First day passengers pay for Seattle light rail – From the Seattle PI

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1 Seattle Link LRT

The costs for Seattle’s hybrid light-metro/rail system are about on par with Vancouver’s SkyTrain, indeed there was a lot of collaboration from Vancouver’s transit planners and Seattle’s planners on ‘rail’ transit. What Seattle has is an extremely expensive light rail system that resembles a ‘poor-man’s’ metro than light rail. The massive costs of expansion will retard Seattle’s LRT system until planners fully understand the modern light rail philosophy of build lots; built it cheap; and build it on the surface to attract customers.

I would have thought Seattle’s transit planners would have done better to listen to Portland’s light rail planners as their system goes from strength to strength. It will be the Seattle taxpayer that will have to reign in the extravagant transit planning to a more realistic level; of course METRO Vancouver’s taxpayers have never had a chance to vote on any transit initiative, with the provincial government commanding, “You will get SkyTrain whether you like it or not!”

SEATTLE — After 92,000 passengers tried out Seattle’s new light rail line over the weekend for fun, the first fare-paying commuters boarded trains Monday on the 14-mile line between downtown Seattle and Tukwila.

Fares range from $1.75 to $2.50. Riders buy tickets at vending machines or use pre-paid Orca smart cards. Bus passes and transfer slips are also recognized.

Construction of the city’s new mass transit system took five years and cost $2.3 billion. By the end of the year Sound Transit says light rail will reach Sea-Tac Airport.

By 2016, a $1.9 billion tunnel will reach the University of Washington. And voters have already approved spending $18 billion to extend lines to suburban stops in Lynnwood, Federal Way and Redmond.

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