UPDATE: Correction Below.

Sound Transit’s Quarterly Ridership Report is up, and it’s good news. It’s brief, so go have a look. Weekday boardings are up 15% from the same time last year, which is pretty impressive given the relatively small amount of service added in that time. Some interesting nuggets:

  • South Sounder ridership is up 30%, largely because of added trips. I think this shows that ridership is a little less elastic with respect to parking at the station than some would assume. In other words, creative solutions (like satellite parking) are able to continue building ridership after the nearby lots are saturated. That isn’t to say that parking shortages aren’t a problem.
  • Sounder cost-per-boarding is down slightly to $10.79, while the express bus cost is up slightly to $6.73. Without seeing the station breakdown, that puts farebox recovery for Sounder at around 40%, about the same as ST Express and pretty good for a transit system. That includes essentially empty reverse-commute trains. As economies of scale build up on Sounder and gas prices increase, I expect the comparative numbers to improve further.
  • Tacoma Link ridership is only up 1%. It may simply not have the scope to serve many people, especially since the 594 most Express buses takes a needless detour into downtown on its way South.

Picture Credit: Seattle Times, August 14, 2007.

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