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April 9, 2008 11:56 AM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Microsoft launched a free shuttle service taking employees from around the region to its Redmond campus last fall. The program has been a success, the company said today, and it will more than double later this spring.
Beginning May 5, four north Seattle neighborhoods -- Ballard/Whittier Heights, Fremont/Wallingford, Phinney Ridge/Green Lake, Laurelhurst/Wedgewood -- will get Connector service.
On April 21, Microsoft will add routes serving three new Eastside neighborhoods: Duvall, Cottage Lake/Redmond and Tukwila/Renton Express. Also on the 21st, routes on the Eastside will be improved as follows:
-- "A Mill Creek Express direct from Mill Creek to the Redmond campus will be added and will shorten the commute time for employees living in the Mill Creek area.
-- "An additional trip will be added to the Snoqualmie/Issaquah Highlands route, which will increase seat availability during peak commute times.
-- "The Issaquah/Sammamish service will be re-routed to increase convenience for employees who live on the Sammamish Plateau."
The Connector currently has capacity for 1,800 riders each day. Since launch, Microsoft said, 4,300 different individual employees have taken 130,000 trips on the high-end shuttle service. Of the 4,300 riders, more than 2,500 had been driving to work by themselves, Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said in an email.
With the expansion, the service will accommodate up to 4,600 trips a day.