Early holiday arrival: light rail to airport
With duffel bags, wheeled luggage and children in tow, a steady stream of travelers tried Sound Transit's new SeaTac/Airport Station on its opening day Saturday.
The trains, coming about 10 minutes apart, typically carried some 75 riders each into the towering station with the spine-like truss roof, located between the airport parking garage and Highway 99.
It opened two weeks early, just in time for the airport's busy Christmas travel period.
The system is far from finished and should have been built years ago. but bickering over infrastructure has delayed it since the 1960s.
The question remains of how useful the system will be.
The biggest airport users will likely be airport/airline employees. Travellers will use it, too, but I'm curious about the volume.
It costs $2.50 to ride to the airport. If I were to drive, that would mean 15 miles of travel. Plus I pay $12-14 a day fro parking. If I use the airport garage that price jumps to about $26/day. If I take a cab, it's about $45 each way.
So it's definitely cheaper to take the train. The problem? Luggage.
The nearest station is 8-12 blocks from my building. And that's down hill. Leaving in the morning with my computers and suitcase wouldn't be too much hassle, but I'm not sure I want to deal with hauling all my stuff back 8-10 blocks, uphill, at night, after a day of activity and flying. It just sounds tremendously unpleasant.
For short trips, maybe it makes sense to use as a traveler. For longer ones, I'm a bit skeptical.
Now if they actually build the streetcar in my neighborhood, we may be on to something. Here's to hoping for the Boren route.