More people using buses

Mirror staff

Eighteen percent more riders climbed aboard Sound Transit’s buses and commuter trains during second-quarter 2003 over the same period last year, according to Sound Transit’s recently released second-quarter ridership report.

Sounder tracks don’t run through Federal Way, and Sound Transit officials said it’s almost impossible to keep track of whether Federal Way residents are taking a bus to one of the train depots to commute on to work.

But Express route 565, the bus route that runs between Bellevue and Federal Way, experienced a 7.4 percent increase in ridership during the past year, according to Sound Transit. During the second quarter of 2002, 48,887 riders boarded the bus in Bellevue and Federal Way. During the same period this year, 52,490 riders boarded the 565.

Transit officials said they expect bus service to improve — and ridership to increase — with the opening of new park-and-ride facilities and three direct-access ramp projects, including the transit center project slated for downtown Federal Way.

Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said it’s hard to tell whether all the riders are brand new to buses or if they’re people who regularly rode but moved recently and now use a different route.

Still, across-the-board increases seem to indicate commuters are fine with letting go of the wheel.

“The trend is people are seeing there are move disadvantages to driving –– traffic and parking chief among them,” Patrick said.

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