Photo by Oran

Weekday ridership on Central Link improved on June’s record with a new average of 24,145 boardings per day. We’re still about 6 months away from having meaningful year-to-year comparisons.

Saturday and Sunday ridership also set non-opening-weekend records of 22,098 and 17,127, respectively. Saturday ridership that approaches weekday boardings is unusual in our region. It’s easy to speculate but there’s no data on why Link is a special case.

109 Replies to “July Link Weekday Ridership Up 3%”

    1. IIRC the main weekend of Seafair was in August. Every Saturday except July 3rd was 20K+, so there has to be more to it than that. Doesn’t there?

      1. Probably just the fact that it’s peak tourist season and a lot of tourists are coming in from the airport on Link.

      2. But wasn’t the torch light parade the last weekend of July? That normally brings 100,000+ people downtown.

    1. According to this 2006 press release they expect 45,000 daily riders in 2020. The press release from opening weekend suggests 26,600 by the end of 2010.

      There are several articles on the PI’s Transportation Watch section from only a few months ago commenting on how far off the ridership is from that 26,600 number… but I would argue it seems pretty obtainable at this point. In fact, it’s pretty fair to say that as an estimate, we already hit the number.

    2. What were traffic volumes on the first segment of I-5 back when it opened in 196X?

      What were the estimated traffic volumes back when the highway system was sold to us?

      Now 45 years later, does anybody care? (rhetorical question)

      1. You don’t care. You just care about painting transit in a way that makes it look bad. That’s why we don’t entertain you. :)

      2. I’m sure we do entertain him. And he does support some transit: high-speed rail across the country with stops in rural/exurban areas.

  1. some factors that may have helped the weekend ridership numbers for July …

    festivals like:
    Folklife
    Bite of Seattle
    4th of July

    nice weather

    cruise ship sailings (ships sail on FRI/SAT/SUN and often people arrive on the day or the day before their sailing)

    for August …

    SeaFair (parade, run, Blue Angels, Hydros)
    Awesome weather
    Cruise Ships
    Hemp Fest (although this might also increase the number of “unpaid” boardings)

    etc …

    1. All of these speak to the fact that LINK is serving more as a parking lot shuttle bus than a regular transportation system.

      People want cheap parking, and are willing to drive to Tukwila and get a train to attend events in high priced Seattle.

      1. All of what speaks to LINK being a parking lot shuttle? It’s a pretty big leap to go from speculation as to why the Saturday numbers are up to a blanket statement regarding the “fact” that LINK isn’t a “regular transportation system.”

        Besides, shouldn’t Seattle be getting cheaper to drive to since it’s in the throes of depopulation? :)

      2. Depopulation? Seattle’s population is skyrocketing. And the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma-Everett Metropolitan population is expected to reach 5-6 million by 2050.
        And why would the expense to drive effect the population? If you make it more expensive to drive and park, the population will rapidly increase within city-limits.
        This is why Sound Transit needs to speed up its construction and planning of the two light-rail lines. A third light-rail line is needed to run from Woodinville to Renton via Northgate, the Zoo, Queen Anne, West Seattle, and the South Center Mall to double ridership.

      3. Think of it as a parallel universe. Parallel-Seattle is depopulating. It must have had a nuclear bomb dropped on it or something. Or it’s a universe where urbanists don’t exist.

      4. 600 parking spaces in Tukwila does not translate to 22,000 Saturday riders. Or how about Sunday, when on-street parking in Seattle is free? People still ride the train then, too. Kind of proves your argument wrong, huh?

      5. I thought the P&R was only 200 some spaces at TIB or are you counting the spaces the airport so generously lets you use?

  2. For several factors mentioned in prior posts, plus the coming end of Mariners and Sounders seasons, it is fairly likely that July and August could be the peak of ridership for Link each year, and that ridership will fall off in the fall and winter.

    M’s games alone have contributed around 1,000 riders/weekday, and that will end on Oct. 3. Sounders games are mostly on weekends, and the last Sounders home game (unless they play home playoff games this year) is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19.

    The summer tourist season has been responsible for a very large part of the increase in ridership the past few months. From my records of boardings/deboardings at each station on the Link line, I find that almost all of the increase in ridership this summer has come from the SeaTac station, and from my observations, I would say that virtually all of that is tourists, including those going on cruises from Seattle. This could have added a few thousand boardings per weekday which will disappear when the tourist season ends in a couple of months.

