Is Sound Transit doing away with free Tacoma light rail rides?

TACOMA, Wash. -- Sound Transit officials are mulling an idea to abandon free rides on the Tacoma Link Light Rail, and local opinions about the idea are mixed.

For the past decade, customers have been given free rides on the train, but people may soon have to pony up some money.

The Tacoma Link has been the only free ride in Sound Transit's system, and people have few complaints.

"It's a nice system to ride. It beats the bus because it comes, what, every ten minutes?" said Rudy Webster.

Up until now, Sound Transit hasn't charged for the service because it would have been more trouble financially than it was worth.

That can't-beat price tag has boosted Link to more than a million passengers per year, and now Sound Transit wants to explore the idea of charging for every ride.

Most riders don't seem to mind the idea of charging per ride, but their idea for pricing doesn't match up with what Sound Transit is looking at. Many riders say they'd be willing to pay anything from a quarter to a dollar, but Sound Transit is suggesting $1 to $2 per ride.

A Thursday night open house meeting will take public comment on the idea and a vote on the plan is expected to come later this month.