Ridership is up because Metro also revised the routes. Just saying...
And there are more people in King county.
Awesome! More metro type trains will follow I hope. Even as a conservative I'd gladly take a tax hike to pay for them.
I was just marveling over my own anecdotal experience of a spike in ridership. Yesterday at 1:45 PM (not exactly rush hour), I happened to get on the southbound Central Link train, and already when I got on, scarcely a seat was available. And this was with the riders coming just from the Husky Stadium station. And taking Central Link home from the airport on a late night last month, I was struck by how many people were getting on close to midnight.

The arguments we're hearing now against ST3, about how poor the routing decisions are and how they're serving the wrong destinations--you heard the same arguments back when everyone was debating the original Sound Move. If we'd applied the same thinking back then that the ST3 foes want us to apply now, we wouldn't have this super-popular system today.

But the opponents themselves know this. It's the inevitable popularity of the new lines (and the snowball effect it's going to have on the popularity of the existing lines)--not their unpopularity--that is the reason the transit foes are so adamantly opposed to this whole project. They like to talk about how extending the trunk line all the way out to Everett and Tacoma is such a massive waste of taxpayer funds. Hey, they just hope and pray it proves to be such a waste of taxpayer funds, but they know that their nightmare scenario will be realized and it will prove to be anything but.
@2 True, but there isn't a 70% increase in population, and ST is reported a 70% increase in ridership. Even if the numbers were normalized to the population, they'd still be impressive.
Last time I rode was 3 years ago and it was fucking crowded then.
@1: Not sure I understand your point. Are you saying that ridership is up on the train because more bus routes stop at Husky instead of going downtown? Or are you saying that changing the bus routes has increased ridership?

I had wondered about the first question, and as I dug into the numbers, I learned that bus transfers onto light rail at Husky are not actually that big of a piece of the total riders getting on there. Wish I could remember where I read that. Don't know if it was on the ST site, Seattle Transit Blog or what. But it was useful to know. So a large portion of the ridership at Husky is apparently not people transferring from buses like the 73 onto the southbound train. It's people originating their trip there.
Have you noticed how crowded the roads are? I've driven north at 5 and 6am a few times recently and traffic was backing up around Edmonds each time. I can't imagine sitting in that at actual rush hour every day. SLU is a complete cluster. 99 backs up to the Zoo daily. Park and Rides are full by 9. We've clearly outgrown our car infrastructure with no way to really expand it enough to relieve congestion. We just don't have anywhere to put the roads.
If we had more trains, I can't imagine that people wouldn't be using them.

I would guess that a lot of that increase is due to U of WA students who previously would have taken a 43/48/49 and are now taking LINK instead. It would be interesting to correlate trips from Husky Stadium to Broadway or Westlake with transfers to Metro routes to the CD/ID, Mount Baker, Rainier, etc.
I swear traffic on I5 has gotten noticeably worse, just since last year. And we still have 7 more years to wait for light rail going up that stretch...
Some people have been forced onto light rail thanks to Metro canceling bus routes.

For me, instead of hopping on the 72 from Lake City and going straight downtown, now I have to take the slower 372 to campus and walk a ways to the light rail. It takes longer and I feel less safe if I have to do this at night, as that part of campus is deserted at night and not particularly well lit.

I'm in favor of light rail overall, but don't pretend that everyone's riding it by choice.
That's an interesting thing: as congestion on light rail goes up, its efficiency increases. Right now, during rush hour, we're up to 3 car trains every ~6 minutes (each train car moves roughly 200 people when jam packed). With the current design of the system, we can bump it up to 4-cars per train and a train leaving in each direction every 2-minutes. That's a throughput of nearly 24,000 people an hour, in each direction on light rail.

Interstate 5, when conditions are perfect, can move 1,700 cars an hour, per lane. As congestion goes up, traffic speeds plummet and the total number of cars move also drop. Roadways suffer terribly as congestion increases, further decreasing their efficiency.

If we were running the light rail at full capacity, Tokyo style, it'd take a 32-lane interstate to even try to keep up with the throughput of a 2-lane light rail system.

