A person steps off the light rail at Northgate Station on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A person steps off the light rail at Northgate Station on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

$3 per ride: Sound Transit sets new fare for all Link trips

In fall 2024, it will be a flat fee on the Link, no matter the distance. The change comes just as light rail expands to Snohomish County.

LYNNWOOD — Just ahead of the arrival of the Lynnwood Link extension, Sound Transit is shifting its fare structure.

On Friday, the Sound Transit board approved a flat fare structure for riding the light rail. Starting in fall 2024, it will cost $3 for any trip along the Link. Sound Transit’s current fare structure has rides between $2.25 and $3.50, depending on the length of the ride.

Sound Transit also offers an all-day pass. It is the first fare hike since 2015.

The Lynnwood Link extension is expected to begin service at the end of 2024. The line goes through Seattle, all the way to Sea-Tac — with plans to connect to other lines all around the Puget Sound area in the coming years.

Riders will also no longer have to tap their ORCA card at the end of a ride, since the final destination won’t matter. Riders who don’t tap their cards at the end of the ride have been charged the highest possible fare from the station where they started their trip.

“With easy-to-understand pricing, and ORCA programs to match every income, there’s never been a better time to get on board Link,” Dow Constantine, King County executive and Sound Transit board chair, said in a press release. “Link is expanding to serve more and more communities over the next few years, and this simple pricing will make getting where you need to go even easier.”

The public appears to be split on fares, according to Sound Transit.

“Extensive community engagement found the public almost evenly split on whether to continue with distance-based fares or move to flat fares,” the press release said.

The change will not impact low-income adult ORCA LIFT users. And those 18 years and younger ride the train free.

The fare change marked the end of a busy news week for Sound Transit — the organization’s CEO, Julie Timm, also announced last week she was leaving in mid-January.

Jordan Hansen: 425-339-3046; jordan.hansen@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jordyhansen.

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