The King County Council has passed legislation that will now grant young people free year-round public transit. Dubbed the Free Youth Transit Pass, the measure passed unanimously earlier this afternoon and will now allow all King County residents under the age of 19 to ride for free starting later this summer
StoryThe King County Council has passed legislation that will now grant young people free year-round public transit. Dubbed the Free Youth Transit Pass, the measure passed unanimously earlier this afternoon and will now allow all King County residents under the age of 19 to ride for free starting later this summer. Interviews are available.
The new system will replace a current fare structure that charges $1.50 for non-discounted youth ages 6-18. Under the state’s recently adopted Move Ahead Washington package, King County Metro is now eligible for an estimated $31.7 million in grant funding. This revenue far exceeds the roughly $10 million in annual fares collected from youth under age 19.
Metro will now begin developing a program to distribute ORCA cards across King County and will launch an information campaign based on school and community outreach. Any youth, including students, who currently have an ORCA card can hold onto it and begin using it in the fall as their Free Youth Transit Pass. Any expiration date on the card will be extended.
QUOTES:“We know that the ability to move throughout our region easily and efficiently improves opportunity in life. This is as true for our county’s youth as it is for our workers. The new Free Youth Transit Pass program will further enable mobility for getting to school and anywhere else, all while not costing our often overburdened youth a cent.” – King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove.
“Zero Youth Fare will open opportunities for so many youths in King County—to jobs, to education, to health, to sports, and to so much more. King County recognizes that mobility is a human right, and I’m proud to be a part of removing barriers to mobility and mass transit for our communities. This is an important investment in our youth, our communities, and our futures.” – King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay.
“Free youth transit passes on Metro transit means more King County youth will gain the independence and skills to travel to school and regular activities, explore new destinations across King County, and visit with friends: all without needing a ride from parents or caregivers. Starting in September, everyone under 19 years of age can enjoy this newfound transit freedom at no cost. Get ready now by signing up at www.myorca.com.” – King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci.
“As a middle schooler at Dimmitt Middle School in Skyway, I often took Metro home after end-of-day school activities. Finding money to pay the fare could be a hassle and too often a hardship for many of my classmates. I am so excited that today's King County kids will now be able to hop on board Metro transit to get to and from school and around the county to activities, without having to worry about whether there's enough money on their ORCA card. This important legislation will ensure that all kids in King County have the same, free, access to our transit system and help them become life-long transit riders on what will soon be a zero-emissions transit system.” – King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski.