bus tunnel, by Dougerino
"bus tunnel", by Dougerino

[UPDATE 11:42 am: Interim County Executive Kurt Triplett just proposed a different plan.  The key tradeoff appears to be deeper cuts (especially to Transit Now elements that don’t leverage matching funds), in exchange for stopping the fare increases at 50 cents by 2011 and not messing with the Ride Free Area.  More reaction later.]

Last week, four suburban councilmembers released a plan to close Metro’s budget gap.  It’s a serious proposal, with many details difficult to find from anyone running for office this year.  The plan outline is here (pdf).  Discussion of the plan elements and the merits of its claims are below the fold.

  • Implement audit findings due September 1, as in the Phillips plan.
  • “Reduce discretionary services such as bus washing and marketing by 15%, or $9 million per year”
  • The City of Seattle pays $400,000 per year for the Ride Free Area.  The plan contends that the cost to Metro is now higher, and therefore a higher payment is in order.  The proper charge is estimated at $7m using some fuzzy math.
  • The Transit Now service increases would be scaled back to the extent that the 0.1% increase now buys less service.  This is unlikely to affect RapidRide, which has matching federal grants, but would fall on the high-ridership corridor and underserved area portions of the program.  This is also similar to the Phillips plan.
  • Obtain $13m by eliminating ferry demonstration routes, as the Executive and all major candidates concur.
  • Raise fares by 25 cents a year, for a total of $1.00 by 2013.  When this is complete it should generate about $50m a year.  However, a 25 cent increase is already planned for January 2010*, and it’s unclear if this is included in the proposal or not.  An inquiry to Patterson’s office was unable to resolve this question, nor the impact on youth, disabled, and senior fares.

The net result of all this is to reduce the total service cut from 20% of hours to about 4-6%.  There is no word on whether these cuts should be allocated according to current policy or a different paradigm.

This plan is quite similar to Larry Phillips’, except that Phillips doesn’t raise fares, doesn’t do the ride-free thing, and instead draws more from the reserve fund surplus.   So aside from those two items, it appears that there are five votes on the Council (out of 9) for this plan.

The other interesting thing is the speed with which this could lead to a large rail-bus fare differential for working-age adults.  Any such bus fare would always be more expensive than a ride on Central Link.  Meanwhile, youth and senior/disabled fares would approach their higher Link levels.

There’s a lot of posturing over what the  “true” cost of the Ride Free Area, but if there’s a study out there on how much it really costs, it’s not public.  However, a Metro spokesperson confirmed that they expect about 10.7m annual rides entirely within the Ride Free Area.  Given that Metro’s total system ridership in 2007 was 111m, it’s astonishing that 10% of that is in this small area.

I got this additional statement from Metro:

Metro and the city of Seattle have had a RFA cost methodology in place since 1989 to estimate the difference between the value of the fares Metro would collect if a fare was charged for trips within downtown Seattle and the operating cost savings Metro experiences due to the faster travel times through the CBD. Since 1998 when the contract was renewed, the payment to Metro has been adjusted for inflation each year.

But now, with the significant ridership increases over the past few years – combined with 2009 and 2010 fare increases to deal with extraordinary fuel costs and declining sales taxes – the difference between fare collections and cost savings in the RFA is increasing much faster than inflation. The historical method of adjusting the annual payment for inflation does not currently seem to be keeping pace with the value of the lost fares.

Reagan Dunn’s $7m figure is largely guesswork, but his assumptions seem fairly conservative, and I think there’s a good case that $400,000 isn’t coming close to covering the costs.

* Youth fares are not currently scheduled to go up in 2010.

80 Replies to “The Council Metro Plan”

  1. Two thoughts come to mind. Metro needs more money to operate the current service and current service needs to be optimized or reduced. Two opposing thoughts, but somewhere in the middle lies an equilibrium to balance the budget.
    RFA – Probably is too expensive for Seattle/DSA to fund at any level that acknowledges its true cost to Metro. Millions, not thousands is a starting point, and Metro doesn’t have the cash to keep this subsidy going. So look at the service side of the equation. The highest ridership (Peak Loading between stops) occurs within the RFA. That’s how schedulers decide how many buses to put on a route, when they should run, and how many minutes apart should they be.
    Without a RFA, the number of buses on any given route will go down, maybe 5 to 10%. That’s a huge savings for Metro, and not one to be dismissed easily. Likewise revenue will go up.
    I think the argument for increased efficiency in the CBD is valid, but overstated. Most riders use passes and cards to board. The lost time to board through the front door in the CBD without a RFA, is nearly offset by the time lost requiring all riders to exit through the front door after leaving downtown, with a RFA.
    So it’s down to bus dwell time at the precious CBD bus zones, but that has changed dramatically over the years, with ‘skip stop’, 3rd Ave bus priority, and now Link in the tunnel. This efficiency argument really needs some in-depth analysis and concrete numbers to base a decision on. I hope that study is on the shelf, or nearing completion.
    By law, the budget will get balanced – one way or the other.

