Most Seattle-area trains, buses, ferries on holiday schedules for Thanksgiving
Plan ahead now as public transit schedules in the greater Seattle area may look a little different on your typical routes for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Among the service reductions for Sound Transit on Thanksgiving Day: Sounder commuter rail will not operate; ST Express bus routes will operate on Sunday schedules; Link light rail will run on Sunday schedules; and Tacoma Link will run on Sunday schedules.
The day after Thanksgiving, there will be limited Sounder trains as Sounder service will operate on a modified schedule. There will be no service on the Sounder North line on Friday.
Other service on Friday is as follows: ST Express buses will operate regular weekday service; Link light rail will operate on Saturday schedules; and Tacoma Link will operate regular weekday service.
Washington State Ferries
For those planning a ferry ride over the holiday weekend, prepare for busy sailings. The latest sailing schedules can be found online here from Washington State Ferries. If crewing allows, the ferry system says more daily sailings may be added on routes operating reduced service.
WSF temporarily switched to alternate service schedules on most runs on Oct. 16 in order to reduce the number of last-minute cancellations caused by staff shortages. The severe staffing shortage is due to many variables, WSF notes, including a global shortage of mariners that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, an aging workforce, and COVID-19 cases and quarantines.
Even without a crew shortage, however, ferries are popular every holiday weekend and WSF says people boarding a ferry should be prepared for long waits.
The busiest sailings will likely be westbound (or onto an island) Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 24, through Thursday morning, Nov. 25. Eastbound (or off island) will see the busiest sailings Thursday afternoon through Friday, Nov. 26. To reduce or eliminate your time spent waiting, WSF suggests considering an early morning or late night sailing, or walking on.
On Thanksgiving Day, there will be a few schedule changes for the Point Defiance/Tahlequah run, along with the Edmonds/Kingston and Mukilteo/Clinton routes if supplemental service is added. The Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Fauntleroy/Vashon/Southworth runs will operate on a weekend timetable that day with a few schedule changes if service is added.
If you’re taking a state highway to get to the ferry terminal, plan ahead for backups and delays with real-time traffic information on the Washington State Department of Transportation’s travel map here.