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Metro’s ongoing survey about the fare structure will generate as many different ideas as there are respondents. In his story about it, Zach observed that there is a tradeoff between fairness and simplicity. However, that greatly undersells the complexity of the tradeoff, because there is no single definition of “fairness.”

To illustrate, we’ll totally punt the issue of complexity, and assume there is no limit to it. Metro is equipped with omniscient fareboxes and farecards that can implement any fare policy that we can imagine. So which of these models is a “fair” framework for fares?

  • Ability to pay: each boarding is a fixed, tiny percentage of your income. This will make riding the bus massively uneconomic for many people. If it’s a pass from a big employer — look out. There is a strong financial incentive to overserve rich neighborhoods and underserve poor ones.
  • Time on the bus: This penalizes people suffering through milk runs, and incentivizes Metro to make buses slower.
  • Distance Traveled: This penalizes long-haul freeway expresses that may be cheaper to provide than local milk runs.
  • Cost of Service: Each bus trip’s cost is the cost of service of the minutes you are on the bus, divided among all the passengers in that interval. Riders on long and agonizing routes, and those traveling at odd hours, are most penalized.
  • Cost of driving: Trips to places where parking is expensive, and long enough to take a lot of gas, are more expensive, thus extracting maximum revenue from economically rational riders.
  • Congestion Pricing: Charge people more when capacity is at a premium. Buses, in particular, become much less efficient when overcrowded.
  • Time Penalty Over Driving: Give riders a break when the bus is massively slower than driving, soak riders that are whizzing by stopped cars. In general, you would generally get a mild rebate for having to transfer.
  • Maximize Revenue: There is a sweet spot where the fare – ridership product is at a maximum. Find the spot and use it to put as much service onto the road as possible.
  • Maximize Profit/Minimize Loss: Truly running Metro like a business would create many outcomes offensive to those concerned about social justice and economic opportunity.

Many of these values come up in a discussion of system fares as if they are all the same thing, but they lead to vastly different conclusions. Metro’s current system nods to several of these items while trying quite hard to be simple. ORCA Lift, youth, disabled, and senior fares address ability to pay. Peak fares address Cost of Driving and Congestion Pricing. The two-zone structure is a proxy for time and distance. We can all agree that it does all of these things haphazardly. Meanwhile Link fares simply reflect ability to pay or Distance/Time (which amount to almost the same thing for traffic-separated transit).

So when you’re providing Metro with public input, please think hard about what you think is important, and what you’re giving up in pursuit of that objective.

52 Replies to “A Fair Fare”

  1. I don’t know if this changed my answers, but I’m certainly going to ask for omniscient fareboxes.

  2. “Fairness” can be over-rated when it gets in the way of what works. Something that completely fails everyone can be called fair.

    I’m most in favor of simplicity plus making allowances for those of low-income and low-net-worth. Well-off old people really don’t need a break for transit and neither do children of well-off parents, however if implementing that means-test is cost prohibitive compared to just using riders ages, then fine, base it on age. This is possibly one example of a trade-off between what’s fair to what’s simple and works well.

    I’m not a big fan of zoning. Should someone who rides in on transit from the burbs be billed more or be rewarded? You could argue either way. They use transit but avoid a car on the road.

    I favor looking at it as one big system and no matter where you get on and where you get off, let the pricing be simple and sufficient. If I had my druthers, transit would be free to everyone and subsidized by taxes, you know, like the roads…

    1. You can have discounts for low-income while maintaining simplicity by making the discount fare a simple percentage of the full fare.

      The fare explanation could then list fares, and at the end, state that low-income and seniors pay half.

      1. The complexity comes in trying to verify income. State issued IDs make age verification easy. How does an agency verify income or net worth easily and at a cost that makes it worthwhile? The rule is simple, its implementation is complex.

    2. Thanks to AJ for digging into my head and writing out all my thoughts. Saves me a lot of time and aggravation.

      +1

    3. Yeah, I don’t get why transit has to be so different. Why even have fares? Just fund it like we do roads.

      1. There are multiple reasons why roads are free and transit is not. Fundamentally, it comes out to a problem that if fares were eliminated, demand would go up while the money to fund service would go down. Put the two together and the result would be massive overcrowding. Until enough funding exists to operate buses frequently enough to provide the capacity for all that would ride it if it were free, without any additional revenue from the farebox, buses have to charge fares.

