While Link’s numbers were all up, Sounder was down (mostly due to the Tacoma Trestle Cutover where service was reduced for 3 days) as well as ST Express down slightly and Tacoma Link also down.

Average daily ridership for Link in February was:

  • Weekday: 65,125 (+81.5%)
  • Saturday: 39,409 (+67.6%)
  • Sunday: 29,184 (+68.7%)

Other weekday modal ridership stats:

  • Sounder: 16,088  (-3.0%)
  • Tacoma Link: 3,364 (-7.1%)
  • ST Express: 61,829 (-1.1%)
  • Sound Transit Systemwide, +23.4% Weekday, +18.9% Total Boardings

My charts after the break.

21 Replies to “February 2017 Ridership for Sound Transit”

    1. The March numbers are listed on the ST website:


      There are 67,174 average weekday riders listed for March. That would appear to raise the 12-month average to around 66,000. I’m not sure how Matthew Johnson’s spreadsheet works in terms of weighting each month (each month has variable weekdays) so I’ll leave that for him to calculate and report an exact number.

      The significance of the March 2017 numbers is that we now have a complete first year of reported data after U-Link opened. Interestingly, the April averages were lower than other months in the past year — and to think we were all amazed at reaching 60,000 when the April 2016 numbers were first released! That also puts ST in the “top 10” of average weekday light rail ridership by metro area in the US, and makes Link one of the highest single-line average weekday ridership lines in the country.

      1. Average daily ridership isn’t reduced by a shorter month though. Only difference is that each day has more weight on the average.

  1. The graph at the top seems irrelevant if it only goes up to December 2016.

    1. Construction, homeless, no real destinations in Tacoma for it to be useful, parking at Tacoma Dome Station is more often full than not, often smells like piss. Just to name a few things.

    2. Tacoma link was always weird, but necessary to demonstrate the regional was the vision, rather than Seattle only.

      Now we have a funded plan to extend to and connect with Tacoma Link over the next couple decades. I would guess ridership will spike when it is connected to the rest of the system.

      1. Connecting Tacoma Link to Central Link won’t do any good until the other end of Tacoma Link connects to something. Pierce Transit needs to establish service levels that mimic what Metro offered in Seattle two decades ago, then it might become useful. A skeleton of corridors with service on 60 minute headways will never attract ridership.

      2. I think one very effective way to grow Tacoma Link ridership would be to get UW to put thousands of more students on their Tacoma campus. That would create demand for new higher-density housing all over Central Tacoma which in turn would raise the ridership. The State is short on engineering graduates as it is, so there would easily be demand for more engineering students — if the legislature would just direct it to happen.

        The “cute” ways to raise ridership help — but it takes fundamental changes in land use intensity for it to grow significantly.

      3. Perhaps if the legislature actually funded anything, instead of “directing” it, it might happen — the state only funds 5% of the UW’s budget (per the last fiscal report), making it a state school in name only. Sounds familiar to transit supporters….

  2. The flattened cyclicallity/seasonality in Link ridership that came with U-Link’s opening jumps out at me in the weekday ridership numbers. I think this is what most people expected- the college students using Link to get to/from UW and Seattle Central would largely replace the tourists using Link during the summer.

    1. Students also change paths quicker than almost anyone else. It takes commuters a few years to give up their favorite bus route and time. Students, on the other hand, haven’t locked into a routine yet — and they are quick to figure out how to use a new way to get around.

      I think it partly explains why there was an awesome surge in ridership as soon as Link opened, with a more stable demand once it has been running for a few months.

      Finally, I wouldn’t discount the cumulative effect of bad escalators and stairs at stations. Some riders may have returned to buses rather than risk negotiating the elevation changes at UW and Capitol Hill using stairs or elevators.

    2. And students turn over every two years at colleges and every four years at universities. So after a year or two it’s different students who don’t have expectations like the earlier ones did.

      1. Really, they turn over every year. As Al S. suggests, you get new students in every year, and they tend to move almost every year. So they’re always willing to find a better way to get from their new digs to their new haunts.

  3. Good numbers to be sure. But U-Link opened in the 2nd half of March of last year, so we won’t truly settle down to a solid year to year comparison until we get the April numbers in. That is when we will know if Link is going to resume its previous growth pattern of 10+ percent per year, and even that data won’t be pure in that it contains Angle Lake ridership.

    But hey, good numbers. Now on to NG-Link opening and hopefully another big ridership boost. That should put us over 100k riders per day out of the gate, and potentially within striking distance of Portland (although passing Portland probably won’t occur until East-Link opens).

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