Ride Free Area (Source: Metro)
Ride Free Area (Source: Metro)

VeloBusDriver had a great post this weekend with a “to do list” of changes to Metro’s current fare system that he thinks should be implemented if Metro decides to eliminate the Ride Free Area (RFA). While I’m not going to dive into which changes I think are needed, at least not now, I want to emphatically state that the outright elimination of the RFA without significant improvements to Metro’s fare system is unacceptable. The question shouldn’t be whether to have a RFA or not, it should be what improvements can be made to the fare system so that the RFA isn’t necessary.

I’m actually optimistic that elimination of the RFA could be a net positive change but only if Metro takes a holistic look at the fare system, including both how it’s structured and how it’s collected. Previously I wrote about how Rapidride’s fare system in incompatible with the RFA.

Below is VeloBusDrivers full post.

Metro is currently studying the effects of eliminating the Ride Free Area in Downtown Seattle.  While I favor the elimination of the Ride Free Area for a host of reasons, it is critical that fare collection be fully optimized before implementation of such a policy.  The steps below would incentivize ORCA use, speed boarding, and also streamline collection of payments:

  • Ubiquitous ORCA availability at drug stores, grocery stores, Coinstar vending machines, train stations, airport, hotels, etc…  $10 for a pre-loaded $5 ORCA card with a small built-in profit for the vendor should be possible.
  • Tourist-friendly ORCA cards with day and multi-day passes should be readily available
  • Provide discounts for loading large dollar amounts onto ORCA cards to further incentivize ORCA use
  • Coaches would be tap/pay at front door, exit through rear door except at high volume stops such as transit centers and certain downtown stops.  Designated high volume stops would have off-bus ORCA readers and drivers would open ALL doors.

More after the jump.

  • Registered lost cards of ALL kinds, not just Adult, should be reissued by a simple process on orcacard.com.  Click on “Lost card”, make $5 payment from a credit card or from E-purse balance, and receive a replacement card within 2-3 business days – mailed to the registered address.
  • A flat $3 cash fare – Cash payment, even by those who are well-prepared, significantly slows service – Make them pay for the privilege to encourage ORCA usage
  • Streamline Human Services passes – For those who truly can’t afford transportation make it simple to get a pass from their social service agency of choice (WorkSourceDowntown Emergency Service CenterHopelink, etc…)  Giving out ORCA cards would prevent those receiving subsidized/free passes from being stigmatized. Obviously fraud can be an issue when giving out free passes so monitoring will be necessary.
  • Eliminate paper transfers – Replace with a rotating color/letter Proof of Payment (POP) voucher with coach number and day purchased punched
  • Proof of Payment required on ALL transit at ALL times.  (A warning for the first offense within a year followed by fines for further offenses should allow grace for passengers who occasionally forget their ORCA card)
  • Youth and Reduced fares would ONLY be available to passengers with a Youth ORCA card. (You’d be surprised at the number of “youth” I see on my bus with heavy facial hair)

Metro management frequently uses the phrase “Safety, Service, Schedule” to emphasize our priorities.  While I generally agree, I’ve always felt that “Schedule” is part of “Service”, especially for those passengers trying to make a connection.  We need to focus more on “Schedule” in certain instances.  In the realm of fare payment, we need to remove from the bus as many interactions that slow service as possible.  Above is my priority list for streamlining fare payment but how about you?  What are your ideas?

74 Replies to “Ride Free Area To Do List”

  1. Add to that list: eliminating the last of the flash passes, and adding more fare inspectors, particularly downtown and at TCs, so we don’t turn the entire system into a giant RFA. I’ve taken Metro busses dozens of times more than Link trains, yet I have never been fare-checked on Metro, but several times on Link.

    1. Another thing: if we’re doing to introduce day passes (and I agree we should), the system should cap per-ride ORCA fees per day at the price of a day pass, like London Underground.

      1. I much prefer the daily limit — simple to understand, which is, after all what this is supposed to be about.

        London Underground are aggressively discounting Oyster fares I see — less than half price vs. cash. Someone needs to print out this fare page and show it to Metro.

    2. +1 – I used to examine flash passes closely and challenge the obvious fakes – I’d see some awfully sheepish looks. In short, fake/counterfeit flash passes make it easy for folks who don’t mind cheating, if they don’t get caught.

      A color InkJet printer + laminating machine + a little bit of rationalization = A free annual pass – Value over $1,000. I believe that is a felony, is it not?

