by Erica C. Barnett
It wasn’t so long ago — just 2018 — that Seattle could be proud of its status as the only city in the nation where transit ridership was actually going up, and the number of people commuting to the center city by car was going down. COVID-19 didn’t just reverse this trend; it obliterated it. Ridership on King County Metro buses is down about 73%, while ridership on Sound Transit’s light rail line has shrunk an estimated 70%. In an attempt to protect drivers from riders who might be COVID-positive, both agencies eliminated fares, and Metro implemented back-door-only boarding, in March. Both agencies also cut service, which has led to overcrowding on popular routes, such as the Route 7, that serve essential workers getting to and from the center city.
Continue reading As Metro Considers Post-COVID-19 Future, Agency Leaders Resist Push for Crackdown on Homeless Riders
By Carolyn Bick
South Seattleites who depend on King County Metro and Sound Transit services to get around may have to adjust their schedules starting on Monday, March 23. The two public transportation systems will be scaling back trips and hours, due to a significant drop in ridership, as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Continue reading King County Metro, Sound Transit to cut trips on almost all transit services
Since its passage, the City of Seattle’s Transportation Benefit District (STBD) has consistently funded transportation improvements across the city, such as more frequent Metro buses, subsidized ORCA cards for income-qualifying residents, and pre-paid ORCA cards for Seattle Public School high schoolers.
Continue reading OPINION: Vote No on I-976
by Mary Hubert
King County Metro has proposed an income-based fare program that would enable King County residents to pay transit cost on a sliding scale.
This plan responds to increasing concern over the escalating costs of metro fares, which currently exceed those of many other major cities. Although Metro recently rolled out its ORCA LIFT program, which allows qualifying participants to pay $1.50 per ride, the growing number of transit users who either cannot afford this rate or otherwise remain unassisted has prompted further strategizing.
Continue reading Income-Based Fare Program Offers Hope, But Some Say Metro Still Needs to Close the Gaps
by Mary Hubert
Susan* is all business as she boards the 7, toting a cart with her that contains most of her belongings and expertly flipping up the front seats on the bus to nestle it securely in an out-of-the-way spot. She rides this route frequently.
Continue reading Some Depend on Generosity of No. 7 Bus Drivers; RapidRide Could Change That