    There is also the factor of nice summer weather making it more appealing to walk/bike longer distances to and from Link stations than it will be in the winter, when it is cold and raining, and it is dark much earlier in the evening and much later in the morning. Some people might not mind walking a mile or so to/from a Link station on a warm, bright summer evening, but would not do so on a dark, wet winter evening.

    Of course, there is no need to speculate. We will know when the November and December numbers come out if ridership on Link peaks in the summer, or if it will keep increasing every month this year.

    I don’t think anyone should be surprised if ridership drops below 20,000/weekday this winter.

    1. I might add that the current state of the economy might be getting people out of their cars and also more people who have tried out link on weekends might have liked it enough to uuae it on a regular basis. Also, keep in mind that most cruiseship passengers are bussed from SeaTac directly to/from the cruiseships.

      1. Where did you read that most cruise ship passengers are bussed from SeaTac to or from the cruiseships? That would seem to contradict the claim that cruiseship passengers spend a lot of money in Seattle hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. How could they spend money in Seattle if they never even set foot in the city, other than at the cruiseship terminals?

        I have spoken with people on Link who said there were in Seattle to take a cruise to Alaska, and used Link between downtown and SeaTac.

        “I might add that the current state of the economy might be getting people out of their cars… ” So, if the economy ever picks up, these people will go back to their cars and stop riding Link? Is that what you meant?

      2. I guess you haven’t seen the flotilla of buses that are at the cruise ship terminals on arrival and departure days.

        That’s not to say that 100% of the people fly-in take a bus to the boat and sail away … many come a few days before and many leave a few days after … but most likely they take a bus one direction.

        Remember most cruises are package tours that include the sailing, air travel and ground transportation (some include hotel stay )

      3. I remember one day when I rode Link a few times; there were a bunch of cruise ship passengers taking it from the SeaTac cruise ship to downtown then back in the evening. I think they alluded to a bus taking them from their ship to Tukwila Intl Blvd Station, but I have no idea what the norm is for cruises.

      4. Anecdotally, a depressingly small number of cruise ship passengers spend any more than perhaps the night before the cruise in Seattle. I wish there was some way to entice this particular segment to spend serious time in Seattle (and environs). Rather they seem to be sold on Alaska and little else.

      5. Wasn’t a big driver faster cruise ships that could be based out of Seattle, rather than Vancouver, because they can now get to and from Alaska in the same amount of time as before?

        I’m guessing the one night of stay relates to the overall length of time for a typical cruise ship vacation.

        Wonder how many folks look around during their short stay, realize they’re missing something, and come back to just spend time here?

      6. Yes, I think you’re right about the introduction of faster ships making Seattle a more viable “home port” for cruise ships heading to Alaska. As you can imagine, there’s a pretty compelling incentive to do have a round trip Alaska cruise be on the order of a week.

        I also seem to recall their being a law about foreign flagged vessels (which most cruise ships are) not being able to travel between US ports without stopping at an intermediate foreign port (or something like that). Older ships may have been fast enough to do the SEAAlaska round trip with no intermediate stops, but the mandatory stop in Victoria or Vancouver made doing the trip in a week untenable.

      7. Vancouver isn’t any shorter going to AK than Seattle. It’s just about as far north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca as Seattle is south and it’s a slow and tricky passage through the Gulf Islands. Bellingham had the distance advantage by sea but loses on ground transport. Flights from the US into Vancouver are a lot more expensive than SEA. Foreign flights it’s a mixed bag. In the end though the Ports compete against each other and knowing what the bottom line is for the cruise ships offer incentives (kick backs) accordingly. I think you’re right about the US flagged vessel laws. I would be surprised if the cruise ships to AK aren’t US flagged. Not sure what Canadian law is. You only really get an advantage if you can flag the ship in Liberia, Panama Philippines, etc. and then use foreign crew. Since most cruise ship crew also has to perform a public function I don’t think that works for them.

      8. Ya, it’s called the Jones act but seems that there are substantial waivers in place now so it’s basically meaningless.

      9. I’ve also heard of a scheme where buses will get sealed in the US, and unsealed in canada, with the riders escorted aboard ship so that they technically dont enter canada per-se, since the ship stops at US desinations afterwards. I’m sure customs pre-screen’s riders boarding in vancouver of course.

