How to resolve your fare violation
If you’ve received a Notice of Violation from King County Metro Fare Enforcement for not paying your fare, you must resolve your violation within 90 days of your violation date. Choose one of the options below and complete the instructions within 90 days. For questions or assistance, call 206-263-FARE.
Options within 90 days
You may be eligible to receive a reduced penalty and avoid being placed on a rider suspension list by resolving your violation directly with King County Metro.
- You have up to 90 days to complete a resolution option.
- The fine is reduced from $50 to $25 if paid within 30 days.
- Appeals must be requested within 45 days.
What happens after 90 days
After 90 days, you are at risk of being expelled from Metro service for at least 12 hours. If the violation goes unresolved for 90 days or more, your name will be added to a list of “Pending Expulsions” for one year, or until resolved. During that time, if a Fare Enforcement officer determines upon inspection that you are riding Metro without an acceptable proof of fare payment, you will be issued a 12-hour expulsion from King County Metro services. A single 12-hour expulsion is applied to a single fare violation issued, therefore if you have been issued multiple violations, this could result in multiple expulsions for violations not resolved within 90 days of the date issued. Riding a Metro bus during an expulsion period may result in criminal trespass charges, administered by Metro Transit Police or local law enforcement. At the end of a completed 12-hour expulsion, the violation will be closed.
If you have a violation and 90 days have passed, please call us at 206-263-FARE . Alternative resolution options may be available for extenuating circumstances or demonstrated need.
If you choose to pay the fine within 30 days of your violation date, the fine is reduced to $25. After 30 days of your date of violation, payment of the full $50 fine is required.
To pay online:
Please have your violation number(s) ready. You can pay with debit or credit card.
To pay by mail:
- Complete the Fare Violation Resolution form, which is included in your Violation Resolution folder with your Notice of Violation. You may also download a PDF form. Please print, complete and mail the form with your payment.
- For check or money order, make payment payable to "King County Metro – Fare Violation Program."
Mail payment and the completed Fare Violation Resolution form to:
King County Fare Violation Program
901 5th Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98164
Or use the paid postage envelope included in your Fare Violation Resolution folder.
To pay in person:
Bring your payment (check, money order or cash only) and the Notice of Violation issued by King County Metro Fare Enforcement with you to:
King County Administration Building
500 4th Avenue, Room 600, Seattle, WA 98104
Hours of operation:
- Open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Closed on holidays
Add a minimum $25 value to your existing ORCA card or minimum $10 value to your ORCA LIFT or Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) card.
Funds may be added to any card account:
Once you have added funds to your card, you must:
- Complete the Fare Violation Resolution form and submit online.
- Be sure to enter your ORCA card number on the Fare Violation Resolution form.
Option B is available only once per calendar year and is not available for employer-provided cards. If you do not have an ORCA or ORCA LIFT card, or a Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP) card, see Option C to find out how to get a card.
ORCA LIFT is a program that offers a reduced fare to qualifying riders based on household income. If you successfully enroll in ORCA LIFT within 90 days of issuance of the violation, your fine will be waived upon verification by King County Metro Fare Violation Program.
To see if you qualify or to find an authorized enrollment office, visit the ORCA LIFT web site or call 206-553-3000.
ORCA LIFT process:
- Enroll in the ORCA LIFT program and add a minimum $5 value to your new card.
- Complete and submit the Fare Violation Resolution form.
- Be sure to enter your new ORCA card number on the Fare Violation Resolution form.
The Regional Reduced Fare Permit (RRFP)
RRFP entitles senior riders (age 65 or older), riders with a disability and Medicare cardholders to reduced fares throughout the Puget Sound region. If you successfully receive an RRFP card within 90 days of issuance of the violation, your fine will be waived upon verification by King County Metro.
For instructions and locations, visit the RRFP web page or call 206-553-3000.
- Enroll in the RRFP program and add a minimum $5 value to your new card.
- Complete and submit the Fare Violation Resolution form.
- Be sure to enter your new RRFP card number on the Fare Violation Resolution form.
If Metro's current reduced fare programs do not meet your needs, you may qualify for WA State Dept of Social and Human Services programs, which may include transportation or cash assistance. Visit the DSHS Economic Services Administration for more information.
Perform two (2) hours of community service within 90 days of the date of violation. Community service may be performed at any non-profit organization.
Some volunteer opportunities are:
Option D process:
- Complete the Fare Violation Resolution form (both front and back portions), which is included in your Violation Resolution folder with your Notice of Violation. You may also download a PDF form to print, complete your portion on front side and bring it with you to your volunteer service for obtaining a signature.
- Once you have completed at least two (2) hours of community service, please have a representative from the nonprofit or community organization complete and sign the specified portion of the Fare Violation Resolution Form.
Mail the signed/completed Fare Violation Resolution form to:
King County Metro Fare Violation Program
901 5th Ave., Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98164
Or use the paid postage envelope included with your Fare Violation Resolution folder.
Choose this option to appeal your violation or request an alternative resolution option for extenuating circumstances.
Appeals must be requested within 45 days of your date of violation.
Note: If you choose to appeal your violation and your appeal is denied, you may need to complete one of the options (A, B, C, or D) to resolve your violation before the 90th day in order to avoid possible suspension.
Option E process:
- Complete and submit the Fare Violation Resolution form.
- Be sure to include a phone number or email address, and a best time to reach you.
