Getting from Seattle’s waterfront to downtown can be a challenge. It involves crossing under the Alaskan Way Viaduct and hoofing it uphill or climbing tall flights of stairs.
Howard Wright, who owns the tour company Emerald City Trolley and is chair of Seattle Hospitality Group, has come up with a temporary fix.
Since the mid-July, his company has been running minibuses in a loop along the waterfront through downtown and then back. The service is called Seattle Waterfront Connex.
Wright said the city has a lot of north-south transportation options such as buses and light rail.
“But there seems to be a strong demand for east-west – you know, getting up the hill and helping tourists and visitors to Seattle,” he said.
Wright said the service is not just aimed at tourists.
The buses start running at 7:30 a.m. to give commuters arriving by ferry an option for getting to downtown destinations. One ride costs $3 and monthly passes cost $45.
Wright said the fare price doesn’t cover the full expense. His company is paying for it right now, but he plans to look for partners to keep it going.
“We’ve been very open and transparent and candid with the public transportation providers in town, with the ferry system, with the city of Seattle, with SDOT and Metro, and if we are a solution for some of their needs in the future, it’s better for the community and good for us,” he said.
The service will end Sept. 30. Wright said he plans to share usage data with public transit agencies and private businesses that may want to help shoulder the costs to offer the service in the future.