Seattle Lowers Transit Fares for Low-Income Residents

Joining Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, and Kansas City, Seattle now offers reduced bus fares to low-income residents. Some worry the program entrenches class differences and doesn't truly aid social mobility.

1 minute read

May 14, 2015, 2:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Chicago Bus

David Wilson / Flickr

For Governing magazine, Daniel Luzer reports on a new program out of King County, Washington in which low-income residents will pay $1.50 rather than the usual $2.75 to ride the Metro bus. The intent is to lower barriers keeping the very poor away from jobs. 

The public reaction has been mixed. "'The point of public transportation,' says Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union, a Seattle group working to improve transit in the city, 'is to provide affordable transportation -- for everyone.'" With rents on the rise, a two-tiered system might prop up the idea of 'two Seattles,' even on the bus. 

Besides, residents who qualify may not even elect to sign up: "A decade after San Francisco introduced its program, fewer than 6 percent of riders participate, even though 20 percent of Bay Area residents live below the poverty line."

Friday, May 1, 2015 in Governing

View of small-town street with brick buildings and cars parked in diagonal parking with string lights going across street in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.

Norman, Oklahoma Eliminates Parking Mandates

The city made a subtle, one-word change that frees up developers to build parking based on actual need and eliminates costly unnecessary parking.

September 14, 2023 - Next City

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

View of Boston from Bunker Hill with statue in foreground

Boston to Begin Zoning Code Update, Mayor Announces

It’s been nearly 60 years, but the city of Boston is finally ready to do a comprehensive rewrite of its zoning code.

September 14, 2023 - The Boston Globe

Sidewalk in Seattle with yellow fall leaves on the ground and cars parked next to the curb.

Proposal Could Mandate Sidewalks as Part of Seattle Complete Streets

Almost a third of the city’s neighborhood streets lack sidewalks.

6 hours ago - The Urbanist

View of San Francisco neighborhood from top of hill with misty bay in background.

San Francisco Supervisors Punt Housing Ordinance

After hours of public comment, the zoning reform package aimed at increasing housing production and limiting red tape was delayed for further discussion.

September 24 - SF Standard

Woman wearing helmet riding POGOH bike share bike in bike lane in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh Launches Adaptive Bike Share Fleet

The new bikes include a recumbent bicycle and a front-loading cargo bike.

September 24 - Pittsburgh Magazine