Transit Riders Union Concerned Two Class-Based Public Transportation Systems Taking Shape in Seattle

Comments

1
Charles, how can you expect decent people to ride the train if there's no cover charge to keep out the riff-raff?
2
I don't think you have to have a monthly pass to use ORCA LIFT.

http://metro.kingcounty.gov/programs-pro… says:

"How much does it cost to get an ORCA LIFT card?

Nothing. The card is free to qualified individuals. If your card is lost, stolen or damaged, replacement cards cost $5. Users are responsible for the costs to load E-purse value or a monthly transit pass on the card."
3
I wondered why the clientele of Link was so much different than when ai ride the bus.
4
according to the link, the reduced fare is $1.50. what should be the reduced fare price?
5
The Stranger has been good at advocating two classed living in Seattle. Not sure what the problem is with this.
6
LIFT passes fo not cost $50.00 a month. They allow the user to pay $1.50 PER RIDE.
7
@ 6, I called a social service and was told a reduced-fare monthly pass of this kind would $53. i will see if there is confusion and try to clear it up.
8
Transit Riders Union isn't quite right. The city of Seattle is in the process of building a lot of high speed transit corridors that will carry buses. They are a lot less expensive, but many areas (like the Central Area) they will likely carry a lot more people. For example, Madison BRT ridership will probably save more people more time than the station at Capitol Hill (despite costing one tenth the cost).

I also think they miss the big picture as far as Link is concerned. The Capitol Hill Station happens to be at a very high end location (rents in the area are very high). Obviously the college makes up for that a bit. But the lack of a station to serve the larger neighborhood (e. g. 23rd and Madison) means those of lesser means will get nothing little out of the huge public investment that is Link. There is little point in taking the bus and then making a transfer to the train -- you might as well just take the bus the whole way (as you always have).
9
This is the case in every city where there are slow (buses) and fast (grade separated) transit. Why would you think Seattle would be different?
10
Hmmm. This news does put a damper on things. Had been feeling such pleasure -- though from afar, mind you. Have long-since given up trying to afford the city in which I grew up though it stays near to my heart. And wow!! Seattle, finally getting some serious shit together on the rapid transit front. Almost beyond belief, for those of us who have known the city of the sixties and beyond, who have followed developments with a mixture of celebration and regret, & who have understood how critical and slippery an issue this particular one has been. Sad to read that, if I were still living in there, I would likely find myself priced out of access to light rail.
11
If they are really worried about there being two classes of transit riders, maybe we all as one class should pay the same fare? Even full fare loses money for transit....

Even when stuff is free people aren't satisfied. There might be a lesson here....
12
As someone who recently qualified for Orca Lift, it was still very expensive for our household income at the time. And the maximum income for it is very low. And yes, the monthly passes were $53 per person, which is higher than regular price monthly bus passes in many smaller cities, in my experience. Orca Lift just costs what bus passes should cost for everyone, except the very low income who cannot afford it. There is an entirely separate program of (much cheaper) reduced fare for people living on disability and I believe the elderly, if I remember correctly. The regular bus passes are $99 per person if you travel a lot during peak hours and don't want to be charged extra. That's a sizable bill for many lower working class families and others just above the limit for Orca Lift.

I think the main reason that the buses have more extremely poor riders is because they so rarely use fare enforcement, and massive numbers of people jump on the bus without paying. I think this has mixed results. Poor people do actually need to get around. I know that first hand. At the same time, fare enforcement could significantly improve safety of some buses, especially in the middle of the night.
13
Another note about cost: you can just pay $1.50 per ride, but if you ride the bus just twice a day, that's $3 a day. If you do that, say, 25 days a month, that's $75 for the month. 75 > 53.
14
@Charles Mudede Like the other ORCA cards, the ORCA Lift can either be loaded with a pass ($54 for the ORCA Lift cards) or used for $1.50 a trip by loading an e-purse. I'm lucky enough to afford a pass myself, but one issue you missed is the transfer between the two systems for cash riders. A lot of the North End buses, including what were the 71 & 73 express buses starting this Saturday now will only go to the Link Light Rail to continue downtown (& 72 is being discontinued). Metro paper passes for cash don't transfer to Sound Transit, so cash riders will either have to pay twice or take the slower 70 bus from the U District starting Saturday (or walk to Husky Stadium if they live close enough). The thing I'm uncertain of is whether ORCA rides using the cash purse transfer between the two systems without paying double. Fortunately, that's not an issue with the ORCA bus passes.
15
@9: There are many, many drawbacks to the coming forced transfer at UW station (most of them involving significant time penalties from traffic on Pacific and the physical distance from bus stop to train platform), but the Luddite concerns of intransigent cash-payers are not among them.

