SEA light rail continues growth

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SEA light rail continues growth
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:54 PM
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, December 01, 2016 6:51 AM

Sound Transit is only one of eight public transit operations in the Seattle Metro area.  The other operations are bus-only (King County Metro also operates trolley buses) so this is little more than an interesting statistic.  Also note that the numbers are skewed by service to sporting and other special events.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, January 06, 2017 3:18 AM
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, January 06, 2017 8:00 AM

The figures provided are for Sound Transit only.  They do not include figures for King County Metro or any of the other public transit operators in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, February 17, 2017 8:22 PM

Sound transit shows 23%+ systemwide ridership growth for calendar year 2016.  Guess the rail and light rail haters are right ? ?

http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/sound-transit-system-wide-ridership-jumped-23

 

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, March 17, 2017 7:12 PM

Seattle Link light rail shows an 89 % growth over same period a year ago.  This is reflected in the University extension 's one year anniversary.

http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/sound-transit-marks-first-anniversary-u-link-89

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Posted by JPS1 on Friday, March 17, 2017 10:13 PM

blue streak 1

Seattle Link light rail shows an 89 % growth over same period a year ago.  This is reflected in the University extension 's one year anniversary.

http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/sound-transit-marks-first-anniversary-u-link-89 

What is missing from many of these glowing reports about light rail in Seattle, as well as other locations, is the financial data.  For Seattle the financial data was taken from the Sound Transit 2015 Annual Report.

In 2015 Sound Transit light rail had ticket revenues of $18.2 million and operating expenses of $64.3 million.  It had an operating loss of $46.1 million. The average subsidy per rider was $3.69.  The loss was made-up by sales, motor vehicle use and rental car taxes.

Sound Transit also received $132.2 billion in federal funds for its capital expenditures along with $3.9 billion in state funds.

Whether there are better financial alternatives to light rail is debatable. One thing is for sure, however, it does not come anywhere close to being cost effective.  

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:33 AM

Unless you compair it with the costs of the new roads or lanes needed to control the congestion that would have grown without, including the loss of productive tax-paying real-estate,

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:14 PM

blue streak 1

Seattle Link light rail shows an 89 % growth over same period a year ago.  This is reflected in the University extension 's one year anniversary.

http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/sound-transit-marks-first-anniversary-u-link-89 

  What was missed was with the light rail growth there was no reduction in bus ridership for Sound Transit.  Now that has to be looked at with some in depth study.  Were a lot of the now bus riders last mile first mile ?  Were average bus mile trips shorter ?  Always have to be skeptical.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:52 PM

Most of Sound Transit's bus routes are express routes between the Central Business District and the suburbs.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by NorthWest on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 2:39 PM

Seattle's transit is somewhat fragmented with each county running their own bus service, and Sound Transit being an overarching agency that formulates connections between the system including express busses and rail transit.

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Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 3:18 PM

daveklepper

Unless you compair it with the costs of the new roads or lanes needed to control the congestion that would have grown without, including the loss of productive tax-paying real-estate. 

What is missing from your point, at least as it relates to Texas, as well as many other areas of the U.S., is most people, as shown by their personal choices, don't want public transport.  They prefer the convenience, dependability, comfort, and flexibility of personal vehicles.  And they are willing to pay for them, although in many instances they don't understand the full cost, or who actually picks up the tab. 

The relatively small percentage of Americans that use public transport, i.e. less than five percent, has remained relatively constant for decades.  It is not likely to change.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 9:43 PM

JPS1

 

 
daveklepper

Unless you compair it with the costs of the new roads or lanes needed to control the congestion that would have grown without, including the loss of productive tax-paying real-estate. 

 

What is missing from your point, at least as it relates to Texas, as well as many other areas of the U.S., is most people, as shown by their personal choices, don't want public transport.  They prefer the convenience, dependability, comfort, and flexibility of personal vehicles...

The fact that ridership increased 90% indicates that Seattle is not Texas.  In congested cities alond the coasts and in places like Chicago, many commuters leave their cars parked at the station to avoid driving into the city center.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 5:38 AM

The fact that bus ridership did not diminish does not mean the light rail was not effective in controlling traffic congestion, which in Seattle is its main purpose.  I am not discussing Dallas, but Seattle.  The fact that bus ridership held up indicates a major portion of the light rail ridership is new to public transit.  And some of this new ridership may actually use the buses as well as the light rail.

