More than 4 million passengers in first year of ST Express bus service, Sounder commuter rail surpasses ridership projections
Sound Transit's ST Express bus and Sounder commuter rail are big hits among transit riders, with more than 4 million passengers boarding ST Express in its first year of operation and more than 29,600 commuters boarding the new Sounder commuter train in its first five weeks of service.
On Sept. 19, 1999, Sound Transit inaugurated nine new ST Express routes ahead of schedule and by the end of Sept. 2000 they have logged 4,083,136 passenger boardings, or 15,568 per weekday. The most popular ST Express routes are Bellevue/Seattle with 1,671,645 boardings; Lakewood/Tacoma/Seattle with 1,405,784 boardings and Everett/Lynnwood/Seattle with 477,052 boardings. These figures do not include the four new ST Express bus routes that began service this year.
Over the next few years, five more routes will be launched for a total of 18 limited-stop, long haul routes ST Express routes serving the three-county Sound Transit district.
Sounder commuter rail service is exceeding ridership projections and continuing to grow each week. Since the first day of service on Sept. 18, ridership on the two trips per weekday train has increased 23 percent, rising from 5,234 passengers the first week to 6,452 by week five, for a total of 29,682 passenger boardings. Daily average ridership has increased from 1,034 in the first week to 1,290 passengers last week, easily surpassing the projected 1,000 daily Sounder riders. These figures do not include the special Sounder Homerun trains to Seattle Mariners games.
Originally Sounder planned to have three trains on opening day and all seven stations open between Tacoma and Seattle. Sounder is currently running two trains and stations in Puyallup, Kent and Tukwila have yet to open. Once all seven stations are open and a third train is added Sounder should easily reach the original opening day projections of 1,500 passengers per day.
Voter-approved in 1996, Sound Transit is on track to implement a three-county regional transit system plan known as Sound Move. Sound Move is a seamless blend of three transportation systems: Sounder commuter rail, running 82 miles from Everett to Tacoma/Lakewood; Link light rail, a 21-mile system connecting the cities of Seattle, Tukwila and SeaTac and a 1.6 mile system in Tacoma; and Regional Express, featuring 18 new ST Express limited stop, long-haul bus routes and numerous improvements to transit centers, park-and-ride lots and HOV lanes.
For more information on Sound Move, please visit the Sound Transit website at www.soundtransit.org/, or call or write for more information at Sound Transit, Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104, (206) 398-5000 or 1-800-201-4900.
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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.