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2015 Fare Change

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The King County Council has approved Metro fare changes that will take effect March 1, 2015 for individual riders and employers that have "Choice" accounts. For businesses, schools and colleges that participate in Metro’s Passport or U-Pass programs for their employees or students, the changes will take effect as contracts are renewed beginning March 1, 2015.

The following changes will be made:

  • Fares will increase by 25 cents per trip in all current Metro fare categories — adults, youth, seniors and people with disabilities — for all regularly scheduled transit services.
  • The fare will increase by $0.50 per trip for Access paratransit service, which serves people with disabilities who can’t use regular bus service.
  • Metro will offer a new reduced fare of $1.50 per trip for qualifying riders who have low incomes.

2015 Fare Changes

Category Current Fare New Fare Difference
Adult 1-zone Peak $2.50 $2.75 +$0.25
Adult 2-zone Peak $3.00 $3.25 +$0.25
Adult Off-Peak $2.25 $2.50 +$0.25
Adult Low Income NA $1.50  
Youth $1.25 $1.50 +$0.25
Senior/Disabled $0.75 $1.00 +$0.25
Access Paratransit $1.25 $1.75 +$0.50

The fare changes are intended to strike a balance between generating revenue that will support Metro service and keeping bus trips affordable for people with low incomes. Fares are the second-largest source of revenue for Metro, after sales tax.

Metro fares were last changed in 2011. Fares were also increased in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

How the reduced fare for people with low incomes will work

The reduced fare will be available to adult riders with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level — about $23,000 in annual income for an individual. This is the income guideline most widely used by government agencies for determining eligibility for assistance and services. King County will work with local and state service providers to determine the most accessible and cost-effective way to verify program eligibility. Eligible individuals will have to requalify for this fare program every two years.

Qualified riders will use an ORCA card to pay the fare; cash will not be accepted for reduced-fare payment on buses. For eligible reduced fare customers, using an ORCA card, loading value onto the card, fare payment, and transfers will be the same as it is for other ORCA card users.

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The proposal for a reduced fare for people with low incomes builds upon the recommendation made by King County’s Low Income Fare Options Advisory Committee in 2013.

Metro's other programs that provide reduced fares will continue. These are the Human Services Ticket Program, Taxi Scrip Program, and Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) program for seniors and people with disabilities and the reduced fare for youth.

Access fare change

The Access fare increase is a step toward Metro’s policy, adopted in 1999, of having the fare reach parity with the regular off-peak fare. The increase also reflects the much higher expense of operating Access service compared to regular bus service.

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Updated: December 1, 2014