- Fare Violation Program staff will contact you when we receive your appeal request. We will review the circumstances of the violation and the information you provided to determine if the violation should be upheld or dismissed, or if an alternative resolution may be necessary and available.
- A final determination of your appeal and any further action, if needed, will be provided to you in writing. Please be sure your address or email provided on the Fare Violation Resolution form is correct.
Fare enforcement questions and answers
- Who are the King County Metro Fare Enforcement Officers?
- Why does Metro have fare enforcement officers?
- What do typical fare enforcement operations aboard a bus look like?
- What constitutes valid proof of payment?
- What happens when a customer does not provide fare enforcement officers with valid proof of payment upon request?
- What specific offenses can fare enforcement officers write a Notice of Violation for?
Contact info and hours
If you have additional questions or need to discuss alternative options to resolve your fare violation, please contact us Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
- Phone: 206-263-FARE 
- WA Relay: 711
For in-person assistance, visit the Fare Violation Program team at Metro's ORCA LIFT Office:
- Location: 201 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104
- Day/Hours: Tuesdays only, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Who are the King County Metro Fare Enforcement Officers?
King County Metro Transit contracts with a qualified security service firm to use specially trained officers to provide fare enforcement services on Metro’s RapidRide lines and other routes featuring off-board fare payment and all-door boarding. These officers are authorized by the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) and empowered by Metro Transit to monitor fare payment through the following actions:
- Request proof of payment from passengers.
- Request personal identification from a passenger who does not produce proof of payment when requested.
- Issue citations related to fare evasion.
- Request that a passenger leave the bus when the passenger has not produced proof of payment after being asked to do so by a Fare Enforcement Officer.
Metro fare enforcement officers do not work with or share information with immigration agencies.
Why does Metro have fare enforcement officers?
Transit uses fare enforcement to minimize fare evasion on King County’s RapidRide system and other Metro routes that have off-board fare payment and all-door boarding. Off-board payment allows riders to pay their fare before getting on the bus, which speeds up service by allowing riders to board using any door on the bus. While this feature decreases the time buses spend loading and unloading passengers, it also may increase the risk of riders deliberately boarding without paying a valid fare. To mitigate this risk, fare enforcement officers check riders for proof of payment and issue penalties to riders without a valid ticket or pass.
What do typical fare enforcement operations aboard a bus look like?
- Fare enforcement officers generally work in teams of two or three.
- Fare enforcement officers board RapidRide buses and other routes with off-board fare payment in a random manner, usually at all doors, and make every effort to ask each customer to display their proof of payment. This occurs while the bus is traveling in motion so service is not delayed.
- Fare enforcement officers who are waiting at a bus stop may request customers who are exiting the bus to provide their proof of payment as they exit the bus.
- Customers who paid with cash or a ticket will be asked to display their transfer.
- Customers who utilize an ORCA card for payment will be asked to present their ORCA card for inspection. The fare enforcement officer will then scan the card to verify that the customer tapped their card before or upon boarding.
What constitutes valid proof of payment?
For customers using cash or bus tickets, a valid paper transfer is proof of payment.
NOTE: It is important for cash-paying customers to request a transfer from the bus operator when boarding the bus if the operator does not automatically provide one.
For ORCA card users, the results from an ORCA card reader scan validates fare payment for the trip.
NOTE 1: ORCA card users need to ensure that the ORCA card reader beeps once and displays a green light when tapping their card; this means their pass or fare is accepted. Even though a customer may have an adequate balance to cover their trip on their ORCA card, Metro Transit does not receive payment if the transaction is not successfully recorded and validated by the ORCA system through tapping an ORCA card reader upon boarding.
What happens when a customer does not provide fare enforcement officers with valid proof of payment upon request?
Fare enforcement officers will educate the customer regarding Metro's fare payment policy.
Fare enforcement officers will request personal identification information from the customer including a driver's license or photo ID in accordance with RCW 7.80.060. It is within Metro Transit policy for the fare enforcement officers to take a photo of the customer's identification in order to assist with and confirm accurate documentation of the warning or violation; the photo is used only for fare enforcement purposes.
Either issue a verbal warning or Notice of Violation.
At the discretion of the officer, customers who fail to provide valid proof of payment may be directed to de-board the bus at the next stop in order to gather personal identification and issue a warning or violation.
NOTE 1: The fact that the customer may not be familiar with the fare payment policy does not preclude fare enforcement officers from collecting their personal identification information and issuing a verbal warning. Warnings are recorded in the fare enforcement database.
NOTE 2: Customers found to be without valid proof of payment, who choose to pay upon contact, are still required to identify themselves to the fare enforcement officer. They may be issued a warning or violation if they have a history of fare evasion and/or displayed deceitful behavior to evade fare payment (based on the officer's training and experience).
NOTE 3: Fare enforcement officers have the authority to detain an individual who is to receive notice of violation if the individual is unable or unwilling to reasonably identify himself or herself per RCW 7.80.060.
What specific offenses can fare enforcement officers write a Notice of Violation for?
- RCW 35.58.580(2)(a) – Failure to pay fare
- RCW 35.58.580(2)(b) – Failure to display proof of payment
The penalty for violating RCW 35.58.580
The penalty for each Notice of Violation issued by a Metro Transit Fare Enforcement Officer is $50. Options for reducing the fine and non-monetary resolution options are available. Contact King County Metro Fare Violation Program for resolution options at 206-263-FARE.