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Originally published January 11, 2010 at 4:08 PM | Page modified January 11, 2010 at 6:39 PM

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Light-rail ridership jumped after airport station opened

The new light-rail station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport attracted at least an additional 2,000 riders a day during the holiday travel season, new data suggest. However, overall December ridership was lower than in October, Sound Transit officials say.

The new light-rail station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport attracted at least an additional 2,000 riders a day during the holiday travel season, new data suggest.

Sound Transit doesn't have specific counts for SeaTac/Airport Station, which opened Dec. 19. However, total ridership for the 16-mile line between Westlake Center and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport averaged 15,080 trips a day during the last two weeks of the month, versus 12,544 trips a day before airport service began.

Ridership improved by more than 4,000 boardings on each of the two Sundays with airport service, compared with the two Sundays without it.

Holiday shopping trips might also be a factor, as some people used the Tukwila park-and-ride or walked to a downtown-bound train from Rainier Valley.

However, even including holiday use, December's average of 14,639 boardings per weekday is only slightly better than in November, and fewer daily boardings than in October. Seasonal trends and a sluggish economy are to blame, said spokesman Bruce Gray.

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