Future of King County Metro – get free bus fare!

The new $20 car licensing fee will allegedly save massive cuts in bus service.  The free-ride zone is also being axed, but a new perk also popped up as I was reading this article: http://blog.seattlepi.com/transportation/2011/08/23/is-killing-the-ride-free-area-an-attack-on-the-poor/

Metro plans to hand out eight free bus vouchers when vehicles are licensed under a “Transit Incentive Program.”

Say what?  I assumed it was some green-inspired wage-against-car-esque initiative that I most certainly could take advantage of as a taxpayer, sure enough: http://metrofutureblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/congestion-reduction-charge-agreement-part-1-what-is-the-transit-incentive-program/

But of course, if you already ride the bus, or won’t take advantage, they hint that you should:

Alternatively, car owners will have the option to donate the value of the tickets to a program that supports low-income residents who depend on transit to access services in their communities.

No thanks, I’ll take my free $20 in bus fare.  Lets consider it an offset for the famed “Discover Pass” and it’s extra fees for buying it from a vendor (http://blog.thenewstribune.com/politics/2011/08/18/rep-j-t-wilcox-slams-30-parks-fee/), as well as the $5 for state parks Washington tries to automatically throw in.

And on an editorial note about getting rid of the ride free area.  This is a great thing for the bus tunnel.  Since light rail came through and now keeps it open late into the night, security is an obvious issue.  After visiting San Francisco, Washington DC and Philadelphia you realize you have to pay before you enter any transit “pavillion”.  I hope we take this step with the bus tunnel, put some pay boxes at street level, throw some turnstyles in:

  • Instant security
  • far less fare-evasion
  • increase efficiency in the tunnel by reducing people who don’t know what they’re doing when they get on the bus.

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