Metro and Sound Transit roll out summer youth fares, youth ORCA cards

This afternoon, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle City Council member Rob Johnson (who also serves on the Sound Transit board) announced reduced summer fares on Metro buses and Sound Transit trains and buses for all youth in King County between the ages of 6 and 18.

From mid-June through Labor Day, a ride on a Metro bus or on the Seattle Streetcar will cost youths only 50 cents per trip, and Sound Transit buses and trains will cost $1.00.

An ORCA Youth card is required for receive the fare; Metro is giving them away for free (instead of the usual $5 charge) to all eligible kids. Constantine and Johnson hosted an event today at Ingraham High School where ORCA Youth cards were being distributed. Youth ORCA Cards can be ordered online, or picked up either at Metro Customer Service downtown or at an ORCA To Go event.

Seattle runs a separate ORCA Youth program during the school year that averaged 400,000 bus rides per month, but drops to 130,000 per month during the summer. This year, the city has also extended that program through the summer months for kids in grades 9-11.

Johnson says that he has two goals for the program. The first is to make it easier for kids to get where they need to go over the summer, including activities, school, and jobs. The second is to make the bus as convenient as taking a car for low and fixed-income families.

Metro and Sound Transit did not disclose the cost of the program. Johnson did note that he hopes the current pilot program to allow companies to pay for the right to use Metro stops for their employee shuttle van stops could be made permanent and the revenues used to subsidize the summer youth fares in future years.