    1. I agree, particularly about the time lost and inconvenience due to the front-door unloading outside the RFA, especially on a full bus when people have to push through a crowd to get off the bus. Also, there are a lot of people who get on the bus for a 3-block ride in the RFA, and many of them are extremely slow getting on and off the bus and ask inane questions like “does this bus stop in downtown?”

      And for the amount of money they’d save by getting rid of the RFA they could install TVMs downtown and do off-bus payment.

      On a side note, does anyone else have a problem with the bus shelters downtown totally blocking the views and access to approaching buses? I’m thinking specifically 3rd and columbia, where there’s often a large crowd waiting for buses. They installed the new awnings on the building; couldn’t they move or remove the shelters and make bus loading and unloading so much easier?

  2. Metro can pay for using City of Seattle facilities and for the use of 3rd Avenue and the associated costs of paying for full time Seattle PD, the cost of traffic management and signage, then.

    They can also pay for bus lanes in the city and capital improvements related to bus service like city-funded bulb-outs.

    1. AJ,

      I’m surprised you want to take money out of dedicated transit accounts to fund general City activities.

      1. “General city activities”, like making bus service more reliable and thus more profitable. Like giving Metro another traffic-controlled corridor through the city. Or making bus service improvements on Capitol Hill. Or footing the bill for transit improvements during the viaduct tear-down. Dozens of things like that.

        All while Seattle gets the most cuts out of this round?

        Oh, okay.

      2. If you don’t think that the City should be giving money to Metro, let’s just ditch the RFA and let riders pay the fare. That’s a win/win.

        I don’t see why a cash-strapped transit agency should be spending a lot of money to give a freebie to people moving about downtown.

      3. It costs ~$0.66 a mile to ride from Downtown to Madrona.

        It costs ~$0.25 a mile to ride from Bellevue to Downtown Seattle.

        When we get rid of the RFA, let’s increase fares from these suburbs, too.

      4. Thank you AJ for bringing up this topic – it may well be time to say farewell to something that almost worked well a lot of the time, but not as much any more, except for tourists.

      5. portland is facing this issue right now, and most people have few problems rolling back fareless square to just rail.

    2. AJ: I see your point. But the other side of that is Seattle benefits from all those improvements too! Think of a city without efficient transit, where most people drove downtown. Think it through to the logical conclusion that shoppers and tourist would avoid the 24/7 gridlocked city like the plague. Business owners would vote with there feet, and move elsewhere, property values plummet, and tax base shrinks. Do you really think Metro should pay Seattle to use the streets efficiently?

      1. I fail to see how getting rid of the RFA makes things more efficient and more attractive.

      2. If everyone would switch to ORCA for payment, the penalty of paying fares when boarding would be greatly reduced.

      3. I don’t think it does either. It just shifts the burden of payment, or reduces it’s overall cost to Metro.

      4. I guess it depends what you’re looking at from an efficiency standpoint. It would make loading/unloading the bus much faster. People enter the front door and pay as they come into the bus and then leave towards the rear of the bus.

        More to my point – coming home from the Sounders game last night was a complete disaster. We caught the 3 at 4th and James and when we left the 3rd and Columbia station, it was worse than a can of sardines. No one could move an inch. Well, because it was after 7:30pm, the bus driver refused to open the back door – this in turn made us wait at each bus stop for at least an extra 3-5 minutes waiting for people to make their way up to the front of the bus. If people came on in the front and left through the rear (or use both doors to exit) the entire loading/unloading process would go much smoother.

        This currently can’t happen because of the RFA because of when you’re supposed to pay your fare.

      5. The main reason it makes it more efficient is that it spreads the payments out and reduces delays from 25 people at a time lined up waiting to pay.

