Two major changes occur with the New Year:
First, all King County Metro fares (except for the ages 6-18 fare) will go up 25 cents. For most of us that means $2.00 off-peak, $2.25 one-zone peak, $2.50 $2.75 two-zone peak.
More confusingly, there will be a dramatic reduction in the media with which you can legally board a bus. The rules below apply to Metro, Sound, Everett, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Transit buses only:
- Cash always works.
- An ORCA card loaded with either E-purse money or a monthly pass of sufficient value.
- Although they are increasingly hard to get, if you have a physical PugetPass or FlexPass of sufficient value that’s still valid.
- On Metro buses only, a valid Metro bus transfer. This does not include Sound Transit buses operated by Metro: 522, 540, 545, 550, 554, 555, 556, 560, 564, 565, 577.
[Update 1/4/10] On Metro buses only and only on weekends and holidays, Metro drivers sell a $4.50 day pass that is a valid fare. This does not include any Sound Transit buses.[Updated 8/24/11]
- On Metro buses only, a valid Metro bus ticket. This does include Sound Transit buses operated by Metro.
- On Pierce Transit buses only, a valid Pierce bus ticket (which are hard to get). This does include Sound Transit buses operated by Pierce Transit, (574, 578, 582, 586, 590, 592, 593, 594, 595) but only as a one-zone fare.
- On Pierce Transit buses only, a valid Pierce bus transfer. This does not include Sound Transit buses operated by Metro Pierce Transit.
On trains it’s simpler: either buy a ticket at the machine, use an ORCA card, or walk on with the scarce PugetPass or FlexPass card.
ORCA is a step forward but it’s clear we’re not really going to get the complexity down till we get rid of paper media entirely.