New Transit Investments Aim to Boost Reliability and Safety

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Link riders at Westlake station

Downtown is home to 300,000 jobs, 104,000 residents and welcomes millions of visitors each year. As more companies bring employees back to the office, it’s imperative that we have a highly functioning transit system serving downtown and the region. A series of infrastructure and staffing investments in our area’s transit system were recently rolled out to help ensure a cleaner, safer and more reliable rider experience.

Sound Transit light rail platforms will be getting tidier thanks to the agency’s increased cleaning efforts, including power washing and litter collection. For passengers navigating to their next destination, Sound Transit ambassadors are standing by to answer questions and provide wayfinding. Improved signage will also help clarify routes and travel options. An expanded Sound Transit security contract will add 300 new security officers at stations and on trains. New crisis response teams in downtown Seattle support those experiencing mental health or substance-use-disorder issues. Teams are trained in de-escalation techniques and can connect people in need with help and resources.

King County Metro has also boosted bus security staffing by 40%, bringing the total number of officers to 100. The agency intends to hire 40 more officers in the near future. Security personnel are present at more stations throughout the system, providing a safer environment for riders. Escalators and elevators are a noted area of need, and repair crews have improved uptimes from 30% to 92% as of April 2023. Long-term equipment modernization is underway to keep people moving throughout each station. This summer, digital signage in the station will let you know how many minutes away your train is.

While weekday ridership is still playing catch-up, as of March, ridership at downtown’s Westlake Station is 17% higher on Saturdays than it was on Saturdays in 2019, highlighting the demand for downtown’s arts, theaters and sports.

For more information about improving your commute in the Seattle area, visit The Downtown Seattle Association is a founding partner of Commute Seattle.