Management & Operations

Greater Seattle area leads nation in transit ridership growth

Posted on February 26, 2018

Coordinating schedules and operations between Metro and Sound Transit helped customers travel smoothly to work, school, appointments and entertainment.
King County Metro
Coordinating schedules and operations between Metro and Sound Transit helped customers travel smoothly to work, school, appointments and entertainment.
King County Metro

Strong growth in Metro, Sound Transit, and RapidRide — as well as vanpools and shuttles — contributed to the Seattle-area posting record ridership numbers and leading the nation in year-over-year ridership growth.

“Sound Transit is moving aggressively ahead to expand regional transit service as ridership on our trains and buses continues to grow,” said CEO Peter Rogoff. “In a few short years, people will be able to ride light rail to Northgate, Bellevue, Federal Way, and Lynnwood — with more service to come as we all work together to build a 116-mile regional transit network.”

“Record ridership wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of Metro’s employees — especially its operators, mechanics, and shelter cleaners — who together provide a system that provides outstanding service and reliably carries millions of customers every week,” said King County Metro GM Rob Gannon.

Transit ridership on Sound Transit Link light rail, Metro bus service, and ST Express bus service operated by Metro fueled the growth. Together, these services combined to break records and climb to their highest levels ever: 155 million rides in the King County area — the vast majority of the Seattle-area’s total 191.7 million trips taken in 2017.

According to ridership reported to the National Transit Database, the Seattle-area ranked first due to the growing number of passenger trips among all major metropolitan areas; the rate of growth — 2.5% — ranked second behind only Phoenix (2.7%) and ahead of Houston (0.2%). From 2015 to 2016, the Seattle-area posted 4.7% growth in ridership — leading the nation with the fastest growing ridership rate among major metropolitan areas.

Coordinating schedules and operations between Metro and Sound Transit helped customers travel smoothly to work, school, appointments and entertainment.

On March 10, Metro will again expand service, bringing transit service levels to 15% higher than they were in 2014, thanks to investments by King County and the City of Seattle.

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