Light-rail ridership exceeds expectations
at 2:13pm by Chetan Sharma
After adding just two stations a month ago in Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, Sound Transit says that it saw 61 percent more riders each weekday, and twice the riders on Saturdays. Seattle’s small 17-mile line now carries more people per day than Sacramento or San Jose’s entire light rail systems, both of which have over 40 miles of track.
The agency had expected 51,800 daily riders to use the system each weekday. Instead, it saw 58,000. It had to add longer trains to avoid crush loads after its first week of operations, when riders were left behind by overcrowded trains in Capitol Hill.
The agency seemed to allude to the early interest in trying out the system, saying, “It will take several months before we know what the ‘new normal’ is, but so far the system is exceeding expectations and has set new single-day ridership records. ”
Later this year, the agency will open a new station at Angle Lake, extending service south of Sea-Tac airport. It expects another 5,000 riders will use the station by 2018.