If you've ever been mystified about why your bus fare is sometimes $2.50, sometimes $2.75, and sometimes $3.25, you're not alone. Metro Transit is one of the few public transit agencies in the US and Canada that does different pricing for various zones at various points of the day, and according to a recent ridership survey, at least a third of Metro Transit riders are confused—or very confused—by it.
But starting in July of 2018, Metro's confusing fare structure will be simplified to a flat rate. Next year, Metro Transit will implement a $2.75 bus fare, no matter the zone, no matter the time of day. The King County Council voted this afternoon to approve the flat rate, which was proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine.
According to projections from King County, the $2.75 flat fare will actually increase revenue for Metro Transit over the next two years by $3.5 million.
Low-income ORCA LIFT riders with discounted fare won't be affected by the change, but some off-peak riders will see their fares rise by $0.25 per ride. That's why King County Council Member Dave Upthegrove proposed a motion for the transit agency to get more low-income off-peak riders enrolled in ORCA LIFT, which was also unanimously approved. The Council additionally furthered discounts for human services agencies whose employees use Metro Transit.
King County Executive Dow Constantine praised the County Council's vote in a statement released this afternoon. "This will make transit easier for everyone," Constantine said. "For about two-thirds of Metro riders, a flat fare will mean paying the same price or 50 cents less than they do now. With today’s vote by the King County Council, we have taken customer feedback and turned it into action. It’s another example of how our relentless focus on making government better has real-life benefits for residents."