Free youth transit passes soon to be launched across King County
The Free Youth Transit Pass will improve access to mass transit services across the county, allowing King County residents under the age of 19 to ride for free starting in late summer 2022.
The King County Council has announced that it has passed legislation that will now grant young people free year-round public transit. Dubbed the Free Youth Transit Pass, the measure passed unanimously and will now allow all King County residents under the age of 19 to ride for free starting in late summer 2022.
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 programme 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 autumn as their Free Youth Transit Pass. Any expiration date on the card will be extended.
“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 programme will further enable mobility for getting to school and anywhere else, all while not costing our often overburdened youth a cent,” said 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 recognises 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,” said King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay.
“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,” said King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski.
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