Seattle Has More Bus Riders than Almost Every U.S. City

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Posted on Apr 20, 2016

From 2010 through 2014, Seattle experienced an unparalleled increase in bus riders above every other city in the United States, earning itself second place for bus-reliant metropolitan areas, trailing behind only San Francisco, according to The Seattle Times.

How many Seattle residents are taking the bus instead of driving?

Between 2010 and 2014, Seattle's workforce increased by 44,000, of which 19,000 (or 42 percent) were bus riders.

According to the story, 20 percent of Seattle commuters ride the bus to work, meaning a whopping 78,000 city residents currently depend on the bus for transportation. 

Another 3,000 workers travel by rail, trolley, or ferry, while single car occupancy riders only grew by 9,000 during this period. This means that the number of drivers increased by less than half of bus riders.

The increase is not limited to the city alone; almost 60,000 King County residents who reside outside of Seattle commute by bus, according to The Seattle Times and that number is growing faster than it is in the city.

Is there a reason for the increase?

The Seattle Times reports that King County Metro surveys show that 90 percent of riders have the opportunity to drive but are choosing bus transportation instead. There are two readily identifiable reasons for this:

  • Parking costs 
  • Traffic


While parking costs are probably a reason, it is likely that many commuters are taking the bus for the latter reason — traffic. Especially because Seattle ranked in the top 5 for worst traffic in the nation. 

Will the increased ridership have an effect on traffic or car accidents?

While the increased number of commuters taking public transportation may make a dent in traffic, do not expect I-405 to be empty on your drive to work tomorrow. Sixty-five percent of Seattle's workforce is still buckling up and driving on our roads, which helps explain our city’s morning congestion rate of 53 percent (as well as our 75 percent evening-congestion rate).

In addition to the potential of decreased traffic on Seattle roads, more riders may increase the likelihood of bus accidents and resulting injuries. 

If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in a bus accident caused by a negligent bus or passenger car driver, talk to a car accident attorney from Max Meyers Law PLLC to discuss your legal options for injury compensation. 

Do not attempt to navigate through Washington State’s injury claim system alone; contact Max today at 425-399-7000.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.