        One could make similar arguments to justify congestion pricing on roads. One counter-argument is that collecting toll revenue from roads entails a much higher overhead than collecting fare revenue from transit, where drivers already exists to enforce the fare. Even in the 21st century, without toll booths, a good 1/3 of the toll revenue on the 520 bridge is simply going to fund the overhead of collecting the toll. Even today, trying to toll every single local street is prohibitively expensive. But, eventually, as technology gets better and road congestion gets worse, it will happen.

  3. “ORCA Lift, youth, disabled, and senior fares address ability to pay.” This statement would only be true if you assumed that all of the people in those categories are poor. There are many seniors, for example, who make more money but pay a lower fare than people who pay the regular adult fare. Better maybe would be to replace all discounted fares to the extent permitted by law with a means-tested low-income fare card that is subsidized by a social services agency and not KC Metro.

    “Distance Traveled: This penalizes long-haul freeway expresses that may be cheaper to provide than local milk runs.” I can’t see how long-haul freeway expresses would ever be cheaper to provide than local milk runs. At the transit agency where I work the estimated marginal cost of providing service is $43.60 per hour + $2.06 per mile. Freeway buses can travel more miles in the same time.

    “Time on the bus: This penalizes people suffering through milk runs, and incentivizes Metro to make buses slower.”. Unless the fare was set high enough to allow for a profitable cost recovery on a specific route or trip basis, the longer the trip is the more money Metro loses, even if people pay more. This of course ignores the fact that slowing transit service down will drive people to their cars.

    I’m interested in where farebox recovery comes into play. Obviously a 100% recovery ratio would result in many worthwhile places not being served. I believe a too low farebox recovery ratio would encourage inefficient bus routes and sloppy scheduling and promote uneconomical labor cost increases. What do other people think?

    1. The planners need to think at the network level, not individual routes. It’s okay to have busy core routes subsidize less busy routes because they are dependent on each other.

      I think the cause and effect are reversed. Low farebox recovery is a symptom of poor system design and operations, which leads to low ridership and high costs, and maybe a policy of low fares.

  4. For a simple system, I would suggest one dollar flat, plus 20 cents per mile. The flat fee portion is waived for transfers. Same fare for all land travel modes. This is a system that everyone could understand easily. Reduced fares are 50% (or some other percent) off.

    But, without every single transit agency in the region on board (Metro, PT, CT, Everett, ST, Monorail), this wouldn’t actually be simpler. Which again leads me to the conclusion that this fare study has already failed by not involving all operators.

    1. 20 cents per mile is strongly biased against people who can’t afford to live in Seattle so have to take the bus all the way in to work. That’s a big premium for someone taking the bus in from say, Federal Way or Auburn.

      1. Perhaps so. Changing to 10 cents per mile is probably better. That would take the theoretical Everett-Seattle fare from $7.00 (at a 20 cent rate) down to $4.00 (at a 10 cent rate).

      2. That’s still high enough to not really be cheaper than driving, at least when the car itself is a sunk cost. I am typically asked to contribute around 10 cents per mile when carpooling.

  5. I think transit systems should be about moving as many people as possible for the lowest cost.

    In a commercial based network that means plenty of coverage on busy streets and to key destinations. In peripheral areas you end up with poorer coverage, that may only cover working hours,with infrequent evening and weekend service.

    The advantage is a low subsidy service that is not subject to the whims of changing tax revenues.

    As to how to structure fares then, it is often a function of the size of city you live in and density.

    In the UK many small towns have a mix regional services that link up many small towns to bigger cities and will often serve smaller villages that are lucky enough to be near a main road, These routes are often quite long and fares will be calculated by distance ( and as most are purely commercial services, the fare level will make you wince).

    In bigger cities buses have more customers to fight over and often offer as many different route options that get enough passengers.

    Most British bus systems have high daily fares but very cheap weekly or monthly passes.

    London has a flat fare bus system, combined with zonal train and metro system. Over the years it has been noted that the length of London bus routes has drastically reduced. They say for ease of operation in increased traffic etc. But is much harder to get a bus from the outer suburbs to the inner city. The old routes are often now chopped up into 2 or 3 routes now.

    1. London buses used to have distance based fares back when there were those very long routes. It also used to have a lot of short runs in those days: not all buses travelled the full length of their routes — I don’t know what the practice is today. In some cases the full route was very much the exception rather than the rule.

    2. I’d add another possible fare system criteria: Maximize Ridership

      Metro should make it their goal to get monthly/annual passes into as many hands as possible. When the additional cost per trip is nothing, people will use transit for more occasions.

