King County Metro is proud to be recognized by the Puget Sound Chapter of WTS for our adoption and roll out of the Free Youth Transit Pass, supported by funding from the state’s Move Washington legislation.
As of Sept.1, all riders 18 and younger can ride for free on transit systems across Washington, including King County Metro buses and water taxis, Access paratransit and on-demand services, Sound Transit buses and Link light rail, Seattle Streetcar, Pierce Transit, Community Transit, Everett Transit, Kitsap Transit, Snoqualmie Valley Transit and Washington State Ferries.
“This program and policy change represents a fantastic investment in our riders of the future and we are honored to receive the award,” said Ina Percival, Metro Supervisor for Market and Business Development. “It was a fantastic team effort and included all of our regional transit partners.”
WTS, an international organization that supports, advances and connects women who work in transportation, advocates for shaping transportation to support the public good.
To build awareness of the state-free youth transit program, Metro created advertising campaigns in traditional and social media and has worked to distribute ORCA cards to youth across King County in partnership with community organizations and schools and each of the other regional transit agencies.
The award for Innovative Transportation Solution says “King County Metro rapidly mobilized to launch the Free Youth Transit Pass in September 2022, offering free transit access to thousands of youth in King County in time for the start of the school year. On the heels of the Move Ahead Washington transportation bill, the Free Youth Transit Pass project team launched a new regional youth fare policy, distributed more than 30,000 free Youth ORCA cards, and collaborated with partner transit agencies. Over the course of four months, the primarily female project team coordinated one of the fastest launches of such proportion in the history of Metro. The team exhibited adaptability, creativity, empathy, and ingenuity to make Free Youth Transit a reality for all youth in King County. The team also facilitated a collaborative effort to coordinate with every major transit provider in the region. As a result, thousands of youth can now affordably access mobility options with six different transit agencies across four counties to access educational, employment, and enrichment opportunities.”
“This has been such a rewarding experience and we have more work to do – we’ll be rolling out a number of efforts to help young people understand how to access their free mobility options, as well as continuing to work with a range of stakeholders to improve their experience,” Percival said.