GrowthTransportationEconomyArchive
Updated Apr 25 2016, by Craig Helmann, PSRC

Transit Ridership Through February: Up Again

Figure 1. Regional Transit Boardings
Figure 1. Regional Transit Boardings

Monthly boardings on our regional transit system were up a little more than 2% in the first two months of 2016. After a fairly flat January, ridership in February was up over 5% compared to 2015. It should be noted that we did benefit from an extra day this February – but the estimated ridership from one extra day does not account for the overall increase of 5%.

All modes of public transit (bus, light rail, street car and commuter rail) were up in February 2016.

How do we compare nationally?

Figure 2. National Comparison of Transit Ridership
Figure 2. National Comparison of Transit Ridership

Transit Boardings in the Central Puget Sound Region have grown faster than any other Large Metropolitan Area in the United States since 2005. In all, transit boardings have been growing at 3.6% per year since 2005 in our region. The next fastest growing area is Tampa-St Petersburg at around 3.1%. Our annual transit growth is 3 times faster than the Portland Metro region and our 185 million boardings in 2015 were the 8th highest out of the following 20 metropolitan areas.

Vanpool capital of the country

Figure 3. Regional Vanpool Usage
Figure 3. Regional Vanpool Usage

The Puget Sound Region continues to have the largest vanpool usage in the country – exceeding the next closest region of Los Angeles County by over 1 million vanpool trips a year. When you consider the relative population of the region – Los Angeles County is over 10 million people and we are about 3.9 million, our vanpool boardings per capita are almost three times higher than Los Angeles and the highest of any region in the country. The trend has continued into 2016 and vanpool usage in the first two months of 2016 is up slightly over 2015.

Coming up in May

In May, we will see what ridership looked like in March - the first month of data with light rail serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. Although the majority of the month’s data will be prior to the light rail expansion, it should provide an initial glimpse at the change. It will also give us a glimpse at the totals for the first quarter of ridership in 2016.