Sounder waiting to go
Sounder in King Street Station, photo by Oran

When Sounder opens to Lakewood, it’ll be 82 miles long. With daily ridership last quarter probably over 10,000 (it was over 9900 in the fourth quarter of 2008), I’d imagine the ninth train plus that extension should get us over 12,000 – if we don’t hit 12,000 before the extension opens in 2012!

In 1982, both the Tohoku (March) and Joetsu (November) shinkansen lines opened, providing high speed rail service north of Tokyo. We’ve got a long way to go in this country before opening two high speed rail lines in the same year!

9 Replies to “82 Days”

  1. I was just noticing the other day looking at a list of US commuter rail systems by ridership that the Sounder is by far the highest ridership one to have peak-only service… If we had a couple midday and late evening trains and had more of the trains be reverse commuters since they’re going back anyways, I think we could see a real ridership jump.

  2. Quite a few of the conductors told me a while back ago that there is a time slot available to Sound Transit for a mid-day train. Somewhere around the 11am departure from Tacoma, 12pm arrival in Seattle, 1pm departure from Seattle, 2pm arrival in Tacoma. The train set will then be used for the reverse commute 4:30pm train out of Tacoma.

    I do believe that won’t happen until the Lakewood extension is completed, which is a shame.

    1. I think they can’t send another train to Tacoma in the evening until there’s a place to store it.

  3. I wish they’d look into limited weekend service for Sounder. I know it’s a “commuter” train, but if you combine the number of people who work on Saturdays with the number of people who travel between cities along the Sounder route for non-work reasons on weekends, I think you could support at least one train a day on both Saturday and Sunday. Think of all the trips people make to visit family and friends in other cities with Sounder service. As much as I’m looking forward to Link I won’t use it much and a service like weekend Sounder would be much more useful.

  4. Good idea, Cascadian. I’ll be going to the Kent events center (ShoWare Center) in two Saturdays for an MMA fight, and occasionally I go to Tacoma for shows or the weekend festival. The center is right in downtown Kent near the bus stops and Sounder station, perfect for transit-oriented event commuting or whatever the term is.

    Having said that, I don’t think Sounder is cost-effective unless it’s full, and about the only events that draw that big a crowd are at the Seattle stadiums and Seattle Center (Bumbershoot, Folklife, the Byte, etc). I do wonder why the Mariners are the only sports team to get weekend special trains; surely the number of football fans is the same.

    Anyway, I’m happy to take a bus to Kent, or later take Link to Tukwila and then a bus to Kent, but Sounder would be cool… if other transit alternatives weren’t so much cheaper.

  5. I do wonder why the Mariners are the only sports team to get weekend special trains

    The Mariners are willing to pay the tab because they need to fill seats (80+ home games vs 10-12). The Seahawks can sell out the stadium and wouldn’t see enough increase in ticket sales to justify the expense of the train. If the train prices were set to actually cover 100% of the cost of the train I don’t think anyone would ride it.

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