132 Lacking Ridership Source in Northeast Burien

Walker Creek, Along Bus Route 132

Walker Creek, Along Bus Route 132

Route 132 has long been one of King County Metro’s most circuitous neighborhood milk-run routes. Since Link opened, route 132 has undergone several changes, including moving up to half-hourly all-day frequency, and changing its southern terminus to Burien Transit Center.

Whenever it was suggested that route 132 be re-routed to serve Tukwila International Boulevard Station, a couple of major hurdles stood in the way. One was the continuing portion of the route south of Burien TC, which has since become part of route 166. The other hurdle was a major trip generator, the Navos Clinic at 1010 S 146th St., or, to be more accurate, the clinic formerly at that address. Now, the site is just a pasture with a stormwater detention pond.

Perhaps the stretch of Waller Creek along Des Moines Memorial Way from S 128th to S 144th, the series of stormwater ponds along S 144th St / S 144th Way / S 146th St, the pocket park at the top of the hill on S 146th, and that one block of single-family homes which are well within the walkshed of route 131 on 1st Ave S are not the best place to use scarce service hours.

Very few people would lose service if route 132 is re-routed to serve Des Moines Memorial Way from South Park down to S 128th St, then S 128th over to Military Rd S, and then Military Rd S, S 144th, and Tukwila International Boulevard down to the train station. Many would gain significant connectivity to South King County and beyond.

August 2014 Sound Transit Ridership Report – My Oh My

August14MvgAvgGrowthLast month I asked when Link’s ridership was going to slow down. Hope you didn’t pick August, because Link grew a whopping 21% in that month!

August’s Central Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday average boardings were 39,210 / 30,159 / 27,458, growth of 21.0%, 0.5%, and 13.3% respectively over August 2013. Similar to June and July Saturday was low, however the weekend average still increased as a whole. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 14.4% with ridership increasing on both lines. Tacoma Link’s weekday ridership decreased 1.9%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up 6.4%. System wide weekday boardings were up 11.5%, and all boardings were up 7.7%. The complete August Ridership Summary is here.

My charts below the fold. [Read more...]

The Statewide Case for Sound Transit 3

This is a guest post.

Given the broad regional enthusiasm for transit expansion, the real question is why wouldn’t the legislature support the region’s request to tax itself to provide adequate transit? The answer is a statistically relevant national trend going back over 130 years of data: rural district measures are nearly twice as likely to pass state legislatures than urban ones. In Washington, conventional wisdom is that rural and suburban legislators (who today are mostly Republicans) will hold the Puget Sound region’s needs hostage to a transportation package that they may or may not be interested in passing, as happened during the prior term.

The legislators who take this position ignore the fact that the state rises or sinks as a whole (as does our budget). For example, what will it take to get all of the Pierce County delegation (relatively split between Democrats and Republicans) to vote as a block in favor of the transit expansion so vital to Tacoma and Pierce County? They will likely expect funding for the $2 billion completion of SR167 to the Port of Tacoma in exchange for the right of Sound Transit district residents to choose to tax themselves. But, shockingly, not even that may be enough for legislators to allow the fastest growing big city in the country to keep its economy–and the state’s tax rolls–humming.

A business with a cash cow would ensure enough investment so that it could power the business for years into the future. As far as state budgets go, that cash cow is the Seattle metropolitan region area comprised of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. This metro region—home to half the state’s population—is the source of 75% of the state’s $381 billion in economic output in 2013 with all the tax revenues that go with such an intensity of people, goods, and services.

SOURCE: 2008; OFFICE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT / SECRETARY OF STATE, 2008 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION VIA THE STRANGER

For this reason, the metro area is a net contributor to the state’s tax rolls.  King County specifically only got back 62¢ for every $1 in taxes it generated the state in 2011. Lack of alternatives to congestion is killing productivity (due to car drivers’ 37 hours per year spent stuck in traffic) and limiting job growth. Sound Transit’s service area includes 80% of the population of the three-county area, as well as an overwhelming proportion of the economic output of the area and the state. Preventing investment to keep the region moving undermines the metro economy and therefore the tax collections that help power the rest of the state.  