        I didn’t even realize Seattle paid for it actually. I thought Metro just did it because it was the only way to keep things on time through that mess…

  3. The proposed fare increases are brutal, and they will hit poor people the hardest. I would place a higher priority on maintaining fare continuity (or at least tracking inflation).

    I agree that the RFA should be reassessed. Do we need a ride free area in the tunnel? It is confusing to have a different policy for Link and busses. Do we need a ride free area in Belltown? I’m guessing most residents on 1st Avenue could afford a bus pass. ORCA should expedite loading, and thus reduce the need for the RFA somewhat. Some cities penalize cash payments for precisely this reason.

    As far as trip reductions, not all routes are created equal, even within a sub-area. Southeast Seattle is receiving subsidized transit through Sound Transit, and therefore a disproportionate number of hours should come from this region. Route 7 must cost a fortune to operate, given its frequency and absurdly slow pace (3 times slower than Link to Rainier Beach).

    1. The 7 pays for itself, like a dozen of the highest-ridership routes.

      The other problem with the RFA is the payment location changing by time of day. That confuses even regular riders who forget what time it is. Entering in the front and leaving in the rear is a good system used in many other cities, and it allows people to get on and off simultaneously, which speeds things up. Of course the elderly/disabled will still have to leave in the front.

    2. The 7 generates about 25% fare recovery Peak and 22% off peak. About average for city routes (stellar if compared to virtually any east subarea route). It does boast strong ridership numbers throughout the day.

    3. “Route 7 must cost a fortune to operate.”
      “The 7 pays for itself.”
      “The 7 generates about 25% fare recovery Peak and 22% off peak.”

      Readers of comments: decide the facts for yourselves!

      1. Yea, it’s not like the data isn’t there for anyone who cares to look for it.

  4. If the RFA goes away, there won’t be a confusing set of rules for everyone to remember – or to be re-educated about as they go. That, combined with the elimination of the 7pm rear-door restriction will allow simultaneous boarding and exiting which will help reduce dwell caused by fare payment.

    Incrementing prices in whole dollar increments for cash customers would reduce fumbling for change and incent riders to pay with other fare media which seems like a fair proposition as long as the other fare media is easily available… So I think Metro should consider installing TVMs along 3rd Ave and transit centers, and expanding pass sales/ORCA distribution to more locations as well as offering day and multi-day pass options.

    I also would purpose a simplified fare structure so as to reduce confusion between peak/off-peak and one vs. two zone fares. Let the operators focus on driving the bus as opposed to dealing with change, boarding procedures, explaining zones and peak travel times.

    They could eliminate the RFA and a simple $2 fare structure for six months or a year. Then, after the distribution of passes and tickets is ramped up, eliminate paper transfers and set cash fares at $3. Phase the increase in for non-cash customers in small increments over time.

    1. The 7pm rule really is crazy. I assume it’s a safety thing, but it doesn’t make sense in the middle of summer, when it doesn’t get dark until 10pm. Or in the middle of winter when it gets dark at 4pm. Unless there’s some other rationale for this that I don’t understand…

      1. But the 7pm back-door restrictions are system-wide. Take the 48. It never enters the RFA and you pay as you enter for both northbound and southbound. So what purpose does the 7pm restriction serve there? And they don’t make any sense in terms of the RFA either. After 7pm, if you get on a bus downtown, you pay as you enter. So why not use the back door to get off? Because people might enter via the back doors and not pay? But they could do that before 7pm at many places outside the RFA.

      2. The RFA used to be 24 hours, and you could always leave by the back door (except in pay-as-you-leave). The payment location never changed: it was always on the non-downtown side.

        Then Metro claimed a 7pm restriction would increase safety, which led to the current situation where the back door is closed in the evening and the payment location changes. Metro never proved the restriction increased safety, at least not to the public. They just left the inference that “troublemakers would no longer be able to ride free in the evening”. I never noticed any difference in troublemakers before or after the change. But because “safety” is a magic word, Metro refuses to consider changing the policy back.

    2. That sounds similar to London Underground’s fare structure with the Oyster card. Cash fares are nearly double that of pre-paid Oyster fares. But their structure deliberately sets a cash/electronic ticketing differential to incentivize the use of Oyster.

  5. How about do away with RFA and at the same time establish a free downtown circulator route. Just don’t paint the buses like the 99 and call it a trolley, I hate fake trolleys more than anything else.

