I went to Vancouver every weekends to meet my aunt and cousin, to gather together. Even we stay at home watching TV, playing mahjong and cook ourselves (by my aunt), we enjoy our time together. Since I don't have a driver's license yet, so I always take a bus to go to Vancouver. Here, I will give everyone a very comprehensive walkthrough on "How to go to Vancouver from Redmond by bus?". I am pretty sure anyone who visit Redmond will go sightseeing too. Vancouver (I mean Canada, not the one in Washington state) is really a nice place and you can get nice Chinese food there too.
Online resources in Washington state is always nice, visit http://transit.metrokc.gov and find any bus route and schedule online. Although they don't have bus stop information, their time table is quite accurate indeed. You can search both Metro King County and Sound Transit bus route on the same site. Other things you will need:
Here is your mission objectives:
Normally, I leave Redmond 1.2-1.5 hours before Quick Shuttle schedule. I recommend 2 hours if you are newbie. And one hour is my world's record.
In Redmond, go to Overlake Transit Center (pin 1, opposite of building 20/25, across NE 156th Ave), or SR-520 on-ramp bus stop (pin 2). You can see bus schedule on the stop post for ST545. Ride the bus. It normally takes 20-30 minutes from Overlake TC to Seattle Downtown area. Traffic jam is normal, don't panic, you should arrive there on time (ST545 timetable count traffic jam too). ST545 got few bus stops at freeway (Montlake, Evergreen Point, etc). It will also go thru a section of floating bridge (pin 3). If you are on the left-side of the bus and have good eyesight, you can see where Bill Gates live (pin 4). Another great thing of ST545 is some of their bus is Wi-Fi ready so you can surf Internet onboard. I never tried it yet.
After the ST545 bus get off-ramp from SR-520 (pin 5), ring the bell to notify the bus driver you want to drop off at next stop. You should get off at a rough car park (pin 6). ST545 bus should be facing south-west and you have to go north-east (backward). You will see a bicycle shop (pin 7) in front of you after two zebra crossings. Go there and turn left when you cross the 2nd crossing. You will then see a bus stop in front of you (pin 8), and it only serves Metro Route 8. This bus can save your energy, but it may not save you time. The bus timetable is not so accurate too. Remember, your objective is to reach Best Western Executive Inn (pin 9) at least 5 minutes beforehand. Or preferably, 15 minutes, so you can buy tickets by credit card.
To make the decision (to "bus" or not to "bus"), check for traffic congestion along Denny Way to the west (i.e. in front of you). If it is congested, route 8 may takes more than 30 minutes to travel, otherwise, it would takes only 5-10 minutes. As it only takes 20-25 minutes to walk to the hotel, you may consider walking instead. (I saw a Ferrari F430 Spyder on Denny Way stuck in congestion and I walk faster than it too, nice eh?)
If you prefer walking, go along Denny Way in front of you for 1 mile, going to west. Keep go straight on the north (or right) side of the road. You will go downhill (before Denny Park), and uphill again (on/after Denny Park). Since I can walk really very fast, so it only takes 15 minutes to go there. While you are walking, you will see an oil station with Star Bucks (pin 10) and Bank of America (pin 11). Turn right at the intersection before Bank of America and walk for one block. Turn left, cross the intersection and Best Western Executive Inn should be on your right just half block away. Also note that you will see another Best Western which is not Best Western Executive Inn, don't go there. The correct Best Western is very close to Space Needle (pin 12).
If you take a bus, tell the bus driver you want to drop off at Taylor or 6th Ave. Metro Route 8 go along Denny Way to the west. When you see highway 99 beneath you on your right (pin 13), you should get off very soon (within 1-2 blocks). I forget the exact position where the bus stop is, but it should be close to Bank of America (pin 11). After you drop off, go north for one block and you will see Best Western in front of you.
If you get lost accidentally, look for Space Needle (pin 12, a very tall tower) and Best Western Executive Inn should be 2 blocks east of it.
If you arrives at Best Western 15 minutes before Quick Shuttle arrives, you can go to the lobby and ask the reception for Quick Shuttle tickets, it normally takes 10 minutes to finish the transaction using credit card. I usually buy $47 weekenders round-trip pass. Weekenders pass allows you to leave Seattle on Fri-Sun, and go back from Vancouver on Sat-Mon, at a discounted price (original two-way is $59). Restrooms is okay in Best Western, just ask the reception. Quick Shuttle coach usually have restroom, but no one know how to turn on the light inside the restroom, and no tap water in it too. So I believe the onboard restroom is a mess.
When you are on Quick Shuttle, the bus driver will distribute Canada custom form before reaching the border (either when you get on-board or it arrives at Everett/Bellingham optional stop). Fill it out as soon as possible. Btw, one thing I like Quick Shuttle is that the bus driver will do head counting every time it reach a stop. I feel very secure that I won't be abandoned by the bus driver by any means.
The bus takes 2-3 hours to reach the border, and my favorite way to kill time is keep sleeping. When the bus arrive at the border (the Peace Arch), the bus driver will get off the bus and unload your luggage. If there's another bus ahead, your bus driver will wait until all other passengers passed immigration. Stay in your seat (and continue kill your time) until the driver come back after unloading and tell you to get off the car. Bring everything you brought, and I mean everything is everything. After you pass the immigration, there are clean restrooms on your left after glass doors. Wait until the bus drive forward and pick you up. Tell the bus driver where you want him to drop you off, give him your luggage (optional), and get back to your original seat. It takes roughly 1-2 minutes to Campbell River Store at Surrey, and 30-40 minutes to Vancouver airport. If you cell phone don't have roaming services, reception will be lost within 5 minutes after departing from Campbell River Store.
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