Feb16WeekdayMovingAVGFebruary was the last full month of Original Segment ridership data. But we’re not quite finished. When the March numbers are released Zach will request ridership by day so there will be one last post before we shift gears to U Link ridership. Look for a more retrospective and even predictive post at that time. Also, since my last ridership post ST updated their 2015 rough monthly estimates which had the effect of smoothing out the wild swing in growth rates across the year.

February’s Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday average boardings were 35,875 / 23,513 / 17,300, growth of 11.3%, 33.4%, and 5.3% respectively over February 2015. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 13.6%. Tacoma Link’s weekday ridership decreased 7.3%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up .8%. System wide weekday boardings were up 5.2%, and all boardings were up 9.9%. The complete February Ridership Summary is here.

My charts below the fold.


14 Replies to “Feb 2016 ST Ridership – The End is Near”

    1. Right. And while that affected total ridership for the month, the daily average isn’t.

  1. Once again, nice numbers. Double digit growth right up to the month U-Link opened. And come March all this will look like peanuts.

    Good job ST

  2. It will be interesting to see station by station data in the months after U-link opens. In particular, how the two stations are affecting the ridership numbers of the existing stations.

    Next September will get interesting as Link serves Husky games for the first time. Hopefully, Sound Transit will have 4-car trains ready to go when the game ends, or there could be some long lines.

  3. March will be a weird month for data with both opening day riders of ULink and the mid month opening of the new line throwing the data into outlier range.

    The real numbers to look for will be April forward, especially this summer. Summer has historically been the high ridership peak, but that may change with the new stations.

    Anyone have thoughts as to what the new peak ridership month may be?

    1. Probably still summer. Those cruise ships seems to generate a lot of traffic – passengers as well as employees.

      At the same time, while people go on vacation in the summer months, in the USA most people don’t get extended vacations. We have a significant business relationship with a company based in France, and I think even their robots take a vacation for most of August.

      So, with a significant part of the population still having to be around town most of the time, I think it will be really hard to tell seasonal differences from normal traffic fluctuations from things like having more workdays in one month over another or significant events at the stadiums.

    2. Peak Link ridership will probably shift to more closely track what Metro has historically seen, which probably puts the peak in the fall and not the summer.

      in general though I’d expect a flatter ridership pattern with tourists compensating somewhat for the lack of students in the summer, but student ridership should still outpace summer tourist ridership. Add in fall M’s ridership (such as they are) and I’d expect fall to dominate. Might take a year or two to get there though.

      Next up: Angle Lake.

      1. If I had to guess the seasonal deviation as a whole will be slightly muted as the larger number of riders make the tourist bump less pronounced.

        I imagine that winter and spring curves will have a similar shape but summer/fall will be more of a plateau.

        Just a guess though. Be exciting to see what actually happens. I’m wondering if these charts will still be useful, or if after a year or so it will be better to split post U Link ridership off.

    3. When people go on their short American summer vacations they sometimes take Link to the airport. And college students in the dorms fly home for the summer and quarter breaks.

      1. Problem with Link to the airport is lack of early service. Fortunately, uber pool and Lyft line now provide cheap economical service to the airport, 24/7. There is no way to the airport for a 6am flight on link.

      2. Sure, people take Link to the airport for vacations. However, not everyone goes on vacation at the same time.

        Judging by the increase in Link ridership in the summer, there are more people vacationing in Seattle than there are vacationing away from it.

      3. It will be interesting to see how many people actually use UberPool to go to/from the airport. I checked out the pricing, and it was somewhat disappointing – only about 20% cheaper than UberX, and the port’s add-on fee of $5/person doesn’t exactly help. When riding with just one other person, it is actually cheaper to ride UberX and split the cost, than to ride UberPool.

        I still believe the sweet spot for the time/money balance in going to the airport with luggage is to ride Lyft or UberX only to the nearest Link Station, then ride Link to the airport from there. With this trick, it is possible to travel door-to-door between SeaTac airport and most parts of Seattle in under an hour, paying less than $15 for the ride.

        That said, if I ever do have a delayed flight and miss the last train home, I probably would end up doing UberPool, if nothing else, for lack of better options.

  4. ST is reporting that Link ridership is up 60% since U-Link opened. That is pretty darn good.

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