What happens when you can’t afford a transit fare and you need to get to a doctor appointment, a job interview, or a shelter? Maybe you pray that the bus driver will be kind and let you board. Or maybe you get caught by fare enforcement, slapped with a steep fine and kicked off the train far from your destination. Maybe you ask passers-by for change and bear their suspicious looks. Maybe you’re lucky enough to find a service provider to give you a free ticket or two. Or maybe you just end up walking for hours.
Thousands of King County residents face these tough choices every day. The stress and time wasted when you can’t reliably get from A to B make it extremely difficult to overcome the many other challenges that people with very low incomes face in our increasingly unaffordable region. As wonderful as the ORCA LIFT reduced fare program is, it doesn’t meet the needs of riders who can’t easily pay $1.50 per ride or $54 per month for a transit pass.
Here at the Transit Riders Union, we are celebrating because this week we took a major step towards making our public transit system affordable for all. The King County Council voted to take steps to implement low/no-cost transit fares for Metro’s lowest-income passengers, with the goal of having this new program in place by 2020! Our big job next year, 2019, will be to work with King County Metro and elected officials to create a robust and well-designed program.
This is a huge deal and a great way to end 2018. (Not that we’re done yet… stay tuned for some big news next week!) Want to celebrate with us? Come enjoy music, food and drink, and great company at TRU’s happy hour fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 29 —RSVP here.