Fare change proposal

Sound Transit is considering offering a low-income adult fare on ST Express to align with King County Metro and Sound Transit Link light rail. To offset revenue loss, other fares (for other adults, youth, seniors and people with disabilities) would increase by 25 cents.

Sound Transit is also considering raising fares on Sounder trains by 50 cents for adult and youth riders, and 25 cents for seniors and people with disabilities. To mitigate the impacts of the fare increase on low-income riders, Sound Transit is also considering introducing a low-income discount on Sounder.

In March 2015, King County Metro and Sound Transit’s Link light rail implemented a discounted fare of $1.50 for adult riders with incomes at or below 200% of federal poverty level* and increased fares by 25 cents for other riders. Transit partners in Snohomish and Pierce counties are not pursuing the low-income program.

* To qualify, a household of four would have an annual household income at or below $48,500.

Learn more below then take the survey.

All options exclude Tacoma Link light rail

No Change Option: Implement no fare changes at this time

ST Express Options:

  1. All ST Express fares increase by $0.25, with discounted fare for low-income adults of $1.50 on routes operated wholly within King County.*
    *522, 540, 542, 545, 550, 554, 555, 556, 560, 566, 567, 577

- or -

  1. All ST Express fares increase by $0.25, with discounted fare for low-income adults of $1.50 for in-county service / $2.75 for multi-county service.

Sounder Options:

  1. Sounder fares increase by $0.50 for adults and youth, $0.25 for seniors with Regional Reduced Fare Permit.

- or -

  1. Sounder fares increase by $0.50 for adults and youth, $0.25 for seniors with RRFP, with discounted fare for low-income adults equal to the youth fare.


We want to hear what the community thinks about the fare change options. Your comments and suggestions will help inform the Board’s decision. Public comment period is Sept. 19 – Nov. 5, 2015. A decision is expected to be made at the Sound Transit Board meeting on Nov. 19.
Comments can be submitted by:

  • Online: Take the survey
  • In Person - Seattle public hearing: Thursday, Nov 5th, Union Station, noon-1 p.m., 401 S. Jackson St.
  • Email: fares@soundtransit.org
  • Mail: Sound Transit | Attn: Sunnie Sterling | 401 S. Jackson St. | Seattle, WA 98104
  • Call: 1-866-940-4387

Low-income certification and card distribution would be available only at locations in King County. Eligible riders would be issued special ORCA cards allowing them to pay the reduced fare. Income eligibility would be determined through partner agencies, like Public Health – Seattle and King County, which routinely do such work and which also would help distribute and manage the ORCA cards.

For more information, visit soundtransit.org/farechange or email fares@soundtransit.org. Interpretive services can be arranged with sufficient notice by calling 1-800-823-9230. To request accommodations for persons with disabilities or for information in alternative formats, call 1-800-201-4900 / TTY Relay 711 or email accessibility@soundtransit.org.


  • The Sound Transit Board has previously adopted fare policies that aim to integrate fare cards (such as ORCA) and pricing structures between partner transit agencies.
  • Sound Transit aims for regional consistency in considering low-income and transit-dependent riders.

QUESTIONS? For more information about the proposed fare changes or to request a briefing for your organization, contact Sunnie Sterling, Revenue Analysis Manager, at sunnie.sterling@soundtransit.org.