      10. When I worked at Sea-Tac Airport a few years ago, I recall seeing a lot of tour buses that would jam up the terminal during the Cruise Ship season. I haven’t noticed it as much but then again, I haven’t been up to Sea-Tac in ages.

        I wouldn’t call Tukwila Station a mecca for people to park at. It only has 600 some odd spaces and it is getting pretty darn difficult to even find parking Saturday morning now. Sure there are tourist but it really is no different than what Phoenix is also seeing.

      11. Many cruise ship passengers do pre- or post-cruise stays in Seattle. Many are part of organized tours. Most organized tours use buses to get their tour groups to/from SEA and/or the pier. Go the the Pier 66 any Fri, Sat or Sunday after about 1:30 to 3:00; it looks like 3rd Ave during the rush hour.

      12. Usually i think people arrive the day before the tour starts to ensure connections are made. Most of the time they fly out the day of their return to make sure they get back home in time.

      13. Yeah, Norman – sorry, but there are always several buses waiting to take cruise ship passengers from flights to downtown hotels and the ships.

      14. LOL “several buses”? Must be pretty big buses. Those cruise ships can hold 1,500 or more passengers.

        Lots of those buses dropping passengers at the cruise ship terminals are comging from downtown Seatte — not SeaTac.

        And why would I be disappointed that many cruise ship passengers take buses between SeaTac and the cruise terminals? Just more proof that anyone will ride buses — they don’t demand trains.

    2. I’m told October is generally a peak month for transit, although I suspect summer will see the weekend peak. Whether the peak is in the summer or October, I have little doubt that ridership will bottom out at the end of the year for obvious reasons, although I have no idea whether it’ll be above or below 20k.

      It’ll get more interesting when we start getting apples-to-apples year-to-year comparisons in February.

    3. Is that really a complain, Norman? After all, I don’t assess Seattle Center based on the drop-off after summer festival season which attracts more out-of-towners and tourists. I believe peaks there are for Folklife, Pride, Bite of Seattle, and Bumbershoot.

    4. Norman, don’t forget that school is out of session in July. In the winter/spring you were commenting on the high percentage of ridership that was student-based, and warning that ridership would fall off once school was out. In addition: many regular commuters vacation in July and August; fall is prime business convention season (although I have no idea what is scheduled for downtown Seattle this year); the Sounders will play well into autumn; the Seahawks just started their preseason; and the end of November and much of December will obviously see an airport spike. I haven’t looked at Metro’s numbers for a benchmark, but I also doubt that Seattle’s gentle winters will have the same negative impact on ridership observed elsewhere: 45 and misty isn’t quite the disincentive of 15 and windy.

      I’ve no idea what will end up being Link’s peak months on a year-to-year basis (I’d guess fall), but I suspect that in large part we’ve hit the point where fluctuations based on various “classes” of ridership will mostly cancel each other out.

      1. School works both ways. I saw a lot of kids riding Link this summer, when there was no school, at all times of the day. During school time, mostly just the students at Franklin High school ride Link every day. There were fewer kids on trips with their parents during the school year than there were in the summer.

        Seahawks games are on weekends. I was talking about the weekday ridership.

        It won’t be that long before we are into November and December, so we will see what actually happens.

      2. The UW is not just “kids” out with their parents. It’s one of the major regional employers. As Martin already pointed out, transit ridership tends to peak in October. In large part this is due to all of the colleges/universities being back in session. What I’m seeing from this, assuming the ridership numbers have been accurate, is that the airport is a much bigger “destination” than a lot of transit advocates gave it credit for. I’m not terribly surprised by that. You only need a small percentage of the people and a large number of them are here without cars. A train, with a one seat ride to DT is pretty attractive compared to a more expensive rental car and driving on roads you don’t know. That’s especially true if you have to learn to drive on the “wrong” side of the road. Advantage Seattle over the eastside for international business.

      3. My sense is that Link might be unlike the bus system in that its current scope is skewed towards leisure travelers rather than schoolkids. So I wouldn’t be shocked if summer was in fact the peak.

      4. I don’t know that Link is skewed towards leisure travelers. The bus system (in Seattle) may get a boost from HS students but I think the biggest airport ridership is business passengers, not tourists. Face it, Seattle as much as I like cool temperatures and think this is a great place to live ain’t Maui. We do however have international business connections like, Boeing, Weyerhauser, Google, and an “extremely small in scale” software company. Not to mention a few companies that provide life saving equipment and drugs.

