Fares and service to be partially re-introduced on June 1

These signs will be removed at Link and Sounder stations (photo by author)

For those who are still riding transit for essential business or activities, it’s time to dust off your ORCA cards and keep your cash and cards handy. Three regional agencies have announced plans to re-introduce fare collection as part of a phased recovery process.

Beginning on June 1, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, and Community Transit will have fares on some or all services for the first time since March. The two-month pause in collection has impacted revenues for most agencies and contributed to an increase in “unsanitary conditions” according to Sound Transit. Link will also be boosted to 20-minute frequencies on weekdays, while Sounder remains on its reduced schedule.

Sound Transit will charge discounted “recovery fare” of $1 for Link riders and $2 for Sounder if paying at a ticket vending machine or using the Transit Go mobile app. Riders with ORCA cards will have to pay the regular fare that are assigned, including for LIFT, youth, and senior/disabled riders. ST Express will remain fare-free, with riders asked to use the rear doors unless in need of accessible accommodation.

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Metro ridership plunges during social distancing measures

King County Metro

As most reasons to leave the house (much less travel to the big hubs) disappear, transit ridership is going down with it:

King County Metro has analyzed preliminary estimates and extrapolations to create an unofficial estimate of ridership. The results show an estimated 45% reduction in Metro bus ridership ­– or a drop of 185,000 riders, from an estimated 415,000 to 230,000  – on Thursday, March 12, compared to this time in 2019.

Jeff Switzer, King County Metro
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