StoryThose who depend on Metro Transit for transportation will see bus fares rise in 2015, but the region’s most vulnerable transit riders will continue to have an opportunity to access bus service thanks to the increase to the King County Human Services Bus Ticket Program.
Today, the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously adopted legislation sponsored by Councilmember Dave Upthegrove to allow human service agencies to purchase more bus tickets for distribution to their low-income and homeless clients, and address the impact of transit fare increases.
“Everyone in our community should have access to public transit,” said Upthegrove. “The human services bus ticket program allows the most vulnerable to travel to their jobs, shelters and other services they may need.”
The King County Human Services Reduced Fare Bus Ticket Program provides discounted bus tickets to eligible agencies. The program was established in 1993 to help meet the transportation needs of homeless and low-income individuals. Local agencies that are approved pay 20 percent of the value of the ticket cost and King County Metro contributes the remaining 80 percent of the cost.
“More reduced rate bus tickets will help people like me who are homeless, out of money and trying to improve our lives,” said Becky Slate, a participant with the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE). “We thank Councilmember Upthegrove for working to eliminate the barrier of rising transportation costs to help meet our immediate needs.”
The total annual ticket subsidy is distributed on a negotiated basis between the King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and the City of Seattle's Human Services Department (HSD). Both King County and the City of Seattle allocate ticket funds to organizations based on an annual application process. In 2014, local organizations were awarded a total value of $2.43 million in bus tickets.