    3. If I remember Boston and the MBTA right, a Charlie Card (our Orca) allows unlimited free transfer within the time period, a prepaid paper ticket allows transfer on the buses, but not the trains, and pay onboard or at the train station allows no transfers. This will encourage ORCA or prepay. The LA system allows transfers on prepay as well, and this is subway and bus.

      1. For MBTA, you can transfer within the subway system. Also, I’m not sure if this is still the case, but it used to be that if you got on an outbound green line train at a surface stop, you could ride for free.

      2. Since 2007, all of the MBTA fare irregularities have been eliminated. There’s no more double fare for the Newton part of the D line, no more exit fares at the south Quincy/Braintree stations, and no more free outbound travel on the Green Line branches.

        As an aside, one of the amusing things about the Green Line is that it’s now a hybrid proof-of-payment system. If you board at an underground station, you go through a normal turnstile. If you board at a surface station at the front door, you pay as you board, like a bus. If you board at a surface station at a back door, it’s proof of payment. But if you take the Green Line all the way to the underground portion, then you no longer need to have proof of payment, since you could have gotten on at a subway station.

  2. Make the tunnel station platforms proof-of-payment. Install ORCA readers and ticket vending machines for King County Metro and ST Express on station mezzanines. Continue to use all door boarding at all times in the tunnel.

      1. Tap on in the tunnel, tap off the bus or station platform. That should be enough to determine who to charge. If someone forgets to tap off, allocate based on ridership.

      2. For cash, you can use the records from the ticket vending machines. It would require some coordination between agencies although I would think ST Express would be fairly easy to add to the existing machines.

        For ORCA, you could do as Oran suggests although I would prefer tapping off at a free-standing ORCA reader at the stop. Easier for ST Express than for King County Metro as Route 550 has limited stops. In addition, since the 550 is a precursor to East Link, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get people to begin tapping on and tapping off now. If it works on Route 550, then it can be expanded to other corridors such as Route 511 or the SR-520 corridor.

    1. I certainly think something like this is in the cards. I think if the tunnel goes to a POP system 3rd Ave should as well and possibly 2nd and 4th.

      With a POP system I think you could run into some 1/2-zone issues if checks are only done in the tunnel. I don’t think that is insurmountable but it certainly will be an issue. I think that some kind of hybrid POP and pay as you enter system is probably the best idea but how it would work I’m not sure.

      1. I think we should get rid of zones too, and just simplify the system to three or four levels of fare:

        Daily: ride anything on the entire ORCA system for $5 with unlimited connections and no limit on distance traveled.
        Weekly: unlimited rides/connections for 7 days for $25 (essentially, you get a weekend free).
        (less important, but good for tourists: 4-day pass for $15)
        Monthly: $100.

        New cards still cost $5 on top of this (so $10 for a first-time day rider, and $5 for the occasional rider who keeps their card around). Services that cost more than $5 per fare (ferries are the only one, I think?) can use the purse for the extra amount. You wouldn’t need the purse for most other uses.

        Either ban cash fares after making TVMs and retail locations more prevalent, or charge $5/boarding.

        Card readers at bus tunnel and selected downtown stops, with both doors opening, with POP checks outside of downtown. Elsewhere, people pay at the reader as they get on.

        Allocate fares to agencies based upon boarding data.

        The lack of zones or distance-based fares simplifies the system. The main argument to have them is to have users defray the costs of more expensive services to the suburbs, but encouraging suburbanites to use transit by cutting them a discount isn’t a bad thing. To really make this work you’d have to kill 40/40/20 so that while per-mile costs are higher for Seattle residents, they get more service to compensate.

      2. I’d like to see a more complex distance based fare system for ORCA users, once the buses have GPS. Tap when you board, tap again when you leave. Short trips (a few stops) ought to be much less expensive than they are now, and longer trips possibly more. Cash fares should be kept simple, though, probably set at the max for the distance based fares.

      3. @ David Seater
        That’s basically what Singapore does–horribly confusing if you’re trying to pay cash, but as the smart card EZ-link is ubiquitous there (and you can use it as a cash card at the 7-11, etc.), it seems to work okay. I didn’t ever think about it; you just tap in/tap out. There’s a 20-30% discount for using your card instead of cash.

        You can take up to 5 transfers with a maximum 45 minutes between transfers, over a period of two hours.

