Community Transit’s Board of Directors approved a proposal Thursday afternoon to create a low-income fare category, and make the fare half the regular fare, rounded down to the nearest quarter. The new fare category will take effect July 1.
CT will be only the second agency in the ORCA pod where low-income ORCA users will save 50% or more on their fare, joining Kitsap Transit.
Each low-income ORCA card is free for first-time recipients, and is charged the low-income fare for each service that has a low-income fare. All the agencies, except Washington State Ferries, honor transfer value from trips on other ORCA-paid services, for 2 hours from time of payment. All but WSF also honor monthly PugetPasses. Loaded ORCA product will remain the only medium for getting any of the low-income fare discounts.
Everett Transit is in the middle of its comment period on three proposals, two of which would establish a low-income fare category, and the second of which would make that low-income fare a half fare. ET’s Option 2 would also make its youth fare (for riders 6-18) a half fare.
In an unusual turn, CT is the first agency in the pod not to match its low-income fare to its youth fare. Since the Regional Reduced Fare Permit fare (for seniors 65+ and riders with qualifying disabilities) is already ubiquitously a half fare, mostly due to federal law, CT won’t end up having four different fares on each route.
If ET moves forward with one of its low-income fare proposals, that would bring the ORCA Pod to having eight agencies (as of when the monorail starts accepting ORCA, projected to happen in September) that have a low-income fare, and two that do not: Pierce Transit and Washington State Ferries. However, PT’s and WSF’s youth fares are half fares.