In addition to the indirect importance of the Puget Sound’s transportation on the state budget, there is a more direct argument. Sound Transit impacts two areas directly. First, it has employed 100,000 people—mostly in the construction industry—to build a system that will likely last us 100 years. Secondly, Sound Transit pays sales tax on its capital projects directly into the state general fund.  That money comes from taxes Sound Transit collects only from the urban parts of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  This is not an insignificant sum. The state gets an average of $63 million per year from 2014 to 2023 inclusive, for a total of over half a billion dollars over ten years. By authorizing Sound Transit to build more, the state would actually be directly collecting a percentage as general fund tax revenue. ST3 could easily increase state revenues by $30 million or more per year once ST3 capital projects were in the execution phase.

Regional leaders recognize the great importance of transportation investments to the regional economy. Legislators must understand that what is good for the regional economy is also critical for the State’s economy.

This is a guest post.

Register to Vote This Weekend

Monday is the deadline to register to vote, something you can do online. Beyond the vote on Seattle funding more Metro service hours, November’s ballot will decide many seats in the legislature, which will shape the prospects for Sound Transit 3 and many other priorities for transit and urbanism. Make sure you’re registered!

News Roundup: Not Ready for Launch

Close-Up Aerial of Othello Station & Vicinity

This is an open thread.

PSRC: Unified in Pursuit of 2016 ST3 Vote

This is a guest post.

Regional voters overwhelming favor system expansion.  So why might legislators not allow it? (Scientific Phone Survey, Spring 2014, from Sound Transit LRP Update Brief to PSRC Executive Board)

Regional voters overwhelming favor system expansion.  So why might legislators not allow it? (Scientific Phone Survey, Spring 2014, from Sound Transit LRP Update Brief to PSRC Executive Board)

Last week, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Executive Board turned their attention to Sound Transit’s decennial update to the Long Range Plan (LRP). The board expressed surprising unanimity for getting a Sound Transit 3 funding package on the ballot in 2016, but was aware of the significant obstacles to such a commonsense effort.

presentation by ST staff opened the conversation with scientific surveys outlining overwhelming public eagerness for additional bus and rail system expansion within the ST district. Staff then informed the PSRC (and the Sound Transit Board later in the day) of additional study corridors following the LRP comment period. These options included new HCT study corridors in Pierce County, a commitment to examine a Sand Point Crossing in North King subarea, a rail extension from Issaquah to Issaquah Highlands, and some additional bus corridors throughout the region.

Because increased authority for new Sound Transit projects requires legislative approval, our rapidly growing region may find itself politically blocked in Olympia.  For various reasons, unity of city and county leaders in the region is essential to getting ST3 on the ballot in 2016, but might not be sufficient. To vote on and grow our system beyond the 50 miles of Link already funded, it may take private citizens from both dense and less dense parts of the region to make this a reality.

[Read more...]

This is a guest post.

Nine Awesome Service Improvements Prop 1 Could Pay For

King County Metro 44

King County Metro 4258. Flikr user Kris Leisten.

There’s much we still don’t know about Metro’s finances and future service levels: Will county sales tax revenues continue to increase? Will the reduction in Metro’s reserves cover next year’s gap in funds? Will Metro go ahead with some of the much-needed network restructures, particularly in northeast Seattle, Kirkland, and south King County? But, whatever the answers to those questions, it does seem certain now that the effect of Prop 1 will overwhelmingly be to expand service in Seattle.

Because that’s a good thing, and I want, at last, to talk about some unambiguously good news, and because I can’t let Frank have all the fun with the Buzzfeed-inspired listicles, here are nine major service improvements (as distinct from capital investments) which, if Prop 1 passes, Seattle could make immediately after money started coming in. All of these ideas require no capital improvements, no new buses, no network changes, no public process, and no coordination with any cities or agencies other than King County Metro, but every single one of them would make Seattle a measurably easier place to live car-free, because all-day and evening frequency is your freedom to move around the city without a car.

