Continuing strong transit growth in 2018

Boardings up by 19% since 2010

Transit boardings in the central Puget Sound region grew to 221 million by the end of 2018, marking the eighth straight year of growing transit ridership.

Between 2017 and 2018, light rail boardings increased by 6.3%, commuter rail boardings by 4.5%, and ferry boardings by 2%. Bus boardings held steady at 0.2%.

Since 2010, all modes (bus, light rail, commuter rail, and ferry) have seen robust growth. Light rail boardings in particular have experienced a dramatic increase due to ongoing system expansion and additional station openings.

Transit boardings have increased faster than population. From 2010–2018, population grew 12%, while transit boardings grew 19%.

How do we compare nationally?

Total transit boardings in the central Puget Sound region in 2018 increased by 2.4 million over the previous year, the largest increase among the top 50 urbanized areas across the nation.

A comparison of growth in transit boardings since 2010 places the central Puget Sound region fourth among the top 50 urbanized areas across the nation. Comparable regions such as Portland, Denver, and Minneapolis-St. Paul all saw between 0-3% growth during the same period.

Chart: Percent Growth Transit Boardings by Metro Area, 2010-2018
Click to enlarge image

Region leads in vanpool use

With 5.3 million boardings in 2018, vanpool use in the central Puget Sound is higher than any other place in the country. The top three cities for vanpool boardings are all on the West Coast, with Los Angeles and San Diego occupying the second and third spots, respectively.

Vanpool boardings in the region have increased by 11% since 2010. The majority of boardings are on King County Metro’s vanpool program (65%), followed by Community Transit at 17%, Pierce Transit at 15%, and Kitsap Transit at 3%.

For more data on regional transit ridership, check out our latest issue of Puget Sound Trends.