May15MvgAvgMay saw healthy weekday Link growth of 6.6% and total system growth of 5.7%. Weekday ridership was up across the board, with only Paratransit seeing a decrease. Due to weekend tunnel closure for U-Link work, Link’s weekend service took a hit. Link’s 12 month moving average was 33,939 in May. That is a hair’s breadth away from the 34k originally forecast for 2011. At that point ridership growth was supposed to level off. As the chart to the right shows, ridership is still growing at a strong clip. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Link’s initial ridership lag was due to the Great Recession and continued gains will wipe out that early shortfall.

May’s Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday average boardings were 35,878 / 24,958 / 20,746, growth of 6.6%, -10.9%, and .1% respectively over May 2015. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 11.6% with ridership increasing on both lines. Tacoma Link’s weekday ridership increased 4.5%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up 4.2%. System wide weekday boardings were up 5.7%, and all boardings were up 3.2%. The complete May Ridership Summary is here.

My charts below the fold.

May15WeekdayRidership May15WeekendRidership2 May15WeekdayChange May15MvgAvgMay15MvgAvgGrowthTotal

79 Replies to “May 2015 Sound Transit Ridership Report”

  1. What’s the maximum capacity of weekday link with the buses still in the tunnel? Are we getting close to max capacity?

    1. Back-of-the-envelope estimate here: 130 trains scheduled per weekday and capacity of 400/train puts capacity at 52,000 riders, compared to an average of 34,000 weekday boardings that we currently see. So…assuming some trains are fuller than others (and some days have more/less than the average number of boardings)…I’d say the fuller half of trains are probably quite packed.

    2. Practical capacity is actually a pretty tough question, with a huge range of possibilities. Napkin math:

      • 157 people per car, 2-car trains
      • At zero churn (everyone travels end to end, no intermediate boardings), daily capacity would be 157*2*250 (approx number of trains per day) = 78,500 minimum
      • At maximum churn (314 riders board and deboard at every stop), daily capacity would be 157*2*250*(n stations – 1) = 942,000 maximum

      Though obviously nothing close to that higher number would ever be possible, it does help illustrate how we’re nowhere near capacity for all-day service. The only pressures are generally peak-period/peak direction and special events. When we go to 4-car trains in a few years, capacity just won’t be a problem except in a few segments during peak.

      1. Our current pressure is peak-focused and, contrary to some of the OMGSOCROWDED anecdota-photos you might have seen, is mostly attributable to joint operations and the resulting non-negligible headway bunching.

      2. @Pete – I seem to remember that when the tunnel wall after Westlake is fully removed this summer, all trains will go all the way to Husky Stadium and back before March 2016.

      3. Baselle,

        Yes, the trains will go all the way to UW, but they will still require all passengers to get off at Westlake, and continue to do the whole check the train and wait shtick that they do now.

      4. Can’t they just position someone at Westlake at peak periods to do the train walk-through?

      5. Nah… Employing an appropriate number of platform people would simply make too much sense, and we’re the kings of pound-foolishness here.

      6. I don’t get why trains have to be inspected at Westlake at all. Maybe if you have a train going out of service, but otherwise just get it out of the way and turned around. If someone has to wait 10 minutes after falling asleep and missing the “last stop” announcement… they won’t make that mistake again. Or they will, and that’s their problem, I guess. Not worth wasting everyone’s time at one of the busiest stops in downtown Seattle.

    3. With the track functional (but not approved for revenue service yet) up to UW Station, 3- and 4-car trains should be able to serve the DSTT, when there is no construction/maintenance work going on around the track extensions. Turning the trains around is not revenue service, so the maneuver shouldn’t be a problem. That said, when I last asked why longer trains wouldn’t be deployed starting this fall, I was told that the extra expense of running 3-car trains all day, unnecessarily running up their mileage, and added maintenance costs, weren’t justified.

      At this point, I’m resigned to accept a few more years of sub-optimal tunnel operations, given that any solution finally implemented will have a short shelf life.

      I’m not happy about sub-optimal tunnel operations after the buses are out, and not ready to accept it as a done deal. I’d be happier if ST3 contained a full study of using flyover wyes instead of a turnback track to get out-of-service trains from East Link to the SODO O&MF, and remodeling ID Station to at least have a center platform, if not the full Spanish Solution. No it wouldn’t be cheap, but it would be a lot cheaper to do before East Link opens than after it opens.