  • Improve Routes 5, 40, and 41 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays. North Seattle is a place where, outside the U-District and RapidRide corridors, usable transit service packs up and leaves at 7 PM every day, not to be seen again until 6 AM the next morning — except on Sunday, where it never puts in an appearance at all. Extending 15-minute headways to 10 PM on these core, high-performing routes in and between Lake City, Greenwood, Northgate and Ballard would revolutionize car-free mobility in the north end, and drive transit use up and car ownership down on future rail corridors.
  • Improve Route 120 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays, as far as Westwood Village. After RapidRide C, hands-down the next-most-important service in West Seattle is Route 120. Upgrading this route is a little trickier, because Prop 1 money can only be spent on routes with 80% of their stops in Seattle, and about half of the 120 is in Burien. So, we can’t fix the whole thing, but we can fix the connection between the Delridge neighborhood and downtown, and its shopping district at Westwood Village, by adding short-turn trips in the evenings and Sundays that terminate at Westwood Village.
  • Improve Routes 10, 12 and 49 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays. Pine St, served by Route 10, and future BRT corridor Madison St, served by Route 12, are some of Seattle’s most destination-rich streets outside the Central Business District — and Pine St in particular does not go to bed at 7 PM, so its transit service shouldn’t either. Route 49, which serves Pine St and Broadway, uniquely among all of Metro’s network, runs every 15 minutes at all times except Sunday evening. That’s a detrimental oddity in the network which we could fix in short order.
  • Break the through-route of Routes 43 & 44, 7 & 49. In the evenings and on Sundays, buses on Route 43 continue as Route 44 after the U-District, and vice versa; similarly with Routes 7 and 49, which each terminate in downtown during the weekday. These through-routes save Metro money, at the expense of on-time performance. In particular, on Sundays in the summer, between events downtown, boat traffic at the Montlake Bridge, and events in the U-District, Route 44 can be almost unusable. It would tremendously benefit riders if these routes were operated on Sundays, and maybe in the evenings, the way they are during the weekday.

There are, of course, many other improvements that could be made, and I’m aware that this list neglects several important segments of the city. The list above is just a taste of the things that can be done immediately: improvements in other parts of the city will require more homework, and possibly capital work, network changes, or public outreach. But, I want to inject some simplicity into a convoluted debate: Seattle needs more service on core, frequent routes, and Prop 1 could buy us lots of that. Here’s what we can start with.

To Cut, Or Not To Cut, That Is The Question

Metro buses

Metro buses at 3rd and Cedar. Photo by LB Bryce.

Monday afternoon, the County Council voted to table an ordinance incorporating the February 2015 Metro cuts recently proposed by an ad hoc committee of County Executive Dow Constantine and a few Councilmembers.  The Council’s decision has the effect of postponing the 2015 cuts indefinitely.  Without further action, Metro will continue to operate the same network it operates today, with this week’s cuts remaining in place.

The Council’s action was surprising because it approved the February cuts in principle just two months ago.  That resulted from a compromise between a Council faction led by Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who sought in June to postpone all of the cuts except for this week’s, and Constantine, who doggedly insisted that all but a few of the cuts remained necessary despite higher forecast revenues.

A couple of things have changed since July, though.  First, King County’s Office of Economic and Financial Analysis (OEFA), which is independent of either the Executive or the Council, released a new forecast with a significant increase in projected sales-tax revenue.  Second, Constantine released his 2015-16 proposed budget, which substantially reduced the number of hours that needed to be cut — although it continued to treat the February cuts, along with another small future round of cuts, as necessary.

Yesterday afternoon, I caught up with both Dembowski and Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond by phone.  Each was gracious, knowledgeable, and willing to talk about the situation in substantive detail.  Their answers revealed a real philosophical divide about how to manage potential risks to the Metro system, and helped clarify a situation which those who follow Metro (including all STB staffers) have found very confusing.  I’ll present a summary of each view below the jump.

First, though, I should provide a bit of background that’s necessary to understand either one.  Twice before, Metro has been affected by funding crises at times when it had promised to expand.  In 2000, the combined effect of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 695, which eliminated Metro’s permanent motor-vehicle excise tax (MVET) funding, and that year’s “dot-com” recession resulted in a failure to implement 400,000 hours of new service which had been promised to riders in the late 1990s.  Again in 2006, Metro promised nearly 600,000 hours of new service through the voter-approved “Transit Now” sales-tax increase, and again Metro found itself using the revenue to backfill existing service instead when the Great Recession hit.

[Read more...]

Post-2016 Tunnel Buses

train and bus in tunnelKing County Metro and Sound Transit are still in discussions about which, and how many, buses to run in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel after U-Link opens in 2016. Sound Transit and Metro are looking at running 40-50 buses in each direction during the peak hour, assuming 6-minute headway on Link trains, according to Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray.

Gray noted that Metro and Sound Transit meet frequently to discuss ways to improve joint tunnel operations, and can decide to move a bus route out, among other measures, if on-time performance doesn’t meet expectations, although the expectations are currently being met. King County Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Switzer noted that, in addition to other ways of decreasing dwell and waiting time, Metro is looking at having only one bus bay per platform, perhaps even before U-Link opens.

