Seattle Streetcar reports 18 percent ridership increase

Aug. 2, 2019

The Seattle Streetcar program saw an 18 percent ridership increase, including a 31 percent increase on the First Hill line, partially thanks to the easy connections to Metro Transit routes, Link light rail and the Sounder.

South Lake Union ridership

While South Lake Union (SLU) ridership has remained consistent over the past three years with a slight four-percent decrease in 2018, the program is pleased with overall ridership levels in the area. The Seattle Streetcar program saw the small decline as a direct reflection of the city’s successful efforts to increase city-wide transit service and multi-modal options and the availability of these opportunities to SLU riders.

Center City Connector

The program is also requesting a $9 million appropriation to perform essential engineering and design work for the Center City Connector project.

After Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a robust, independent review of the project in 2018 and revised the capital and operating cost estimates, which placed the project on better financial footing, the Seattle Streetcar program is now prepared to move forward with necessary project activities, including everything from platform and maintenance facility modifications, to roadway structure analysis and essential design work.

New transit line

The program’s staff is looking into ways of expanding data collection to better understand ridership trends and demographics and to strengthen operations.

The Center City Connector is designed to add a critical link in the Seattle Streetcar network, proving millions of residents and visitors with easy access to dozens of popular local destinations between the First Hill and South Lake Union lines. It also links transit riders to regional bus routes, ferries at Colman Dock, and the continued expansion of the regional Link Light Rail network.

In addition, the project will build on the City’s investments in providing affordable transit opportunities through ORCA Lift, ORCA Opportunity and ORCA Youth to thousands of downtown households who need affordable transit options most.

On July 30, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Streetcar Manager Chris Eilerman and Center City Connector Project Manager Eric Tweit met with the Sustainability and Transportation Committee to give a streetcar operation report on the existing streetcar lines, plus requested the $9 million appropriation to move forward with the Center City Connector project.