The Seattle Times has an analysis of ridership recovery ($) high and low areas since the 2020 pandemic lockdowns. A stop on the 7 now has higher ridership than in 2019, and the Aurora Village transit center has recovered 95% of its ridership.
2021 saw an early recovery in southwest Capitol Hill; parts of downtown; and between SeaTac airport and Burien.
2022 saw a more widespread recovery, expanding more into Capitol Hill; the neighborhoods east of the Northgate Link extension (U-District, Roosevelt, and Northgate stations); Renton; and individual corridors in east Kent, southern Bellevue, and Kirkland-Redmond.
2023 saw a broad recovery in northeast Seattle; east Seattle; southeast Seattle; parts of West Seattle; Kirkland; central Bellevue; Renton; and the whole area between Burien, Federal Way, Kent, and Auburn. Exceptions are northwest Seattle (Ballard), Magnolia, northeast Kent, and east/northeast Bellevue. Youths under 18 got free fares via a state grant.
“The changes give urgency to Metro’s long-term plan to provide more frequent and reliable all-day and weekend service, nudging away from being a system built around commuters. ‘The trends of where people have continued riding makes the case even more clear for some of the things that we might have been thinking about or hearing about from the community before,’ said Katie Chalmers, managing director of service development with Metro.”
I saw the impact of students riding in Bellevue a few weeks ago. A 550 eastbound at 1pm got 10 students going from Bellevue High School and Main Street to the Bellevue Transit Center. A 226 eastbound at 1:39pm got 15 on and 2 off at Interlake High School, and 3 on/off at Highland school. That 226 run had surprisingly high ridership in general, with 18 initial people at Bellevue Transit Center, and 16 getting on/off along the rest of 12th/Bel-Red.
Coming back westbound in the PM peak, ridership seemed normal. The 245 had 13 initial riders and 6 on/offs in the ten blocks between Main Street and NE 10th Street. The B had 15 initial riders and 10 on/offs between 156th and Bellevue TC. The 550 had 6 initial riders from the library, 12+ getting on at the transit center, 6 getting on at NE 4th, 7 on/offs south of there, and 1 on Mercer Island. Congestion slowed down to 30 mph in south Bellevue and on much of I-90 between Bellevue and Mt Baker, including the HOV lanes.
Do you see other ridership patterns in the charts, or have you seen trends in your own experience or in information from Metro? How are ST Express, CT, PT, and ET recovering? I saw several people waiting for ET 7 two Sundays ago, although I’ve only been there a couple times so I can’t say how it’s changed.
(To comment on other topics, Open Thread 20 two articles before this is available.)