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October 19, 2005

Riding the Bus

I was having some bling put in at Car Toys in Bellevue the other day, and I took the bus back to work after dropping the car off, and then back to pick it up. Although the bus service on the Eastside is a little sparse (and some of the routes only run into Seattle in the morning and back to the suburbs in the evening), Microsoft is somewhat of a local hub, and with the campus situated between the Overlake Park & Ride and the Overlake Transit Center you have somewhat decent coverage.

I do enjoy riding the bus. Partly it's because I grew up on the east coast in a city with good public transit so I consider it normal to ride the bus, and partly it's because with Seattle traffic heading further down the tubes I feel morally virtuous when I ride the bus. It also avoids me having to scam a ride from someone to/from wherever my car is being worked on (most dealers have a complementary shuttle, although Car Toys doesn't; this makes being dropped off at work very easy although for pickup you still have to coordinate with them which is a slight pain). And since Microsoft provides a free bus pass to any employee (it's a sticker you can put on the back of your cardkey) there's no financial reason not to use the bus.

If you want to join in on the fun, these are useful some bus routes to/from campus:

The 256 runs right down Northup Way (aka NE 20th), which gets you Car Toys, plus Park Place (Lotus/Saleen/etc), the BMW dealer, and let's not forget the Rolls-Royce dealer, although they may attack you with a feather duster if they see you catching a bus from their dealership. By campus it runs up 156th, so it passes 40/41, 26/27 etc. and then winds up at the Transit Center by 44 (my building). It's very convenient. Unfortunately it only runs at rush hour. It has 5 runs towards campus in the morning but the last one gets to the Transit Center at 8:33 which may be too early (Car Toys doesn't open until 9). Going back it is much better, there are 5 evenings runs departing from the Transit Center between 3:40 and 5:31. And the bus originates there, so it's on time and you can sit down inside it if you get there early.

If you miss the 256 you can try the 249. It only goes to the Overlake Park&Ride (although I believe you can call for a campus shuttle from there), and it basically only runs every hour, but it runs all day.

If you want to go down to Honda Auto Center in Bellevue (which I sometimes do), you have a couple of choices. The 222 doesn't quite go there but it puts you within walking distance (at the corner of SE 36th and 142nd Pl SE, which is the bridge over I-90) and the walk includes this fascinating switchback in the sidewalk. The 222 also originates from the Park & Ride (so it will be on time), hits the Transit Center, and curls up on 51st so it is near Red-West. A better ride for me is the 245, which goes right by Honda Auto Center, and also goes by Red-West (in fact it goes by there on 148th, unlike the 222 which turns south on 148th from 51st). Both the 222 and 245 run every half-hour, although not as spread out as it could be between the two buses (most of the day, heading south the 222 leaves the Overlake TC at :02 and :32 and the 245 at :07 and :37, while coming north the 222 arrives at :10 and :40 and the 245 arrives at :17 and :47).

If you want to go down NE 8th to where Barrier Mercedes and Volvo are, you can use the 230, which stops at the Overlake Transit Center. It also goes by Bellevue Square and later (after a circuitous route) winds up in Kirkland by Honda of Kirkland and then eventually up in Totem Lake. If you want to go that way, you may be better taking the 245 the other direction from campus to go more directly west, and then transferring at the Kirkland Transit Center.

Meanwhile you can use the 253 to get a little closer to Barrier Audi, but I usually just walk there.

And if you're thinking "Gee there's a lot of high-end car dealers near Microsoft"...you're right.

Posted by AdamBa at October 19, 2005 10:37 PM

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You didn't mention the 545 - my personal favorite bus (I'm taking it tonight). If you EVER want to go downtown, it's absolutely perfect.

Posted by: Larry Osterman at October 20, 2005 09:47 AM

Hey you forgot to mention Park Place motors right there next to Car Toys :). The 545 indeed rocks.

Posted by: anonymouse at October 21, 2005 12:43 PM

I mentioned Park Place--even linked to it!

Larry, yes the 545 is a good bus, but I was thinking of places you might want to drop off your car--downtown seems a bit far.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at October 23, 2005 05:58 PM