Greater Seattle saw the highest growth in the number of people choosing transit compared to all other major metropolitan areas, adding more than 4 million trips in 2017, according to new numbers released this week.
Greater Seattle saw the highest growth in the number of people choosing transit compared to all other major metropolitan areas, adding more than 4 million trips in 2017, according to new numbers released Thursday.
The region’s rate of growth – 2.5 percent – ranked second behind Phoenix, which held at 2.7 percent, and ahead of Houston, which fell at 0.2 percent, according to ridership reported to the National Transit Database.
Sound Transit’s light rail alone carried 4 million more passengers in 2017 than the previous year, boosted by a full year of newly opened stations at the University of Washington, on Capitol Hill and Angle Lake.
Tacoma’s light-rail service and Sound Transit’s commuter-rail and transit services for people with special needs also saw more ridership, contributing to an overall increase of Sound Transit services by 10 percent, according to fourth-quarter performance reports released Thursday.
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“As more people chose the Pacific Northwest as a place to live and work last year, more commuters rode public transit,” board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said in a news release.
The University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations, which opened in March 2016, and the Angle Lake station, which opened in September 2016, were fully operating by the fourth quarter of 2016. But compared with the same time frame in 2017, light-rail ridership increased by more than 9 percent, exceeding Sound Transit’s estimates.
Passengers used Sound Transit services during the week more than 9 percent above the 2016 level, with a more than 8 percent increase for light-rail weekday ridership.
Sound Transit’s bus ridership decreased by half a percent in the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent over the full year, but King County Metro carried at record 122.2 million riders in 2017.
Voters approved a $54 billion ballot measure for Sound Transit 3 that would add 37 stations and 62 miles of light rail by 2041, and extend bus and commuter-train lines. It was one of the largest transit proposals in U.S. history.
The Northgate, Roosevelt and University District stations are scheduled to open in 2021.