No fares for Skagit Transit passengers 18 and under

The Skagit County-based agency changed its policy in light of the latest state transportation package.

MOUNT VERNON — Skagit Transit has joined a growing list of public transportation agencies allowing anyone 18 and younger to ride for free.

The Mount Vernon-based agency, which reaches north to Bellingham and south to Everett, made the change this week. The Legislature’s transportation package, Move Ahead Washington, offered more public transportation money for agencies that adopted policies that struck youth fare.

“We at Skagit Transit see a lot of value in youth riding for free,” executive director Dale O’Brien said in a statement. “We believe that more young people will discover how convenient public transit can be and will ride for years to come with rides being so accessible.”

Community Transit and Everett Transit expect to see a boost of millions of dollars from the move.

Last year Everett Transit collected under $100,000 in youth fare revenue. The agency estimates getting $758,427 in state grants between this October and June 2023, then $2 million each following year.

The Everett City Council, which oversees the city-run transit operations, on June 1 approved the change set to take effect July 1.

Community Transit, which covers the rest of Snohomish County, could get $12.1 million annually from state transit support grants. It got about $529,000 in youth fare in 2019.

Transit agencies can use that money however they want so long as they let youths 18 and under ride free.

On Skagit Transit, eligible riders can tell the driver their age to qualify for the free fare for now.

In August, Skagit Transit will require passengers age 15 and older to use its electronic fare system, a smartphone app called Umo, to board. They can also get a free Umo youth card at the Skagit Station customer service office, Community Action Skagit and schools, or mail proof of age with a request for a card to Skagit Transit.

Passengers 14 and under can use the Umo system or just board. A parent or guardian must accompany children younger than 8.

Umo cards are free and available at transit centers in Bellingham and Mount Vernon.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

The Tulalip Tribes have joined state and local leaders in calling on residents to stay home when not performing certain essential activities. Six Tulalip Tribes members had tested positive for COVID-19, including a tribal elder who died of the disease, according to the tribes. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Tulalips say US Supreme Court ruling undermines tribal sovereignty

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote: “Indian country is part of the State, not separate from the State.”

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
With influx of patients, Everett hospital’s ER is overwhelmed

Providence set up a command center and diverted resources. A nurse said we’re watching “the collapse of health care.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Search begins in earnest for Monroe interim superintendent

Meanwhile, Superintendent Justin Blasko is still on leave, and school officials are keeping quiet about his future.

Michelle Koski (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Genealogy helps crack 1990 Snohomish County homicide of Seattle teen

Michelle Koski was 17. Her body was recovered near Maltby. A Seattle neighbor was identified as the suspect Thursday.

Granite Falls
Granite Falls man died after crashing into tree

Kenneth Klasse, 63, crashed June 14. He was pronounced dead a week later. Police continued to investigate.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash near Lake Stevens

Around 10 p.m., a motorcyclist and a passenger car crashed north of Lake Stevens. The man driving the motorcycle died.

Most Read