A Swift coach passed a parked bus at the Everett Station. (SounderBruce)

On Thursday, Community Transit declared their intention to join several other local transit agencies in offering a reduced fare program for low-income individuals. The low-fare program would be unified under ORCA LIFT, which allows registered participants with ORCA cards to be charged the lower fare. The transit agency could implement the new low-fare program by July, if approved by the board of directors. Community Transit provides local transit service across much of Snohomish County and some commuter routes into King County.

“Access and affordability to transportation in Snohomish County are important to a good quality of life,” said Emmett Heath, Chief Executive Officer of Community Transit. “This low-income fare would allow all residents to participate in our growing community and the strong local economy.”

Under Community Transit’s low-fare program, fares on bus routes that operate within Snohomish County (including Swift lines) will be capped at $1.25, half the price of a normal adult fare. Fares on commuter routes traveling to and from King County will be capped at $2.00. The low-income fare program will apply to both adults and youth. Ultimately, the program matches the fares that people with disabilities and seniors pay.

Proposed fare schedule for Community Transit services. (Community Transit)
Proposed fare schedule for Community Transit services. (Community Transit)

Eligible residents would need to demonstrate that their household income is no more than 200% of the federal poverty level. This would be verified by a local social services provider on behalf of Community Transit.

ORCA LIFT is currently available through other transit providers, including Sound Transit, King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, and Kitsap Transit. Everett Transit, the other Snohomish County public transit provider, plans to eventually implement a similar low-income fare through ORCA LIFT.

Community Transit’s low-income fare program is open for public comment through the month.

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Stephen is a professional urban planner in Puget Sound with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. With stints in great cities like Bellingham and Cork, Stephen currently lives in Seattle. He primarily covers land use and transportation issues and has been with The Urbanist since 2014.