Aug13MvgAvgGrowth2Another month, another double digit weekday ridership gain for Link and a new record of 959,701 total boardings for the month.  ST Express also experienced double digit weekday growth.

August’s Central Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday boardings were 32,399/29,996/24,234, growth of 10.7%, 10.2%, and 8.1% respectively over August 2012. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 5.8% (up 7% on the South Line, down 5% on the North Line).  Total Tacoma Link ridership was down 2.0% with weekday ridership declining 2.7%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up 10%.  Crosslake routes continued to show strong growth.  The 545, 550, and 554 had year over year increases of 16%, 21% and 16% respectfully.  Complete August Ridership Summary here.

Link has seen double digit weekday ridership growth ten out of the past twelve months, and year to date total ridership is up 11.2% compared to August of last year.

My Link charts below the fold.


35 Replies to “August ST Ridership Report”

  1. To every critic who wants to say that Link ridership is less than originally projected, it can be said that ridership has more than doubled in 4 years.

    1. Both statements are correct.
      Yes, ridership has doubled in the last 4 years, and the 10% gains recently has been very impressive. Way to go!
      To be fair, the early critics, myself included, were seeing numbers and trends that fell far short of the projected 47,000 avg daily boardings for year 2020 for Airport Link, (excluding Udist and S. 200th segments), which rightly were cause for concern. The last 12 months avg. is about 28,000 per day, which is still only 73% of the original target at this time.
      On the bright side again, if current trends hold, Link will meet it’s projections.

      1. mic, can you source that number? I believe the 2020 projection is 45,000 – which we’re on track for, even without U-Link or S. 200th.

        For you to actually SAY your number is 2020, and then claim a 2013 average is 73% of anything, is kind of silly.

        On page 10, 3rd paragraph:
        “Light rail would provide frequent, convenient and reliable service, running 20 hours daily. Airport Link would
        substantially increase transit capacity in the central corridor and King County, decrease travel times, increase overall
        transit reliability and speed, increase comfort and potentially result in increase transit coverage in the metropolitan
        area. The Centrail [sic] Link light rail system will have an estimated 47,000 riders per day in 2020.”
        Silly or not, Link has made impressive gains towards promises to voters. Holding public agencies to claims made is part of the checks and balances of a healthy government. Sorry you are offended by that process.

      3. Dude. Get out of the echo chamber and do a little math. At 10% growth per year, Central Link is on track to at least meet ST’s estimates. Who knows if the 10% per year growth will hold up, but so far ST has a much better track record than your echo chamber friends do with theirs.

      4. mic, interestingly enough reading through you’re linked document I see on page two:
        “The ridership for the light rail from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown Seattle’s Westlake Station is estimated to be 47,000 per day in 2030”

        And then on page ten, two paragraphs below the sentence you pull out, again:
        “TRANSIT USE: The Airport Station alone is expected to serve 5,000 riders per day by 2030. The ridership for the light rail from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown Seattle’s Westlake Station is estimated to be 47,000 per day in 2030. The light rail project is scheduled to open in 2009.”

        Notice both are 2030. I don’t get it.

      5. Ah. So the document actually says 47,000 in 2030. ST will have no trouble meeting that.

      6. I just googled “Sound Transit Original Projections” the first result lead me to this washington policy .org site….

        Which interestingly enough used the 72% reference (end of paragraph 3). BUT… if i am readying it right they are trying to say were are at a 72% SHORTFALL vs 72% of the way to the original number.

        Regardless… I just found this interesting… And by NO MEANS do i think WA is any sort of credible source. No am I supporting Mic… I was just trying to do some homework and see what the original numbers were/are.

      7. This discussion certainly seems to be oriented toward scolding Mic for questioning the party line. If you want to talk about an echo chamber, maybe you should look for the log in your own eyes before questioning the splinter in Mic’s.

      8. No, not at all. I think we are just thankful to people like mic who are “holding public agencies to claims made.” Because it is always good to be reminded that ST is on track to meet the claims they made.

      9. Some assume that the point of projections is to make a promise about sociological future outcomes, and that if the projection is not met, the project can be declared a failure. So, if the PSRC predicts gridlock 18 hours a day on I-5, and it doesn’t happen, then I-5 is a failure?

