Sounder celebrates 15 years of commuter rail service

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Sound Transit’s popular commuter and special game day trains reach record levels as riders keep climbing on board

Today marks 15 years of steadily growing ridership since the Puget Sound region’s commuters first climbed aboard Sounder commuter trains. 

Since Sounder began operating in 2000, more than 29 million people have used the popular commuter and game day service.

To mark the 15-year anniversary, Sound Transit staff will greet morning Sounder riders at King Street Station exits with “Happy Birthday” signs and the new service schedule for fall.

Ridership on Sounder has continued to grow as more people leave their cars behind for the stress-free commute of passenger rail service. Year-to-date, more than 2.1 million people hopped aboard Sounder through July, a 14.7 percent increase from the same period last year. Average weekday boardings reached 14,804 in July and 13,929 for the quarter ending in June, increases of 15.3 and 12 percent respectively, from the same periods last year. A total of 913,299 people rode Sounder in the second quarter. 

The numbers of sports fans taking game day trains also grew to a total of 21,859 last quarter—an increase of 14.5 percent. Sound Transit operates special event service on select dates to Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders FC games, and the State Fair. During racing season, Emerald Downs fans can take these same trains to Auburn Station for a connecting shuttle to the racetrack. More information on special event service can be found at soundtransit.org/Schedules/Event-services

Sounder began operating two south line round trip trains on Sept. 18, 2000, with stops in Tacoma, Sumner, Auburn and Seattle. Service to Puyallup and Kent stations was added in February, 2001, to Tukwila a month later, and to South Tacoma and Lakewood in 2012. North line service to Edmonds and Everett began in 2003 and to Mukilteo in 2008.

The 10 daily round trips currently on the south line will expand to 13 each weekday by 2017 under service expansions approved by voters in 2008. Four round trips each weekday currently operate on the north line, where rider demand is lower and costs for accessing BNSF tracks are higher. Train schedules are available at soundtransit.org/schedule