Cash payment is demonstrably slower than any other method, and needs to dwindle to an extreme rarity if any form of transit is to earn the modifier "mass". It has become a best practice the world over to discourage cash payment both by charging cash-payers more for a single ride and by eliminating all cash-payer transfers. In cities that have fully adopted this practice (and eliminated paper-transfer abuse in the process), the overwhelming majority of the populace carry smart cards -- even for occasional use -- and your concern ceases to become an issue for anyone.

The low-income ORCA is free. And yes, pay-per-ride "purse" fares do transfer between agencies. This is the least of Seattle's problems when it comes to multi-modal integration.
16
(@14, rather)
17
@9: There are many, many drawbacks to the coming forced transfer at UW station (most of them involving significant time penalties from traffic on Pacific and the physical distance from bus stop to train platform), but the Luddite concerns of intransigent cash-payers are not among them.

Cash payment is demonstrably slower than any other method, and needs to dwindle to an extreme rarity if any form of transit is to earn the modifier "mass". It has become a best practice the world over to discourage cash payment both by charging cash-payers more for a single ride and by eliminating all cash-payer transfers. In cities that have fully adopted this practice (and eliminated paper-transfer abuse in the process), the overwhelming majority of the populace carry smart cards -- even for occasional use -- and your concern ceases to become an issue for anyone.

The low-income ORCA is free. And yes, pay-per-ride "purse" fares do transfer between agencies. This is the least of Seattle's problems when it comes to multi-modal integration.
18
(no idea what's going on with the comment numbers and refresh failures today)
19
Totally disjointed systems, with little commonality and apparently different pricing systems. Why can't Seattle just do it right for once? It's not that complex.
20
d.p. The low income ORCA card per ride is $1.50 not free.
21
The card is free, @20, rendering any claims that patrons "need" to pay cash (and still receive unlimited transfers) moot.
22
If you need transit, $53 is not too much, end of story. That's significantly less than the cost of not having it.
23
@22:

Not if you have to choose between using that $53 to pay for transit, rather than use it to pay for groceries, or a co-pay for your doctor visit, or prescriptions, or any of literally scores of other things low and fixed-income people need to pay for out of the pittances they have to spend each month.
24
@23 in that case, you are already super fucked.
25
@24, that's the prevailing attitude of the privileged when it comes to the poor, yes. "They're all super fucked, so what's the use in my lifting a finger to improve society?"
26
A u-pass for UW employees is ONLY 44$/month for unlimited rides on metro/LINK. Other major employers offer their employees similar or better public transportation benefits. Are these employers actually paying the city for the bus fares that their employees use??? My guess is that they are not. I am deeply concerned with how it is legitimate for these organizations/companies to parasitize the public transit infrastructure that the city is spending billions of dollars creating while low-income, marginalized and homeless populations are subjected to humiliation and fines from fare enforcement if caught attempting what amounts to essentially the same thing. Why is OK for UW employees to parasitize public transportation but not homeless people??? Shouldn't we be creating public infrastructure using public funds for those most vulnerable among us such as the disabled and homeless?? Seattle is creating the new transit for the mainstream and the rich and legitimizing their parasitism of it while criminalizing those who can't afford it (fare enforcement.) This a HUGE change from public transportation 10 years ago and i am surprised how easily people accept it and even celebrate it.