Safeco Field (Wikimedia Commons)
Safeco Field (Wikimedia Commons)

Tonight marks the first game that one can take light rail to see the Mariners play at home.  As a pretty serious baseball fan, that’s a big deal to me, and I’ll be there tonight.  Woo!

Given the need of transit agencies to get approval from a broad constituency, and the extent  to which the spread of jobs and homes makes it hard to serve many commuters, it’s important to look out for non-commuter markets that are suitable for transit.  Along with the airport, sporting events fit the bill for having expensive parking and ugly congestion not mitigated by buses.  It’s that combination that probably made the Airport a more attractive destination than Southcenter, which is easy and cheap to drive to.

There will be a non-trivial number of people whose primary interaction with Link will be through Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders, and (one day) Husky games.  It’s a market to which I hope Sound Transit makes a serious effort to provide a good rail experience.  That means some crowd control, perhaps an additional train or two for big events, and lots of assistance to expedite the ticket-buying process.

29 Replies to “Link to the Mariners!”

    1. My plans to build a private toll road to the stadiums just can’t compete with big government subsidies. I think the FTA should shut the streets down to level the playing field.

  1. Crowd control will be key at both ID Station and Stadium. I fear frustration and over crowding after games. With the construction of the new crossing over the railroad at Royal Brougham, we may see stations be able to handle post game crowds because the new bridge will funnel a more narrow stream of post game fans, but it will probably take more than a restricted bridge flow. What will ST do about floods of baseball and football fans that overwhelm stations? If they get frustrated, they will not use Link next time.

    1. ST will have extra trains next to Stadium station ready to take overflow – the first train will fill up and move on, and an extra train can come in to handle the crowd left over.

      Edit: I don’t know if they’re doing that today, I just know they’re doing it eventually.

      1. One of the reasons the extra track at Stadium Station was probably built for, staging game-day trains. I hope all goes well tonight.

    1. We can’t until U-Link is done, I think. Well, we could for southbound. Maybe they will.

      1. As I understand it, the 2-car restriction in the Pine St. stub tunnel turn-around doesn’t come into play until it’s set up to receive the TBM from Capitol Hill.

  2. I saw a 4 car train staged at the O&M departure track. I expect that this will be one of the 2 game day extras. Parking at Tukwila Station is going very, very fast.

    1. Good to read and very clever planning if they intend to run a 4 car special to the stadium from the south – another good test tonight, of both Link and the Ms.

  3. Does anyone have a good idea how the light rail round trip ticket cost and work? I sent an e-mail to Sound Transit customer service, as expected, there is no response.

    Thank you!

    1. Link TVMs sell one-way and round-trip tickets; RT being twice the price of one-way. RT also functions as an All Day Pass, and is valid for unlimited rides on date of purchase.

      For game attendees, Please Please Please buy those RT tickets and avoid the TVMs after the game is over. Return trip is valid until end of service at 12:xx AM.

      1. Thank you, ST Guy!!!

        Can I use round-trip ticket on buses or Sounder? If it does, does it work like a one-zone fare or others?

        Thanks again!

      2. A RT ticket bought at a TVM is good for an all-day pass just on Link, or for the value of the fare on Metro, ST, etc…? I’m still confused about the fare system.

      3. I’m still learning too. On Link, for now, just about any pass will work until Jan. 1. By then we hope to be down to just unexpired FlexPasses and Puget Passes, plus ORCAs of course. Will be MUCH simpler when ALL the passes get converted over to ORCA.

        As I understand Metro, a TVM ticket is good for a one-zone ride on Metro until the time the ticket expires (2 hrs after purchase). Not sure how Metro would count the time on a RT ticket…

      4. Thanks!

        It may be the reason why ST customer service does not reply my e-mail…they have no idea either…

      5. “RT also functions as an All Day Pass, and is valid for unlimited rides on date of purchase.”

        I would love some clarification on this, because I use E-purse, and want to know if there is any sort of cap or something when using ORCA that way. I don’t buy RT tickets, I just tap on and off, so if I were to ride, say, 3 times, more than two hours between each ride, would this end up costing me more than if I had just purchased a RT ticket from the TVM?

    2. Andy – why not just go to to find out roundtrip costs? Imagine 10,000 emailing that same question…would put a strain on any customer service department to answer all questions like that.

  4. Initial ridership numbers should be available next week according Sound Transit’s CEO Report from today.

  5. I’m out of commission Friday night so I can’t be there myself. Would love to hear reports re how the loading went at Stadium Station. Quantity/quality of help at the station from ST “volunteers.” Length of lines at TVMs, etc. Number of trains involved until the crowd was cleared. Thanks in advance.

    Same for tomorrow night before and after Torchlight, reports from any/all area stations would be welcomed.

    1. I got a temp job in Renton Tomorrow, LINK probably will give me a chance to avoid the Torchlight trap the 7 usually gets in, by switching at Lander.

  6. My father and I went to the game tonight. We both left at the same time, he was driving from Renton and I took Link from Tukwila. I beat him by 30 minutes, and the train was mostly full of Mariner fans. It made my day to hold one over on my anti-transit father. =)

    He thankfully agreed to take Sounder to the game tomorrow.

    1. Thanks, Zach. Music to my ears. And isn’t it interesting how quiet the opposition has been since Launch day? No trash talking at all (knock on wood…). Their numbers are shrinking, methinks.

  7. Running rail to airports has much more to do with getting the large number of employees back and forth than moving travelers back and forth.

    Link is actually fairly unusual in having the airport included in its initial line. Many of the biggest and most well known transit systems in the world did not add lines to their airport(s) until years after opening, and even then many often do so only with spurs of some sort.

    Most travelers simply don’t take transit to the airport. They have too much luggage to carry. They have family/friends dropping them off or picking them up. They are renting a car for their visit. Etc.

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