Seattle’s Sounder Celebrates 20 Years of Commuter Rail Service

Sept. 18 marked 20 years of providing Puget Sound commuters with Sounder train service. “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,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and University Place Councilmember Kent Keel. “Sounder has expanded employment, housing and mobility options for countless people.”

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

While ridership on Sound Transit services continues to be greatly impacted by COVID-19, ridership on Sounder grew steadily before the pandemic as more people chose to leave their cars behind in favor of stress-free commutes. At the end of last year, more than 4.5 million people hopped aboard Sounder trains.

“Sounder has become an essential part of daily life for thousands of Puget Sound commuters,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “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.”

Sound Transit is proud to partner with BNSF, Amtrak and WSDOT to provide Sounder service in the region. Its partners help keep trains running, and they’re working to expand Sounder service in the years to come.

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

Sounder currently operates nine daily round trips each weekday on the south line between Lakewood and Seattle. Two daily round trips each weekday currently operate on the north line between Everett and Seattle.


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