    4. Three-car trains solve a different problem than what we have. Three-car trains would give Link runs more capacity, but the far biggest problem in the DSTT is the routine 10-20 minute stoppages between stations because there’s not enough road capacity for all the buses. Most of the bus passengers can’t take Link because it doesn’t go anywhere near their destination. Link overcrowding is just a minor inconvenience from what I’ve seen, and would be normal in other cities, whereas the stoppages are a really broken system that make me take the 43/49 instead of the 71/72/73X between 4:30 and 6:30pm. And when I am downtown during that time, it’s a tossup whether to take the 131/132 or a tunnel bus, because the 131/132 guaranteed to be 10-30 minutes late, while a tunnel bus may have one of those 10-minute stoppages (or two of them).

      1. So long as no more LRVs have to be added to clear the crowd waiting to board the train, then adding LRVs doesn’t do much. After events, longer trains would make a difference. As Link reaches its functional capacity in the peak-of-peak this summer, a longer train or two, timed to pick up around 5 pm, would make a difference vs. adding an extra peak-of-peak train.

        We could even keep more buses in the tunnel long past next March, but ST has decided that the cost of running 3-car trains all day (or coming up with a peak algorithm for just two to five 3-car trains running at 7.5-minute headway) outweighs any impact to bus traffic from having to push several more routes upstairs during PM peak.

        Regardless, ST plans to shove all the buses out in 2019, and Metro has yet to agree that that is what will happen.

      2. On Monday, after my route 545 driver blew by Montlake Freeway Station without stopping (he claimed the pull cord was broken, so he didn’t know people wanted to get off), I made an impromptu dinner stop at the Whole Foods in South Lake Union. To get back to the U-district (around 6:15 PM), I debated between going into the tunnel for the 71/72/73/74/76 or walking to Denny and Fairview and taking the 70.

        With OneBusAway showing almost no wait at all for the 70, I ended up just riding the 70. It still took a good half-hour to get to the U-district (including waiting for a bridge opening to cross the ship canal). But between the 10-15 minute walk to Westlake, waiting for all the lights, and the potential for huge crowds and horrific bunching the in the tunnel, I think I made the right decision.

        Interestingly enough, the route 70 pathway is about the only way out of South Lake Union that actually moves during rush hour without getting stuck in traffic. As SLU continues to get bigger, it’s only going to get more popular.

      3. @Mike Orr,

        You are correct. Whereas Link currently is at or near capacity during peak periods, that problem will be easily solved in the near term when ST moves to 6 min headways and (soon enough) 3-car trains.

        The real issue is the reliability of Joint Ops in the tunnel. It just isn’t there, and the source of the problem really is the buses. The only way ST is going to be able to operate Link to its full potential is to have Metro move the buses to the surface.

        This will happen in 2017/2018 with Convention Center construction, but the real question is how much unreliability are we willing to tolerate between U-Link opening and conversion of the DSTT to LR only?

        And remember, it won’t be too long after U-Link opens that we will get to a point where the majority of DSTT tunnel users are LR riders and not bus riders. When that happens we will have a situation where Joint Ops is being used for the benefit of a minority of the users and is inconveniencing the majority of users.

        At that point it really makes sense to get more aggressive about moving the buses upstairs.

      4. While I agree that most of the tunnel problem is with the busses, ST needs to make an operational change at Westlake. The 2-3 minute wait for northbound trains as the driver inspects each car, then returns to the cab causes problems for the buses behind it. Once we go to 6-minute headways this fall, there will be a train simultaneously at Westlake and ID stations, thus no chance to get relief from Westlake pause. Until revenue service extends beyond Westlake, this will cause the delay to cascade from the beginning to end of the peak periods. We need to find a new, FAST, way to make sure the trains are empty, and get the LRV moving.

      5. I still fail to understand why it takes 6 months worth of testing (with a test train running every 6-10 minutes all day during those 6 months) to feel confident that the trains are safe enough to carry passengers. One would think that one day of intensive testing ought to be enough. A new road doesn’t require 10,000 hours of test cars and trucks before it opens to traffic. Why is light rail subject to such onus testing requirements?

      6. In addition to testing the LRVs, they presumably need to qualify all the operators in the tunnel.

        One of the things mentioned in the May APR was testing the LRV dynamic envelope in the tunnel. Since there might be minor variations in the clearances of individual LRVs, perhaps they need to test each one. At the beginning they’ll probably use low speed tests, increasinhg the running speed as they gain experience. There might also be additional systems coming on-line in the course of testing. They might be refining the schedule and getting used to dispatching trains in a different way than they had been.

        They preusmably have a test plan for all that stuff. Let’s hope that they’ll work out the bugs in the process and the start of revenue service goes smoothly. They’ll still be working on finishing CHS station anyway, so they need to get that done too.

      7. two quick solutions to some of the current tunnel issues:
        1: employ enough guards on the Northboud westlake platform that the driver does not need to leave the cab to inspect the train.
        2. Eliminate bay B and have the 255 stop at bay A

      8. “I still fail to understand why it takes 6 months worth of testing … to feel confident that the trains are safe enough to carry passengers”

        It’s probably a federal regulation. That;s why Link originally had to run for several months without passengers.

      9. Seems odd to me too. When MAX Orange line opens it will have had complete overhead wires for maybe four. Full speed service started maybe a couple of weeks ago. 6 months prior to opening they were still dealing with major construction.

        From the “insurance premium” statement on the long form of the report, it sounds like Link is privately insured? Maybe the insurance requires it?

      10. “1: employ enough guards on the Northboud westlake platform that the driver does not need to leave the cab to inspect the train.
        2. Eliminate bay B and have the 255 stop at bay A”

        1. Metro already has an ORCA Boarding Assistant at Bay A in Westlake. When the train is at the platform, there are no buses at Bay A, so take advantage of the fact the Boarding Assistant is a Bus Operator, and her/his training in searching a vehicle for items left behind, and have her/him assist in the search of the forward LRV. They are being paid operators’ wages for that job. Searching vehicles is in the job description, and the person doing the search right now is in the exact same job description.

        2. Last I heard, each outbound bus has to stop within a bus length of the bay sign, so only two can formally board at once at each bay. The pile-up at Bay A is more about having three or more buses trying to board at Bay A during peak, and less to do with buses being caught behind the 255. Kicking the 76/77/316 upstairs will help a little, but there will still be lots of pile-ups with the 41 and 71-74 until March. After that, Ida Know.

        3. You know what would really help smoothe joint Ops during peak? Run longer trains, so headway doesn’t have to be decreased. The plan is to increase headway on the south segment anyway once East Link opens, so this decreased headway is just a tease for Rainier Valley riders who will see the improved headway vanish in 2023, never to be seen again. I don’t buy that ST can’t figure out an operational algorithm to insert longer trains for the peak-of-peak runs, and then pull them back out of service after evening peak is over.

  2. Won’t Link move to 6 minute service frequency in September? I wonder if that will help with the peak crowding. Also, the buses coming out should help reliability.

    1. Yes, the plan is to move to 6-minute peak headway, and 10-minute off-peak headway, at the time of, or shortly after, the September service change.

      Until it actually happens, it is unclear whether moving three bus routes upstairs will be enough to keep traffic in the tunnel from getting slower, but Metro has the power to move more buses upstairs if need be.

    2. If Metro’s University Link restructure follows the previous proposals, the 71, 72, and 73 will be deleted, which will subtract some 8 buses/hour.

      The 255 was going to be truncated in an earlier proposal but in the last one it was restored; it could theoretically move to the surface which would actually be faster by avoiding the stoppages. (It’s also slowed down on Stewart Street, but the bottlenecks are before it turns into the tunnel, so they’d be the same either way.)

      1. The 255 is a little more complicated than that, actually. Getting across Olive Way into the tunnel is a significant blockage, because traffic keeps blocking left-turning cars in front of the bus, or even blocking the box. (Reverse-peak 41’s and 71/2/3’s also suffer from that.) Moving it to the surface would take that away, but instead, we’d send the 255 into a highly-backed-up left turn from Stewart to 5th, and then highly-congested traffic on 5th.

        All in all, I’d say it’s worth it, but only because the tunnel is backed up, and to make the outbound route consistent with the 545.

  3. Back in 1996 and 2008, we couldn’t have predicted the delay tactics the no-growth movement would use to delay and reduce upzones around stations. Don’t forget to send your ballot in this weekend, so we have a city council dedicated to increasing affordable housing, especially around stations.

    1. Don’t forget to send your ballot in this weekend, so we have a city council dedicated to increasing affordable housing, especially around stations.

      +1 Duplex

    2. Much better off getting housing density outside of Seattle and have all the residents take a train or bus into the city. Thinking Kent and Auburn may be a good choice. No need to mess with the current Seattle neighborhoods. Could be a win-win for everyone.

      1. This is a belief I hear from many long-time residents here, and it’s equally perplexing to me as well. It makes no sense from any perspective except that of the Nimby.