      5. If you’re going to visit Microsoft, Boeing, or Weyerhauser you certainly are not taking Link unless you’re a serious transit geek. More broadly, business travelers are less price sensitive and will take the zero-thinking yet expensive option, which is renting a car.

      6. Just ride Link between downtown and SeaTac a few roundtrips per week, and you will see the obvious — the great majority of people going to and from the airport on Link are tourists — not business travelers. Tourist travel peaks in the summer months in Seattle.

      7. Norman, just for laughs: when you see me wearing jeans and a tee-shirt with luggage on Link, how do you know whether to classify me as a tourist or the business traveler that I am?

    5. Norman,

      What’s the source of the M’s games contributing around 1,000 riders/weekday figure you cited?

      1. From daily ridership figures. Compare days with M’s games to days without M’s games.

        In July, the 9 weedays with M’s home games averaged 25,078, while the 12 weekdays without M’s home games averaged 23,446.

        In June, the 9 weekdays with M’s or Sounders games averaged 25,026, while the 13 weekdays without M’s or Sounders home games averaged 22,267.

      2. More than that, it take those cars off the road during a peak demand period. That’s something rail does really well. I have issues with public money being spent to support a private venture like a sports franchise but the undeniable fact is that those games are going to impact public roads; so if public investment in transit eases that then it’s hard to deny that it’s money well spent… With the caveat that the team owners should be charged a hefty transportation impact fee.

      3. Nobody goes to M’s games by themselves. The average passengers per car arrving at Safeco Field is probably at least 3. And many of those people would have taken a bus to the game, instead of Link.

        Leaving downtown at around 10pm to 11pm is not a “peak demand period.” Highways are flowing freely at that time.

      4. “Nobody goes to M’s games by themselves.”

        Lots of people attend games with other people but drive to and from games by themselves.

      5. Not true. Very few people drive to and from games alone. The parking at or near Safeco really discourages that: around $25 to park in the Safeco Field parking garage, for example.

        I believe the average passengers/car arriving at Safeco Field for M’s games is at least 3. You seel lots of SUV’s with 5 or more people in them, especially families with kids.

      6. I drive to and from games by myself. I usually meet my friends down there and then go to the game together.

        And there is no way the average passenger load for an M’s game is 3 per car. Just no way.

      7. From my experience, the average in the Safeco garage itself is about 2; my guess would be the outlying parking areas are less than that.

      8. You guys obviously don’t go to many M’s games. I would say the average number of passengers per car paying to park at M’s games is easily 3. The number of cars with only one person is very, very small.

      9. Where did you read that the average number of passengers per car paying to park at M’s game is easily 3?

      10. Everyone I know who has to drive to Mariners games parks in ID/Chinatown or Sodo after 6 PM when street parking is free. Anecdotally speaking, there are a lot of people who take transit to M’s games then meet up with friends and carpool home.

      11. Norman,

        I’m a season ticket holder. I go to a lot of games and there is no way the average is 3 people/car. You should try actually going to a game once in awhile.

      12. I have been to quite a few games at Safeco Field. Do you ever park in the parking lots, or do you park a mile away from the stadium? In the pay lots within 3 or 4 blocks of the ballpark, virtually nobody arrives by themselves in a car. Three people per car in those lots is very realistic. If you are parking more than a couple blocks away, you are not parking “at Safeco Field.”

      13. Norman, as usual you’re attempting to shift the terms of debate on the sly: you’ve tried to move us from “average passengers per car going to M’s games” to “average passengers per car, among people that park in pay lots within 3 or 4 blocks of Safeco.” The latter is completely and utterly meaningless. Who cares whether someone parks at a Safeco or—as most everyone I know—parks at cheaper lots further away or just finds a spot under the viaduct or in SoDo or the ID? All those vehicles are still on their neighborhood streets, are still on arterials, and are still on I-5 and 99. Whether they pull off the street grid 4 blocks away from Safeco or 6 blocks away from Safeco is irrelevant.

        Fact is, your initial claim that “nobody goes to M’s games by themselves” is patently wrong.

  3. Rode Link for the first time this week. Went to Beacon Hill, checked out the Red Apple and some real estate I had seen online. Then we jumped on Link to head to Pioneer Square.

