Find Posts By Topic

Ridership Increases for RapidRide and South Lake Union

The city is working to meet the growing demand for transit service in Seattle and improve the reliability of service. The city funded the separation and extension of the RapidRide C and D lines in March 2016. The C Line now travels from West Seattle to South Lake Union, and the D Line travels from Ballard to Pioneer Square. The Westlake Ave transit lanes allow the streetcar and buses to bypass traffic reducing delay and making for a smoother, more predictable ride. These changes should improve the travel time reliability for riders while providing additional connections to our growing city.

How are the routes performing? 

After the first month of operations, ridership increased by more than 20% on the C and D Lines and the Westlake Ave transit lanes are improving travel time reliability throughout South Lake Union.


Transit 1

To better understand the impacts of the changes in the C and D Lines, we compared ridership in April 2015 and April 2016:

  • C Line ridership is up 27%, about 2,300 new daily rides
  • D Line ridership is up 23%, over 2,600 new daily rides
  • Rt 40 ridership is up 23%, over 2,000 new daily rides

Transit 2Travel Times for Route 40 on Westlake Ave N

With the March 26th Metro service change, southbound Route 40 was rerouted from 9th Ave N to Westlake Ave N to take advantage of the new transit lanes, saving each southbound trip about 1 minute.

  • Average morning travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 1.23 minutes (1 minute, 14 seconds); a 10% decrease in travel times.
  • Average afternoon travel times between Westlake Ave N & 8th Ave N and 3rd Ave & Virginia St dropped by 0.83 minutes (50 seconds); a 5% decrease in travel times.

Note that these average travel times were recorded during the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure in April 2016.

RapidRide On-Time Performance

Overall, on-time performance has improved on the C and D Lines as a result of the split. From April 2015 to April 2016: C Line on-time performance increased from 80.7% to 84.9%. D Line on-time performance increased from 81.4% to 86.7%. During the morning commute, on-time performance for both routes is about 85%. In the afternoon, on-time performance is above 80%.

How were these changes funded?

In November 2014, voters approved Proposition 1, which provided funding for the City of Seattle to fund additional transit service, above and beyond what King County Metro could provide. This allows the City to better meet the needs of our riders and address overcrowding, reliability, and frequency needs that affect Seattle riders every day.

For more information on transit, ferries, trains and other modes of travel in the Seattle area, check out SDOT’s Rider Tools, including tips on riding the bus with kids and where to catch the Water Taxi.