Metro's ridership has grown steadily since 2010. The 2014 increase was 2.0% and the total of nearly 121 million broke the previous record from 2008. The growth since then is notable given several things that normally would reduce ridership growth: the base transit fare increased 80 percent, the recession greatly affected ridership in 2009 and 2010, the downtown Seattle Ride Free Area ended, and Sound Transit's Link light rail began serving one of Metro's major bus corridors. Employment growth after the end of the Great Recession contributed to the ridership growth. Service improvements, such as new RapidRide lines, have also contributed to the growth. On weekdays, RapidRide routes provide 44 percent more rides than the services they replaced.
Total estimated VanPool and VanShare boardings in 2014 were down 3% from 2013. After adjusting for an improved passenger-counting methodology starting in 2014 year, boardings were actually up about 4%. This growth is consistent with the increases in commuter van groups and the miles driven by the vans.
Overall paratransit ridership decreased 3.8% in 2014. Access ridership decreased 6.8%, but ridership in the more cost-efficient Community Access Transit (CAT) program increased 8.3%. Metro has been expanding CAT since the 2009 Performance Audit of Transit found that increased use of CAT and other alternative service programs would offset the cost of more expensive Access service. Travel training to help people with disabilities ride regular bus service also contributed to the decrease in Access ridership.