Transit ridership continues to grow in central Seattle, while solo car commutes decline

The proportion of commuters who arrive in the morning by train, bus, streetcar or walking onto ferries has reached 48.4 percent, or by 126,808 people.

As public transit stagnates in most U.S. cities, central Seattle continued its rapid growth by adding roughly 10,000 morning transit commuters last year, new local data show.

A total of 126,800 people, or 48.4 percent of a workforce of 262,000 employees, arrive using a bus, a train, or by walking onto ferries.

The 2017 data are the first to fully account for light-rail stations that opened during 2016 at the University of Washington, Capitol Hill and Angle Lake. Those stops doubled overall train ridership, while regional bus use held steady — and some downtown routes overflowed.

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Figures were released Wednesday by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Commute Seattle.

“The performance has just gotten better every year,” said Jonathan Hopkins, executive director of Commute Seattle, a nonprofit funded by employers and transportation agencies.

About 75 percent arrive other than by driving alone, which the city discourages. Downtown’s job growth is being absorbed in other ways.

The survey includes downtown and areas cornered by Uptown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown International District and Capitol Hill.

One motivation is added bus frequency, funded mainly by a $60 car-tab…

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