Sound Transit Board approves simplified fare structure, eliminating two-zone system

The Sound Transit Board approved phasing in changes to ST Express Fares at their April board meeting. On July 1, bus commuters with an ORCA Lift or Youth pass will see a flat $1.50 fare, while Senior or Disabled pass holders will pay a flat $1 fare. On July 1, 2020, Adult riders will pay a flat fare of $3.25 on all ST Express bus routes. The new fare structure eliminates the previous two-zone fare system in favor of one simple fare throughout the ST Express service area.

“This new simplified fare structure provides our bus commuters with an easy-to-use system,” said Everett Council President and Sound Transit Boardmember Paul Roberts. “One flat fare for all our ST Express routes provides for seamless regional travel as we work with our agency partners on the next generation of the ORCA program.”

Current fares
Flat fares starting July 1, 2018
1-zone trips
2-zone trips
All trips on all routes
ORCA LIFT (low-income) 
Youth (age 6-18)
Senior/Disabled (RRFP)
Flat fares starting July 1, 2020
Adult (age 19-64)

Sound Transit is one of seven Puget Sound transit agencies that came together in a 2016 Fare Forum to define shared policy values to inform the design of the next generation of the One Regional Card for All (ORCA) fare system. A major recommendation from the forum was the elimination of zone-based fares for bus service. In 2017, the King County Council and Community Transit Board of Directors adopted simplified fares on King County Metro and Community Transit services. Governing bodies of Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit and Washington State Ferries all accepted forum recommendations.

The next generation of the ORCA fare system will allow transit patrons to utilize multiple forms of payment. Customers will see improved access to ORCA via mobile app, user-oriented website and an expanded retail network. The transition to the new system is expected to begin around late 2021.

Schedules and transit center locations for the agency’s Sounder commuter rails service, ST Express buses, Link light rail and Tacoma Link are available at

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