Light rail leads growth in transit ridership

Light rail boardings up 66% in first 3 months of the year

Total transit boardings continued to increase in the first three months of 2017, marking the seventh straight year of increased transit ridership in the central Puget Sound region.

In all, first quarter boardings were 2.5% higher than the first three months of 2016 and are up over 16% since 2010.

Light rail boardings increased 66% in the first three months of 2017, a result of the three additional station openings at Capitol Hill, University of Washington and Angle Lake. Total bus boardings across the region declined slightly in the first three months of 2017.

Since 2015, regional transit ridership has grown at a faster rate than any similarly sized metropolitan areas. Only New York City added more total transit boardings than the central Puget Sound region.

Ferry ridership down during wet winter

The record-setting rainy weather during first three months of 2017 likely was a factor in a 3.7% decline in ferry ridership. Ferry ridership is seasonal in nature and is also heavily influenced by recreational use.

The decrease follows five straight years of ridership growth on the regional ferry system. Winter is generally the lowest ridership period for ferries and we will continue to track ferry ridership through the busy spring and summer months to see if this early trend continues.  

Vanpool use up nearly 11% since 2010

Vanpool use in the central Puget Sound region is higher than any other place in the country and increased approximately 2.6% in the first three months of 2017. Vanpool use is heavily influenced by gas prices and was down slightly in 2015 but has continued to rebound upward in the past few years. In all, vanpool use in the first three months of 2017 was up almost 11% since 2010.

For more regional data snapshots, check out our Puget Sound Trends series.

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