Sound Transit just announced in a press release on Friday that since adding the University of Washington station to the Central Link line, ridership has increased by 89% on the average weekday. This means that 65,000 people are now riding Link Light Rail any given day. Apparently, weekend ridership is also up 73% as well.
For most North Seattleites, the University of Washington Light Rail station has been a welcome, but half-step towards accessing our nascent public transit system. The Roosevelt and Northgate stations are slated to open up in 2021, which should bring almost full operations to North Seattle. Also, since ST3 passed, the 130th infill station will be on the docket, but much further down the road.
Here’s the press release:
Since light rail began serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, average ridership on Link grew to 65,100 people each weekday
One year ago Sunday, Sound Transit launched light rail service to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium, contributing to an 89 percent growth in average weekday ridership on Link from February 2016 to February 2017.
Weekend ridership on Link has also been strong, averaging 39,400 on Saturdays and 29,200 on Sundays—a 73 percent jump to last year.
In February alone, 1.5 million people rode light rail—a 78 percent increase for the month compared to February last year.
“I can’t think of a better way to mark U Link’s first birthday than by celebrating the dramatic growth in ridership since light rail service began serving Capitol Hill and UW last March,” said Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “As we expand light rail to other communities, thousands more will soon enjoy the ease and comfort of riding Link.”
“The demand for light rail service—during the work week and weekends—is proof that investments in its continued expansion is critically needed,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “Light rail expansions now and in the future will provide a vital regional transit network that is essential to supporting population growth, jobs and a robust regional economy.”
During the fourth quarter last year, the UW and Capitol Hill stations accounted for 16,000 of 65,600 average weekday boardings on Link.
More ridership information can be found here: soundtransit.org/ridership.
Correction: We had originally called this the University District Light Rail station, largely because that’s how it’s seen now, even though there will be a University District light rail station coming in 2021, around about the same time they open the Northgate Station.
The biggest change for me out in the Sand Point area has been easier access to downtown. Before I had to take two rather infrequent buses (of which there were several combinations) to get to and from downtown or the light rail, which made scheduling my use of transit critical. One missed bus would mean a significant delay. Since I had the choice, I would usually hop on my bike instead, or drive.
Not only do we now have a closer light rail station, but my main bus now runs at 15 minute intervals and takes me to that station without having to transfer. The U District has become a better hub for bus routes; for instance, last week the bus I wanted to take home broke down at the stop where I wanted to board, so I walked a few blocks to catch a bus on a different route that could get me where I needed to go. Of course there’s also the change I most anticipated: it is significantly easier to take transit to the airport, saving a lot on parking.
Things are so much better here, giving me much optimism for when the rest of North Seattle gets to experience it.
The University District station has not come online yet—it will open in 2021 with the Northgate and Roosevelt stations. The one you’re referring to is the University of Washington station.
Woah! Thank you for the update – we’ve corrected this at this time. I go to that station so much I just call it the University District Station, even though I know there’s a real U District Station coming online soon.