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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Sound Transit marks five years of service, plans pilot program with Amtrak Cascades


This week, Sound Transit is celebrating its fifth anniversary of providing transportation service in the Seattle region.

The agency launched its bus service in September 1999, followed by Sounder commuter-rail service in September 2000. In August 2003, Sound Transit opened its Tacoma Link light-rail line and currently is constructing the Central Link light-rail line.

Sounder commuter trains now carry more than 3,000 weekday passengers. Tacoma light-rail trains serve more than 2,000 weekday passengers.

The agency also recently reached an agreement with Amtrak to begin a pilot program designed to provide passengers more flexibility when traveling between Seattle and Everett, Wash.

Scheduled to begin Oct. 1, the RailPlus program will enable passengers to use Sound Transit’s PugetPass, FlexPass and UPass cards on select Amtrak Cascades trains. Any Cascade ticket will be valid on Sounder commuter trains between Everett, Edmonds and Seattle’s King Street Station.

"Our job as a regional transit agency is to provide as many options as we can so commuters have alternatives to sitting in freeway traffic," said Sound Transit Vice Chair and Everett City Councilman Mark Olson in a prepared statement. "RailPlus expands the options for our regular commuters and provides the opportunity for more people to ride the train."