RapidRide Beats Light Rail
June 13, 2016
The Region gets the same ridership on RapidRide for 3% of the start-up cost of Light Rail at half the Operating cost in 1/3 the Time.
King County Metro proposed a 0.1% Sales Tax levy in 2006 promoted as “Transit Now” to create a new version of local transit that was identified as RapidRide. The proposal received a favorable vote in November, 2006. Together with the new tax revenue and other sources, six RapidRide Lines have been created; RapidRide Line A opened to service in October, 2010 along International Blvd. from Federal Way to Tukwila, and the sixth, Rapid Ride F, opened to service in June, 2014 from Burien to Renton. It took Metro eight years from the approval by the voters to open six lines.
The Seattle Times reported on May 14, 2016 that the average daily ridership announced by Metro on the six lines has reached 60,000 riders per average weekday. Metro reports that the start-up costs for the six RapidRide lines is approximately $190 million and the current operation cost per ride is about $2.90.
Sound Transit proposed a 0.4% Sales Tax plus 0.3% Motor Vehicle Excise Tax levy in 1996 promoted as “Sound Move” to create a regional transit system with light rail as the backbone of the system. The proposal received a favorable vote in November 1996. In 2008 Sound Transit proposed an additional 0.5% Sales Tax levy known as “ST 2” to extend the light rail system and enhance supportive systems. The proposal received a favorable vote in November, 2008. Together with the new tax revenue and other sources, a light rail route has been created from SeaTac Airport Station to Downtown Seattle (Central Link), opened to service in 2009 and U Link, opened to service between Downtown Seattle and Husky Stadium in March 2016.
The same Seattle Times edition reported on May 14, 2016 that the average daily ridership announced by Sound Transit for the route between SeaTac Airport and Husky Stadium has reached 60,000 riders per average weekday. Estimated start-up costs for Central Link plus U Link is approximately $6 Billion and the reported operating cost per ride was $5.91 in the 4th Quarter, 2015. It took Sound Transit twenty years from the approval by the voters - and two favorable votes – to open the route between the airport and the University.
This data is shown in graphic form below.
RapidRide: Does More, Costs Less (Much Less) and Opens Sooner
Start-up costs include: (1) system planning, environmental review and permitting, (2) design, (3) right of way acquisition, (4) construction and (5) rolling stock.
Operating costs include labor, fuel and maintenance.
Sound Transit Quarterly Data, October to December, 2015