Seattle Courant Archive

Seattle City Council Discusses Light Rail Fares

Seattle City Council Discusses Light Rail Fares

By Andrea Cirignano
February 03, 2009

A fare system has not yet been established that will meet Sound Transit’s goal of recovering 52 percent of operating costs with rider fares yet been established.

According to Jan Drago, Seattle City Council Transportation Committee Chair, if Sound Transit recovers 52 percent of costs with fares, that will double the current King County Metro bus system recovery rate.

"We did look at a number of options," said Sound Transit program manager Brian Brook.

These options included, among others, matching the King County Metro pricing structure and eliminating a ride-free zone in downtown. According to Brook, a distance-based pricing structure seems to most closely match needs of riders and of Sound Transit, and eliminating a ride-free zone for the light rail could help recover at least $2 million in operating costs.

An elimination of the ride-free zone would only affect light rail riders. The ride-free zones would continue for both Metro and Sound Transit bus riders in downtown Seattle.

Sound Transit Link Light Rail will accept the same forms of payment as the Sound Transit bus system, but will not accept bus tickets at this time, nor will they accept any forms of payment replaced by the new O.R.C.A. or Smart cards. Brook said Sound Transit continues to work towards making transfers between Metro and Sound Transit and bus and light rail "as seamless as it can be."