This week the King County Council took action on several measures to simplify our fare structure and increase access to affordable transit for our lowest income residents. After a series of public meetings, we heard from residents that the current fare structure of peak, off-peak, single zone, and multi-zone fares was complicated and confusing.
Next July, riders will see a single fare cost of $2.75 to ride anywhere within the system, any time of day.
For over two-thirds of riders, this new flat fare will mean no change to their per-trip cost or a small decrease. For off-peak single zone riders, this will be an increase of $0.25.
Affordability remains a priority and we have directed Metro to increase ORCA LIFT outreach to communities most likely to be affected by the fare change. In addition, we made investments in the King County Human Services Ticketing program to offset any fare change impacts to our lowest income riders. This brings our total investment in the Human Services Ticketing Program, serving primarily homeless residents, to $4 million. Lastly, we approved eliminating the ORCA card fee for Regional Reduced Fare Permits for riders who are over 65 or those with a disability and Medicare card holders.
Taken together, this package of transit reforms responds to the concerns heard from King County residents and moves us towards a simpler, more equitable system.