Effective June 1, Sound Transit will offer temporarily reduced Recovery Fares in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 as the agency re-introduces fares on Link light rail and Sounder. Service on Link will also increase at the same time, with trains running every 20 minutes during the day until after the afternoon commute. Link will continue to run every 30 minutes during evenings and on weekends. Link schedules will be posted on our Reduced Service page when finalized.
Temporary Recovery Fares come as the region prepares for the next phases of recovery and the expected gradual return of riders. The fare of $1 on Link and $2 on Sounder will be available from ticket vending machines through June 30. In addition to ticket vending machines, Recovery Fare tickets will be available on a contact-free basis through the Transit GO Ticket app. Riders using ORCA cards, including ORCA LIFT, will continue to be charged full fare and can be used for transfers. Recovery Fare paper tickets and Transit GO tickets cannot be used for transfers.
Sound Transit is redoubling its promotion of ORCA Lift, a reduced-fare program that gives income-qualified riders discounts of up to 66% on Sound Transit and other regional agencies’ services. Passengers can now qualify apply for ORCA Lift online or over the phone without having to visit a processing site.
Beyond providing money to support transit operations, the resumption of fares will also allow Sound Transit to increase safety and security for essential riders. The agency saw a dramatic increase in unsanitary conditions, rider complaints and incidents of vandalism after fares were temporarily suspended in March. The issues have been associated in part with riders taking repetitive trips without apparent destinations.
All transit staff will continue to wear face masks, and all Sound Transit passengers will be directed to wear face coverings consistent with expanded public health directives. Under current health directives customers are reminded to limit travel to essential trips. Riders should also follow social distancing and other critical health guidelines to protect the community. Sound Transit will continue expanded disinfecting of transit vehicles and facilities, with particular emphasis on ticket vending machines and other high-touch areas including hand rails.
Beginning Tuesday, May 19, fare enforcement officers will begin educating riders about the resumption of fares, including the Temporary Recovery Fare, and providing information about ORCA Lift. Once fares resume, fare enforcement officers will follow social distancing guidelines and request that riders show an ORCA card, a Transit GO Ticket app activated ticket, or a ticket as proof of payment.
The Sounder reductions that have been in effect will continue at this time. Sounder South weekday service is reduced to seven round trips. The cancelled northbound trips are the 1502, 1506, 1508 and 1518 departures from Lakewood, and the 1516 and 1522 departures from Tacoma. The canceled southbound trips are the 1503, 1505, 1509, 1517, 1519, and 1523 departures from Seattle.
Sounder North weekday service remains reduced from four round trips to two round trips, with cancellation of the 1701 and 1705 departures from Everett and the 1700 and 1704 departures from Seattle.
Passengers will find more information on the specific trips cancelled on our Reduced Service page.
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 may not have accurate information for all trips, including service reductions affecting other agencies.
With greater staffing availability to operate service, Sound Transit will increase service on some ST Express routes operated by Pierce Transit starting Sunday, May 24. The new level of service is expected to run through Sept. 19.
The changes to ST Express routes operated by Pierce Transit are as follows:
- ST Express Routes 560, 574, 577, and 594 will return to full weekday service
- ST Express Route 578 will return to full weekday service, along with additional trips during the p.m. peak to account for reduced Sounder South service
- ST Express Routes 566, 586, 590, and 592 will return to most weekday service
- ST Express Route 595 will return to some weekday service
- ST Express Routes 580 and 596 will have service correspond to the reduced Sounder Schedule
- ST Express Routes 544 and 567 remain temporarily canceled
New schedules are now posted on our Reduced Service page.
Previously announced service reductions will remain in effect on other ST Express routes while Sound Transit works with its operating partners on plans for future improvements.
ST Express routes operated by King County Metro:
ST Express Routes 522 and 545 are operating on a reduced schedule with cuts to some trips. ST Express Route 554 is operating with close to full service with only two trips reduced. ST Express route 542 is operating with 17 fewer trips, and route 550 is operating with 12 fewer trips. ST Express Routes 541, 555 and 556 have been temporarily canceled.
ST Express routes operated by Community Transit:
ST Express Routes 510, 511, 512, 513, 532 and 535 are running on a reduced weekday schedule that preserves the overall span of service but at a reduced frequency for select trips.
At this time normal service will continue on Tacoma Link.
The Sound Transit language line is available to provide translation assistance for limited English proficiency persons at 1-800-823-9230
Sound Transit would like to remind our riders that the Sound Transit Security Desk is staffed 24/7. If you ever see anything unsanitary or have public safety concerns on board or at a station, send a text to: 206-398-5268. In an emergency, always call 911.