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County Council adopts incentive program to encourage use of public transportation


Renewing car tabs will get drivers eight free bus tickets for the next two years


The Metropolitan King County Council today approved the two-year incentive program to encourage drivers to get from behind the wheel and leave the “driving” to Metro Transit.

“According to customer surveys, 95 percent of Metro riders have access to a car, but choose to take the bus instead,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Transportation, Environment and Economy Committee. “In this time of rising gas prices, this incentive program gives all car owners the opportunity to join the ranks of transit riders leaving their cars parked and discovering the benefits of taking transit.”

“With the rising cost of gasoline, the use of these Metro Transit vouchers can offer riders significant savings over the cost of fuel for driving their own cars,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “Taking the opportunity to ride the bus with these vouchers may introduce or reintroduce people to the benefits and cost reductions of using the bus system. I like to read my paper or catch up on e-mails when I ride the bus. I hope everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to use our transit system, or to benefit those who may not have other alternatives for transportation by donating vouchers to ticket programs with human service agencies.”

Last August, the Council adopted a bipartisan, multi-pronged transit funding plan that maintains current transit service levels, while providing transportation alternatives for commuters who may see a reduction in bus service in their communities. The funding plan includes adoption of the Congestion Reduction Charge (CRC), a temporary charge on vehicle licenses for each of the next two years.

The adopted funding plan included a Transit Incentive Program to encourage drivers to use public transportation. Through this program, each household will be eligible to receive eight bus tickets worth up to $24.

Today’s adopted ordinance implements the incentive program and sets up the program that will allow drivers to donate the value of their tickets toward existing human services ticket programs.

Beginning with the June 2012 vehicle license tab renewals and continuing for the next two years, application for the incentive bus tickets will be mailed out with each car tab by the State Department of Licensing. Individuals can then either request the tickets for Metro bus rides to work, play, or a special event, or they can choose to donate the value of those tickets to the human service agencies transit program.

Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system at and type in “2011-0458”

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