Proposed Fare Policy Changes

Public Comment Period is August 4 - September 11, 2017

Community Transit, along with other Puget Sound transit agencies, are working on developing a new electronic fare payment system. This new system, called the Next Generation ORCA Project (ngORCA), will eventually replace the current One Regional Card for All (ORCA) smart-card system which has been in place since 2009.A customer swipes his ORCA card at a Swift Station.

A simpler fare system will reduce cost and time needed to create the ngORCA system. After a year of study, transit agencies identified two changes that will streamline fares in the region: removal of zone fares and peak fares.

Community Transit is considering removal of zone fares. This change will eliminate fare overrides on 400 and 800 series commuter routes.

If approved, this simplified, Community Transit fare structure will take effect July 1, 2018, at the same time similar changes are being made by Sound Transit and King County Metro.

We invite the public to comment on this proposal starting August 4, 2017.

Current Fare Structure and Proposal

Currently, Community Transit customers may pay a “local” fare on a commuter route (Commuter Route numbers usually begin with a "4" or an "8") if they are only traveling within Snohomish County.  Also, customers who ride Routes 421, 422, 424, 425 or 821 and only travel from Lynnwood to Seattle may pay a lower commuter fare - shown as “Commuter South/Everett” on our fare charts.

Community Transit proposes to simplify fares on commuter routes. This means the option of paying a "local" or lower commuter fare if your trip is shorter, will be eliminated.

How the Proposed Fare Policy Change Would Work

Under the proposed Fare Policy Change:

  • Whether you ride Route 421 from Marysville to Seattle or from Lynnwood to Seattle, you will always pay the “Commuter – North/East” fare.
  • If you ride Route 416 from the Edmonds Ferry to Hwy 99 or all the way to Seattle, you will always pay the “Commuter – South/Everett” fare.

Customers who do not want to pay a higher fare to make the same trip can choose an alternative route. 

For example:

  • Instead of taking Route 421 from Marysville to Lynnwood, a customer can take Routes 201 or 202 to make the same trip, paying the “Local” Fare.

  • Instead of taking Route 421 from Lynnwood to Seattle, a customer can take Route 402 and pay the “Commuter – South/Everett” fare.

  • Instead of taking Route 416 from the Edmonds Ferry to Highway 99, a customer can take Route 130 and pay the “Local” fare.

Below we use Route 421 as another example. Here is what a trip from Marysville to Lynnwood Transit Center to Seattle looks like now; under the proposed fare structure; and an alternative trip that results in a lower fare.

Table comparing current Rte 421 fare, proposed fare and alternatives under Proposed Fare Policy Change

Community Transit provides other local and commuter routes that allow customers to continue travel to their current destination without paying more. A list of these local routes is available on Page 4 of this document.

A Title VI Analysis has been completed as required by federal requirements and Community Transit’s policy.  This analysis measures the impacts of this proposal on minority and low-income customers.

Public Comment

The Public was invited to comment on this Fare Change Proposal August 4 - September 11, 2017.

Comments could also be made in-person during the Public Hearing held at the Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

The Board of Directors will vote on the Fare Policy Change at the regularly scheduled Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday, October 5.