KIRKLAND, Wash. -- As tolls on the 520 bridge kicked off early Thursday, some commuters were switching from their cars to mass transit.

At the South Kirkland Park-and-Ride, commuters were parking their cars as early as 4:45 a.m. in order to take the bus across 520 instead of driving and paying the tolls.

Over the past year, Metro and Sound Transit have increased daily bus service in the 520 corridor by 20 percent and are currently carrying about 18,000 riders across the bridge daily. With the start of the tolls, they're expecting to see peak ridership by 15 percent.

Most bus riders agreed taking the bus is a more convenient way to cross the lake, but had differing opinions on the tolls.

It has to be done. There has to be a replacement for the bridges, said Richard Chou, bus commuter. Unfortunately, it's going to cost money and they have to get it somehow. So we have to bite the bullet now. It will just be more expensive later on.

I think people don't want to be tolled. Peak time tolling is very expensive. If they can make it more affordable, maybe people will continue to commute in their cars, said Jay Igou, bus commuter.

Commuters have another option to avoid paying the tolls. Metro's Vanpool Seat Finder helps people connect with existing vanpools already going across the 520 bridge. About 100 vanpools cross the bridge daily.

For more information:

King County Metro


KING 5's Christie Johnson contributed to this report.

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