Free Public Transit
Public transit should be free.
If elected, I will introduce an ordinance to immediately reinstate the free ride zone and make it citywide. Any trips that originate and terminate in the city, which we can track via adjusting the ORCA system to be “tap-on, tap-off” for all trips, will not charge riders any fare. This will not be an issue with the monorail and soon-to-be-expanded streetcar, which will simply become walk-on, fare-free transit services.
Our city will raise the funds to do this via Seattle's JumpStart tax, as well as the creation of a new transit tax for large employers. Through this initiative, the money that they already pay in the form of bulk monthly transit pass purchases will instead go towards ending fares for everyone. Also, we will work with SDOT to utilize unspent Move Seattle Levy funds. See the complete financial breakdown on the budgeting page.
Given that many of Seattle’s workers and residents cross the city limits for work or other essential needs, the Puget Sound region should offer free and seamless transit to all its residents. Eliminating fares would end racially biased fare enforcement on Link Light Rail, eliminate all administrative costs related to fare collection, and provide a huge cash benefit to poor and working-class families who rely more heavily on transit. Furthermore, free fares would undeniably increase ridership and reduce car trips, which we urgently need to do to combat the climate crisis.
Seattle, via its groundbreaking JumpStart tax on large corporations, can change this paradigm. The area’s large corporations will stop paying for monthly passes and instead help cover the cost of free transit.
These changes will encourage other cities and counties served by regional agencies to enter into an interlocal agreement to help get us over the line on truly fare-free transit, but we will not wait to do it here in Seattle. Seattle must lead by example on our region’s most urgent issues.