Young people 18 and under will soon be able to travel for free on all Sound Transit transportation starting September 1.
On July 28, Sound Transit’s board of directors unanimously approved a new policy allowing free fares for children and teens. Previously, the reduced fare for young people was $1.50.
“Today’s decision will not only increase affordability for young people and families, but it will also increase their opportunities,” said Kent Keel, Board Member of University Place and Chairman of the Board of Sound Transit. . “Free fares mean easy access not only to schools, but also to jobs, after-school activities and youth programs. It also initiates a new generation into the habit of becoming lifelong transit riders.
Sound Transit said an ORCA card or other fare carrier is not required for young people to ride free and young people will not be turned away or penalized if they do not have an ORCA card. No personal information will be collected either, the agency added.
Youth ORCA cards issued by schools in the 2021-2022 school year will continue to work until June 30, 2023. They are encouraged to use it while driving, according to Sound Transit.
Starting in 2021, children and teens will be invited to get a free youth transit pass that will allow them to use a card, or their smartphone in the future, to access free transit by common in the region.
Young people without a free youth transit pass may be asked to show a student ID or proof of age and will receive information on how to obtain a free youth transit pass for young people, according to Sound Transit.
The policy allowing free fares for children and teens was prompted by the Move Ahead Washington transportation package passed by the state legislature last spring, directing all Washington state transit agencies to adopt a free policy for passengers under the age of 19.
Recently, King County Council approved a law granting free year-round access to public transit for people under the age of 19, called the Free Youth Transit Pass.
For more information on how youth can ride regional transit for free, visit info.myorca.com/youth-ride-free/.