Sound Transit Express (ST Express) is the major bus-transit system serving as part of the Sound Transit network. The agency, based in Seattle, Washington, oversees the network service, which provides inter-county bus service throughout 53 cities in three counties (King, Pierce, and Snohomish).
ST Express uses a fare zone system, which comprises 5 regions:
- Seattle/North King County
- East King County
- South King County
- Pierce County
- Snohomish County
Passengers who cross one or two zones will have to pay extra. However passengers who have to travel through four zones from Everett to Tacoma will only pay for the three-zone fare.
The fares are as follows:
- One zone-$1.50 (18-64); $1.00 (6-18); .50 (65+/Disabled)
- Two zone-$2.50 (18-64); $1.75 (6-18); $1.25 (65+/Disabled)
- Three zones-$3.00 (18-64); $2.50 (6-18); $1.50 (65+/Disabled)
In addition, the transfers can also be used on Metro, CT, and PT, along with the Puget Pass, depending on the value of the fare.
Sound Transit oversees 19 ST Express bus routes, which are operated under contract by the three transit agencies in the region (except Everett Transit). Prior to the creation of Sound Transit the routes were part of each of the bus agencies' system lineup. Whenever ST announces or implements a new bus route, several existing routes that serve the area on the proposed new route will either be rerouted, combined to alleviate overlapping, or be eliminated and/or modified if the area served has low ridership.
The ST Express routes and operators are as follows (Bold are Downtown Seattle routes which operate seven days a week; Italics are routes that serves areas other than Downtown Seattle and operates seven days a week; the remaining routes operate Monday through Friday only during rush hour):
- Community Transit
- 511-Seattle/Lynnwood/Ash Way Park & Ride
- King County Metro
- 540-Kirkland/U District
- 560-West Seattle/SeaTac Airport/Renton/Bellevue
- 564-Overlake/Auburn/South Hill
- 565-Overlake/Auburn/Federal Way
- 577-Seattle/Federal Way
- Pierce Transit
- 574-Lakewood/Tacoma/Federal Way/Airport
- 582-Bonney Lake-Tacoma
- 586-Tacoma/U District
- 595-Seattle/Gig Harbor
- 599-Tacoma/Lakewood Sounder Connector
Sound Transit, through the contract and leasing from King County Metro, Pierce Transit and Community Transit, maintains a mixed fleet of 213 high-floor, low-floor, articulated and 45-foot commuter buses, all of which are identified by the letters of the transit agencies operating the vehicles: (K)
for KCM, (C)
for CT and (P)
Whenever a bid comes up for new buses by any of the three agencies, ST will also be involved as they will receive several new additions that was included in the order.
They also stand out from the other transit systems by their seating configuration (Most notably the ST Buses operated by KCM, whose seatings' fabric features a freely-adapted representation of the Sound Transit bus and train system map) and their unique color scheme (white with aqua, turquoise and blue water waves) which represents the Puget Sound region ST Express covers.
Current ST Express Bus fleet(2006):
- Orion V(27 40ft high-floors):
- Gillig Phantom(92 40ft high-floors):
- 9000, 9025-9045, 9056-9069(1999 versions)
- 9070-9089(2001 versions)
- 9090-9091(2004 versions)
- 9015-9024, 9046-9055(1999 versions)
- New Flyer(22 40ft low-floors):
- New Flyer(75 60ft articulated low-floors):
- 9500-9506(D60LF; 2000)
- 9526-9536(D60LF; 2001)
- 9537-9552(D60LF; 2005)
- 9600-9621(DE60LF; 2005)
- Motor Coach Industries(20 45ft commuter coaches):
- 9700-9712(MCI D4500; 2005)
- 9713-9719(MCI D4505; 2007)
In addition, KCM, CT and PT will use their buses on several of the ST Express routes, and in turn you'll also find several ST Express buses being used on KCM, CT and PT routes. This usually only happens when a bus breaks down and there's no other choice available at the garage.