While ULink is already setting ridership records, it’s easy for this North Capitol Hill resident to forget about the First Hill Streetcar, the beleaguered line that opened in late January after a series of delays and technical problems.
Curious about the line’s ridership both before and after ULink, I asked SDOT for ridership data a couple weeks ago. Sadly, it appears that ridership data for the First Hill line is not available due to yet more technical difficulties. In a twist out of our robot overload future, it appears the computers know the answer but the humans don’t.
From SDOT’s Michael James:
Here is where we are with the data. Our [automatic passenger counters] and servers are collecting data. However, we are having technical issues transmitting it back to our source software program. We are actively working to correct the technical issue. As soon as we get and review the daily data, we would be happy to share it with you.
We did calculate monthly ridership using ORCA tap methodology for March 2016, which was 50,159.
So stay tuned for further stats and analysis, but if the ORCA data is reasonably reliable, it appears that the First Hill line is carrying roughly 1,600 riders per day. Though Link and the First Hill line are obviously very different services operating at different scales, a good shorthand appears to be that Link carries in a day what the First Hill Streetcar carries in a month. If 1,600 riders per day were a bus route, this would place the streetcar near the bottom of all-day routes within Seattle, in the same ballpark as Routes 31, 47, and 50. Given the short length of the line, other metrics such as ridership per mile would likely rank the streetcar a bit more favorably.