a new one, and 
  • How to get help with telecommuting, which can cut down on your transportation costs even more.

Traffic and transit volumes are expected to be lighter than normal when tolling starts on Dec 29, because it is a holiday period and the University of Washington is not in session. In January, however, drivers trying to avoid the tolls may divert to Interstate 90 or State Route 522 which could cause more traffic on those corridors, as well as along I-405 and portions of other arterials or freeways. That’s why riding the bus or sharing the ride can benefit everyone.

As tolling rolls out on SR-520, there are some other considerations that may help to improve your commute:

 

  • Use an ORCA card; if you have only been riding transit a few days a week or less often, now might be a good time to load a pass or purse onto your ORCA card for the most convenient and economical way of using transit to cross the lake.
  • Plan your trip ahead of time and check for the best service between your point of origin and your destination, as recent service revisions and improvements, including implementation of Metro's RapidRide B Line, may have streamlined your trip or provided you with more options of park-and-ride lots or routes; use Metro’s Online Trip Planner or call (206) 553-3000.
  • Check bus schedules before you go, including for your return trip, as some routes have more frequent service than others; know your options if you miss your preferred bus trip, as there may be several combinations of routes, P&Rs or ridesharingthat might work for you.
  • Know that Metro will be on a reduced schedule the week that tolling starts through Monday, Jan. 2; if you are riding the bus between now and Jan 2, know which routes or individual trips have been canceled.
  • Adjust your travel schedule, as some of the most popular SR-520 corridor P&Rs, like the South Kirkland P&R and the Overlake Transit Center, may fill up early in the morning, and some bus trips across SR-520 may be more crowded than others; during peak commute times, a Metro or Sound Transit bus crosses the bridge every two minutes, so there is plenty of service if you can adjust your travel times even by just a few minutes.
  • Try a less-crowded P&R with similar service.
  • Walk, bike or carpool for part of your trip.
  • Be sure you are signed up for Transit Alerts for any routes you might ride, even if you only plan to ride the bus a few days a week.
  • If they are not already provided, ask or encourage your employer to provide transportation, commuting or alternative work benefits such as bus fare subsidies, teleworking, co-working or flexible schedules; bus fare for crossing the lake during peak commute times is $3 one way and the easiest way to pay is by using an ORCA card that you can just tap as you get on or off the bus.
  • Share this information with friends, relatives, co-workers and other commuters....especially those who currently drive solo across Lake Washington.

For complete information about Metro service visit Metro Online.

For trip planning information visit Metro's online regional Trip Planner.

For commuting options, visit the 'GetYouThere' web page.

For commute time updates on weekdays visit Eye on Your Metro Commute.

For information about SR-520 Bridge tolling visit WSDOT.

Thanks for riding and for using Metro's services.