      2. How will those people in Kent and Auburn get to the supermarket and library and activities and friend’s houses and all their other non-city trips? Oh, they’ll have to drive, because there’s hardly any housing near frequent transit there, and the destinations are in transit-hostile locations with transit-hostile configurations. Quite a big quality of life loss, that. People driving and having cars even if they don’t want to…

      3. My plane took off in the less-habitual northbound direction this morning, treating me to an unusually bright and vivid overview of the city’s eastern environs and surrounding natural wonders.

        Though I’m not as enamored of Seattle as so many of its natives and transplants, in moments like these I fully understand the intensity of the draw.

        I couldn’t help but think of all the people craving to immerse themselves in such an environment — not in the Kent Valley, not on the Federal Way Paved Over For Parking Plateau — and observing just how ridiculously much space exists in the city that could easily and affordable and (relatively) sustainably accommodate them.

        And then I saw Chuck’s implied insistence that our “neighborhoods” are as perfect and complete and (automotively) functional as they can possibly be, and that the “solution” is commuter sprawl.

        I don’t know if that view is protectionist or just defeatist, but it is objectively wrong. And kind of sad.

      4. I agree, DP. There’s no reason we can’t accommodate a lot more growth in Seattle and limit sprawl. This idea that Seattle neighborhoods are “fine as they are” is absurd.

  4. Next year at this time, let’s expect that there will be more Link riders than Express riders. U-Link opening should make that happen — but it may take until the start of the fall semester to happen.

  5. I remain curious at how Link ridership increases yet the farebox recovery stays the same. The text here blames insurance premiums this time. Still, this has been a multi-year trend (higher ridership with flat farebox recovery) so I have to wonder when some of the Board members will go public asking harder questions about this accounting.

    1. One of the things I noticed about MAX statistics seems to do with more people using monthly passes, or the same people using their monthly pass more often.

    2. Oh, and farebox recovery *will* improve dramatically next year, after the short U-Link line opens, and passengers/mile shoots way up. Patience. Still, it doesn’t appear that the fare increases had much impact this year. Not that I’m advocating for any more fare increases any time soon, at least on Link.

      I remain a critic of distance-based fares on a train on which one can defeat the distance-based pricing simply by getting off the train and back on once or more along the route, and where riders are getting fined for not tapping their monthly passes, and unable to defeat the $100+ fines for a difference of a mere quarter. It is just a matter of time before the court throws the book at ST for attempting to fine someone who had a sufficient monthly pass. If it weren’t for distance-based fares, I’m confident E would have won the case and could have collected triple damages, and even gotten a huge fine thrown at ST if E had chosen to get the AG’s Consumer Protection Division involved.

      At any rate, the other impacts of distance-based fares are that (1) ST is not getting as much fare as it could for shorter trips, often from people with higher-value passes; (2) Riders who haven’t figured out the off-and-back-on trick will be discouraged from riding the train from Everett to Seattle; and (3) There will be pushback for getting rid of ST Express 545, when the time comes, because the 545 will be cheaper to ride than Link.

      One impact distance-based fares will *not* have is discouraging building train lines to distant destinations, with lower ridership, while bypassing potential stations with higher ridership. Seriously, fares have absolutely no impact on poor routing/station decisions. Or on where people choose to live (unlike other more relevant factors, such as, say, the availability of housing).

      1. Good tip. Long dwell times make this a breeze, and don’t forget, you’ll be helping to improve the ridership numbers – more ons/offs.
        Everyone should be doing this.

  6. I see that ST now calls “Central Link” just “Link” in this report. I’m not sure when this changed, and I’m just noticing it now. Is this a recent change?

  7. It looks like the last two trains to the airport at night, arriving at 1:00 and 1:15 AM, must deadhead back to the base; the last scheduled departure from the airport is at 12:50 AM. That seems unfortunate; it’s getting pretty quiet at the airport by then, but I’m sure there are a few folks who could use a ride at least as far as Beacon Hill. Wonder if the deadheading trains take riders?

    1. It’s just not worth it without a timed connecting 36. No one is going to come from the airport knowing the only option is an infrequent and sketchy 7 owl.

      1. The number of airport passengers or employees living within the radius of a SE Seattle Link stop that one would reasonably walk at 1:35 in the morning, especially with luggage, is functionally negligible.

        #edgecasetransit

      2. I agree; Sound Transit doesn’t think it worthwhile to run the 574 that late either.

        But if the trains are deadheading back to Beacon Hill anyway, why not take anyone who happens to be headed that way?

