From an October article in the Seattle Times: Too many empty seats on Sounder north line
As commuter buses run standing-room-only on the freeway, the daily Sounder trains between Everett and Seattle are one-third full, serving a mere 1,125 passengers per weekday.
Its popularity falls short of the 2,400 to 3,200 rides announced when elected officials made a deal in 2003 to put transit trains on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight tracks.
From the start, the line’s location presented challenges. The coastline route near Everett is less direct than highways, and in Mukilteo and Edmonds potential riders have to backtrack from their homes to reach the stations.
“I think the use of this train by people in Snohomish County will be so significant, I think we will be back at the table (to run more trains) in a couple years,” predicted Bob Drewel [in 2003], then county executive and a transit-board member.
John Niles, an early opponent, now asserts that Sound Transit is violating state law that allows transit authorities to operate commuter rail when it is a “reasonable” mode, meaning costs are in line with buses and trolleys.
“Based on all I know, the thing ought to be shut down, and reallocate the resource,” he said.
Do you ride the Sounder train to Seattle? Would it affect you if they decide to shut it down for good? With all of the mudslides since the week of Christmas, the trains have been out of commission far more often than they have been running. Indeed, an AP article published in the Herald on Saturday confirms that “since Dec. 17, the line had been open only two days for passenger trains.”
Is it time to just call it quits on Sounder North?