    1. I like that idea a lot. It’s really annoying when people get on a bus to ballard for a 3-block ride, so give them an option that is intended just for that.

    2. Yeah – I’m with you on the fake trolley hatred :) Maybe they could shift it East by a couple blocks and use some of the money to increase frequency to every 10 minutes or so until the 1st Ave streetcar goes into service?

      1. That could work, although it is good for the Waterfront to have some regular service all along it. I just want the waterfront streetcar back…

      2. A bright red circulator-bus every 10-15 minutes that would serve Colman Dock, Pioneer Square, Amtrak/Union stations, Third Avenue to Macy’s and continuing to the Bell Harbor area, then back to the ferry termial would elminate much of the need for RFA and also get ferry-riders to their work or transit connections quickly. The merchants could help pay for this bus instead of the RFA.

      3. I like this idea, and have seen it elsewhere. Perth, for example, has three free circulator routes (called CATs, Central Area Transit); the remainder of their transit is all fare-based. It was great as a visitor or for anyone making a short lunchtime trip in the CBD, much as it would be here.

  6. I’ve always bought monthly passes, and the RFA is a non issue. If we charge for those rides, I would expect more people to do what I do and then it’s also not a fare gain for Metro as we are all just riding around on our surplus rides. As long as the ORCA cards also support a similar fare structure I suspect many folks to make that same adjustment as well… net gain to Metro…near zero.

    1. Sure but there are currently lots of people who live in belltown, for example, who commute by bus periodically and NEVER pay fare. This will give them a choice – walk or pay fare. Either is great. The prior means fewer boardings in the downtown area; the latter means paying customers. I think overall it would balance out time-wise and increase income for metro.

      1. Yeah, but if you ran the fare along the lines of the ST ORCA card, ie pay for distance ridden, which would be easy to do once we convert everybody to it, the fare gain would be like $0.25 ride or something minimal…

  7. If the RFA is eliminated, my opinion is that buses need to be removed from the downtown Seattle transit tunnel. Delays to Link will become intolerable.

    1. Unless we could set up some sort of pay before you board system for the buses as well. The TMV’s are already there. Logistically it’d mostly be a matter of coordination between metro and ST and some software updates for the TMVs. Unless there’s something else I’m not seeing that would make this really difficult. Obviously if it would cost a bunch of money it’s not worth it, since the buses are leaving the tunnel eventually anyways.

      1. I agree, it would be good to make it so you can buy a Metro ticket from the TVMs. Maybe we could get some fare coordination then? And maybe even get some turnstiles?

      2. ST has already determined the cost of turnstiles wouldn’t be worth it. They end up with not much better fare compliance and now you have the cost of buying and maintaining turnstile equipment.

        An honor system with fare inspectors actually works out better from a cost/benefit standpoint.

    2. Make the tunnel a pre-pay zone, you either have a pass or get a ticket at one of the existing TVMs. Maybe Sound Transit would allow Metro to have an option to purchase a Metro ticket?

      Also, has anyone seen the Seattle Streetcar TVMs? They’re just like the parking meters (TVMs) in the South Lake Union area. The tickets are pretty basic, but I’m not sure why a single meter couldn’t be used for both parking and Metro tickets. I haven’t done the research, but I also have a feeling the parking TVMs are less expensive than Sound Transit’s Scheidt & Bachmann TVMs.

      1. Indeed – but that will likely be eliminated with inter-agency transfers at the end of the year. I know the intricacies of transit accounting but it would be nice to have an easy off-board fare payment method other than ORCA, even when inter-agency transfers are no longer available.

  8. Has anyone taken a step back and done a reality check on these numbers? So because there was a fare increase and because there are more riders suddenly the cost has gone up 18 fold? I could imagine close to double, but let’s get real here. Charge $2 for a 2 block trip and nobody will ride downtown – Metro won’t possibly make back even the $400k. Hello taxis clogging our streets, goodbye impressive introduction to public transit for office workers – most of whom don’t live in Belltown.

      1. We can ignore those, as they don’t represent additional revenue for Metro either way.

    1. Yes, someone’s done a reality check. Reagan Dunn’s math is right there in the link. His assumptions are pretty arbitrary, but they don’t strike me as wildly optimistic, and even then he’s estimated the underpayment as something like a factor of 20.

