How to pay
Paying for your ride is easy with an ORCA card. Learn about the fare and pass options that are best for you.

Fare ambassadors

A fare ambassador speaks with a passenger on a Link light rail train.

Fare ambassadors are Sound Transit staff physically present at Link and Sounder stations and onboard trains. Look for their yellow hats!

Our fare ambassadors:

  • Check fares
  • Document Interactions and issue violations
  • Answer questions
  • Teach passengers how to use the system
  • Help passengers purchase ORCA cards and passes
  • Help riders find the ORCA fare that is best for them, like an ORCA LIFT card

Fare ambassadors conduct a systematic inspection, announcing their presence before starting at opposite ends of Link light rail vehicles or from a single end of Sounder, inspecting both decks. Have your proof of fare ready and feel free to ask any questions.

Fare compliance

Passengers can pay to take Link or Sounder by tapping their ORCA card before they board, buying a ticket at a ticket machine, or activating a Transit Go ticket on their phone. Learn more about how to pay your fare.

Passengers without proof of payment will receive two warnings in a 12-month period.

Non-payment interactions within 12 months

New Program

1st ​interaction


2nd ​interaction


3rd ​interaction


4th​ interaction


5th and beyond​

$124 Civil infraction​

On the third and fourth interactions without proof of payment, riders will be issued violations. Those can be resolved with Sound Transit through non-monetary options or paying a $50 or $75 fine for the third and fourth violation, respectively.

Repeated non-payment, which is five or more instances of riding without proof of payment in a 12-month period, will result in a $124 civil infraction. This may be referred to the district court.

Riders failing to provide any identification when found without a valid fare will be asked to leave the premises.

What comes next?

Fare Paid Zone Inspections

To help provide a more equitable ridership experience, the fare ambassador team is working hard on a pilot process where inspections would be done inside stations past the Fare Paid Zone markings.

San Francisco’s BART system began performing paid area inspections in 2018, seeing moderate success to the program. Their inspectors review fares both on and off the vehicles, within their paid areas.

During this building period, you may see fare ambassadors out at stations testing it out! Feel free to ask any questions if you happen to see them during one of their tests. And remember, always tap to ride!

Frequently asked questions

The Sound Transit Board of Directors adopted the current fare policy in April 2022.

Sound Transit staff were directed in 2018 to re-envision how fare compliance is conducted. That kicked off an almost three-year process, which included peer research and conversations with community stakeholders that got us to this supportive and educational take on fare compliance.

Fare revenue is part of the financial plan approved by voters to pay for transit improvements and transit service. Without fare revenue, added revenue from taxes, or other sources, would be needed.

Data gathered, through fare compliance, is used to better inform Sound Transit on what is needed to improve the experience of riders on our system.

The inspection process will remain unchanged onboard Link and Sounder. fare ambassadors work in teams, board the vehicle on Link and begin the inspection at opposite ends of the vehicle, working their way to the middle, interacting with each rider as they make their way through.

During interaction with passengers who do not have valid fare, fare ambassadors will work with the passenger, depending on which step they may be at in the policy. All interactions without fare will result in a paper ticket printed with information for the passenger to learn more about the process. Each passenger will receive two warnings before moving to in-house violations at the third and fourth interaction. The fifth interaction will result in a civil infraction, which may be resolved with the local District Court.

Yes. Fare violations started being issued Nov. 15, 2023.

Youth 18 and under ride for free on all Sound Transit services. Fare ambassadors will only ask to confirm the age of a youth. The Free Youth Transit Pass is available and recommended for youth to use.

FYTP is only available to those who qualify for it. Those who use a FYTP without meeting the qualifications will be found in non-compliance with the Sound Transit Fare Policy and taken though the appropriate steps.

ID comes in many forms and Sound Transit recognizes some forms are harder to access than others. The following items can be considered identification necessary for the fare compliance

  • A valid State issued identification or driver’s license;
  • A valid military identification;
  • A valid passport or passport card;
  • A tribal enrollment card;
  • A current school or employment identification card that displays the full name;
  • A library card;
  • A utility bill, paystub, bank statement, government check, or government document displaying full name and current address;
  • A hunting or fishing license; or
  • Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance card.

Passengers who refuse to provide any of these forms of identification will be asked to leave the train.

Passengers will now receive two warnings within a 12-month period before moving to violations that require resolution with Sound Transit.

See the resolve your fare violation page for more details.