        For more info on this type of system (and videos) go to http://publictransport.sg/publish/ptp/en/distance_based_fares.html

      4. I visited Singapore right when they were rolling out EZ-link (~2002). I didn’t know about them so we got the stored-value magnetic cards. Riding the MRT was easy (didn’t have to think about the fare) but the bus was confusing. We couldn’t figure out how to pay. To pay we had to insert the card and push a destination button on a machine to print a ticket. Something like that. We don’t know what fare stage we started and will end the trip. Fortunately the bus was crowded enough and we got away without paying. I can’t remember how we got back.

      5. Oran, my first visit there was like that as well–or rather, it could have been if I had chosen the stored-value card. The bus fare system was insanely complicated–it seemed to be a whole bunch of tiny zones that added weird incremental fare increases as you went. Just as today, on the EZ-link they might come up with fares like “$1.31” or “$2.18,” but as everything was deducted automatically it didn’t matter too much. No point in trying to figure if they were correct! (Cash fares even then were higher, but rounded off to the nearest 5 or 10 cents.)

        I nearly chose a stored-value card until my research indicated the complexity of the bus fare system. It’s still confusing as it’s now a km-based system, with fares increasing each km you travel. I would not necessarily recommend that here!

        I did like the tourist card option (though I haven’t used one) that gives you a multi-day pass when buying one of those multi-attraction cards like we have here for various museums and sites. I think that’s something the powers that be should consider here to make things easier for visitors, along with the multi-day ORCA option many have mentioned.

        You still pay a small surcharge for the air-conditioned buses in Singapore: well worth it in my opinion! :)

      6. Oh yeah, at the time I was living in Bangkok, where public transport is a mess (too little rail, too many uncoordinated buses stuck in gridlock, humid heat and nasty pollution). Going to Singapore was like a dream (still hot and humid though!).

        I looked at the fare schedule and it starts with a flat rate up to 2 miles, then per kilometer up to around 25 miles. The confusing part is that it’s not a flat per km charge like Link and Sounder’s. The cost pr km decreases as you log more distance on a trip, from 5c/km to 1c/km. Then there are separate schedules for feeder routes, express routes, different MRT lines, senior, children, etc. I generally am a supporter of distance-based (read: more granular) fares but that even to me is too confusing. Or you have to change how you think about fares, instead of exact change, think ranges.

        On an individual trip level, a difference of a 10-25 cents doesn’t sound like much, but add it up over a year and the savings are significant!

      7. Complexity is the enemy of a rider-friendly transit system.

        It should be simple to pay and simple to understand.

        It’s not different than the philosophy Steve Jobs brings to designing consumer devices – make it easy, approachable and simple – and that shoudl be philosophy of the fare system, too. Additional complexity like allocating to which agency should be solved behind the scenes by sampling or maybe on the basis of amount of service.

        GPS/distance-based fares are inherently complex and there is not enough marginal revenue generated to warrant the complexity. At most we should have 3 zones – Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. In-county Cash fare $3 with no transfers. ORCA fare $2.50 with transfers. Daypass $6.00 cap on ORCA within the county.

        Singapore inherited their complexity and gets away with it because car ownership is expensive and tightly limited. In our area we should make transit easy and accessible. The $6.00 daily fare cap would minimize the penalty for short distances.

      8. Complexity is the enemy of a rider-friendly transit system.

        I couldn’t agree more.

        That said, I’m surprised that you go from this to arguing for fare zones. Not only are fare zones complex, they’re grossly inequitable, and penalize people for living near fare boundaries (which just happen to be poorer areas, in many cases).

  3. This city can’t figure out to stand right and walk left on escalators. Does anyone really think they can figure out enter at the front door and exit at the rear?

      1. When buses are loaded to crush capacity, it’s usually impossible to exit from the front, which you are (theoretically) obligated to after 7pm or for pay-as-you-leave trips. Drivers solve this by opening the back doors, but then (on pay-as-you-leave runs) you either slow everyone down by running up to the front of the bus and paying, or you just skip paying entirely. Eliminating the Ride Free Area would, at least, get rid of the pay-as-you-leave problem.

      2. I could maybe buy into a strict enter front, exit rear policy on the trolleys, with their three fairly close doors. But on any bus I’d be a little pissed if I found I couldn’t get off at the front even from the frontmost seat. On the plus side, no more drivers holding up people to let slow deboarders make their way to the front, and no more of that insipid call of “back door!” (Not that I should have to hear it at stops that don’t have masses of people waiting to get on at all doors anyway…)

      1. Yeah I agree this is an issue. Just about every European city bus I have been on has 3 doors and much more room to move in.