Also still under discussion is the date buses will leave the tunnel forever. Although Sound Transit has been planning for a 2019 date, the King County and Sound Transit spokesmen did not deny that joint operations might continue until Northgate Link opens in 2021, and perhaps as late as East Link opening in 2023.

What does not appear to be on the table is Link frequency 2016-2021, and the possibility of running longer trains outside of peak. While Sound Transit has enough Light-Rail Vehicles to run 3-car trains at 7.5-minute peak headway, and can fit up to 104 LRVs at the current base, Gray pointed out that running 3-car trains all day would increase LRV mileage and maintenance costs significantly, and that off-peak ridership is nowhere near enough to justify longer trains. Sound Transit will be able to deploy 3- or 4-car trains on short notice to clear crowds. Two Link operators are kept on standby in case extra trains are needed.

However, 3- and 4-car trains will not be able to operate in the tunnel until after U-Link opens, due to safety restrictions. Sound Transit (via Gray) dismissed Glenn’s suggestion of de-coupling and recoupling trains due to safety considerations and the operation taking longer than two train cycles to perform.

[Read more...]

Tomorrow: Madison BRT Open House

Madison Corridor Map

TMP Madison Corridor

Tomorrow, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Broadway, the Seattle Department of Transportation will host an open house for the Madison BRT project. Madison Street, from Colman Dock to 23rd Ave, was identified in Seattle’s 2012 Transit Master Plan as a high-priority corridor which deserves investment for faster, more frequent, and more reliable transit service. Preliminary feasibility analysis indicated that 40′ buses or trolleybuses were the only viable vehicles on Madison, due to its severe slopes and hill breaks.

Last week, I sat down with Maria Koengeter, the SDOT planner in charge of this project. This meeting, and the work done so far, is essentially about the “homework” of the design: defining the purpose and need, surveying current conditions, identifying specific locations likely to be problematic, and getting agreement from key stakeholders on those things. The serious analysis and problem-solving work will take place in the coming months, notably including:

  • The evaluations of different terminals, 23rd or MLK at the east end (and where to find layover space), and how best to connect with the waterfront at the west (here’s my take on the latter);
  • Possible service patterns, either an open busway which could be used by services that then turn down 23rd or Broadway, or a closed service; and
  • The choice or center or curb running, and if center running, whether to use island platforms with left-side doors.

I’ll be there, and I hope to see lots of STB readers there. While SDOT seems to have pervasively good ideas about transit right-of-way, signal priority and high-quality stops, it’s always good for them to hear from the public about the importance of those things.

Sound Transit Listens to Public, Seattle Subway, Will Study Sand Point Crossing

This is a guest post.

When Sound Transit presented planned updates to their Long Range Plan  to the PSRC last Thursday, there was some blockbuster news for local transit advocates: Sound Transit is adding a Corridor 14, The Sand Point Crossing, to its long range plan for additional study. The Sand Point Crossing was first covered by Seattle Transit Blog here, and then Seattle Subway advocated for it during the Long Range Plan comment period. A lot of you echoed our thoughts to the board and Sound Transit Staff — and they listened.

SandpointSlide2

This post is to say thank you to all of you who sent your comments to Sound Transit. Thank you to Sound Transit staff who reversed direction and decided to add this corridor to the Long Range Plan. And thank you to the Sound Transit Board for your leadership on this issue.

To those who question whether advocacy works and whether Sound Transit listens to the public, I present this as exhibit A. The Long Range Plan explicitly said that they were not going to study this corridor due to the findings of the Trans-Lake Washington Study. Seattle Subway countered that argument and, with your help, the Sand Point Crossing will now be studied.

We will now get objective answers about whether or not the Sand Point crossing is the best option for a Lake Washington Rail crossing. We think it is – but now we can be absolutely sure. When a large agency like Sound Transit is responsive to the public, we all win.

If you have a chance, please take the time to email the  Sound Transit Board and ST Long Range Plan Staff and say thanks. As advocates, we often focus on what is wrong more than what is right – lets acknowledge a job well done.

Thank you all.

This is a guest post.