      I’d support reducing the pass multiplier, and offering slick discounted packages with simple automatic monthly billing online and at Costco.

      1. Ridership-maximizing leads to zero fares, unless you take into account the loss of service due to revenue loss.

  6. How about instead of zones or peak periods you just let market demand decide. If a route at a given time is packed to the gills then mark it on the schedule as Peak Fare surcharge. Note, this would often mean the reverse trip would not have the surcharge.

    1. There should be peak tolls on highways and no peak fares on buses. Why? You can scale up a bus system by running more, but you can’t scale up highways.

      We don’t want to discourage people from using the most space-efficient mode of transport at the exact time it’s needed the most.

      1. The routes that I see getting hit with the Surcharge are most likely packed because the highway is already jam packed and already has a toll. If you discourage anyone with the surcharge it’s most likely persuaded them to take an earlier or later bus or different route. That’s a lot more efficient that adding more peak only service.

        If you really want to see people choose private auto over transit one sure fire way to do it is pass them by at their stop with an overloaded bus.. In fact, just knowing that you’ll be stuffed in like sardines is enough to convince some people they rather drive.

      2. Isn’t that the truth! I’ll never forget the day I spent most of an hour waiting on the 520 onramp from NE 40th, watching one overloaded 545 after another go sailing past without stopping. I never took the bus to Microsoft again.

      3. @Mars, I remember that well! Fortunately, it’s much better now that U-Link is open and the 541 is doing its part.

      4. “In fact, just knowing that you’ll be stuffed in like sardines is enough to convince some people they rather drive.”

        Before U-link opened, I would sometimes take Car2Go from downtown to the U-district for that very reason. Especially when I was coming home from the airport (transferring from Link), and carrying luggage. The other passengers on the bus I would have had to squeeze onto probably appreciated it.

        Now, with the light rail running from downtown to the UW, it’s gotten much easier.

      5. “If you really want to see people choose private auto over transit one sure fire way to do it is pass them by at their stop with an overloaded bus.”

        If the bus is overloaded, then congratulations, eliminating the peak fare did in fact succeed in getting people out of their cars.

  7. What are our goals? We’re going around in knots because different stakeholders have different goals, and some people weigh different stakeholders differently or forget they exist. There are at least three stakeholders: passengers who want to go various places, transit agencies who want operational convenience and low expenses, and taxpayers who want low taxes and high efficiency. One way to allocate resources is Jarrett Walker’s ridership-vs-coverage: the authority reserves a percent of resources for coverage service, and everything else goes to ridership-based services. That distinction is easier to make than all these fare policies, so more and more counties have done it including King County.

    If we step back and ask, why do we have public transit in the first place? Because it benefits the cities and all residents if everybody can get around to their work/errand/recreation/health/family/tourism needs, without having to have an expensive car or take an expensive taxi. That’s what maximizes the economy and tax base and people’s well being.So transit is a public good and not just a profit-making business. Who should it focus on? The passengers, because they’re why transit exists. So then the question becomes, what fare policy allows people to get around without an undue burden? Different people have different income levels so they have different burden thresholds. Fares are arbitrary. King County sets Metro’s fare at 25-33% of the cost of service. Why not 10% or 50% or some other number? To charge what people are willing to pay without driving too many away.

    So maybe we should give up trying to find a “fair” fare, because there are way too many contradictory factors. The best fare would be zero so people could treat it like a library or park that’s always there for them regardless of how much money they have. If a zero fare is unacceptable, then go back to our fundamental principle: the purpose of transit is to get the most people to where they want to go at a price that’s not burdensome, with some reserve for coverage routes. (This is akin to the US constitutional principle: majority rule (high-ridership corridors) with safeguards for the minority (those on coverage routes).) Since different people have a different burden threshold, it will have to be at minimum a 2-level fare structure, one for those who can pay $3-level fares and one for those who can’t.

    Beyond that, flat fares sound better than distance-based fares, because they’re simpler for passengers to understand and remember. The decision whether to run a long-distance route comes more down to our two fundamental goals (ridership and coverage) than a “fair” fare. Let CT continue its existing peak-express structure since it’s the longest distance and is temporary anyway. Let Metro move toward a flat fare. Or tell us what the flat fare would be so that we can see whether it’s too draconian before we commit to it. Again, people are used to a $3-ish level, and monthly passes and transfers bring it far lower for those who ride a lot. Going just one or two stops will never be a deal without a pass, so I don’t think we want to get too fixated on distance.

