Community Transit and Everett Transit are rolling out new low-income fares today, expanding the reach of the ORCA LIFT program that debuted in 2015, and expanded upon Kitsap Transit’s low-income fare program in place since 1985.
Meanwhile, Everett Transit regular fares climb to $2 (and remain $2.50 on route 70).
If your household income is 200% or less of the federal poverty level, you qualify for this low-income discount program. Both Snohomish County transit agencies are partnering with the Department of Social and Health Services at various locations to do the qualification process (which also started today). You may qualify for and get access to additional benefits while there. There are also lots of locations around King County that process qualification.
The ORCA LIFT card is free the first time for those who qualify, and then $3 for a replacement. Youth ORCA cards (for riders 6-18 years old) are usually $3, but the fee is waived if you get a youth card for someone in your household while getting the ORCA LIFT card.
The ORCA LIFT discount is good for two years before you have to requalify. The expiration date will be stamped on the card. After that, the card reverts to being a regular ORCA card.
Once you qualify, obtain your card, and load cash value or a monthly pass onto the card, your card account will be charged the following amounts when using the ORCA LIFT card.
- $1.50 on Everett Transit, except route 70 (new)
- $1.25 on Everett Transit route 70 (new)
- $1.25 on Community Transit local routes (new)
- $2.00 on Community Transit commuter routes (new)
- $1.50 on ST Express buses
- $2.50-$4.25 on Sounder
- $1.50 on King County Metro
- $1.50 on Link Light Rail
- $1.50 on Seattle Streetcars
- $3.75 on the West Seattle Water Taxi
- $4.50 on the Vashon Island Water Taxi
- $5.00 on eastbound Kitsap Transit foot ferries from Seattle to Bremerton and Kingston
- $1.00 on westbound Kitsap Transit foot ferries
- $1.00 on intra-county Kitsap Transit foot ferries
- $1.00 on Kitsap Transit buses
Monthly passes cost $9 per 25 cents of single-ride fare. So, for example, a $54 monthly pass covers the first $1.50 in fare for each ride. For services charging a higher fare than what is covered by your monthly pass, only the difference between the higher fare and the fare the pass covers will be charged. ORCA transfers are good for 2 hours, among all ORCA agencies except Washington State Ferries.
However, you have to use loaded ORCA product on the card in order to get the ORCA LIFT discount.
Pierce Transit and Washington State Ferries are the remaining members of the ORCA pod that do not have a low-income fare. Pierce Transit charges $2 regular fare, which is also what gets charged to ORCA LIFT cards. Washington State Ferries not only charges much more for any of their services in one direction (and free in the other), but also does not accept inter-agency transfers or passes.
See the table at this previous post for the current fares for all payer categories throughout the ORCA pod, except for Washington State Ferries.