The number of young people who rode Metro and Sound Transit buses, trains, and streetcars surged this past summer during a reduced-fare program launched by King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Excluding ORCA cards offered through other programs, Metro’s youth ridership increased to 376,000 boardings, up 35 percent from the previous summer. Youth ridership on Link light rail increased 42 percent while Streetcar boardings increased 25 percent. Youth ridership has historically decreased during the summer.
The pilot project offered 50-cent fares for Metro buses and $1 fare on Sound Transit light rail and buses between June and September. Metro distributed more than 11,000 free ORCA Youth cards during the promotion. The city of Seattle also issues free ORCA Youth cards to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch and whose card expire during the summer.
Nearly two-thirds of 108 young passengers who participated in a customer survey said they rode transit more often because of the reduced summer fare.