Monday, July 20, 2009

Seattle LRT revenue ridership “light” on Day 1

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Seattle's Sound Transit light rail transit ridership Monday, the first day of revenue service, was reported to be light on the 14-mile line. The line made its debut this past weekend, when approximately 92,000 people were given free rides during the two-day period. One-way fares range from $1.75 to $2.50.

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The heaviest ridership so far has occurred close to downtown, according to Martin Young, a manager helping with Monday's startup. The 600-space park-and-ride lot at Tukwila International Boulevard Station, one of the few park-and-ride lots provided by the new line, was reported to be about 25% full.

Sound Transit projects 26,600 per weekday by the end of the first year; ridership on Monday appeared to fall short of that projected target. "It's a Monday morning, on a brand new system, on a really nice sunny summer day in July," Sound Transit spokeswoman Linda Robson pointed out.

Sound Transit also has yet to adjust its bus routes to offer transfer opportunities; many bus routes will be adjusted this fall. Sound Transit LRT also will be extended two miles to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by the end of the year; a shuttle bus from Tukwila Station currently connects the new line to the airport.