SEATTLE TRANSIT ROUTES

CONCISE HISTORY

Routes numbered below 100 are generally "city" routes, including routes inherited from the Seattle Transit System. Routes with 3 digit numbers are generally "suburban" routes, including routes inherited from the Metropolitan Transit Corporation. Certain "city" routes eventually became part of "suburban" routes, and are listed in order of the old "city" route number.

Only the city routes are included. Included are present route numbers, and route numbers which existed when Metro took over the system in 1973. New and discontinued (disc) routes are indicated.

Routes numbered in the 80's are "Night Owl" routes. Suburban routes are numbered in the 100's to the south, 200's to the east, and 300's to the north.

Seattle bus route names have not always been clear, but many routes have been named for neighborhood destinations. Better information is available for streetcar and trolleybus routes, than for routes which have always been motor bus routes.

Trolleybuses initially enabled elimination of the streetcars in 1940. And 1963 was the beginning of the replacement of many trolleybus routes with motor buses. But attitudes changed by 1978, which marked the beginning of renovation of the trolleybus system, and restoration of several routes. All existing trolleybus routes were temporarily replaced with motor buses for a few years beginning in 1978.

In 1990, the downtown transit tunnel opened, mainly for express buses serving the suburbs. But the tunnel is also used by certain city routes. Such routes use "dual mode" buses, capable of operating as electric trolleybuses in the tunnel and as diesel motor buses outside the tunnel. In 2009, Sound Transit's new light rail line began sharing the tunnel.

Seattle generally was developed later than most large cities. And as a result, by the time most street railways were developed, electric propulsion had been developed. A few earlier streetcar lines originally were horse cars (HC), cable cars (CC), and steam dummy (SD).



Current/1973  Route      Early      First    First     Motor  New
Route Number  Name       Streetcar  Street-  Trolley   Buses  Trolley
                         Co.        car      Buses            Buses

