Sound Transit ridership continues climb

Sound Transit reported yesterday the average July weekday transit ridership was up 25 percent over July 2007 — including a 38 percent ridership increase on Sounder commuter rail.

The agency credits the growth to rising fuel costs, congestion and environmental concerns that have lured more Central Puget Sound residents aboard trains and buses.

Sound Transit’s July numbers show significant continuing growth beyond the second quarter 2008 gains that Sound Transit posted earlier. Second quarter 2008 weekday ridership grew 16 percent from the same three-month period in 2007, including a 31 percent gain for Sounder commuter rail.

Similarly, the American Public Transportation Association reported yesterday that nationally, public transit systems experienced a 5 percent increase in ridership for the second quarter of 2008.To learn more about APTA’s report, visit .

In July — a period in which transit ridership growth is usually not as strong — Sound Transit’s system of regional express buses, commuter rail and light rail carried about 61,000 riders each weekday, an increase of more than 10,000 from February. The July numbers are attached.

In the last year Sound Transit has added three new Sounder round trips and opened a new station in Mukilteo. Additional Sounder service will be coming this fall. One additional round-trip train will be added in the peak direction between Tacoma and Seattle, as well as an additional reverse-commute train in the south corridor, for a total of eight round-trip trains running between Tacoma and Seattle each weekday. One additional round-trip train will also be added on the Everett-to-Seattle line for a total of four round-trip trains in the north corridor each weekday.