      2. Do you guys know how much more the three-door option costs, and how many seats you lose? It seems like a standard option that NFI will put in and of their 60′ busses.

      3. Take a look at Metro’s RapidRide buses. Adding a middle door removes 4 forward facing seats on the curb side. Metro also chose to remove two driver side seats opposite the middle door to create more standing room.

        Sound Transit just ordered 10 new 60′ Restyled buses from NFI at $777k each, though those buses still have only 2 doors. Metro has ordered 113 Advanced BRT style buses from NFI at $1.13 million each. So the range is somewhere in between.

        It is a standard option. Vancouver BC’s D60LFRs and E60LFRs have 3 wide doors standard.

      4. E60LFs with three doors and urban-style seating would be fantastic — approaching streetcar capacity — although I fear if we get to keep ETBs at all, Metro will buy the cheapest it can lay hands on.

  4. Anything that slows down boarding times just isn’t worth it. I think you need a way to board from all doors when downtown, even if it means a greater loss of fares. In a Wired article last year, this guy Charles Komonoff concluded that if you take lost productivity costs into account from traffic delays, you’re actually better off just making buses completely free in Manhattan CBD. Now, I realize Seattle isn’t Manhattan, but I’m just arguing that the same trend might apply and that taking a hit in fare collecting might be worth the trade-off of increased boarding costs. Now as for an actual solution? I dunno.

    1. Did you read the post?

      Coaches would be tap/pay at front door, exit through rear door except at high volume stops such as transit centers and certain downtown stops. Designated high volume stops would have off-bus ORCA readers and drivers would open ALL doors.

      1. That was snotty of you. I did read the post — and I was adding an argument as to why that particular premise should be considered of utmost importance without offering a particular solution beyond always loading through both doors.

        In fact, I am suggesting that loading through both doors should always be done downtown (which isn’t the solution you quoted). But I’m not offer specifics on how that would work because I haven’t thought the idea out completely. Sheesh.

      2. Sorry to be an ass, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t.

        Quite a few of the stops downtown are kinda sleepy (mostly on the E-W streets) and POP with on-board payment plus increased ORCA acceptance is adequate for those. A number of other stops are exclusively served by Sound Transit and Community Transit, and those stops aren’t really Metro’s problem.

      3. Actually, it is Metro’s problem. They are the same streets with limited space for anything. Even on 2nd and 4th with their bus lanes and skip-stop operation, the queue of buses overflow into the next block which block right turners and other buses.

    2. …if you take lost productivity costs into account from traffic delays, you’re actually better off just making buses completely free in Manhattan CBD

      This assumes that only a small number of people will decide to use the free buses instead of walking for short trips. It amazes me the number of people who will jam onto a packed bus to avoid a 2 or 4 block walk in the CBD. Free buses result in unnecessary short trips which leads to congestion on downtown buses.

  5. The thing I still don’t understand about King Co. Metro is why the entire system isn’t “Pay as you board.” When I visited Seattle on transit for the first time several years ago, it was too difficult to figure out not only the route map (with all the single-color blue lines), but also the fare payment system.

    IMO, all systems with a fare should be ‘no fare, no ride, no kidding.’ C-TRAN in Clark Co. is really good at this.

    Eliminating Fareless Square (Portland’s closest equivalent to the Ride Free Area) without overhauling the entire fare system is exactly what TriMet did in Portland a couple of years ago. (They cover it up by claiming it was replaced with the “Ride Free Area.”) So, TriMet still has confusing “zones” that make little or no sense. On some zone boundaries, stops are within a couple hundred feet of each other but be in different zones. Going one stop too far with a two-zone fare instead of an all-zone fare and running into a Road Supervisor can mean a fine of up to $250.

    I like STAs fare collection system in Spokane–RFID cards are optional (but encouraged), and other fares are handled through a magnetic swipe system.

    1. Pay as you leave exists only because of the RFA; getting rid of it is one of the many benefits of abolishing the RFA.

      1. Yes but pay as you leave is the foundation of the RFA. Without that buses on 2nd, 3rd and 4th would be mired because the terminal capacity just isn’t high enough to handle all those buses.

      2. Pay as you leave works best with point-to-point commuter buses. It allows passengers to quickly board through all doors downtown and lets the bus spend the least time in downtown traffic. Since a majority of passengers exit at a single stop like at a Park & Ride, there isn’t the issue like the Downtown-U District buses where someone at the back has to squeeze to the front to exit. The payment goes by really quick since almost everyone has an ORCA card.

