We’re the best: King County leads with best large transit system in US
King County Metro has the best transit system in America, according to one leading advocacy group.
“Being named best in North America is a truly humbling and gratifying moment,” said King County Metro General Manager Rob Gannon. “This award goes to each one of the 4,700 employees at King County Metro, in honor of the hard work and amazing customer service they provide every day. Thanks to them, we keep our region growing, economy thriving, and connect people with opportunity. Thanks to continued public support, ridership is stronger than ever and leading the nation.”
King County officials are wasting no time boasting their most recent honor as the nation’s best large transit system. The American Public Transportation Association — the nation’s leading transit advocacy organization, the county notes — has ranked King County’s transit system above all others. There were 12 ranking factors considered over the past three years, including ridership, safety, access, fiscal management, equity, sustainability, and customer service.
The award will be officially given out on Sept. 25 at the association’s national conference. The last two times King County achieved the honor was in 1992 and 1983.
“It is my honor to congratulate King County Metro for winning the 2018 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award,” said APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “King County Metro has contributed greatly to advancing public transportation in the Greater Seattle area. As a recognized leader in public transit excellence, the employees of King County Metro and the community it serves should be very proud.”
The news comes after a banner year for King County Metro. The transit agency gave 122 million trips in 2017 over more than 200 bus routes. It aims to double that ridership by 2040. King County Metro primarily operates a bus system, but also connects with ferries and light rail. It also operates rideshare and bike programs.
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More and more residents in the Seattle area seem to be jumping on to alternative modes of transportation, including mass transit. One bikeshare company alone — out of three — gave more than 1 million rides between July 2017 and July 2018.
King County Metro saw a 5 percent bump in ridership in 2016 with an estimated 150 million riders using the entire system. Between 2010 and 2016, 70 percent of commuters opted not to drive alone into downtown Seattle — 47 percent used mass transit, 6 percent walked, and 3 percent used a bike.