Sound Transit is launching a fare-free program for young riders in the hopes of educating and recruiting future riders and making schools and jobs more accessible to transit-dependent youth.
Seattle’s Sound Transit is making transit free for youth starting in September in an effort to improve access to schools, jobs, and other activities for students and reduce fare compliance challenges. As Charles Pekow reports in a piece for Smart Cities Dive, “Sound Transit will recoup the lost revenue through funding the Washington state legislature allocated in March, when it passed the nearly $17 billion Move Ahead Washington mass transportation package.”
After the passage of the bill, the state’s transit agencies have scrambled to implement free transit programs before the October 1 deadline. “Some already provide free or reduced-price fares for youth. Some provide free transit cards; others check student IDs when young people board.” In the Seattle area, “Sound Transit launched the program on Everett Transit in July and will expand it to six other transit systems Sept. 1, with Washington State Ferries joining Oct. 1.” State Senator Marko Liias, chair of the legislature’s transportation committee, “said he expects the initiative will lead more high schoolers to take public transit to school, reducing the need for school buses.”
Based on data from the student program, the state will evaluate the possibility of free or reduced fares for other groups of riders.
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