    Very nice. Even better is that my wife was impressed, she refuses to ride a bus, so I was a bit worried but Link came through.

    One thing I thought was odd was that when a fair checker came through of the people on my end of the car, my wife and I were the only ones with ORCA Cards (isn’t that kinda like ATM Machines? Is it just ‘ORCAs’?), everyone that I could see had tickets. Now it was standing room only (midafternoon on a Tuesday) so it’s not like I saw everyone, but I saw a good couple dozen. Coincidence or is adoption really that low?

    1. It’s pretty likely that people who buy tickets are going to/from the airport, and are either out-of-town tourists, or people who live in Seattle, and ride Link only on their occasional trips to the airport. Most regular Link riders probably have ORCA cards.

      In the summer there have been a lot of tourists riding Link, and they have no reason to buy ORCA cards for $5 a pop, if they are only going to ride Link one round-trip this year.

    2. I noticed recently that a lot of people were paying for the bus with the ORCA (you’re right, it’s like PIN Number). I haven’t ridden Link much recently, but it’s quite possible that, as expected, a fair number of Link riders are out-of-towners riding from the Airport to the hotel.

    3. I’m probably flirting with an “off-topic” admonishment here, but I think it’s ok to say “ORCA Card” since “ORCA” is a brand in addition to an acronym. Oddly enough, I’d probably take issue if you said “O.R.C.A Card” since then you’re acknowledging the acronym, which already has “Card” in it.

    4. I ride Link daily, and generally I see quite a few more than two people per fare check with Orca cards. My view is probably slanted a little because I usually ride right around peak times, but even in off-peak and night/weekend trips, I think adoption is higher than your story suggests.

  4. Spend a little time at the Airport station like I did, and watch the scores of people coming and going from every train with their luggage. Maybe the Port has some data to compare, showing some shrinkage in rides in taxis and Airporter buses?

  5. The last two times I have tried to ride Link from TIB station, I have ended up driving downtown instead, since the lot was full.

    …as a side note, yes, I could have parked in Burien and taken the 140 to TIB, but on neither occasion did I have time to do that. Note to self, leave earlier.

    1. Yet another reason it’s a bummer the 200 St. station (with its park-and-ride) won’t open early.

  6. Maybe the ridership is increasing simply because people are getting used to LINK being there and they’re enjoying using it. They gave it a chance and like it.

    I see more people walking around the stations and that alone is amazing. People walking along MLK Way? Never happened much before. People walking across the pedestrian bridge to Mount Baker station? Was just high school students before. People walking to and from Beacon Hill station? Wasn’t it a restuarant before? Hordes of people walking in and out of the transit tunnel stations? Wasn’t this busy a couple years ago before LINK.

    In 10 years we’ll look back and remember these days when we only had this starter line and be amazed at how ridership has grown with each extension.

    1. And we’ll look at Norman and Bailo’s comments and watch as they twist farther and farther backward to try to justify their assertions that Link isn’t a success. :)

      1. $2.6 billion for a projected 47,000 boardings per day in 2030? This is a “success” even if that projected number is reached? LOL That is an extremely expensive joke.

      2. Indeed yes. If Link was built to only exist for a day, that $2.6 bil would be $55,319 per passenger. Obviously not a success. In a year that drops to $151 per passenger. 20 years = $7.55 per passenger, 50 years = $3.02, etc.

        Is that a success? Is it worth it? Absolutely!

      3. No. Extremely expensive failure. I-5 carrires 40,000 people per lane per day. Highway lanes cost a lot less than Link cost per mile.

        And SWIFT bus cost about 1/95th of what Link cost per mile, while carrying about 1/6 as many people per day, which means that Link cost about 15 times as much per boarding as Link.

        Compared to highways or BRT, Link light rail is a very stupid waste of billions of dollars of tax revenues.

      4. It’s cheaper than a bus system. O&M on buses is a huge expense. Investing in a rail system almost always saves money when viewed in the long term.

      5. There is nothing that unusual about Link LR. It’s been built to a slightly higher capacity than most systems, but that is because the ridership is expected to warrent it.

        And so far the ridership estimates have been pretty close, even considering the down economy which nobody had in their ridership models.

      6. Link was far more expensive to build, and is far moer expensive to operate, than other U.S. light rail systems.

      7. The new Portland-Milwaukie line is going to cost 73% more per mile than Central Link, and Portland has decades of experience building light rail.