      3. Security costs, much later dispatch to gate up Mt. Baker and shut down Beacon Hill, and so on and so forth.

        Three do-not-reach-downtown runs are already offered within the window of reasonable potential ridership. There just isn’t substantial benefit to two more.

        (And do we even know these last 2 trains deadhead to base? There would be no good reason not to store the first 2 morning inbound trains at the stub platforms overnight.)

      4. My first thought was that the trains were being stored overnight, but the first northbound departures from the airport in the morning are after the first southbound trains arrive – which makes me think nothing’s being stored there overnight.

        But, that’s a reasonable point about shutting down the stations. Maybe we could run an owl 97 bus for airport workers, though, to match the owl 574? And rationalize the existing owl 124 by extending it south of Tukwila International Boulevard?

      5. To be clear, I’m not suggesting an owl 97 running at 1-2 AM; if there’s any dead time, it’s then. I’m suggesting 3:30 and 4:30 owl runs, to match the 574. Yes, it’s more likely that airport workers live in South King County than in the Rainier Valley, but I think it’d be worth investigating.

      6. The 124 and A-line already have owl runs. The problem is that the split between the two lines at TIBS does not make sense during those times. My personal opinion is that all route 124 trips during the late-night hours that Link does not operate should simply be converted to route 194, and serve the airport->downtown market. Nobody is going to Georgetown or the Industrial District at 3 in the morning, but a few might have interest in going between the airport and downtown.

        Even if one person really does need to get home from the airport to Georgetown at 3 in the morning, it’s a much cheaper cab ride than going all the way downtown.

      7. FWIW, Portland ‘s first train is a red line train leaving Braverton at 3:40 am. There’s far more early flight demand at our airport than evening. I know there is at least one flight that leaves around midnight, but for the most part the Portland airport carpet wakes up early and is rolled back up around 9 pm.

        It seems like Seattle would have enough all day demand to justify an early train or two, especially considering the service pattern. They have to run an early train out that way anyway to start the day with trains going back into Seattle. You might as well make that an in-service move.

      8. The first planes leave at 6am and they tend to have the lowest-price tickets. So yes, transit to them is worthwhile.

      9. The 5 AM-ish 574 has a full buss arriving and leaving. A majority of passengers appear to be employees.

        The first flights at a bit earlier than 6 AM at SEA. I believe flights start leaving around 5 AM. I know I’ve been on flights departing as early as 5:15. (Indeed I have a 5:40 AM flight Sunday morning)

      10. @asdf2: I rode the night-owl 124 once a few years ago. It was… not empty by a long shot. A lot of riders were wearing security guard uniforms.

        Downtown parking is expensive and second-shift jobs are not typically high-paying. There’s your transit demand. The 124 doesn’t go through a ton of residential areas compared to other south-end routes; maybe some people park-and-ride under the Spokane Street Viaduct or hide-and-ride on the side streets of Georgetown or Tukwila. Maybe an extension as far as the sidewalk entrance at the south side of the terminal would be a good idea if it didn’t blow up the schedule. But I would think twice before trading off the late-night 124 for an airport express.

      11. Drat. No late 36 to connect to at BHS? It’s a shame we don’t have a pot of money to improve the night owl network, or pointless shelter-mobiles from which to scavenge service hours to fulfill actual transportation needs.

      12. If someone wanted to make a case for running a full-length northbound through service later than 12:10, I’d be all ears. That 12:10 train is invariably well-used on any given night.

        But again, we already offer 3 in-service deadheads as far as Beacon Hill, the first and third of which actually have publicized (!) timed connections to specific 36 runs. These lifeline options are good to have, but not especially popular.

        There’s simply not a need for even later ones.

      13. If the midnight trains are full, and the 1 am ones are nearly empty, are you sure that’s not just the effect of smart transit riders never depending on the last scheduled ride of the night? If 2 am options came open, the 1 am options might fill up more.

        That said, good maintenance still trumps, and shadow routes that don’t involve a sketchy wait at TIBS remain a more cost-effective option.

      14. The 12:10 is the very last train to where the vast majority of people want to go or need to make connections.

        That’s exactly the point.

        There are 3 low-usage in-service deadheads. The original commenter wants 5. Why?

    2. Until other parts of the system demand 24/7 operations, I wouldn’t worry too much about late night light rail.

      Many systems around the world shut down after midnight. That is one reason (of many) why hotels still do quite well next to airports.

      1. If I have a late arriving flight I just cough up the money for a limo, taxi, or Uber.

      2. Sound Transit takes track maintenance more seriously than a lot of other places around the world. This is a good thing.

