King County’s RapidRide A Line tops expectations for ridership, customer satisfaction
New findings show A Line ridership up an estimated 25 percent
King County Metro Transit’s RapidRide A Line has become so popular in its first few months of operation that ridership along the 11-mile route serving Pacific Highway South/International Boulevard in South King County has surpassed expectations. Not only has ridership increased by about 25 percent, overall satisfaction with service on the corridor is at an all-time high with 84 percent of riders giving the A Line a thumbs-up.
“These new findings confirm that people will leave their cars and take the bus if they are assured of reliable, frequent, and improved bus services and stations,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Within a matter of months, the A Line has proven how effective bus rapid transit can be as Metro restructures service to increase efficiency and achieve greater customer satisfaction."
The new ridership data shows that during the first three months of operation, the RapidRide A Line delivered about 1,500 additional daily bus trips compared to the Route 174 it replaced. The 25 percent increase in passenger boardings means King County Metro is halfway toward achieving its five-year ridership goal of a 50 percent increase on the A Line.
And a recently conducted on-board survey of more than 500 A Line passengers reveals a variety of reasons why RapidRide has become a popular travel alternative. In addition to achieving an overall 84 percent satisfaction rating compared to a 52 percent satisfaction rating on the route it replaced, the A Line scored high with passengers in several other areas, such as:
* 81 percent overall satisfaction with how long their bus trip takes,
* 83 percent satisfaction with how often buses run during peak hours,
* 88- 90 percent satisfaction with Metro’s new hybrid-electric RapidRide coaches and on-board features, and
* 81 percent satisfied with the A Line getting them to their destination on time.
Suggestions noted in the survey for improving the A Line ranged from further reducing stops along the route to adding even more service, especially at night and on weekends.
“This success proves the A Line was a great choice to be Metro’s first bus rapid transit route”, said King County Councilmember Julia Patterson. “The steady increase in ridership shows RapidRide will continue to play an instrumental role in supporting the creation of good paying jobs while offering a good travel option for residents and students in South King County who are highly dependent on transit.”
“This feedback tells us that Metro customers already view the A Line as a quality product that is making their daily travel easier and more convenient,” said County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “These numbers suggest RapidRide will also be an important factor in supporting job-producing growth in South King County as our local economy improves.”
The RapidRide A Line combines the best features Metro has to offer by providing 10- to 15-minute service much of the day with additional improvements, such as new three-door hybrid coaches, station lighting, off-board ORCA card readers and WiFi on the buses.
Together, these RapidRide features have cut travel times by up to one-third along the busy line serving the cities of Federal Way, Des Moines, Kent, SeaTac, and Tukwila.
The high customer satisfaction expressed in the survey is expected to be a strong indicator of future ridership and customer satisfaction on future RapidRide lines.
“Given its strong start, we’re confident the A Line will be a great model for what riders can expect when additional RapidRide lines are added,” said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond. “This fall, riders on the Eastside will be the next to experience the benefits of RapidRide when the B Line begins serving neighborhoods between Redmond and Bellevue.”