  8. Controversial for sure, but I think the simplest fare structure … is no fare at all! Couldn’t be simpler for occasional riders or people wanting to try transit. At least for local buses, you probably still need fares for Link and express busses to be practical.

    Disadvantages: this would NOT be cheap! You’d have to cover the loss of revenue somehow, and I doubt advertising would be enough. Probably need more busses to accommodate the increased ridership as well! Plus you probably get called a Commie despite roads being managed essentially the same way. Potential misuse by homeless folks can perhaps be mitigated with cameras and transit police, but this may add additional expense. Like I said, this is not a cheap proposal!

    Here in Miami and Miami Beach we have free frequent “Trolley” busses for short trips within city limits: http://www.miamigov.com/trolley/. It has become a very popular service despite often getting stuck in gridlock–in fact, the only South Florida bus service that has not lost ridership in the past few years. We also have 25 cent “shuttle” routes but even those aren’t nearly as popular–it seems that zero (“having to take out your wallet”) is a psychological price point. And if car-crazed Miami and Miami Beach can find the money to run these services…

    I don’t think it’s practical to do this County-wide at least in the short term, just throwing it out there;)

    1. Tallinn, Estonia has free fares for residents. (Visitors still pay.) Cityscope and The Guardian analyzed the results. Surprisingly ridership increased only 1.3% by one estimate, and that most new riders come from walking rather than driving. (The goal was to reduce driving, as well as to reduce the cost burden. Other estimates go up to 10% but may include unrelated factors.) The public is highly in favor of the program.

      Since Metro’s fare is set around 20-30% of costs, that’s how much it would require to make Metro’s fares free. Not much, relatively speaking. However, we have a different tax structure, public expectations, land use, and homeless situation than Tallin, so the results may not be the same. I’d expect a modest increase in ridership, since people don’t want to spend all day traveling in circles. And those who do; i.e., the homeless; what we really need is more public housing and mental-health services so they have someplace else to go.

      The biggest hinderance to free fares is the state tax ceilings, which allow no more service than what we have.

      1. “Since Metro’s fare is set around 20-30% of costs, that’s how much it would require to make Metro’s fares free.” I suppose it could even be less. The increase in efficiency from not having to wait for people paying would be significant, and we’d save in other areas.

        The homeless issue is significant – it’s not an easy thing to solve at the city or region level. I suppose we could go a different direction and require people boarding to use a card (to differentiate locals from tourists). Bad behavior or riding too long and you lose privileges for a while.

      2. It’s significant only in the public’s adversion to solving it. We know what to do: build public housing for everybody without shelter. d.p. said Massachussett’s constitution guarantees housing as a right so they provide housing for everyone, and Salt Lake City has taken a similar Housing First approach in just building enough housing for the homeless. That solves 97% of the problem, and gives people stability so they can have a better chance at finding work, dealing with personal problems, and taking care of their family.

        The remaining 3% are those who don’t want housing, especially if they can’t take drugs in it. They prefer to be “completely free” under the sky. That needs a different approach, and they still might ride the bus all day, but there’s only a few of them. Most of the homeless are families or singles who lost their job, couldn’t pay their rising rent, had medical bills, etc, and would gladly move into long-term housing if only it existed.

      3. When fares are free, you’re going to get a lot of extra riders from people traveling short distances who start to walk, but look over their shoulder and see a bus coming, so they hop on because why not. The trouble with this is large numbers of people traveling very short distances can really slow a bus down, since it’s a lot of ons and offs for every mile traveled. And, all while hardly taking any additional cars off the road.

      4. Not only the efficiency gained from eliminating fare payment delays and having all door boarding, but also eliminating the costs of the fare collection infrastructure, maintenance, and personnel. Although I admittedly have no idea how much this mitigates the 20-30% loss of revenue. And I never considered the possibility of people switching from walking to riding, since I’d rather walk or bike myself even if the bus were free;)

      5. Not sure about now, but the federal formulas governing operating grants are difffetent if the system is free. A number of smaller systems have no fare as it costs more to collect than the lower operating grants provide.

    2. I would prefer no fares as well, although I would add a nominal peak fare to raise some revenue and spread out crush loads. You could also try to recoup costs by charging for parking at Park and Rides, raising the commercial parking tax, rolling out congestion tolls during peak hours, and a head tax on businesses in lieu of the employee bus pass or parking permit.

      As you noted, this would have to be combined with a thorough effort to house the homeless, which could done through public housing and a land value tax.

