More than 6.6 million riders rode Sound Transit’s Link light rail trains during the third quarter of this year, an increase of 6.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
On an average weekday, more than 81,000 people ride Link, up from 74,900 last year, according to a Sound Transit news release. Overall, more than 12.6 million riders took advantage of Sound Transit trains and buses, a 2.8 percent system-wide increase from third quarter last year.
“More riders are discovering how Sound Transit trains and buses can make their commutes easier,” said Dave Somers, Sound Transit Board chair and Snohomish County executive. “Those numbers will only increase as the light rail system expands to Lynnwood, Bellevue and Federal Way and more people are able to avoid traffic congestion.”
Sound Transit’s growth in ridership is in sharp relief with other regions in the country. According to the most recent data available from the American Public Transportation Association, transit ridership nationally declined nearly 2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter 2017.
Puget Sound voters in 2016 approved a $54 billion measure to expand the existing system with 62 miles of light rail with stations serving 37 additional areas, including extension of light rail from SeaTac through Kent to Federal Way. That line is scheduled to open in 2024.
Average light rail weekday boardings jumped 13.6 at SeaTac’s Angle Lake station for the third quarter this year (4,335) compared to 2017 (3,816), the second highest increase in the system. The Stadium stop had the biggest jump at 29 percent. The most weekday boardings in the quarter were at Westlake (13,069) and University of Washington (10,163).