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Transportation

How Seattle Bucked a National Trend and Got More People to Ride the Bus

Three experts in three very different positions weigh in on their city’s ridership success.
Third Avenue in Seattle becomes a transit-only corridor during rush hour, allowing buses to coordinate with one another for swifter travel.
Third Avenue in Seattle becomes a transit-only corridor during rush hour, allowing buses to coordinate with one another for swifter travel. King County

Almost every major U.S. city has seen years of decline in bus ridership, but Seattle has been the exception in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Seattle experienced the biggest jump of any major U.S. city. At its peak in 2015, around 78,000 people, or about one in five Seattle workers, rode the bus to work.

That trend has cooled slightly since then, but Seattle continues to see increased overall transit ridership, bucking the national trend of decline. In 2016, Seattle saw transit ridership increase by 4.1 percent—only Houston and Milwaukee saw even half that increase in the same year.