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Getting from Tacoma to Seattle relying on transit shouldn’t be daunting. With or without an ORCA card, Travelers should have no problem making this commute.

The obvious answer is to just take the train. The 1-Line is great, especially for travelers who just arrived at Tacoma-Seattle International Airport. But, it isn’t the only choice. Travelers have options for getting around most of the Tacoma Seattle area.

New arrivals to the Seattle Tacoma International Airport can make use of the Link Light Rail, which is conveniently free. The Link Light Rail provides service from one end of Tacoma’s downtown to the other. Travels can jump off and on at these six stops: the Tacoma Dome, South 25th Street, Union Station, the Convention Center, South 11th Street, and the Theater District.

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The Link Light Rail is up and running all year and even offers free parking at the Link garage located next to the Tacoma Dome Station. Travels can expect a 12-minute wait at worst between trains on the Link Light Rail. The Link Light Rail can be used to transport travelers to their connector for when they head into Seattle.

  • Schedule - Link
  • Train Frequency - Every 12 minutes

Riding The Buses

The Buses, especially the express buses, will be the fastest and most convenient means of public transit while in the Tacoma and Seattle area. Making use of special road lanes and express lanes, the buses make much of the area accessible even without a car. They are also quite affordable, though they can’t always avoid all the Traffic issues that inevitably occur around Seattle and Tacoma.

For those looking to access Seattle by express bus, they should consider the 594. It has a direct route that runs through Tacoma and then into the center of Seattle. Buses in the Tacoma Seattle Area charge $2.25 per ride or $4.50 for the day for adults. Riders can pay in cash or with their Orca Card.

  • Adult (19 – 64) - $2.25(Single-Ride) $4.50 (Day Pass)
  • Youth (6 – 18) - $1.50(Single-Ride) $3.00 (Day Pass)
  • Seniors (65+)/RRFP* - $1.00(Single-Ride) $2.00 (Day Pass)
  • Children 5 and Under - Free
  • ORCA LIFT+ - $1.50(Single-Ride) $3.00 (Day Pass)

How to Get an Orca Card?

Related: 5-Day Itinerary: From Dallas to Seattle in a Van

Hopping On The 1-Line

1-Line, formerly Central Link, is a light rail line that runs from Tacoma to Seattle. This line services 19 stations in the cities of Seattle, SeaTac, and Tukila. This line is nearly 25 miles (40 km). It is also one of the easiest ways to get from the airport into the city. This system offers 20-hour-a-day service from Monday to Saturday, and 18-hour service on Sundays.

Making use of the 1-Line is quite convenient for airport arrivals and for those looking to head north and south through Seattle. Having an ORCA card makes this trip incredibly convenient.

  • Length - 25 miles (40 km)
  • Stops - 19
  • Passengers in 2019 - Over 25 million
  • Passengers per Day - 80,00 on weekdays
  • Rates and Fares
  • Schedule

Taking The Monorail

Seattle Central Monorail is a full-scale monorail system that has become an iconic member of the community. The rail itself is the first of its kind in the US. It is a great and fun way for travelers to pass between its stops: downtown Seattle and Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Pop Culture, and The Children’s Museum.

  • Hours - Monday-Friday: 7:30am-11:00pm / Saturday-Sunday: 8:30am-11:00pm
  • Departure Times - Approximately every 10 minutes
  • Adult Rates (age19-64) - $3.00
  • Youth (age 6-18) - $1.50
  • Seniors 65+, disabled, persons with Medicare cards, U.S. military with ID, ORCA LIFT cards accepted - $1.50 for a Reduced Rate
  • Children 5 - Free
  • Payment Options - Credit/debit cards and ORCA cards.

Related: Ultimate Road Trip: Two Weeks In The Pacific Northwest

Riding The Waterfront Trolley

Officially the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line, the Waterfront Streetcar was a heritage street care line that was run by King Country Metro. Its travels a distance of 1.6 miles (2.6 km) along Alaskan Way. It offers a great view of the waterfront as it is facing Elliot Bay.

This is a great means of transport once travelers have reached Seattle and want to experience the City in an interesting way.

  • Length - 1.6 miles (2.5 km)
  • Began Service - May 29, 1982

Taking The West Seattle Water Taxi

For a quick hop from the Waterfront to West Seattle, the Wes Seattle Water Taxi is a great fit. This is an especially useful service for those traveling without a vehicle.

  • Adult Rate - $5.75, $5.00(Orca Card)
  • ORCA LIFT - $3.75
  • Senior Rate(65+)/Disabled - $2.50* $2.50*
  • Youth Rate(6-18) - $5.75, $3.75(Orca Card)
  • Children (5 and under) - Free
  • Bicycles - No extra charge

Seacoast Dock West Seattle

Located in the Seacrest Park in West Seattle, travelers can find the Water Taxi docks. The park is easily reachable by bus, walking, or cycling. There are many waterfront trails that are easily accessible.

  • Address - 1660 Harbor Avenue SW Seattle, WA 98126
  • Parking - (Limited/short-term) at Seacrest Park

Downtown Seattle Water Front

Located at its brand-new terminal at Pier 50, travelers access the Seattle Water Taxi to hop on over to West Seattle.

  • Address - 801 Alaskan Way (entrance at the foot of Yesler Way)
  • Seattle, WA 98104
  • Parking - There is no parking available at Pier 50. Paid slots and metered parking can be found along the streets.