Management & Operations

A year in, Seattle's low income fare program a success

Posted on March 9, 2016

After its first year, Seattle officials say its ORCA LIFT program, which provides reduced fares for low-income riders, is connecting more people to job and educational opportunities.

The program, which was launched by King County Executive Dow Constantine, has gained attention in other metropolitan regions, such as Boston and Charlotte, N.C., as an example of how regional governments can increase access to opportunity.

"The success of ORCA LIFT shows the rest of the country how transit can be part of the solution to our nation's growing income inequality," said Constantine. "By helping more people get to that higher-paying job or college class, we are helping passengers climb the ladder of success."

The number of qualified riders who use ORCA LIFT cards has increased each month since the program started a year ago. A recent survey found that 42% of riders have taken the bus and light rail more frequently since they received their ORCA LIFT card.

More than 3.7 million trips were taken with ORCA LIFT cards on King County Metro buses and Sound Transit Link light rail during the program's first year. More than 25,000 King County residents have signed up for the program so far. Both transit agencies are now increasing access.

Constantine, who is also chair of the Sound Transit Board of Directors, recently announced that the cards can now be used on all Sound Transit ST Express buses and Sounder trains, covering King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Metro Transit recently started a new program, LIFT Kids, that waives the $5 purchase fee for an ORCA card for the children of LIFT participants.

An innovative approach to delivering service

ORCA LIFT has been profiled by national news organizations in part because of its innovative approach to connecting riders with the new card. Metro is tapping into the network of community partners that Public Health — Seattle & King County created to help nearly 200,000 residents sign up for health care during the initial enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.

Riders can get ORCA LIFT cards at more than 40 locations across King County, including community colleges, food banks, human service providers, nonprofit organizations and health clinics. King County's one-stop approach to connecting people with services that help them succeed decreases the amount of time they waste traveling to multiple locations.

ORCA LIFT complements other programs offered by Metro and Sound Transit, such as the Regional Reduced Fare Permit for the elderly and disabled, the Seattle-King County human service ticket program for the homeless and reduced fares for youth ages six to 18.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

The most and least affordable cities for public transit

In the wake of the increase in New York, where a monthly unlimited pass now costs $121, a new analysis shows the affordability of more than 70 transit systems across the U.S.

MBTA had nation’s highest bus maintenance costs in 2015, study finds

The agency had the highest vehicle maintenance costs per hour of bus operations among the 25 largest U.S. public transit agencies in 2015.

AC Transit launches Flex service pilot project

The pilot’s design employs smaller 12 seats buses (each fully-ADA compliant with Clipper Card readers and fare boxes) and offer riders the choice of which existing Line 275 bus stop they would like to begin and end their travel.

Profile: Kevin Coggin, Executive Director of Coast Transit Authority

“On Friday, I go to bed, and the wind is about 110, 120 miles per hour — something that’s significant, but not something that’ll make you sit up straight in your chair,” recalls Kevin Coggin of the days before Hurricane Katrina.

Gov. Baker withdraws support of plan to cut MBTA weekend rail service

The proposal to cut the weekend service for a year, which had been heavily criticized, was among a number of options on the table as the public transit agency looks to close a $42 million budget gap.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (1)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close