      1. There are two ways to look at crush loads. One, people should shift their trips to non-peak hours. But our entire society is oriented around 9-to-5 jobs and has been for decades. Every other industrialized country has similar peak hours, even countries that are more forward-thinking on transit and work/life balance. And companies have to be open at the same time their customers and business contacts. And night shifts are bad on the human body. So spreading out peak hours is not realistic. Most of those who can travel off-peak already do to avoid the congestion.

        The other way to look at crush loads is there’s not enough transit. If the 218 is full peak hours and goes to a real station (not to low-density residential blocks), then that’s a sign it probably should exist and have sufficient capacity, especially since Issaquah is not North Bend or Duvall: it’s the area’s regional transit point. If the 545 is passing people up again and again — which is pretty amazing since it runs every ten minutes peak — then we need more of it… or a train. Telling people they shouldn’t go to Redmond, or they should pay extra because it’s full, doesn’t make sense. Cars can pay congestion tolls because they’re an energy-intensive luxury that creates the congestion, but transit should accommodate everybody who wants to travel.

      2. Part of the problem with the 545 is that the 541/542 transfer to Link is so abysmal. The 541/542 are usually well-used, but I have rarely seen a crush-load like the 545 (the exception being the tanker+snow storm day last month).

        If WSDOT can fix the ramp before ST sends the 545 to UW (as seems possible with the Convention Center station closing), then it might be that loads between the 541/542/545 even out a bit as 545 riders discover they can take a train for at least part of their journey. If ST saves a bunch of hours not sending the 545 downtown, they could boost its frequency even more.

  9. I raised a few points commenting on Zach’s posting, and I’d like to run these by everybody again.

    1. First consideration, and probably origin of Prime Directive in Star Fleet for same reasons, fare collection should not slow operating speed by a single second. Because the larger the system, those operating delays could quickly eat a lot of budget.

    2. Starting with placing ticket purchase and its every complication moved physically as far away from boarding areas as humanly possible,

    3.Least complicated could be to treat ORCA cards like the State does license tabs. Blanket permission to use the whole system, any distance, any time. With special arrangements made for reasons of student status, age or disability.

    4. Leave enforcement to fare inspectors- both on vehicles and on platforms and in zones around bus stops. With drivers emphatically not involved with fares at all.

    Comments?

    Mark Dublin

    1. I’m sympathetic to the spirit of these suggestions, for the most part, although #2 seems potentially confusing for casual riders if taken too far. But I wonder how the concern for the bottom line expressed in point #1, namely those operating delays could quickly eat a lot of budget would fit with the massive increase in fare enforcement labor costs necessitated by a demand for fare enforcement on all Metro routes.

  10. I generally favor simplicity and legibility. But I want to put a thumb on the scale against endless sprawl and against requiring agencies to run extremely long-distance service that ends up being costly per rider even when vehicles are full.

    So here’s the fare system I want:

    – Base flat fare of $3.
    – “Regional fare” for long-distance services of $5.
    – On buses, one fare per route. “Regional fare” on routes where all or most riders are riding long-distance and there is a local alternative (even a slow one).
    – On trains, where there is tap-on tap-off, impose “regional fare” for trips of 10+ miles in the same direction within the transfer window
    – Exactly half fare for low-income, youth, senior, and disability
    – 3-hour transfer window

    1. I’m really reluctant to endorse another increase in the standard cost of riding Metro. Since 2001, it’s gone from $1.00 to $2.50. That dollar is 1.38 in 2017 dollars, so that’s “only” an 81% increase. I think it’s safe to say Metro ridership hasn’t grown as much as we’d like during those 16 years, especially relative to population growth and quality/quantity improvements in service. I think holding the line on the standard fare is a pretty important thing to do, especially when there’s plenty of other efficiency gains to be had. You’re standard, non-poor but non-rich, non-passholding customer, who’s almost certainly other major components of her cost of living (esp. rent) go up in price a lot faster than his income, is a figure who is owed a bit more concern than this proposal gives her.

    2. The negative of charging “regional” fare when local services are available is that lower-income customers who need to make the longer-distance trip can be forced down to the local.

      The regional agency in my area has routes A, B, C, D, and E that connect at a hub, plus two rush-hour ABX and ACX routes that bypass the hub and are noticeably faster. Yet the most popular transfer at rush hour is between A and B. There are contributing factors that may make the A-to-B transfer a genuinely better option than ABX for some riders (ABX doesn’t serve all of A’s stops, and B has timed transfers at its non-hub end), but I suspect that most keep riding the A and B because the ABX charges a premium fare.

