According to the P-I. Nationally, transit ridership was up only 2.1%, which is a bit more than population growth.

Its interesting that 10.3 Billion Trips taken on public transportation in 2007 is still less than the number taken in 1957, when the nation’s population hadn’t yet reached 200 million (it’s 300 million now). It just shows how much the car has come to dominate our nation’s transportation landscape.

12 Replies to “Sound Transit Ridership Up by 12.5%, KCM by 7% in 2007”

  1. Looks like to me ST really knows what they are doing! Not that I needed any convincing. I can only see it growing when Sounder gets expanded and extra trains added and of course when Link starts. The sweet success of ST is yet to come in my opinion. I am still amazed after hearing about the 545 ridership Saturday night! That is awesome if they could do that with buses I can only imagine what is to come with Link!

  2. I can’t wait to see the numbers next year this time, as I bet gas prices won’t be dropping any time soon, if ever. I’ve noticed more people on the bus compared to when I rode last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get even bigger increases this year.
    If mass transit ridership keeps increasing, there is part of me that can’t help wondering if there will be prospects for mass transit competition, like private buses or private boats? Microsoft has gotten into the game, but what if someone wanted to offer more posh, yet freely accessibly transit options? Would anyone consider using a non-public transit option?

  3. Sounder did add more runs – and I believe last year they added cars to the most full existing runs. The service is really starting to mature!

  4. Austin – go read about the jitney buses. There are laws about transportation services on the books that might make anything that might compete with taxis illegal.

  5. Sounder North is running 3 car trains now instead of 2, Sounder South except for the reverse commute runs 6 cars. The reverse commute has 7 cars.

  6. Does anyone else feel that when Link opens it’s going to blast the expected ridership for the first year in something like three months? I wonder if that happens and Sound Transit 2.1 passes in 2008 if we could see Sound Transit 2 (with the original rail plan) in 2010. Maybe with speedier financing and delivery as well? That would be a dream come true.

  7. Austin, the other piece that would prevent for pay private buses competing with public buses is the fare box only collects around 25% of operating costs. So even with the exact same cost structure a private bus would have to charge four times as much to break even, this excludes the potential for profit and spending any additional monies for a more posh interior experience.

  8. I think sjc02005’s scenario is likely–we’ll pass some ST package this November, and follow it up with the initial light rail line in 2009, which will surpass ridership projections.

    That sets us up nicely for an additional round of Sound Transit investment. The one thing that I would do differently is forget about the original ST2 as a template. We should build more than that and build it faster. We need everything in ST2, plus an Eastside light rail line from Bothell to Renton, and several additional lines in Seattle proper.

    I almost think the better strategy is annual packages built over ten years, staggered so that starting ten years from now there’s more of the system coming into service each year. That creates a snowballing of support for transit and avoids the perception that people are paying billions and having to wait 20 or 30 years to see any result. Well, thanks to low and anti-transit turnout in off-year elections, biannual packages are probably the best we can get.

  9. There’s no way ST2 can follow the kind of package they’re talking about for 2008 — the subarea equity just doesn’t work out.

    They’d have to build something else in Seattle, which is a good thing.

  10. hypothetical question du jour:

    if we saw a similar y-o-y increase in vehicle traffic on, say, a state highway, how much would we spend to add capacity?

    why aren’t our legislators getting all hot and bothered to do more for transit in the coming year? why is everything being dumped out to the fringe to come up with plans and proposals?

  11. Andrew, our legislators are overwhelmingly from suburbs and rural areas. It’s a small minority from the urban cores. That will change over the next few decades as the suburbanites have to infill…

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