Seattle ground transport is excellent with many transportation options available - all at low, or no cost, to the rider.
From the Airport to Downtown Seattle
Seattle's commitment to great ground transportation starts for the air traveler at the ground transportation staffed information booths located on the third floor of the parking garage and in the baggage claim area, across from Carousel 12. These very helpful, highly-trained individuals can direct you towards a variety of transportation options. For example, to get into downtown Seattle they might suggest:
- Taxi - $33
- On Call Limo - $40
- GrayLine Airport Express - Drops off passengers at many major downtown hotels for a one-way fare of $10.25 for adults ($17 for a round-trip ticket), $7.25 for children ages 2 to 12 ($12 for a round-trip ticket)
- Shuttle Express - $26
- Public Transit - Seattle's excellent Metro system leaves the airport every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day and day of the week. Busses run seven days a week including holidays. The cost is only $1.25 to $2.00 one-way, depending on your downtown destination. Travel time to downtown is about thirty minutes. The busses are fully accessible for wheelchairs and walkers.
If you prefer to rent a car, rental agencies are located in the baggage claim area as well as the first floor of the airport's parking garage. Be sure to reserve your rental car to get the lowest rental rate. The best rental car deals are usually given with hotel discount packages, vacation travel packages or through membership discounts such as AAA or AARP. For the fastest driving route to downtown, ask for a map when you rent your car or check out the driving directions to downtown which are provided on the airport's website.
Once you are downtown, Seattle has a wide variety of convenient and affordable transportation options. The transit operators are particularly helpful and willing to answer questions and get you going in the right direction.
Metro routes cover the downtown area and all surrounding areas. The cost to ride is $1.25 to $1.75 depending on the time of day you board. Free transfers are available from the operator and are valid for ninety minutes.
The George Benson Line waterfront streetcar, a free vintage streetcar service, runs between Pioneer Square, the north waterfront area (including Pike's Market) and the International District. It will be temporarily replaced through 2009 with busses while seawall improvements and the Olympic Sculpture Park are constructed. Departure times are about every 15 minutes in both directions on weekdays and every 30 minutes weekends.
Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel
The hub of downtown daytime transportation in Seattle is the transit tunnel. Many bus routes start and stop at the tunnel including those to the ride free area. In 2009 a light rail system will be introduced between the downtown Seattle transit tunnel and the airport.
Seattle Center Monorail
The Seattle Center monorail is a fun and quick way to travel between downtown and the Seattle Center, which includes the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center and the Experience Music Project. The monorail runs daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. with departures every ten minutes. The route is one mile long and the trip takes two minutes to complete. Round-trip fares are $4 for adults, $1.50 for youth (ages 5-12), $2.00 for seniors (ages 65 and older) and disabled. Children age four and under ride free.
Getting Out of Town
If you didn't rent a car when you arrived, you can still enjoy the sights of the nearby areas with Seattle's excellent transportation links such as the Washington State Ferries, the Victoria Clipper to Canada and AMTRAK. SoundTransit operates both bus and rail service throughout the Everett, Seattle and Tacoma areas:
- SoundTransit Commuter and Light Rail operates during commute hours on Monday through Friday between Tacoma and Seattle with five stops in between. One way fares: adults $4.75, youth $3.50, seniors and disabled $2.25.
- SoundTransit Bus operates throughout the Everett, Seattle, Tacoma area. One way fares: adults $3.00, youth $2.50, seniors and disabled $1.50.