Alert commenter Tlsgwm noted that Sound Transit has once again started publishing quarterly ridership reports, which had been MIA since last November. In July, the agency released the 2019 Q4 and 2020 Q1 reports simultaneously.
Sounder ridership was mostly flat (North Sounder was down by nearly 6% but overall Sounder dropped by 0.3%, a testament to how much South Sounder drives the numbers).
With the Downtown Transit Tunnel closing to buses last year, ST Express Bus ridership suffered, with Route 550 leading the decline. Operating costs per rider increased as well.
2019 ended with Link boardings overall 2.5% higher than 2018. Diving into the station-by-station numbers, though, shows the impact of the tunnel closure as well: UW and Westlake were up 12% versus the year-ago quarter and Chinatown / ID was up 20%, suggesting both more North end riders transferring from buses and more people exiting the system at the beginning and end of the tunnel.
2020 Q1 brought the two-fer of Connect 2020 and COVID-19, which hammered ridership across the agency, resulting in double-digit declines for ST Express, Link, and Sounder. Q1 ended in March, which means it was barely a few weeks of lockdown. 2020 Q2 numbers will not be pretty.
Thursday night, I prepped the below table for a Friday interview that hopefully will go public Sunday at 12:01 AM. But I figured it was time to put together a ridership table for the controversial Sounder North train run. I got the Average Mean Daily Ridership by dividing the quarterly total boardings/ridership by 65 or 13 weeks X 5 days. I then divided that number by two to get an – arguably inflated – estimate of the users using the run round trip under “AMDR/2 for Round-Trip Estimate“. Finally due to Sounder North’s ridership depending on among other things slides and the economy to record growth by the same quarter in the previous year. Hopefully this helps the conversation.
So here you go. It appears to me from the above we’re talking about a transit service that only serves 500-600 regular commuters or so.
If you want the Excel table, please e-mail me at growlernoise-at-gmail-dot-com and put in the subject line, “SOUNDER NORTH EXCEL SPREADSHEET PLEASE”.
Also would like to embed the spreadsheet, but having no luck.
Programming Note: I also yesterday had less than optimum ridership experience using Sounder North – again partially due to a need to see the Mukilteo Station’s behind schedule progress for North by Northwest – and will write about that next week after I verify some things that affirm my views on Sounder North. Also will hopefully, finally get an Island Transit update out the door.