    2. “Maybe the ridership is increasing simply because people are getting used to LINK being there and they’re enjoying using it. They gave it a chance and like it.”

      My favorite comment in this thread.

      1. And if ridership on Link declines in the winter months, what will that tell you? That people tried Link and did not like it?

      2. Norman, you’re so determined to be right that you’re actually hoping for Link to fail. Like it or not, we’ve built the thing – we might as well try and get as much traffic on it as possible to make good use of the money that’s been poured into it. Perhaps you need to go on some more passenger counting trips?

      3. I would add that, like it or not, not only have we built the thing, but we have voted to extend it. The debate about whether or not to do this is over. Now the debate is about how to make it the best it can be.

        Norman seems to want to rehash arguments that were settled 15 years ago. The train has left the station and it’s not going back.

      4. Norman loves Link so much that he rides it back and forth several times a day. He can’t get enough of it.

      5. Wow, he’s a hardcore Link fan and he doesn’t even know it!

        I would do that if I had that much free time but seriously, he should set up a company and bid to do the manual passenger counting for ST.

    3. This line is clearly just a starter line, but it has already changed my sense of the city. I’m a non-driver who lives in the north end and has a bunch of friends who live on Beacon Hill. I used to think of visiting them as being a real pain, but thanks to the speed and (especially) the frequency of the light rail, it doesn’t seem any harder to get there than it does to get to downtown itself. In my mind, downtown and Beacon Hill are now psychologically “adjacent” in a way that they never were before.

  7. The experience with Seafair indicates: Advertise it, and they will ride it. There were lots of packed buses taking spectators from the Lake Washington coast to Columbia City and Othello Station.

    Perhaps as an adjunct to lower-headway Link service after major downtown sporting events, ST could have extra 574 buses ready to pull away from Airport Station starting 40 minutes after the event concludes. Since those buses don’t actually take people to the event, they shouldn’t be prohibited by the federal rule.

    Running more 594s after the event just leaves more buses stuck in traffic, so this is one instance in which Link+574 is faster and more dependable, and it serves both Federal Way and Tacoma, unlike the 594.

    1. Yes but it forces a transfer, and lets be honest, the Airport Station connection isnt the best. Really, ST needs to move the terminus of the 574 to TIB so connections can be made there. But in order to do that i think they’d need to build some additional bus layover space (Which was obvious since day 1 there) to accomodate the “A” and other routes, instead of having stock layup at the platform. Sadly i’m not sure how you’d do that without taking away P&R capasity (or building a garage)

      1. Okay, how about extra bus service from TIBS to Federal Way and Tacoma after major Qwest/Safeco Field events? Or from Rainier Beach Station? (one or the other, not both)

        If RBS is the post-game grand central station, then extra buses to Renton and Southcenter could also be considered.

        I’ve looked at many scenarios for pre-200th connectivity. Altering the 574 permanently to go to TIBS involves one of two bad possibilities: (1) forcing riders headed to the airport from points south to transfer for the last two-mile leg (and walk farther to the terminal); (2) dramatically increasing the service hours to cover the 574 destinations, so that it can still reach the south terminal, and have more local buses run to SeaTac City Hall to make up for that lost service (Don’t forget Norman!).

        Opening 200th St Station will alter the numbers enough to create the possibility of only have Lakewood/Tacoma/FedWay service to Link and the airport on weekends, with headway matching Link’s. It won’t save a whole lot of bus hours, though. The big savings doesn’t really kick in until Link reaches Federal Way Transit Center.

        Now, if Pierce or South King are forced to reduce weekend ST Express service, the numbers could change earlier.

      2. The best savings to be found are probably seasonal service adjustments. Metro has done that with the U-District routes. ST could do that based on past ridership counts by month, day of the week, and known events.

        Administering seasonal service adjustments is a matter of listing the days in the schedule that service levels will change, and approving more operator vacations on days when lower service is provided.

  8. Just one more brief comment for the Normans of the world who always like to compare how cheap buses are in comparisons to that costly Link system — bus systems operate on someone else’s ROW where, in a healthy economy, service reliability (and expansion capacity) is always subject to traffic congestion. Link is expensive because it provides new ROW that is forever free of traffic congestion and provides service that buses can only dream about (Westlake to UW in 6 minutes, when the extension opens)

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