Through the first six months of 2009, total boardings on our Sound Transit trains and buses was up 4.3 percent over the same period a year earlier. Looking just at June, total boardings were up 1.7 percent compared with June 2008. However, our average weekday boardings were down slightly in June. The increase in total boardings is largely attributable to one additional weekday in June 2009.
Looking more closely, the June numbers show that the average weekday boardings on ST Express buses were down very slightly. Tacoma Link continued to be a bright spot with average weekday boardings up by 9.5 percent while Sounder commuter rail ridership was down 11.6 percent in June, compared to a year earlier. Sounder ridership is particularly sensitive to changes in gasoline prices. Last summer gas prices were nearly $4.50 a gallon, while this summer prices are closer to about $2.70 a gallon.
Also, just to let you know, early ridership on Central Link is going very well. We’re averaging about 12,000 riders a day and estimate that ridership will increase to about 21,000 a day by the end of this year. By the end of 2010, we expect Central Link ridership to be around 26,000 to 27,000 a day.
It is good to see that total boardings continue to grow over last year. I think their analysis on the price of gas about a slight drop in Sounder ridership makes sense, not to mention the economic downturn. I wonder why the Tacoma Link's ridership continues to grow even during the recession and the decline in the price of gas. Perhaps it is due to less available or more expensive parking in Tacoma's Downtown? Other ideas?
Happy Friday Everyone.