Bus riders, take notice. Beginning Saturday, Sept. 29, the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle will end. At the same time, riders will be required to pay on entry for all trips in King County.
The pay on entry system will also be used on Sound Transit and Community Transit buses operating in King County. The only exceptions will be on Metro's RapidRide lines at stations with ORCA readers, ST's Link Light Rail and Sounder which allows boarding at all doors and on morning Vashon Island service leaving the Fauntleroy ferry dock for downtown Seattle.
Having everyone pay on entry may add to the time it takes to board the bus, especially in the tunnel and at busy downtown Seattle bus stops during commute times. Riders will be encouraged to exit through the rear doors whenever possible. People who need to, however, such as those with strollers or mobility devices, anyone needing a little extra time, or anyone who needs to let the driver know that they are removing a bike from the rack, can exit by the front door.
If you don't already have an ORCA card, now is a great time to get one to speed up boarding the bus and make it easier to transfer between all the modes of public transportation in the region. Check to see if your employer offers ORCA as a transportation benefit, or buy your own