      3. Pay-as-you-leave enables multiple fare zones, which are intrinsic to Metro’s fare structure. It also speeds downtown boarding, with or without RFA. The downside is that it can be mildly disorienting to newcomers, but bus drivers are always there to answer any questions.

      4. Pay-as-you-leave enables rampant casual fare-dodging on urban routes, which is surely related to Metro’s lack of cash.

      5. “Pay-as-you-leave enables multiple fare zones, which are intrinsic to Metro’s fare structure.”

        No it doesn’t. It enables arguments with your operator when you try to pay upon leaving, when you got on past the fare boundary.

      6. A common way to handle multiple fare zones is pay as you enter, reimburse as you leave. In other words, when you tag in, you’re charged for the maximum possible fare, and when you tag out, you’re reimbursed for the difference between that maximum and the fare that you actually incurred.

        This is how many other cities handle distance-based fares. In fact, I believe that Link works this way.

        It’s easy to see why this works better than pay-as-you-leave. The benefit for tapping out is wholly to the rider. People who don’t care (because they have a pass, or even just because they’re in a rush and don’t care about 50 cents) can always just step off the bus. Conversely, the bus driver can always require payment before boarding.

      7. When I drove at Metro many years ago, I would give people boarding the bus after the zone line the top part of a transfer (no time) as a zone marker. Anybody without the zone marker paid a two-zone fare when they got off the bus. Those with a zone marker paid a one-zone.

    2. It’s actually interesting because Portland has the exact opposite system we have. In PDX the MAX is free downtown but buses aren’t. In Seattle buses are free by LINK isn’t.

      In an ideal world with a ride free area, PDX is it right. You want to encourage higher volumes on services that have a low per passenger delay (LRT w/ POP) and discourage ridership on high per passenger delay (Bus w/ pay as you enter)

      1. Our system isn’t really ideal for that, because Link is in a tunnel, and set back from most of the places that short distance riders want to go. For an able-bodied person, you’re better off walking from (say) Colman Dock to Westlake.

        The ultimate downtown people mover is a streetcar on 1st Ave. Making that free would be fantastic, but it’s a daydream at this point.

    3. If they just commenced enforcing fares on the 2/3/4, that’d be a goldmine alone.

      Also, I’m really sick of people “not knowing” that ST doesn’t take paper Metro transfers anymore, as these folks often are boarding the same darn route daily and I got to watch two of them commence an altercation on the bus (at least it was with each other) and then used some wildly inappropriate language with the bus driver on the way out when they…didn’t have fare. It was unpleasant at best, and one of the gents kicked my push-chair, which I’ve been using this week since my joints hate this weather.

  6. I don’t ride the bus much when I am in Seattle and I couldn’t tell from the map. Are all the bus tunnel stations in the ride free zone?

    1. They are. The buses in the tunnel are ride free 6am-7pm, but Link is not at any time, in theory (w/o fare inspection in the tunnel segment it pretty much feels like it is, I ride both within downtown whichever come first).

      1. The Link operators usually play the “POP is required” message when the train departs Intl Dist for Stadium. That’s where many of the fare inspectors like to board.

      2. Actually, I’ve seen fare enforcement go after someone on a southbound train at International District Station. The train sat there for a few minutes and when one person noticed that fare enforcement was on the train, they got off the train (after sitting at the station for about 30 seconds). Fare enforcement got off the train and asked to see that person’s fare (while on the platform). The person was basically asked for proof of payment for riding through the tunnel. I noticed fare enforcement chasing down another person at SODO Station today. One person left after the train had sat there for a few seconds to allow fare enforcement to switch cars. Once fare enforcement entered the car, that person left. The fare enforcement offices left also.

  7. Every one of Vélo’s ideas should be made so!

    Though I can’t tell if the POP-replacement-for-transfers idea is intended for only the vehicle in question or to act as a de facto transfer on other POP services. (If the latter’s the case, how is that different from a paper transfer?)

    1. I’m pretty sure he just meant it would only be valid on the vehicle it was issued on. Metro currently uses paper transfers for proof-of-payment on RapidRide when the customer pays their fare in cash.

      1. It’s just so wasteful. Though I suppose at 95% OCRA adoption it would be much less wasteful.

      2. The POP is only valid for one ride. My idea is an attempt to get away from a time based system so it doesn’t look like a transfer. As far as being wasteful, the bus is burning gallon of diesel about every 3 or 4 miles, depending on the route. I wouldn’t sweat a tiny little slice of newsprint that is likely made with a high percentage of recycled content.

