Sound Transit to suspend fares on all transit modes until further notice

To protect operators, ST Express passengers will board and exit buses through rear doors whenever possible

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Starting on Saturday, March 21 Sound Transit will suspend fare requirements on buses and trains until further notice to help protect transit employees and riders through social distancing.

In addition, ST Express passengers other than riders using mobility devices or the boarding ramp will board and exit buses through rear doors whenever possible. Front areas of buses will be limited to these passengers, increasing separation from operators whose dedication enables Sound Transit to continue service during the COVID-19 crisis.

"The safety of our riders and employees is our top priority," said Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit. "During this difficult time we are taking all the steps necessary protect public health while maintaining service throughout all service hours. We are committed to serving every customer who continues to depend on our service to get where they need to go."

The suspension of fares and the new bus boarding policy follows the decision to temporarily reduce service on Link, Sounder and ST Express buses operated by King County Metro in light of drastically reduced demand, with ridership currently down nearly 70 percent. Sound Transit remains committed to serving the public and will continue to meet the needs of transit-dependent riders as well as low-income, minority and limited-English-proficiency populations. However, staffing availability, further ridership reductions and/or government directives related to COVID-19 could impact service further as the regional response continues.

During this period, resources normally used for fare enforcement will shift to continuing to maintain a strong security presence on trains and at facilities to assist riders.

During the COVID-19 response riders should take into account that electronic resources such as Google maps, One Bus Away and other applications and websites won’t have accurate information for all trips, including service reductions affecting other agencies. Visit the Reduced Service page on Sound Transit’s website for the latest schedule information.

Downtown light rail service will be replaced by shuttle buses this weekend during work to wrap up Connect 2020 construction. Details can be found here. Riders should sign up for rider alerts to ensure that they receive up-to-date information about service changes, or visit www.soundtransit.org.