As CHS broke the news about the First Hill Streetcar’s extension plans being put on hold by the city, here is a look at just how many people are riding the 2.5-mile line every day.
Data provided by the Seattle Department of Transportation shows that the streetcar line served more than 3,300 riders daily in October and that ridership appeared to have been slowly climbing since the streetcar’s early 2016 start of service. In addition to the many delays in beginning service on the route, SDOT had to tackle a bug with its automated passenger counters that left the department without access to the information.
The First Hill Streetcar opened in January 2016 to little fanfare after long delays to begin service on the new line connecting Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill via First Hill.
Despite the slow start, the totals provided to CHS appear to indicate that the First Hill line carries more daily riders than the more well known South Lake Union Trolley. According to data available from data.seattle.gov, the South Lake Union line carries around 2,000 riders per day.
For comparison, the entire Sound Transit light rail system averaged more than 68,000 daily riders in October, up 84% compared to 2015 thanks to the new stops at UW Station and Capitol Hill Station.
While it is too early to draw definitive conclusions, the daily totals for the First Hill Streetcar continued to rise with October turning in a tally about 7% higher than the route’s first months of service. SDOT planners had expected the First Hill line to carry between 3,000 and 3,500 riders per day putting the current totals right in line with expectations… for the year 2030. The line, by this measure anyway, appears well ahead of its apparently modest goals.