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Sound Transit considers reducing Sounder fares for some passengers

Sounder evening commute at Tukwila Station on May 28, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Sound Transit)

Fares on Sounder trains could go down by nearly $3 for some passengers if a current proposal is passed later this month.

The proposal from Sound Transit is to reduce ORCA LIFT, youth, and senior and disabled fares for Sounder passengers. ORCA LIFT fares are for low-income adult passengers. The board says the move will bring Sounder fares in line with Link light rail and ST Express bus service, and would “simplify” the fares system wide. It also says the fare change would make Sounder more accessible for these riders.

ORCA cards now free for certain low-income riders

A virtual public hearing was held Thursday, Dec. 3, on the fare change proposal. So far, it’s receiving public support.

“Everyone should be able to use Sounder as a commute option,” said one commenter.

The current fares depend on distance traveled, but for ORCA LIFT and youth (age 6-18) it ranges between $2.50-$4.25. Regional Reduced Fare Permit holders, which includes seniors 65+ and riders with disabilities, currently pay $1.50-$2.75 based on distance. The proposed fares would be a flat amount of $1.50 for ORCA LIFT and youth, and $1 for RRFP.

If approved by the Sound Transit Board, these fare changes are expected to be implemented by March 2021. Regular adult fares on Sounder would remain unchanged.

During weekday rush hours, Sounder travels between Lakewood and Seattle every 20 minutes and between Everett and Seattle every 30 minutes. It also serves select weekend events such as Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners games.

An online survey for public comment on the fare change is open now through Dec. 6 here.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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