Metro Starting Reduced Fare Program

King County Executive Dow Constantine has announced a new reduced-fare program for lower-income riders on King County Metro. The public transit system will be the second in the nation to offer this type of fare.

Working with Public Health-Seattle & King County, Metro will identify those who qualify as lower-income riders and be able to offer rides for $1.50. The program will take effect on March 1, 2015 when new Metro fares are put into place, mainly increasing regular fares by 25 cents.

The program is a result of a task force and two years of research and collaboration between Constantine, the City Council, the task force, and human service agencies. City leaders say the program is designed to allow greater equity and access to public transit throughout King County.

Riders will be eligible for low-income fare if they are at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, currently $23,340 for an individual. Each rider will be issued one card with no new card or renewal fee. There is a replacement fee for a lost or stolen card. Eligibility must be re-verified every two years. After two years, the card can be used as a regular adult fare ORCA card.

Public Health-Seattle & King County will work with Metro to partner with local community groups and make sure lower-income residents are aware of the new program and get signed up. Public Health will also help Metro develop third-party service agencies and community-based providers that can verify eligibility, monitor the program, aid in enrollment, and support the program.

About 45,000 to 100,000 riders are expected to qualify for the reduced-fare program. Applications will likely be accepted around February.