9 Ways to Make Seattle Public Transit Better

Bay A:  Waiting for the 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, and 316

Bay A: Waiting for the 41, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, and 316

People sometimes ask me, “what would make Seattle’s transit system even better?” Well, over the years we at STB have suggested hundreds of possible improvements to buses, trains and ferries. With apologies to BuzzFeed, here are nine things that would make Seattle transit service better, a few of which are incredibly cheap (or even free) to implement.

1. Add More Full-time Bus Lanes

Red Bus Lanes Euston Road

Red Bus Lanes Euston Road. Flickr user Ian Fisher.

Bus-only lanes are an incredibly cheap and effective way to make buses faster and move more people using the same amount of street. Sadly, many of Seattle’s bus-only lanes end abruptly or revert to parking lanes outside of the afternoon peak. That might make sense if everyone worked 9-5 jobs downtown, but in today’s economy people are on the move all the time. Bus lanes should follow suit. 24/7 bus lanes on Fauntleroy Ave SW, 15th Ave NW, and Aurora Ave N (home of RapidRide C, D, and E respectively, among other routes) would be a great start. Painted red, of course.

2. Un-suck Denny Way

Proposed Changes on Denny and Howell


Route 8 is so unreliable it literally drives people to buy cars. With thousands of jobs in South Lake Union, and thousands of new apartments right up Capitol Hill, things will only get worse on Denny Way in the coming years. Moving a couple of bus stops and closing off Yale Ave would help things significantly for relatively little cost. Redirecting some freeway traffic to our shiny new Mercer St. on-ramps could help as well. If we want to be more ambitious, there’s always the gondola.

3. Add a Link Station at 130th St NE

NE 130th Street High Demand Corridors

NE 130th Street Station – Linear, High-Demand Destinations


Light rail to Lynnwood is currently slated to open in 2023, but the location of the stations themselves have not been finalized. We think a station at 130th St NE makes a ton of sense. It would better serve Lake City and provide fast cross-town bus connections to Link. While not exactly pedestrian friendly, it avoids the traffic on 145th. Good bus-rail connections re key to Link’s success.

4. Put Bus Rapid Transit on Madison St.
As one of Seattle’s designated transit priority corridors in Central Seattle, Madison Street should have fast, frequent transit between Downtown, First Hill, and the CD. Fortunately we don’t have to dream about this one – this project is already underway.
[Read more...]

Further Reflections on the Senior Fare

Source: OECD.StatExtracts (click to access)

Source: OECD.StatExtracts, 2012 U.S. figures (click to access)

A while back I launched an interesting conversation about the senior fare. After reading the comments and reflecting on the questions some more, here are some further thoughts:

  • It’s pointless to begrudge someone getting a better deal than you. There are all kinds of fare discounts for all kinds of reasons, reasons that have little to do with any notion of justice, and to pick on seniors would be peculiar. The point of raising the senior fare is not spite.
  • Several commenters correctly pointed out that imposing income verification has costs, both for administration and because it means some deserving people will go without.
  • Although I think net worth is a very relevant metric, others suggest a more complicated picture. The poverty chart above shows that 75 is a much bigger dividing line than 65, but 65 is the easiest to verify. Median incomes suggest seniors are doing poorly. The OECD statistics linked to above reports that median disposable income was $27,530 for 65 and over and $33,493 for 18-64 in 2012.
  • All that said, the equity case for senior fare in the presence of a low-income fare is not strong, and weaker than other claims on foregone revenue. It would be more progressive, as well as better for the environment, to purchase more service or reduce the low income fare with the money.

Equalizing Senior and low-income fares, rather than eliminating the senior fare entirely, addresses the second point. Among people who think transit should get more resources overall, whether they equalize because the low-income fare goes down or because the senior fare comes up depends on what you think of the value of marginal bus service.

Look Up a Schedule Post-Service Change (and Get Clearer Maps)

If you’re interested in planning a bus trip for next week, after Saturday’s service change, your options are limited. Many people know that Trip Planner, for all its faults, allow you to plan a trip for a date in the future post-service change. Of course, for many use cases there is no substitute for the actual schedule. Although the schedules exist, and are already on the street as printed schedules*, there aren’t clear links on the Metro website to find these schedules pre-service change.

Yesterday Metro shared with me the trick to finding the new schedules online. It’s through the trip planner interface, but it will give you those schedule grids (as well as route maps to scale!).

1. On Metro’s front page, click on the big “Plan a Trip” button.
step1

2. Select “Route Schedules”

step2

[Read more...]