      3. I still think the best solution for coming home from late-night flights is dynamic carpooling. While coughing up an extra $40 to get home from a $500 flight is not the end of the world, it’s ridiculous for multiple people coming off the same plane to pay for separate $40 Uber rides to a destination within a few blocks of each other, simply because each person is not aware that the other lives so close.

        Shuttle Express tries to do the ride-sharing thing, but they do such an awful job at it. They combine too many people into one trip, resulting in long waits and slow, zig-zaggedy trips. During the daytime at least, simply riding Link downtown and transferring to a local a bus often gets you home just a quickly (if you’re traveling light), for a fraction of the price. And now, the service looks even more ridiculous, since a shared ride on Shuttle Express is only pennies cheaper than a private ride on Lyft/Uber for the same trip.

        I think the right solution is simply to have some app-based mechanism to find 1-2 interested people to share a ride home with on Lyft or UberX and split the cost.

      4. I’d take shuttle express but they fail utterly for late arriving flights. they pretty much close up shop in the wee hours and even if you get a van you end up waiting 45 minutes to an hour in the garage before it shows up to take you to your destination.

  8. Am I the only one counting the proverbial days until U link opens? I wonder what the first post- U-link ridership report will look like.

  9. With all this transit, I’m still struggling to find a good way to get from Kent East Hill to see the Blue Angels from the I-90 Bridge.

    A distance of 20 miles, all the options shown for Google Maps take about 2 hours (each way)…

    1. Ride yer H-powered bike to the airport, board train, hook bike, unhook bike at ID Station, alight, cross over to other platform, catch the 550 to Mercer Island before the bridge closes, er, opens up.

      1. There are some bike options (no H2 yet, just 2-ft.) except a lot of the riding would be on busy and unpleasant streets (in 90+ weather). And total time might end up in the 2 hour range between waits, hills, and so on.

    2. You could try taking the 150 to SODO with a bike on the rack, then riding the bike the rest of the way in. If you get on all the way back at Kent Station, you’ll probably be able to get a spot.

      1. The 550 won’t be stopping at Ranier Freeway Station when I-90 is closed. You could get to I-90/Ranier on the 7, but a bike would probably be faster than any bus connections, assuming you are willing to trust the rack capacity of the 150.

    3. The 14 should be reasonably reliable, even this weekend. Take it to the crest of 31st; walk down.

  10. If paratransit usage is decreasing, that’s probably a good thing. If the users who rely on the system could rely on our other transit systems they should be Access is really expensive.

    1. Simultaneously, the regular transit system is slowly becoming more and more accessible, to the betterment of all riders.

      There’s more to come in that regard. Consideration of mainstreaming trips to UW Med is part of the U-Link restructure plan. Keep the pressure up on the county council to support the work of the Sounding Board, and of Metro’s and ST’s planners, and don’t let the plan get killed … because politics.

    2. The first and primary cause of high paratransit usage was non-accessible buses. This has mostly been fixed, nationwide.

      The second cause is non-accessible, non-existent, obstructed, or snow-covered sidewalks. I am not sure how quickly that is being fixed in the Seattle area, but it’s very slow nationwide.

      The third cause is failure to provide comprehensible information for the visually impaired and hearing impaired. This has mostly been fixed nationwide.

      Hopefully in a few years we’ll see what the residual paratransit usage is. Much of the remaining usage can be eliminated by requiring accessible taxis, which unfortunately don’t exist in most of the US.

      (The bigger cause in some other cities is non-accessible subways and metros. It’s only an issue in the short list of cities which have old ones and haven’t retrofitted them: anything after 1992 and nearly anything built with federal money after 1970’s UMTAA is accessible. Basically, the only cities with these issues are
      Boston and its commuter belt
      NYC and its commuter belt
      Philadelphia and its commuter belt
      DC’s Maryland-side commuter belt
      Chicago and its commuter belt.
      San Francisco and its commuter belt
      Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans)

      1. Some of those residual riders are people with cognitive disabilities who need caretaker to caretaker service – iirc the county mandates that Metro provides this service. Taxis can’t provide this service because their drivers aren’t trained and it would be a liability for the county.

      2. Then again, I would hope these riders are being serviced by a Community Access Transit program instead.

  11. Sound Transit ridership continued its upward trajectory during the first quarter of 2015 with 8 million boardings in the first quarter, a jump of 7 percent compared to the same quarter in 2014. Average weekday boardings on Sound Transit buses and trains hit 111,218 for the quarter, an 8 percent jump over 2014.

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