Pay What You Can: Income-Based Fares for Public Transportation
This week we’d like to share an article on Seattle’s new OrcaLift program, a reduced-fare program for low-income residents who use public transportation in the Seattle area. The program aims to address the issue of the growing income disparity in Seattle, where the high cost of living is beginning to push low-income families into the suburbs. Facing higher transportation costs, these workers sometimes quit their jobs, creating a shortage of low-wage workers in the area. This chart (.pdf) from 2012 by the Transit Riders Union in Seattle shows how the cost of riding public transit has increased for minimum-wage workers. The new OrcaLift program helps low-income families save on transportation by reducing their fares by up to half of the price of a full fare.
Launched back in 2005, the Muni Lifeline program is a similar program that helps low-income families cover transportation costs here in San Francisco. As with Seattle OrcaLift, residents of San Francisco are eligible for the program if they provide documentation proving an income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Eligible residents can then purchase a Muni Lifeline pass for $35—about half the price of the standard adult monthly pass. The Lifeline pass allows for unlimited rides on Muni buses, trains, cable cars and trolleys (but not BART).
To further assist families in need, we also have Free Muni programs in place to provide youths, seniors, and people with disabilities with a gross annual family income at or below 100 percent of the Bay Area median income level with free access to Muni.
More information on the Muni Lifeline eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
To apply to one of the Free Muni programs, click here.
Low-income San Franciscans are eligible for reduced fares throughout the Muni system, including on the 22 Fillmore, shown here.
On Tuesdays we bring you a tidbit of transit news or trivia, either from our own backyard or from around the globe. Thanks for joining us.