Plan your trip.
Start with one of the many robust transit trip planning tools available:
- Puget Sound Trip Planner tool provided by the region's transit agencies
- Google maps (use the "directions" function and the "transit" tab)
- Bing maps (use the "directions" function and the "transit" tab)
- One Bus Away for real-time arrival information for every bus and light rail stop
- Or, check out our full list of transit apps and technology tools
Pay your fare.
There are two ways to pay for bus fare.
- Cash. Bring exact change - the driver is not able to make change for you. On King County Metro routes, the driver will give you a paper transfer, which you can use to continue your trip on another King County Metro bus within the timeframe indicated on the transfer. For all other transit agencies (Sound Transit, Community Transit, etc.), you'll have to pay again when you change buses.
- ORCA card. Tap your ORCA card on the card reader for fare payment as you get on the bus. (ORCA cards automatically keep track of the appropriate fare and provide two-hour transfers.) You can reload an ORCA card online, in person at a customer service center or at an ORCA vending machine.
Catch the bus.
- Plan to arrive before your bus is scheduled, as buses sometimes run a few minutes early.
- Pay attention to the side of the road you need to catch your bus on to ensure you're going the right direction.
- Identify your bus by checking the route numbers along the top and side of the bus.
- Signs at the bus stop list which routes serve that stop, so you know where to wait.
- Timetables at most bus stops show you the estimated arrival times for different stops along the bus's route. OneBusAway is a free smartphone app that shows real-time arrival information for buses at your stop.
Request your stop.
- Upcoming stops are usually displayed on the readerboard inside the bus, near the exits. Stops will often be announced inside the bus as well. You can also use the One Bus Away app to keep track of where to get off.
- When your stop is next, pull the yellow cable near the window or push the red "stop" button on the edge of some seats or near the rear door handrail. This lets the driver know you want to get off.
- Have your fare ready to make boarding quick for everyone.
- Unless you need the handicap ramp, exit to the rear of the bus when feasible.
- If the back door doesn't open, a polite "Back door please!" will get the driver's attention.
- Hold your purse, backpack and other personal belongings in your lap, at your feet or in the overhead luggage areas if available, to leave room for others.
- Wear headphones and listen at a low volume.
- Leave the seats at the front of the bus open for families, older adults and those in wheelchairs.
- No eating, smoking or littering; carry food and drinks in closed containers.
- It is polite not to talk on the phone while you ride the bus, but if you must, try to keep it respectful, quick and quiet.
It’s easy to bike and ride. Learn more about bringing your bike on the bus.