Calling it a "golden spike moment," County Executive Wednesday hailed the launch of Metro Transit's RapidRide B line, which promises to speed riders between Bellevue and Redmond. Officials from both cities rode RapidRide buses from their respective city halls to the Crossroads Bellevue parking lot for the pre-launch event.
No spike was produced, but Constantine tied ribbons from each of the two buses together. Bellevue Mayor Don Davidson and Councilmembers Claudia Balducci and John Chelminiak helped hold the ribbon from the "Bellevue" bus.
"What could be better than a "B" line for Bellevue," Mayor Davidson said. Noting that Crossroads is Bellevue's most diverse neighborhood, Davidson said residents would benefit from "superior" service that would come with the RapidRide buses.
The event will mark the beginning of operations for the B line, King County Metro's second RapidRide line and the only one planned for the Eastside. Service will begin on Saturday, with free rides both Saturday and Sunday.
RapidRide features energy-efficient, low-emission, hybrid buses with low floors and three doors for easier, faster boarding. The buses will also have free Wi-Fi, automated on-board announcements and, putting the “rapid” in RapidRide, transit signal priority for traffic lights.
Bus stops will offer real-time bus arrival information and, in some cases, ORCA card readers.
Service on the B line will be between the Bellevue and Redmond transit centers, with limited stops along Northeast Eighth Street, 156th Avenue Northeast, 148th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 90th Street. In this way, buses coming every 10 to 15 minutes will serve both cities' downtowns as well as Crossroads, the eastern portion of Overlake, the Microsoft campus and North Redmond.
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