      1. Ok, you’ve forced me to take a look at the link and look at his math. Here are my comments:
        1. 50% ridership at $2 a trip compared to free is just plain unreasonable. Even 25% is very high. Remember that if you have more than a few people in your group, a taxi would cost less and will get you exactly where you want to go.
        2. He’s taken credit for all of the pass holders. That, on it’s face is quite unfair. Rob points out that most of the RFA riders have passes. Haven’t they already paid their fare? Why should downtown pay for them yet again?

      2. I’m certainly not going to defend $7m. I’ll still contend it’s probably way more than $400k.

        I asked Metro if they’ve done a study recently. Sadly, no, so we’re all just guessing.

      3. I’d contend it’s probably significantly less. As someone who used the bus tunnel multiple times daily to get around downtown (without a bus pass) together with many coworkers, I can tell you that I’d have stronger legs if they charged anything close to $2 a ride.

      4. Yeah, a lot less [/sarcasm]. Like $1.80 ($72 pass / 20 week days / 2 trips per day), and even then only if you use it every day. To keep using the bus downtown rather than walking it would need to be on the order of a quarter or two.

  9. Ditch the RFA, use ORCA to institue pay per mile. It’s crazy that a three block ride costs what it does to go 7 miles.

    In 2010 we will have GPS, combine that with an orca card reader in the back of the bus we may eventually have ourselves a decent system.

    1. I think we should keep it the way it is, and if you need to go three blocks you can walk.

      1. That sounds like a smart use of transit. Empty buses passing walkers or stuck behind taxi traffic.

  10. If the RFA goes away, and payment is through the front door, in addition to all the ORCA and pass holders, another idea comes to mind to speed things up in the CBD.
    Seattle has a parking TVM on nearly every block, sometimes 2. Why not add another button for a 2 hour transit ticket, good for anything systemwide. NoW a bunch more people have a valid ticket they can just show the driver, instead of fumbling for cash or going through the 20 question maze of time/zone/age/peak/non-peak/all-day pass confusion.
    The TVM’s are marked “PARKING AND TRANSIT”.

    1. It is my understanding that King County employees get free bus passes. Have them pay like everyone else — that will get some additional revenue into the shrinking coffers.

  11. All of your ideas seem like good ideas, but here is what I think. I am a Metro driver, and have you ever seen how long it take to get through downtown just after 7pm? Take the 5 for example. I do the first NB 5 after the 7pm on certain nights and it takes forever. Yes, after you leave it’s great, you can unload faster, and yes, I use the back door after 7pm, when not in downtown. But the issue is, during rush hour. There are too many buses, and some stops only hold 2 coaches in the zone. There should be a ride free zone, because it lets coaches load/unload faster, and move them on. Having everyone enter the front door and pay takes too long at rush hour, especially on coaches with standing room only. If you really want to see what I’m talking about, go into the tunnel, and get behind a coach after 7pm loading, “Pay as you enter,” where you can’t pass, and see how long you sit there. When I do my 72 on Sunday night, just after 7pm, i can be loading people in Westlake station for up to 2 minutes sometimes. Then imagine that for every bus during rush hour. Seems like the RFA should stay.
    Secondly, about the back door issue….. I use the back door after 7pm but only outside downtown. If you open them downtown after 7, people will just get on. But that is what I do, some drivers do it different.
    And now the fares….. To all who think making everyone pay, it’s not that easy. Metro policy is not to have fare related problems with passengers. They often lead to assults on the driver. Second, the money Metro estimates losing is a negligable amount( 1 million from what I hear), considering fares only make up 30 percent of operating costs. It’s estimated that the cost to enforce Metro fares, would be more expensive, that what we actually lose now.

    1. Metro simply needs to take a stand and do one of two drastic things: 1) formally divide into subareas with separate operational divisions with separate, dedicated budgets, based most likely on population or 2) make a strong, bold commitment to operating as a regional agency and providing service where it is needed, regardless of arbitrary geographic divisions. Right now Metro puts Tito to shame in terms of spinning plates and keeping a jittery confederation in place. The RFA debate and the 40/40/20 split are only symptoms of a structural failure and the band-aid that is big enough to fix this hasn’t been invented yet.

