Seattle Times staff reporter
In April 2020, two months after the first reported case of the coronavirus in the U.S., the future of the Sounder commuter rail line looked bright. Ridership between Seattle and the South Sound would continue to grow in the decades to come and hit nearly 6 million annual riders by 2042, a Sound Transit report predicted.
Within three to five years, as population in the suburbs grew, demand for the train would outpace capacity and, to keep up, the agency likely would need to increase the number of cars and lengthen the platforms.
But in the months that followed, use of the train evaporated, as it did on all forms of public transportation. Nearly three years later, that ridership is barely returning, hovering at roughly a third of pre-pandemic ridership.