ST Express and Sounder ridership grows 18 percent from last year

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Eighteen percent more riders climbed aboard ST Express buses and Sounder commuter trains during the second quarter of 2003 than during the same quarter of the previous year.

Sound Transit Board members welcomed the increased second quarter ridership figures today at their meeting in Seattle.

"More and more congestion-weary commuters are taking the opportunity we provide to leave their cars behind in favor of our quick, reliable and comfortable express buses and trains," said King County Executive Ron Sims, chair of the Sound Transit Board.

Average weekday Sounder boardings grew 17.4 percent from last year, boosted in part by the addition of third trains northbound from Tacoma in the mornings and southbound from Seattle in the evenings.

ST Express boardings grew 18.3 percent, boosted in part by the addition of two new routes. Average ridership on routes that were in place in the second quarters of both 2002 and 2003 grew 8 percent, a significant increase.

Sound Transit's ridership is projected to keep growing - including next week as the Tacoma Link light rail system begins carrying passengers. Sound Transit is working to launch Sounder service between Seattle and Everett by the end of the year. ST Express bus service will improve with the opening of new park-and-ride facilities and three direct access ramp projects linking buses directly with the express lanes of I-5 and I-405.

Construction of the Central Link light rail system's initial segment is scheduled to begin this fall following the Federal Transit Administration's execution of a full funding grant agreement providing $500 million in federal funds for the project. The system is scheduled to begin carrying riders in 2009.

Click here to view Sound Transit's Second Quarter 2003 ridership report.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.