New light rail riders drive record-breaking second quarter ridership

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Link light rail ridership up 76 percent weekdays, commuter rail up 13 percent

New Link light rail riders drove Sound Transit's record-setting second quarter ridership numbers with Link weekday boardings up 76 percent over last year. The second quarter marked the first full quarter to compare ridership before and after Sound Transit opened the University Link line in March with two new stations on Capitol Hill and at the University of Washington.

Link averaged 63,577 weekday riders from April – June, a 76 percent increase over the same period last year and a new record for Q2 weekday ridership. Link also shattered its pre-University Link single-day record of 71,500 on ten different days. The single biggest day was April 8, with an estimated 82,361 boardings.

More than half of the new Link ridership growth, 55 percent, came from the two recently-opened stations. 

The numbers were presented at today's Sound Transit Board meeting.   

"The results could not be clearer – people love having a fast, reliable way to get where they need to go," said Sound Transit Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Sound Transit will roll out many miles of new Link light rail service, starting next month at Angle Lake. We will meet the region's growing transit needs, giving people a fast, reliable alternative to sitting in traffic."

Sounder commuter rail service from Everett and Lakewood to Seattle continued its strong growth with average weekday boardings of 16,186, a 12 percent increase over the second quarter of 2015. ST Express regional commuter bus average weekday boardings were up eight percent with 65,805 average weekday boardings.

Sound Transit's ridership increases were as follows:

  • Link light rail: 63,577 average weekday boardings and 5.2 million overall boardings for the quarter (77 percent increase from Q2 2015)
  • Sounder commuter rail: 16,186 average weekday boardings and 1.06 million overall boardings for the quarter (13 percent increase from Q2 2015)
  • ST Express regional buses: 65,805 average weekday boardings and 4.8 million overall boardings for the quarter (0.4 percent increase from Q2 2015)
  • Tacoma Link light rail: 3, 227 average weekday boardings and 237,029 boardings for the quarter  (6 percent decrease from Q2 2015)

The full quarterly ridership report can be found here: www.soundtransit.org/Ridership