  8. The whole system should be PoP. Like MUNI you can either pay the operator as you board and get a proof of payment (transfer) or you have your ORCA which automatically records the information and at certain busy stops all doors can be opened. otherwise its just the front door.

  9. Amen! The ride free area simply no longer provides the benefits it once did when you weigh the costs. Back in the day when employers rarely issued bus passes it was great for people who work downtown to run errands on lunch or something but now all I ever see is drug dealers using it to hop on a bus do a deal in the back and hop of before leaving the ride free area or fare dodgers using it to get on the bus free and then leave the bus without paying the fare knowing full well they are not going to get into any trouble. As for paper transfers they are often used fraudulently in fact the other day I saw a girl drop her large collection of assorted transfers on the street in the wind. I was happy to see that one less person scamming on Metro that day until she builds up her collection again. I am not anti homeless but with scarce resources it is time to cut losses and the RFA is one of them.

  10. If the logic of RFA is speedy entry and exit the answer is simple.

    Put an ORCA card reader at the back of the bus as well as the front and offer a discount for ORCA users. (And maybe also have an ORCA card reader at the stop itself, just like with Sounder, LINK.)

    Then enforce the fare with the same frequency as Sounder, and so on. Just have a “conductor” on random buses and have him ask a few sample cases for verification.

  11. “Coaches would be tap/pay at front door, exit through rear door except at high volume stops such as transit centers and certain downtown stops. Designated high volume stops would have off-bus ORCA readers and drivers would open ALL doors.”

    This is close to the RapidRide model. Which is just one more reason why bus pushers say “RapidRide is what ALL buses should be.”

    A 66 driver today said that the RFA shrunk this shakeup (not that I heard anything about it otherwise; good going, Metro), to the effect that the southbound 66’s first RFA stop is on 3rd (since it doesn’t stop at 5th), and seemed to indicate that it was likely to go away entirely as soon as June.

    1. RapidRide is what ALL buses should be.

      +1. POP (with off-board payment available at the busy stops), three doors on articulated busses, urban-style (2+1) seating on 40′ trolleys (or whatever might replace them on those slow city lines), and real-time info signs at major stops would make an amazingly friendly and usable bus system.

  12. Do this at your peril, Metro. Whatever increased fare revenue you get from people who refuse pay as you leave will be far more than consumed by the longer dwell times downtown.


    1. At what peril? Actually collecting fare from people whom use the service? Oh of course, it’s more important to cut 200,000 hours of service from people whom actually pay Metro. You don’t walk into Bartell’s and take a 2.25 candy bar without paying. What makes you think this is an entitlement?
      BTW, the idiots that have 10 mins to prepare their bus fare, but kept talking on the phone hold everyone else up way more then charging downtown.

  13. A good and timely discussion.

    The context includes the current study of the ride free area and the recent really good restructure of ST bus fares. ST now has two fare levels: routes that are intra county have one fare; routes that are inter county have a higher fare. The Metro youth and senior fares are now high enough that ST honors those. the A line has a good system. This is all progress.

    Some posters suggest a reformed fare structure. This is needed. ORCA seems designed to allocate the pennies in the back room between the seven agencies rather than help riders and drivers. It was designed to keep the current fare structures.

    There are probably fare structures that would work better with ORCA. the zone surcharge complicates fare collection with ORCA.

    as some posters have asserted, there ought to be day passes or a volume discount for e-purse users. the allocation of the pennies and the software gets in the way.

    How about this outline:
    discontinue zone and peak period surcharges;
    discontinue the ride free area; collect upon entry; encourage alighting riders to use rear doors;
    match the ST bus fares; set the inter subarea one-way route fare at the same higher level as the inter county ST fare; set the intra subarea one-way and the rapidride routes at the intra county ST fare; and, set all local routes at a lower third fare level.

    the recend fare increases, at 25 cents per year, have made short trips increasingly costly to riders. they are charged proportionally more than longer rides.

    let’s sell more ORCA. provide a volume discount for e-purse users. meke it easier to buy. they cost $5. sell them at more places. more could have both a pass and an e-purse.

    can the vendor support rear door readers?
    can more routes or all routes be treated like rapidride?
    can fare inspection be cost-effective?
    can more ticket vending machines be provided?

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