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Commuting in Seattle

Taking public transit

Buses: Buses run frequently and service most of Seattle’s neighborhoods. Timing your bus route correctly can be important to ensure you make it to your destination on time.

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Quick tip! Download the One Bus Away app to find real-time transit information. Find out if a bus is late, or when it will next be servicing a specific stop.

Link light rail: The Link light rail system travels North and South through many of Seattle’s core neighborhoods. Link trains run every six, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the time of day.

Sounder train: Sounder trains travel between Lakewood and Seattle (making stops in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent and Tukwila) and between Everett and Seattle (making stops in Mukilteo and Edmonds). The Sounder only regularly runs weekday mornings and afternoons.


You do not need a vehicle for service in Seattle, although it might open opportunities to explore outside of the city at your leisure. Although traffic is relatively mild in Seattle, you can still find yourself waiting in traffic delays during rush hours (6 a.m.-9 a.m. and 4 p.m.-6 p.m.).

Things to consider

  • How will you get to work?
  • How long are you willing to spend commuting?
  • If you have a car, consider:
    • Parking can be hard to find and expensive​
    • Make sure to figure out parking wherever you find housing​
    • Not all our schools have parking space for our members​
    • Gas can get expensive
    • Think about carpooling to help teammates / roommates get to school in exchange for a little gas money

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Quick tip! View the City Year Seattle / King County Google map to map out routes.


Transportation benefit

City Year Seattle / King County offers complimentary ORCA cards to all AmeriCorps members for the service year. Navigating a city, whether it’s new to you or not, can be a challenge. The ORCA card program ensures you can get anywhere you need to and allows you to engage within the communities we serve outside of the classroom.

What is an ORCA card?

ORCA cards are passes that allow you to pay for public transportation around the city. Your ORCA card covers 100% of the fares on: Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, Metro Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Seattle Streetcar. This will allow you to get anywhere you need to in Seattle by bus, train, light rail, street car or Water Taxi. (Please note that City Year Seattle King / County ORCA cards are not usable for Washington State Ferry services).

ORCA cards are passed out to incoming AmeriCorps members at registration day in early August.


Using your ORCA card

Using your orca card is easy—you are just a tap or scan away from your next ride.

  • Bus: As you board the bus, tap your ORCA card on the card reader inside the front doors as you are boarding.
  • Link light rail, RapidRide, Sounder train or Seattle Streetcar: Tap your ORCA card on the card reader outside / on the platform before boarding. (When you exit the Link and Sounder, re-tap your ORCA card to complete the trip).
  • Seattle Center Monorail, Trailhead Direct or Water Taxi: The loading agent or cashier will note or scan your card.

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