SEATTLE -- King County Metro is considering an alternative free-ride program in Seattle to replace the existing free-ride zone when it ends in September.
Metro may add a fleet of smaller buses that would provide free trips to people who can't afford bus fares. The service would operate on a "circulator route" and provide low-income riders access to social service providers located outside the current free-ride boundaries.
The buses would be vans or mid-size buses similar to the Access Vans already operated by Metro.
Metro will make a decision on whether to proceed by the end of this month. After that, the King County Council would need to sign off on it.
An exact cost estimate wasn't available, but Metro believes the program would cost around $300,000 a year. That's far less than the $2 million per year Metro now spends to subsidize the free-ride zone.