Sound Transit reports record ridership; increase includes Tacoma Link light rail

Sound Transit set all-time ridership records on its commuter trains, buses and light rail in September with average weekday boardings topping 98,000 systemwide, Sound Transit officials announced Friday.

The average weekday number tops the old record of 96,488 set in August and is a 13 percent improvement over September 2011, according to officials. Ridership is up almost 12 percent through September compared to last year.

In Tacoma, 82,022 passengers boarded Link light rail last month — a 20 percent improvement over September 2011. So far this year, 759,956 passengers have boarded the train — an 8.3 percent increase since this time last year. Average weekday boardings on Link light rail are also up: 3,645 passengers last month — a 27.6 percent increase compared to September 2011.

“The growth we are seeing shows more and more commuters want to save their money, time and sanity by taking advantage of our trains and buses,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “Our services offer people a way to get around that not only improves their lives but boosts our regional economy and protects our environment.”

Sound Transit saw particularly strong growth on the Sounder North commuter rail line, which set a new record of 1,212 average weekday boardings — a 19 percent jump over September 2011. Central Link light rail continued its strong annual growth with an average of 28,549 weekday boardings, a 13 percent improvement over 2011. Special events in September helped Link set a new record for 27,773 average Saturday boardings.

The full September ridership report can be found online here.

Sound Transit's Link light rail passed through downtown Tacoma. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)