I don't know about you, but I don't foresee us tearing down skyscrapers or building another 5 Bertha sized car tunnels through downtown Seattle. No matter what we do, due to geography, car based transit won't be able to keep up with the needs of Seattle - even if every car was fully autonomous.
Meanwhile there are anti-ST3 yard signs plastered all over Bellevue, calling it a 54 billion dollar tax, and saying we should fund education first (as if that was an alternative on the table). Apparently some selfish assholes think you should only vote for initiatives that directly benefit yourself.

May be time for some good ol' fashioned Stranger Bellevue shaming.
I'm all for more rail. But the $54 billion dollar price tag and multi-decade completion is shocking and I don't think people are being senselessly knee jerk to see that.

As we all know the final price tag is going to be way more than $56 billion. Link was originally supposed to be 25 miles of light of track for $1.7 billion - to be completed in 2006. Instead we got 23 miles completed in 2016, costing $5.2 billion.

So using that formula how much more will ST3 cost? How much longer will it take? Combine that with the regressive property tax funding methods and I think it deserves some skepticism.

Sound Transit has been on or ahead of time/budget for 15 years. Not even opposition think that they will miss their budget for ST3.

From the Seattle Times:
"John Niles, a longtime opponent and watchdog, calls the agency “a learning organization” that’s unlikely to blow its estimates this time around.
“They’ve become much better at financial management and putting enough contingency to get things done,” he said."

Also - $54B number is a regional number that includes federal funding, bond proceeds, fares, existing tax extensions, and inflation rolled into it. Cut the number about in half to get new taxes and in half again to get to $2016. About 31% of that is Seattle. So: About $4B in new taxes for Seattle.

The number that matters more is what the average taxpayer will pay per year, which is $169. ST3 pretty clearly adds value to be worth that investment.


In addition to @15's points, please note that the $53.8 billion cost figure for ST3 is in year-of-expenditure dollars, meaning the cost for each project has been adjusted for the inflation expected by the time that individual project is built. The projects in ST3 add up to about $20 billion altogether in 2016 dollars. I don't know why Sound Transit chose to publicize the larger figure - it is more honest in a way, but it is also very confusing. I think the $20 billion figure makes more sense because we're all familiar with the value of a 2016 dollar.

See Seattle Transit Blog for more:…
Alright, Ballard Spur came in with a better answer than me. Do check out the link, though.
I will take off the pack if I sit down, but only if the bike riders all hang up their bikes so I have room to do it.

And, unlike you, I don't ladyspread all my bags on the seats next to me, but put them under the seat ...
@9 you are correct but add SCC and SU students and post-grads teaching classes there
"...the light rail system set a single-day ridership record Friday with 101,000 boardings, as fans flooded a University of Washington football game." So we should judge our transit failure/success on the 7 days a year that there are home UW football games? Ignore the other 358 days when tumbleweeds are blowing through the empty trains?
Not that anyone is still reading this thread, but @4, I meant to write: Yesterday at 1:45 PM (not exactly rush hour), I happened to get on the southbound Central Link train at the Capitol Hill Station, and already when I got on, scarcely a seat was available.

dorimonsonfan @21: Ignore the other 358 days when tumbleweeds are blowing through the empty trains? You're welcome to live in an imaginary alternate reality where Link is unpopular if that helps you sleep well at night, although it doesn't exactly indicate that you have much confidence in your position if you feel the need to make stuff up.
Bureaucrats live like Kings off the backs of the working poor.

Bureaucrats don't ride on these things. They force us to take mass transit.
Actually if you adjust for the growth in total population there's almost no change.

Not that that's going to stop the Stranger from cherry-picking facts to suite they're pre-formed opinions...
The train works well but Sound Transits record 86% overbudget and 10 years late deserves questioning. I'd rather see a few smaller projects instead of this $54billion blowout. I'd like to see them show they can complete them ontime and with shorter timelines. A smaller group of projects would allow this and bus transit could make up the difference.

Also, make corporations pay their fair share - don't make property owners pay for the whole thing.
@24 Sound Transit has made it clear that ST3 won't be a magic wand that fixes our congestion issues. I think you and many others need to realize is that we're major metro area, traffic congestion is inevitable and a reality of living in a metro area like Seattle. But ST3 will help midigate worsening congestion compared to if we didn't. That's something we all need to think about.
@21 we use it to go to Sounders games, go to lunch, and to and from home too

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