Moving Forward on a Low Income Fare
By Katie Wilson
Here’s a huge thank you to the many PSARA members who provided petition signatures in support of a low income reduced fare! The Transit Riders Union(TRU) has collected over a thousand signatures and we’re still counting. An impressive number of the petition sheets are pages pulled out of The Retiree Advocate.
For the past six months I’ve been sitting on the King County Low Income Fare Options Advisory Committee. On July 1st we sent our final recommendations to the County Council. These recommendations include: that a low income fare program be created; that anyone with an income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level be eligible; and that Metro should provide the lowest fare possible that will also allow the program to be sustainable. Our recommendations could have been stronger on some points, but overall they are a good and solid foundation – and now TRU and our allies have to pressure the County Council to act on them!
The greatest obstacle is funding: Metro faces the prospect of 17% service cuts next year unless new transit funding is approved. Where is the money for a low income fare program going to come from? We hope a dedicated funding source can be found. In the meantime, TRU will be campaigning to save our bus service!
With bus fares projected to go up again next year (that’s the fifth time since 2008!), we want to let the County Council know that public transit must be affordable for those of us with low incomes. We can’t wait long.
On Monday, July 22, Transit Riders Union members and allies will present our petition for a low income fare program to the County Council at their full council meeting, starting at 1:30 pm on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse. PSARA members are invited to join us at this event! Please help us pack the council chambers. Let’s show our elected representatives that they have a strong public mandate to move forward and implement a low income fare.
Katie Wilson is the Chair of the Transit Riders Union & a PSARA member