I do not know the situation in Dallas.  People there seem proud of the light rail. I do not know the road congestion situation in Dallas.  In Seattle, people now regard the light rail as a necessity.  I would suspect that a much greater percentage of the populaton use public transit, in all its forms, than in Dallas.  Am I correct?

And there may be other purposes for light rail, even subsidized light rail.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 6:47 AM

Something that we all need to keep in mind is that there is no one right way for public transit.  Buses, light rail, rapid transit and commuter rail all have a role to play.  The goal is to find the most appropriate medium for the service desired.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, March 23, 2017 9:22 AM

Agree completely.  A light rail line that sees only 3000 people today is not an efficient light rail line, and its justification, if any, must be in something other than just providing transportation.  For just transportaiton, a bus would be far more cost-effective.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, July 01, 2017 3:37 AM

Seattle link light rail increasing capacity for the sumer by running more 3 car and 2 car light rail trains.  The planning of this system to allow longer trains could be a lesson for other systems.

https://www.soundtransit.org/blog/platform/more-people-more-trains-sound-transit-adding-longer-link-trains-starting-next-week?utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=june_digest

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 11:10 PM
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Posted by prk166 on Friday, September 22, 2017 7:14 PM

blue streak 1

 

 
blue streak 1

Seattle Link light rail shows an 89 % growth over same period a year ago.  This is reflected in the University extension 's one year anniversary.

http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/News-and-events/News-releases/sound-transit-marks-first-anniversary-u-link-89 

 

 

  What was missed was with the light rail growth there was no reduction in bus ridership for Sound Transit.  Now that has to be looked at with some in depth study.  Were a lot of the now bus riders last mile first mile ?  Were average bus mile trips shorter ?  Always have to be skeptical.

 

 

 

That's a big deal.  A of transit agencies that operate rail have seen losses of ridership on other bus routes.    What are they doing differently?

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Posted by oltmannd on Saturday, September 23, 2017 10:25 AM

JPS1
Whether there are better financial alternatives to light rail is debatable. One thing is for sure, however, it does not come anywhere close to being cost effective.  

It depends on how wide a net you cast.  If you add in the increased property values and real estate development that transit project generate, you can wind up in positive territory rather easily.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Saturday, September 23, 2017 3:03 PM

oltmannd

 

If you add in the increased property values and real estate development that transit project generate, you can wind up in positive territory rather easily.

Don,

I would argue that is a false positive. Absent the project most of that growth/development would have happened elsewhere. It is not growth, just redistribution of wealth and income. Proponents of public works projects never ask what would happen without the project and they often knowingly and falsely count redistributive effects as positive, which is completely wrong in economic terms.

Mac

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 23, 2017 4:40 PM

PNWRMNM
 
oltmannd
 
If you add in the increased property values and real estate development that transit project generate, you can wind up in positive territory rather easily. 

Don,

I would argue that is a false positive. Absent the project most of that growth/development would have happened elsewhere. It is not growth, just redistribution of wealth and income. Proponents of public works projects never ask what would happen without the project and they often knowingly and falsely count redistributive effects as positive, which is completely wrong in economic terms.

Mac

Look at all the construction and home repair that will be taking place in the very near future (if not already) from a couple of storms (Coastal Texas and South Florida).  On one side of the ledger it is a loss - on the other side of the ledger it is increased purchase of building supplies and labor to install all the building supplies.

I will admit that 'community planners' rarely know the total effects of what they are planning - especially of the employment market in the area of the plan ramains relatively stable.  With a stable economy for the plan area, it is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 24, 2017 8:26 AM

A lot of the first generation streetcar construction was promoted by real-estaste interests to open up ares for new housing construction.  So economic development for light rail is nothing new  Indeed the idea goes back to the land-grant facilitation of railroad construction in the 19th Century.  And it has been proven that light rail does do a better job of attracting people to public transit who would otherwise drive and in some cases contribute to congestion.  But I think a sense of proportion is rquired.  To me, a light rail line with ridership of only 5000 riders a day must have some other purpose than either transportation or economic development of a normal nature.  Possibly it is a tourist attraction in itself?  Or just an expensive icon and loss-leader for an entertainment or shopping area?

In the case of Sound Transity, I think the overall figures show a gain in total transit ridership, which means that the light rail expansion there is doing its job.  I have been told that on the local transit system the simple conversion of the Ballard bus line to electric trolleybus resulted in a 30% increase in ridership.  This line is now being considered for rail, either light rail or streetcar, the difference being primariliy the amount of tunneling and PRoW as comopared with lanes shared with general traffic.

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