Transit riders in King County and the greater region struggle with the complexity of Metro’s fare structure. It includes a peak-time surcharge and two zones with an adult-fare surcharge on trips crossing the zone boundary during peak.
Metro and the six other regional transit agencies that represent the ORCA (One Regional Card for All) smart-card system have committed to looking at simplifying fares across all agencies as they prepare for improvements and modernization of the ORCA system. As part of that process, Metro is considering options that would allow for speedier boarding, improve safety for drivers, help increase ridership and further reduce barriers for vulnerable populations.
This month, Metro invites the public to provide direction on fare change options and longer-term work on fare-related issues by participating in an online questionnaire. In April, the public will have additional opportunities to provide feedback on fare change options via a second online survey and open houses.
The public can find the survey as well as sign up to receive updates via Metro’s fare review website.
Metro encourages all transit riders to participate, including youth, older adults, students, ORCA Lift riders, riders with disabilities, as well as schools, employers and community-based organizations. Metro also is contracting with community organizations to hear from harder-to-reach populations so their input is considered as Metro assesses options and develops programs to address affordability and access to transit. Feedback during the outreach process will be used to draft proposals. A final proposal will be submitted to the King County Council for consideration in June.
Metro also is convening an advisory group to consider various fare options and advise on additional work Metro needs to do to make transit and ORCA more accessible to people. The group, which will meet three times through May, comprises employers, social service organizations, advocacy groups and others, and serves in an advisory role to provide input on fare options and longer-term programs. Meetings are open to the public for observation. Details are available on the project website.