Free rides on Everett city buses for
all under age 18 start July 1 changes to ORCA Lift fares
EVERETT — Everett Transit will let youth under 18 ride free effective July 1, and also reduce the ORCA Lift fare and introduce a subsidized ridership program.
Transit Director Tom Hingson said May 25 he’s excited because it’s an opportunity for more youth will ride the bus.
A new transportation funding mechanism at the state has a requirement that any transit agency taking grants must make youth fares free.
Everett Transit would get about $2 million in state grants annually under that package. Giving up the youth fares will cost less than $100,000, Hingson said.
“We’re trading $100,000 (in fare revenue) for $2 million, which is not a bad economic decision,” Hingson said.
Community Transit is currently discussing having all youths ride free, too, its spokesman Martin Munguia said.
The ORCA Lift program lets income-eligible riders also pay reduced fares.
ORCA Lift prices would lower from $1.50 to $1 for a single trip, and from $54 to $36 for a monthly pass.
Adult fares would stay at $2, and senior fares would stay at $1.50.
A separate specialty pass Everett Transit plans to introduce would provide free rides for income-eligible riders. The agency plans to develop it this fall together with the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
Rider fares represent about 4% of Everett Transit’s overall revenue, Hingson said.
Hingson summarized that in response surveys, a majority of comments were positive for the proposal. One said free fares will allow their kids to ride the bus. Critics said these programs enable “non-productive” members of society.
People can get an ORCA Lift card if they earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Having Apple Health Medicaid or an EBT food card are automatic eligibilities. To apply or ask questions, call 1-800-756-5437 or go to reducedfare.kingcounty.gov/en-US/orca-lift-main/
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