Link light rail turns 3 with major expansions on the horizon
Three years after opening, line shows monthly, quarterly, annual growth
Link light rail turns three today amid continued steady ridership growth since opening day. Link has carried an estimated 21.6 million riders since it opened July 18, 2009.
The latest second quarter ridership numbers for 2012 show link up 10 percent over the second quarter in 2011. Link carried an estimated 2.19 million riders in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 1.98 million in 2011.
"The strong ridership growth we're seeing quarter over quarter three years after opening day shows Link continues to mature and grow as the regional economy rebounds," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "Every day more people are taking Link to get them where they need to go. And the return on investments in light rail will only grow as the system expands."
Link currently carries about 28,000 riders each weekday.
Link light rail ridership continues to grow faster than national averages for other systems. Nationally, light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) ridership increased 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
The Central Link line is the first portion of what will be more than 50 miles of light rail serving the Central Puget Sound Region. University Link, a 3.1-mile underground extension from downtown Seattle north to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington is under construction and will open in 2016 along with an extension south of SeaTac/Airport Station to S. 200th Street.
In August Sound Transit will break ground on a 4.3-mile extension from the University of Washington to Northgate in Seattle scheduled to open in 2021.