The King County Council has passed legislation that will now grant young people free year-round public transit. Dubbed the Free Youth Transit Pass, the measure passed unanimously earlier this afternoon and will now allow all King County residents under the age of 19 to ride for free starting later this summer.
The new system will replace a current fare structure that charges $1.50 for non-discounted youth ages 6-18. Under the state’s recently adopted Move Ahead Washington package, King County Metro is now eligible for an estimated $31.7 million in grant funding. This revenue far exceeds the roughly $10 million in annual fares collected from youth under age 19.
Metro will now begin developing a program to distribute ORCA cards across King County and will launch an information campaign based on school and community outreach. Any youth, including students, who currently have an ORCA card can hold onto it and begin using it in the fall as their Free Youth Transit Pass. Any expiration date on the card will be extended.