Huge increase in Metro bus riders

Usually, Metro Transit ridership dips when the weather warms up, but ridership grew this summer by an astounding 9.9% with 400,000 daily boardings. Check out these new charts.

Metro weekday boardings chart August 2008
Metro weekday boardings chart August 2008
Metro ridership indicator chart August 2008

Metro ridership indicator chart August 2008

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2 responses to “Huge increase in Metro bus riders

  1. These numbers are a wake-up call. I know people who have gone back to using their cars because the buses are overcrowded.

    It’s time for Seattle/King County metropolitan area to convert some of its overcrowded bus routes to grade-separated rail backbones of some kind to handle the ridership. Then re-deploy the buses to handle shorter routes, feeding the rail backbone.

    By the time the “Rapid” Ride buses get here, they’ll already be inadequate to handle the demand. We should begin planning immediately to replace them with something faster, more frequent, and out of the automobile right-of-way as soon as possible.

    Please wake up, Mr. Sims.

  2. The quick, responsible, affordable solution to overcrowded buses is more buses, in addition to taking the many steps possible with supplementary lanes and signal changes to make buses move faster, called BRT in general or RapidRide specifically in King County, already funded.

    Adding to the number of buses will not make regional roads more crowded. More buses will certainly make the people who take buses more comfortable.

    Raising taxes and spending billions over many decades to construct a whole new urban passenger railroad transit system with limited geographic reach doesn’t make sense to move lots of people from many King County locations to many other locations. Trains involve running feeder buses to train stations instead of direct bus trips traveling to where people want to go.

    If you will like transferring in the morning off your bus at crowded train stations on the rail “spine,” vote for Sound Transit Prop 1. You may even have to transfer again at a train station after the light rail ride to get you closer to where you really want to go.

    Light rail is certainly more expensive to build than adding buses, but is it cheaper to operate? NO! The cost per rider on light rail trains in six west coast cities is 12% higher than the cost per rider with buses in the same six cities. The reason is the need to pay for maintaining tracks and train stations.

    In any event, light rail is coming to King County in 2009 or 2010, running from downtown Seattle to the Airport. Sound Transit is going to pay King County Metro to operate this train. This train isn’t replacing the 194 bus, but it is providing a route to the Airport that is followed by no bus to date. The 194 bus between downtown and the airport will be faster than light rail most of the time, according to the published schedules. Light rail stops at the opposite end of the airport from where the bus now stops.

    Building this Airport train is the choice of voters resulting from the 1996 Sound Transit tax election and we are living with the decision. We should observe how well it works before voting to double Sound Transit taxes to build more light rail.

    By the way, the dirty little secret of light rail is the number of seats in a rail car holding 200 people: 74 seats. Most riders on a crowded train will be standing.

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