Light-Rail Ridership Boom

Driving in Seattle or from Seattle to areas in the Puget Sound is a drive in congestion — a drive in overwhelming lanes and lanes of cars. Ridership has boomed more than expected on light rail in Seattle, and perhaps this is a reason why. The regional transit authority now has more plans to grow this more efficient option — plans for the third phase of light-rail expansion.

Four months after adding the lines, a significant increase in ridership appeared. The value of the transit option and new growth in

light-rail ridership proved itself and then some. Although many commuters are still in their cars in that awful rush-hour gridlock, over 800,000 extra boardings were logged in May 2016 compared to May 2015.

The Sound Transit May ridership report showed over 1.77 million boardings on light rail in May 2016, which amounted to a whopping 83% increase over May 2015’s boardings. 

Time is part of the allure — it takes 10 minutes to get from Husky Stadium at the south end of campus to downtown Seattle, and just 4 minutes from Capitol Hill to downtown. This is similar to the story in many European cities, where trams (aka streetcars), light rail, and heavy rail are often quicker than cars.

As things hold steady, Sound Transit has tripled the number of three-car trains it’s running.

CleanTechnica reported a few weeks ago on the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) plan to add 62 miles of rail to the region. Implementation will take place during the next 25 years. The lines will connect Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett. Next City quotes Shefali Ranganathan, who explains that the effort in Seattle is to focus on connecting neighborhoods to areas of employment. As it should be.

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