  1   1  Kinnear              SSR   HC 1884   8/11/40  1978    9/13/80
  2   2  West Queen Anne      FSCR  CC 1889   8/10/40  1978    9/14/79
  2   2  Madrona              SE     1900's   2/18/40  1978    9/14/79
  3   3  North Queen Anne     SE     1900's   8/10/40  1970    9/13/80
  3  12  E. Cherry            UTL      1891   2/ 8/40  1978    9/13/80
  4   4  East Queen Anne      SE     1900's   8/10/40  1970    9/13/80
  4  12  Judkins Park         UTL      1891   2/18/40  1978    9/13/80
  5   5  Phinney              WPR      1890   4/ 5/41  1963
 E    6  Stone Way            GLER     1889  1941      1963
  7   9  Broadway             UTL      1891   9/ 8/40  1978    5/23/81
  7   7  Prentice St.         RAER     1891  1940      1963    5/23/81
  8 new  ML King Way          New Bus
  9 new  Broadway Exp.        New Bus
  9 new  Rainer Beach Exp.    New Bus
 10  10  Capitol Hill         SE       1903   8/16/40  1978    9/14/79
 11  11  Madison              MSCR  CC 1890   1/14/40  1965
 11  11  Madison Park         SE     1900's   1/14/40  1965
 12  13  Interlaken Park      SE     1900's   2/10/40  1978    5/23/81
 13 new  Seattle Pacific U.   New Bus                          5/23/81
 14  10  Jackson St.          SCR   CC 1888  1940      1978    5/23/81
 14  10  Mt. Baker            SE     1900's   7/ 6/40  1978    5/23/81
disc 14  Summit               SE     1900's   9/ 8/40  1978    5/23/81
 15  15  15th Ave. NW         E&I      1906  1940      1963
 17  26  Westlake             SSR   HC 1884  1941      1963
 17  17  Sunset Hill          SE       1906         3/25/40
 18  18  Ballard              WSNE     1890   6/30/40  1963
 18  18  Loyal Heights        LR       1906   6/30/40  1963
 19  24  Magnolia             New Bus
 21  21  35th Ave. SW         New Bus        1957      1963
 22  18  Fauntleroy           SE       1907  11/10/40  1963
131  36  4th Ave. S           New Bus
131  23  South Seattle        GSER     1892         1/ 4/41
131  36  Lake Burien          HPLB     1912         7/15/31
 24  19  Viewmont Way         New Bus
 24  24  Magnolia             New Bus
disc 25  NE 45th St.          New Bus
 26  17  Dexter Ave.          SMR      1914         1/ 4/41
 26  26  Wallingford          SE       1907         5/ 5/40
 26  26  N. 40th St.          SE     1900's            1931
 27  27  Yesler Way           SCR   CC 1888         8/ 9/40
 28  28  Fremont              SE       1902         4/13/41
 28  28  8th Ave. NW          SE       1911         4/13/41
 29 new  Ballard              New Bus
 31  17  Nickerson St.        SMR      1914         1/ 4/41
 31 new  Central Magnolia     New Bus
 32 new  Seattle Center       New Bus
132  32  1st Ave. S           SSCR  SD 1890         6/15/36
132  32  South Park           SE       1909        12/ 8/35
 33  33  Discovery Park       SE       1905         1/ 7/36
disc 35  Harbor Island        New Bus        1943      1957
disc 35  White Center         HPLB     1912        12/10/37
 36   3  Jefferson Park       UTL      1891   7/14/40  1970    9/13/80
 37  37  Alki                 SE       1907        11/17/40
 40  41  Northgate-Ballard    New Bus
 41  41  Lake City            New Bus
 43   4  Montlake             New Bus        1940      1970    5/23/81
 44  30  Montlake-Ballard     later                            5/23/81
 45  43  N 85th St.           New Bus
 47 new  Summit               New Bus
 48  48  Montlake             SE       1909         2/10/40
 49 new  Broadway-University  New Bus                          6/2005
 50  39  Seward Park Ave.     New Bus
 55  29  West Seattle         SE     1900's        11/10/40
 56  15  Admiral Way          New Bus
 57  37  Alaska Junction      New Bus
 60  38  15th Ave. S          New Bus
 62  16  Meridian             SE       1908         1/11/41
 62  16  Green Lake           GLER     1889   5/ 5/37  1963
 63 new  First Hill           New Bus
 64 new  35th Ave. NE         New Bus
 65  25  35th Ave. NE         New Bus
 66  22  Northgate            New Bus
 67 new  Northgate-Univ.      New Bus
 70   7  Eastlake             RPR      1893   5/12/40  1963    9/22/97
 71   7  Wedgwood             New Bus
disc  7  Lake City            New Bus
 73   7  Cowen Park           SMR      1925         5/12/40
 74   8  Ravenna              SE     1900's         9/ 8/40
 75  41  Sand Point Way       New Bus
 76   7  Wedgwood             New Bus
 77   7  North City           New Bus
 78 new  Childrens Hospital   New Bus

The Summit trolleybus route was discontinued in September 2014, numbered 47 in its final years.


Original Streetcar Companies

All streetcars were electrically operated except as noted.

E&I - Everett & Interurban Railway
FSCR - Front Street Cable Railway Co. (cable cars 1889-1900)
GLER - Green Lake Electric Railway Co.
GSER - Grant Street Electric Railway Co.
HPLB - Highland Park & Lake Burien Railway
LR - Loyal Railway Co.
MSCR - Madison Street Cable Railway Co. (cable cars 1890-1940)
RAER - Rainier Ave. Electric Railway Co.
RPR - Rainier Power & Railway Co.
SCR - Seattle City Railway Co. (cable cars 1888-1940, Jackson to 1900)
SE - Seattle Electric Co.
SMR - Seattle Municipal Railway
SSCR - South Seattle Cable Railway Co. (steam dummy 1890-1891)
SSR - Seattle Street Railway Co. (horse cars 1884-1889)
UTL - Union Trunk Line
WPR - Woodland Park Electric Railway
WSNE - West Street & North End Electric Railway Co.

Seattle had two additional cable car lines. The West Seattle Cable Railway was closed in 1897 without a direct replacement. And the Union Trunk Line on James Street, part cable and part electric streetcar, was closed in 1940 without replacement.


SUBURBAN TRANSIT COMPANIES

Bus routes serving the suburbs have 3 digit numbers. Most suburban bus routes were newly created by Metro, while a few routes evolved from private predecessor operations.


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