        Could it be that the more important point of projections is to make sure the system meets future demand? If ST is crushloaded in 2040 during peak and running at mimimum possible headway, is that really a measurement of “success”?

  2. I look forward to seeing the boost we get out of U-Link.

    I wonder what kind of effect the first hill car will have on link ridership when it opens?

      1. Matthew, come on, you know what I mean. For example, why is the North Line down, but the South Line up? To what is the 10.7% weekday increase on Central Link attributed to? I’m curious about these things.

      2. Matt didn’t cover those things because they’re unsurprising and obvious.

        Central Link is up because more people have moved into the areas around stations and adapted their commutes to it.

        South Sounder is up because it’s offering more trips (as well as the reasons for Central Link).

        North Sounder is down because it hasn’t seen any investment, while the competing bus service has.

      3. North Sounder also carries zero riders within 48 hours of a mudslide, and recent years have had more mudslides.

      4. More detail on specific station boardings for North Sounder would be interesting, since the Edmonds station overflow lot was was essentially unavailable during the demolition/construction on the strip mall and parking lot.

        Now that the overflow lot has been finished for a month and with obvious signage, there are regularly 30-40 cars in it, along with the main lot consistently full.

      5. The success of the mudslide mitigation work that has been completed will be more evident after the winter months’ ridership numbers come out, although the thunderstorms we had had enough intensity that it’s possible they would have caused some.

      6. For example, why is the North Line down, but the South Line up?

        I’m going to go with “South line is a valuable, reliable, and useful contribution to our transit infrastructure, and North line isn’t.”

      1. That’s great. But this isn’t the PR department of ST, it’s a blog, and want some opinions and analysis. That’s what bloggers do. If they don’t do that, they aren’t doing their job.

  3. Once you create a real rapid transit network, the numbers will soar. I like your town, but its truly urban area is small for now. Patience and wise, persistent investment will pay off for you and your descendants.

  4. Are there estimates on station-by-station boardings or station-to-station pairs? I’m curious if the ridership gains are at the Airport, Tukwila, Rainier Valley, SODO or perhaps just finally a better accounting of riders in the DSTT. Still, it’s great to see a 32K weekday average for Central Link topped for the first time!

    1. I would guess more riders shifted to rail when King Co eliminated the Ride Free Area for buses. There’s no longer an incentive waiting at the platform for a free bus instead of jumping on a $$Train for a couple of station in the DSTT.
      I need to know that Sam, so begin working on that as a priority.

      1. There is still an incentive to pay cash, and get a paper transfer, rather than spilling out $5 on an ORCA card or buying a non-transferable one-way train ticket. But that’s not something ST can do much about, other than slide back into cash rewards mode.

  5. The 550 ridership spike creates a wonderful problem: Should ST move toward 4-minute peak-of-peak headway on the 550 (which really can’t be done while working around Link’s headway), or should ST look at a peak-of-peak restructure that includes true express service between Bellevue and Seattle, alternate routes for Seattle-to-Mercer-Island service, and alternate routing for Mercer-Island-to-Bellevue service?

    For those worried about losing headway on Mercer Island, keep in mind the dreadful 554 headway for those trying to get between Mercer Island, Eastgate, and Issaquah during peak. With more Metro routes moving toward skipping Eastgate, the utility of restoring peak service on the 554 has increased.

    For those worried about ruining the service pattern for East Link, keep in mind that the service pattern for East Link will be 8-minute peak-of-peak headway, so many will be anti-impressed if they suddenly go from a wait of up to 4 minutes to a wait of up to 8 minutes, even if the train gets them where they are going a few minutes faster.

    1. “so many will be anti-impressed if they suddenly go from a wait of up to 4 minutes to a wait of up to 8 minutes”

      Not necessarily – When every other bus gets stuck behind a train that is stuck behind another bus, 4 minute paper headways will likely turn into two back-to-back buses every 8 minutes in practice. Which means no real headway increase when EastLink rolls around.

      1. There will be four years in which the 550 will have to run upstairs, which is plenty of time for riders to get used to true 4-minute headways for the front end of the line. That will give some cranks an opening to do some Norman math on what was lost by getting rid of the 550. BTW, where is Norman?

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