      I’ve contemplated two options for changing this. The first would be to only charge premium fare for routes that travel beyond the A/B/C/D/E “core” of the system, where there isn’t a local available. The ABX and ACX would charge normal fare since otherwise passengers would just take a slower trip. Of course, in Pugetopolis you have a far broader local network, so you’d have to set some sort of threshold where the local isn’t a realistic alternative to the express. At the size of your metro area, it may also make sense to institute zones on top of this (like Community Transit already does with their south/Everett and north/east fares).

      The second would be to charge a Park-and-Ride fare. Larger lots (and lots that serve as major transfer points) would have pay stations installed so that only Park-and-Riders pay; smaller lots would function more on a “zone” basis where the farebox charges a higher fare for boarding at that stop during the AM rush hour. This serves as a proxy for income (though obviously agencies implementing this would need to comb through survey data to ensure that the correlation is real) and encourages those who can bike, walk, or take transit to the stop to do so.

  11. one fare for local service and trunk routes and another for long haul peak only express service.

    could be like $2.50 local fare and $3.50 premium fare. no zone resets as you’re charged fill premium fare just by boarding these premium buses. I’ll work on a list of express routes which would qualify for premium fare when I get home.

    1. I’ll help you out… (I’m procrastinating with work) The following current regional routes should be premium fare:

      No intra-Seattle routes.

      South King/Pierce to Seattle: 111, 114, 118 Direct, 119 Direct, 121, 122, 123, 143, 158, 159, 167, 177, 178, 179, 190, 192, 193, 197, 577, 578, 586, 590, 592, 594, 595

      Eastside to Seattle: 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 252, 257, 268, 277, 311, 545, 555, 556

      Intra-Eastside: 237

      South King to Eastside: 566, 567

      North King/Snoho to Seattle: 301, 303, 304, 308, all 400 routes, 510, 511, 513, all 800 routes

      North King/Snoho to Eastside: 342, 532, 535

      This leaves out some routes which carry a lot of “regional”-style traffic, but have heavy local demand as well: 101, 102, 150, 157, 255, 271, 309/312, 355, 372…

  12. “Distance Traveled: This penalizes long-haul freeway expresses that may be cheaper to provide than local milk runs.”

    Does it? If, for example, you have a 30 mile long express that has enough demand to fill and where nearly everyone rides the 30 miles, then compared to a popular 5 mile long local route (assuming people get on and off randomly) where the average trip is 2.5 miles, that means the express route makes 12 times as much per passenger on average than the local route.

    So, I’m confused. Unless you mean it penalizes the passengers of those routes? But then, the express is not cheaper to provide, especially if it’s one-directional and peak only.

  13. You are right to point out the many dimensions of fare policy fairness. One point that needs to be made is what the penalty of the policy is when collecting fares in the first place — to delay every rider while each person pays a fare. Because many routes only recover 10-20 percent of their allocated operating cost, complex fare payment could actually end up delaying buses enough to lower their actual productivity!

  14. There is one type of bus route that could set the whole system concept in its head: the low-cost neighborhood circulator! LA has quite a system of them and their full fares are only 50 cents! http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

    Perhaps it’s time to restructure service to serve more of the short-distance transit market, and get short-distance riders off of longer-distance buses and ultimately allowing those longer-distance buses to go faster. That would particularly be good for some low-income riders that must depend on transit for their non-work trips as well as their work trips.

  15. We already have two fare classes: one with fare inspectors and one where the rule is “pay-what-you-want.”

    You want more money from Rainier Valley? Get rid of the 7 and put in Rapid Ride.

  16. All of those ideas are bad. I hope its an April Fools Joke :-)

    Whats wrong with the current system of a flat rate with free transfers for 2 hours (or what ever it is?). Sure longer route express buses could be more to be fair?

    As I said the other day, with the amount of damn taxes ST3 has dumped on us and the non existent ontime performance of Sounder southline and a total lack of connector buses, all public transit should be free, and do away with the cost of running orca cards, fair boxes, and people trying to feed crumpled up old $1 bills into them.

  17. The obvious one is to extend the one-fare zone on the north edge to the county line. At least on the west side of Lake Washington, this is a mere 3 miles. If they want to charge a higher fare for this convenience, so be it, but it will save a slice of dwell time for the driver having to change from two-zone to one-zone for usually a single customer while the two-zone customers who have queued up behind this person, then get to wait for the driver to change the reader back to two-zone again…

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