Management & Operations

Seattle's Sound Transit sets all-time ridership mark

Posted on February 29, 2016

Seattle’s Sound Transit riders set all-time annual records in 2015 for boardings on commuter trains, buses and light rail in central Puget Sound. Sound Transit had an estimated 34.9 million total boardings last year, a 6% increase over 2014. Average weekday boardings were 116,839 in 2015.

"We continue to set new records for ridership by providing fast, reliable alternatives to driving,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “More people than ever in our region are choosing transit to get to their destination."

Sound Transit’s ST Express regional bus system led the nation in number of “Commuter Bus” boardings for 2015. Under Federal Transit Administration reporting guidelines, Commuter Bus routes are those that primarily connect outlying areas with a central city through bus services that operate with at least five miles of continuous closed-door service.

ST Express buses connect employment and housing centers in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties and operate primarily on interstate highways with limited stops.

The ridership numbers reported to the Sound Transit Board mirror regional trends showing transit ridership has grown twice as fast as population over the past five years, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council. Light rail has added about one million riders a year since 2010.

The breakdown for average weekday boardings in 2015:

  • Sounder commuter rail: 14,600 – a 15% increase from 2014.
  • Link light rail: 35,573 – an 8% increase from 2014.
  • ST Express regional buses: 62,981 - a 3% increase from 2014.

Sound Transit services saw impressive overall growth in addition to the average weekday boardings.

Here's a look at the 2015 annual boardings by the numbers:

  • Sounder commuter rail: 3.8 million boardings, 13% increase from 2014.
  • Link light rail: 11.7 million boardings, 7% increase from 2014.
  • ST Express regional buses: 18.3 million boardings, 4% increase from 2014.
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