I’ve been looking at this post at Seattle Transit Blog on how many people go from city-to-city on Amtrak Cascades. It’s probably a measure of city size, and perhaps how close to the middle of the line it is than anything else. Also, perhaps less so also a measure of how easy it is to use within a city.
I’m thinking about Olympia specifically. It seems to me as someone whose only city pair in the last year is Seattle-Olympia that Olympia is really not convenient, and that probably drives down some of its numbers. The station is actually in Lacey and the bus there isn’t very frequent. So you’re kind of stranded in the middle of nowhere (no offense, Lacey!) without a car. The fact that it had 2 top 20 pairs is more than I might expect.
Compare that to the Seattle station that’s right in Pioneer Square. Get out, and it’s less than a 5 minute walk to a lot of buses or to the Link Light Rail.
I’ll end on what Zach envisions for the future after looking at the numbers:
Imagine a new morning southbound train from Seattle to Portland leaving around 6:30am, stopping only in Tacoma and Olympia before arriving in Portland at 9:15am. Tukwila riders could transfer via Sounder at Tacoma (with added RailPlus ticketing), Kelso and Centralia riders would retain their local service one hour later, and Vancouver WA riders would already be taking C-Tran anyway. Conversely, imagine a train leaving Portland for Seattle around 6:30am, but instead stopping only in Vancouver WA and Olympia, as Tacoma and Tukwila riders would already take Sounder. After adding that limited-stop service, you could still add a 5th fully local service and meet the ARRA requirement for 2 additional roundtrips.