Countdown: Youth 18 and under will ride free starting Sept. 1
Last updated 9/9/2022 at 8:33pm
The countdown is on.
Beginning Sept. 1, riders 18 and younger can ride for free on transit systems across Washington, including Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit and Sound Transit.
With the launch of the Free Youth Transit Pass program, young riders can use current classic blue youth ORCA cards, or simply board and ride free. New black ORCA cards will be available soon and distributed through schools and customer services.
More innovations are on the horizon in 2023 including the ability to "tap" a smartphone.
Under the state's recently adopted Move Ahead Washington package, transit agencies are eligible for new grant funding if they implement a free youth fare policy by Oct. 1. This revenue far exceeds the annual fare revenue typically received from youth riders.
By having a transit pass at no cost to them, young people will be able to travel to school or a part-time job, see a friend or relative, visit a museum, or explore a hiking trail or park.
King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap counties together have an estimated 645,000 youth aged 6-18 who will be eligible to ride transit for free.
Community Transit is responsible for providing bus and paratransit service, vanpool and alternative commute options in Snohomish County.
The agency is building a network of Swift bus rapid transit lines with the Swift Blue Line along Highway 99, Swift Green Line between Canyon Park/Bothell and Boeing/Paine Field, and Swift Orange Line coming to Mill Creek and Lynnwood in 2024.