Discounted passes allow more people to ride transit, even if they would otherwise face financial barriers. Some customers have their transit passes covered by their work or school, while others qualify for reduced fares due to their age, disability, or income level.
You may qualify for a discounted transit pass if you are:
- Age 19-64? Check with your employer or school to see if they help with transit costs, or purchase a monthly pass
- Age 6-18? You may qualify for an Youth ORCA card
- At or below 200% Federal Poverty Level? You may qualify for ORCA LIFT
- Age 65+, on Medicare or have a disability? You may qualify for a Regional Reduced Fare Permit
- NEW! Enrolled in ABD, HEN, PWA, RCA, SSI, TANF or SFA? Ask your navigator or case manager for information about the new subsidized annual pass. (Read on for additional information.)
Created to better serve riders with no or very low income, the new subsidized annual pass is one of the most significant undertakings of its kind in the country. The pass provides unlimited rides on Metro and Sound Transit services at no cost to the customer. The pass is available to people who live in King, Pierce, or Snohomish county and who are enrolled in one or more of the following state benefit programs:
- Aged, Blind, or Disabled Cash Assistance (ABD)
- Housing & Essential Needs (HEN)
- Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA)
- Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and/or
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)/State Family Assistance (SFA)
For more information about qualifications for these benefit programs or to apply, visit washingtonconnection.org or call (877) 501-2233.
How does the subsidized annual pass work? Starting this month, people who are enrolled in one of those six state benefit programs can enroll in the subsidized annual pass program through Catholic Community Services, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Visit our subsidized annual pass webpage for hours of operation for these enrollment sites.
The subsidized annual passes will be added to ORCA LIFT or Regional Reduced Fare Permit cards and will cover travel on services provided by King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the City of Seattle, including:
- King County Metro’s buses, Access paratransit, water taxi, Via to Transit, and Trailhead Direct (when it is operating);
- Sound Transit’s Link light rail, Sound Transit Express buses, and Sounder commuter rail;
- The City of Seattle’s Monorail and Streetcar.
Mobility is a human right and is essential to move people out of poverty, and to improve economic and health outcomes. In the months and years ahead, Metro will evaluate the new subsidized annual pass program with the help of research experts, which will point to whether transit subsidies at this level have a measurable, positive impact for people with the greatest need. Those results will guide policymakers on the next steps for the program going forward.
For more information, visit the subsidized annual pass webpage or the fares & ORCA webpage.