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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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September 23, 2008 10:09 AM

Microsoft nearly doubles its Connector bus service

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

A year after Microsoft launched a bus service to ferry employees from communities around the region to its Redmond campus, the company is expanding the Connector again.

On Oct. 6, the company is launching service to nine more areas:

-- Redmond Ridge

-- Monroe
-- Snohomish / Woodinville
-- West Seattle
-- Columbia City / Mount Baker
-- Leschi / Madrona / Madison Park
-- Maple Valley
-- South Everett (extension of the current Mill Creek Express route)
-- Kent/Tukwila-Renton (extension of the current Tukwila / Renton Express route)

The company is also modifying routes and schedules to Cottage Lake / Redmond and Duvall, and Ballard / Whittier Heights.

The expansion comes five months after the company added routes to North Seattle and the Eastside.

So far, 8,650 employees have used the service for a total of 380,000 rides, according to Microsoft.

Earlier this month, the governor recognized the company with Commute Smart award for best new program. The Connector has reduced Microsoft's single occupant vehicle rate from 66 percent to 62 percent in one year, according to the Commute Smart program.

Update, 12:10 p.m.: Some additional stats from the company:

-- The Connector fleet includes 44 vehicles: 17 45-foot buses, six 30-foot buses and 21 25-foot buses. Each one makes several runs a day during the morning and evening commutes.

-- 70 percent of the service's seats are reserved each day; about 54 percent of seats are filled.
-- More than 5,600 employees who have used the Connector were previously driving alone. Estimated savings for those previously solo drivers, during the first year of operations: $534,930.81
-- The service is only available to full-time employees, not contractors or vendors.

Here's a map of the system, including the new routes that begin Oct. 6:


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