  12. how about changing or better enforcement of transfers?

    many fares are lost to people riding round trip (or several independent trips) with one single fare. if there was a policy that you couldnt use a transfer on the same route or cut the transfer time down to less than 2 hours, there would be a lot more money coming in and better farebox recovery. also if drivers werent as generous with the time they tear off on the transfers, it would also help.

    afterall what is the average fare paid per ride when you figure passes, senior/disabled fares, standard adult fare rides and transfers? my guess is the amount paid per person per ride is amazingly low (i’d guess its below $1). this is where i would focus my effort so as to save service levels, RFA and cash fares.

    1. Why shouldn’t people be able to ride roundtrip with a transfer? That’s one of the unusual aspects of Seattle, and fewer rules make for a less stressful riding experience. By definition, a transfer-roundtrip is a short trip, so it doesn’t put much of a burden on finances. When I lived in Bellevue, I had just enough time to go to downtown Seattle and drop off a library book and return. Not enough time to have lunch, and not enough time to go to Federal Way and back.

  13. I’m curious, besides Seattle and Portland, who else in the United States has a ride free area?


    1. Salt Lake’s Free Fare Zone: http://www.rideuta.com/ridingUTA/payingFare/freeFareZone.aspx

      Pittsburgh’s Free Fare Zone: http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/FaresPasses/Fares/Zones/tabid/107/Default.aspx#Free

      With a little searching I was able to find a few other examples:

      NFTA’s Metro Rail is free in Buffalo above-ground stations: http://www.nfta.com/metro/systemmaps.asp?sec=3

      Annapolis Transit has a Free Fare Zone in downtown Annapolis, Maryland: http://www.ci.annapolis.md.us/info.asp?page=7615

      Asheville, North Carolina: http://www.ashevillenc.gov/residents/transportation/city_bus/default.aspx?id=1018

  14. Salt Lake, and I believe Pittsburgh. Chicago had a free downtown shuttle that they did away with a couple years ago.

  15. What if,
    instead of a “Ride Free Area”, the current RFA might become a
    “Congestion Surcharge Area”, where EVERYONE who goes thru
    the door, either way, pays a quarter.
    Brief 3 block riders pay 50 cents, 25 on, 25 off.
    Pass holders, pay a quarter when they get off in the a.m.,
    and another quarter when they get on in the evening.
    The thru riders pay nothing except the regular fare, since they
    will board and depart outside the CSA.
    Walk to the first stop outside the CSA to board, and you save yourself a quarter.
    On the way to wherever Downtown, get off at the last stop before the CSA,
    save a quarter and walk.
    People could adapt their own habits, maybe walking a bit in the morning or the
    evening depending on their energy levels, the weather, or the state of their quarter stack.
    Everyone who uses the bus downtown would pay something, and some would pay a bit extra.

    1. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to collect fares. Cash fares *really* slow things down. ORCA improves things, but it’s not perfect. I haven’t driven the 545 lately but I suspect it takes longer to deboard with ORCA – assuming everybody actually taps their pass. Put a fare payment in both directions, cash or ORCA and you’re adding a significant delay.

  16. I think it is time to do away with the RFA, instead of the RFA I propose the following to keep most of the benefits:
    Strongly encourage Orca, pass, and offboard payment use by eliminating all other forms of transfers. Also consider a discount vs. onboard cash fare payment, IOW the fare is say $2 via ORCA, pass, or pre-purchased ticket but $2.50 if paying cash while boarding. The parking kiosks should be reworked if possible to also sell pre-pay transit tickets. Additional TVMs should be placed at heavily used stops inside and outside the downtown core.
    Provide a free circulator bus or two with connections to major downtown destinations.

    1. “Also consider a discount vs. onboard cash fare payment, IOW the fare is say $2 via ORCA, pass, or pre-purchased ticket but $2.50 if paying cash while boarding.”

      Well, if they want widespread ORCA adoption, I think they should consider this. But to do that, the cards and the pre-pay tickets need to be more widely available to people.

    2. Yes, please. And while you’re at it, add a timed charge for fumbling for your cash fare. $.25 per 10 seconds standing in front of a line of people while you pull out your wallet and thumb through the bills should do the trick.

      Seriously though, it’s time to start charging people who slow down the system. Push HARD to get people to use ORCA and fix ORCA readers on ALL buses so they actually work. The system is great when it works, but it still has a long way to go. You’ll also need a big push to make it easy for tourists. A well priced, ORCA based, day pass would be a good way to go. Pricing should be up to somebody who knows more than I but somewhere north of $7 is a starting point – and please make it valid for all transit agencies. None of this works on Metro but not on ST baloney…

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