Metro’s bus fares may get a lot simpler next year.

King County Executive Dow Constantine has announced a proposal to establish a single $2.75 fare for all adult Metro passengers, no matter the time of day or where they travel in King County.

Metro currently has one of the most complex fare structures in the nation, with one zone for the City of Seattle and another for all areas outside the city, as well as extra charges during the morning and evening commute.

Metro customers currently pay $2.50, $2.75 and $3.25 for regular adult fares, depending on zone boundaries and time of day.

One-third of riders in a recent survey said the current system is too complex and difficult to understand. In a proposal to the King County Council announced at a press conference, Constantine streamlined Metro fares to $2.75, and increased funding for discounted tickets.

About 65 percent of Metro customers will see no change or a fare reduction, according to boarding data.


Metro spent six months hearing from customers, and received more than 11,000 responses to two public surveys, including one in which 80 percent expressed support for a flat fare.

You can hear Constantine, other elected officials, and Metro General Manager Rob Gannon discuss the proposal in the above video. Customers can check Metro’s fare review website for updates on this fare proposal, as well as Metro’s overall fare review process.

If the King County Council approves the proposed ordinance, it could take effect as soon as July 2018.

An estimated 35 percent of Metro boardings take place during off-peak hours, and those passengers would pay 25 cents more.

  • 21 percent of off-peak riders pay full adult fares without any subsidy or employer-sponsored pass.
  • 14 percent of off-peak riders use employer or organization-sponsored transit passes.

About 31 percent of Metro riders qualify for ORCA Lift, youth, senior and disabled fares. They would see no change.

The ordinance would include additional funding to help passengers who earn very low incomes not covered by ORCA Lift and passengers least able to pay during off-peak hours:

  • Increased funding for the Human Services Ticket Program, from $3.6 million to $4 million, to offset higher cost for social service agencies that distribute discount tickets. Forty-four percent of tickets sold through the program are for off-peak trips.
  • Working with ORCA partners to reduce fees for adult and youth ORCA cards and eliminate the $3 card fee for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Continuing to work with schools, colleges and universities to enhance fare programs for students.