News Roundup: Today

Seattle Transit 643 at Seattle Center

This is an open thread.

Tidbits from the Proposed King County Budget

Breda bus

Breda, to be replaced. Photo by bayrische.

On Monday, King County Executive Dow Constantine issued his proposed budget (warning: 100 MB (!) PDF) for the 2015/2016 biennium.  The headline news for Metro is no surprise, as Metro and the executive announced it a few days ago: 400,000 annual service hours will be cut from the 2013-2014 baseline level, with 320,000 of those spread between service changes next week and next February, and another 80,000 to be cut in March 2016 if the revenue picture fails to make further improvement.  (City-level measures such as November’s Seattle-only vote may defer or eliminate a few of these cuts, but the county’s budgeting process can’t take uncertain city funding into account.)  The headline impact is a $21 million annual reduction in Metro’s direct service budget.

A detailed read of the budget proposal, though, reveals a few interesting tidbits that were not previously public.  I’ll list some of those here, below the jump.  This thread is an open thread with respect to Metro and King County Transportation budgeting; please feel free to discuss the items I list or anything else you see in the transportation section of the proposed budget.

[Read more...]

The Space Fallacy of Aisle-Facing Seating

This is a guest post.

On urban bus routes, interior capacity is often cited as a pressing issue. A frequently proposed solution is to reconfigure the interior of transit vehicles to use more aisle-facing seats instead of forward-facing benches. In theory, aisle-facing seats use up less space, which provides more interior standing room and space to maneuver the carts, strollers, and various objects customers bring on board.

In theory. In practice. . .

This picture was taken aboard an evening-peak NABI 60-BRT vehicle on the MAX route, operated by Transfort (Fort Collins, Colorado). In front of the rear wheel-well is a forward-facing pair of seats, with three aisle-facing seats occupying the wheelchair securement location. According to the website of the seat manufacturer, transverse (forward-facing) rows are manufactured to be between 35-37 inches in width, resulting in an individual seat width of 17 to 19 inches.

Notice how the feet of passengers sitting in aisle-facing seats protrude more into the aisle than the passenger in the transverse row.  The aisle-facing seats above the wheel-well have a gap behind them, as the wheel-well is wider than the length of a seat; but the seats in front of the transverse row are up against the interior sidewall. The customer in the transverse seat protrudes slightly into the aisle, perhaps an inch or two, and also has their foot rotated slightly outward into the aisle. In comparison, the foot of the customer in the aisle-facing seat protrudes further into the aisle.

[Read more...]

This is a guest post.

Sound Transit Considering Low-Income Fare and 25-Cent Fare Increase

ST proposed fare changesThe Sound Transit Board of Directors will consider joining Metro’s low-income fare program on Thursday, November 20. The proposed fare would match the youth fare, but might only be implemented on some services, if at all.

The service combinations under consideration for the low-income fare are:
Option 1. None
Option 2. Link only
Option 3. Link and ST Express intra-county
Option 4. Link, all ST Express, and Sounder

For each service adopting the low-income fare, the proposal calls for raising the other fares on that service by 25 cents across the board, except for the free categories (children 0-5, Access riders with a current monthly Access pass, and uniformed law enforcement).

The low-income fare would be the same as the raised youth fare (for ages 6-18): $1.50 on Link and ST Express 1-county, $2.75 on ST Express multi-county, and $2.25-$4.00 on Sounder. The low-income fare would require using loaded ORCA product, while the youth fare would merely require ID with age. Children ages 0-5 would continue to ride free with an adult, up to four per adult.

The resulting regular adult fares would be $2.25-$3.00 on Link, $2.75 on ST Express 1-county, $3.75 on ST Express multi-county, and $3.00-$5.50 on Sounder.

Fares for Regional Reduced Fare Permit holders (for seniors 65 and older and riders with qualifying disabilities) would be $1.00 on Link and ST Express 1-county, $1.75 on ST Express multi-county, and $1.50-$2.75 on Sounder.

A series of open houses will be held, leading up to a public hearing on Thursday, October 23. Comments, including online, will be accepted through October 23.

Any approved fare changes would take effect on March 1, 2015, to coincide with King County Metro’s fare changes. Public Health – Seattle and King County, and other agencies, are expected to start issuing the low-income ORCA card in February 2015. To be eligible, you have to be at 200% or less of the federal poverty level.