Comment to Sound Transit on ending of the Ride Free Area
One of the most frustrating issues I see, both as a driver of Sound Transit routes and as a passenger, are the delays created by accepting cash payment on the bus. Even the most thoughtful and organized passengers can cause delays by inserting multiple $1 bills or small coins, into the fare box. To see exactly what I am describing, watch a 550 unload at any of the busier stops in Bellevue. The delays can be especially noticeable on a busy weekend when there are more passengers paying with cash.
I urge Sound Transit to study and implement ways to further reduce cash payment including:
. Have the next fare increase be for cash payment only. ORCA users will use current fare structure
. Offer a $.25 discount for ORCA payment
. Provide more outreach to non-English speaking customers about ORCA, how to get one, and how to use it
. Adopt Metro’s RapidRide off-bus payment system, either for the entire route or for selected high-volume areas.
. Provide change machines that dispense quarters and $1 coins at high volume locations. These would allow passengers who need change to get it easily and dollar coins coupled with quarters are almost as fast to use for payment as ORCA passes are.
. Partner with Coinstar to load change onto and/or distribute ORCA cards.
With the discontinuation of the Ride Free Area coming, it is even more urgent for Sound Transit to look at ways to reduce or speed cash payment. Please consider these ideas to keep buses moving and leverage the limited transit funding that we have.