Sound Transit Board moves forward with reduced fare for low income riders on Link light rail

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New $1.50 light rail fare to be offset by 25 cent increase for other light rail fares

The Sound Transit Board today approved a new reduced fare for low income riders on Sound Transit's Link light rail services in Seattle. The new low-income fare category aligns with a new low-income fare on King County Metro bus routes.  

"Keeping transit affordable for those of lesser means ensures access to opportunity - the opportunity to get to work, get to school, and get to the services they need to reach their full potential," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Having the same reduced fare for Link and Metro keeps our systems in alignment and makes them simpler to navigate."

The new fares will be implemented in March 2015. All other light rail fares will increase by 25 cents to offset the low-income fare.  Sound Transit will provide the fare discount to riders who pay with special low-income ORCA cards issued by King County Metro or Kitsap Transit.  

The reduced fare will be available to adult riders with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level - about $23,000 in annual income for an individual. To qualify, a household of four would have an annual household income at or below $47,700.  

How the reduced-fare program will work

Facts about the new low-income fare for Link light rail:

  • The reduced fare will take effect March 1, 2015, and will be $1.50 a ride.
  • Riders who qualify must use an ORCA card and cannot pay with cash. No fee will be charged for a new card or renewal. A $5 fee will be charged to replace a lost or stolen card.  
  • The eligibility threshold for a person to qualify for the low-income fare is 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, currently $23,340 for an individual.
  • Eligibility must be re-verified every other year. The low-income fare will expire 24 months after the card is issued. After expiration, it can be used as a regular adult fare card.
  • The low-income fare will be limited to one card per person. Each card must be registered in the ORCA system to an eligible adult.

   For more information on how to qualify for the new program, please see this King County Metro link. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/fares/fare-change-effective-03-01-15.html