Seattle’s Sounder Celebrates 20 Years of Commuter Rail Service

On September 18, Sound Transit marked its 20 years of providing Puget Sound commuters with Sounder train service. Sound Transit Board Chair and University Place Councilmember Kent Keel, stated that “When Sounder South debuted two decades ago, it provided a needed transit option for commuters in Pierce County and South King County. Since then nearly 50 million riders have taken the train.” He asserted: “Sounder has expanded employment, housing and mobility options for countless people.”

In order to mark the 20th anniversary, Sound Transit has created a commemorative ORCA card that is going to be given away through social media and other avenues when it is safe to do so. Riders can load funds and passes for use on transit services all over the region.

As ridership on Sound Transit services continues to be considerably affected by COVID-19, ridership on Sounder grew continuously before the pandemic as more people chose to leave their cars behind in favor of stress-free commutes. In final days of last year, over 4.5 million people hopped aboard Sounder trains.

“Sounder has become an essential part of daily life for thousands of Puget Sound commuters,” stated Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO. “The reliability of Sounder trains offers a stress-free and congestion-free commute. We also look forward to offering Mariners, Seahawks and Sounder FC fans special event trains again when we can all attend games.”

It is a pride for Sound Transit to partner with BNSF, Amtrak and WSDOT to supply Sounder service in the region. Its partners assist keep trains running, and they’re working to increase Sounder service in the years to come.

Sounder started operating two south line round-trip trains on September 18, 2000, with stops in Sumner, Tacoma, Seattle and Auburn. Service to Kent and Puyallup was added in February 2001, to Tukwila a month later, and to Lakewood and South Tacoma in 2012. North line service to Everett and Edmonds began in 2003 and to Mukilteo in 2008.

Currently, Sounder operates nine daily round trips each weekday on the south line between Seattle and Lakewood. At the moment, two daily round trips each weekday operate on the north line between Seattle and Everett.

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