After months of free rides, Metro resumes fare collection

VIDEO: King County Metro resumes fare collection

SEATTLE — Metro Transit is once again collecting fares Thursday after they were suspended as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Fares are being collected for all services including buses, Access paratransit, Seattle Streetcar, Vanpool, Via to Transit and other flexible services, and the water taxi to Vashon Island and West Seattle.

Because ridership is expected to increase, Metro made changes so fares can be collected safely with little contact between drivers and passengers.

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Clear safety partitions were installed on buses, Access paratransit, Community Ride, Community Van, DART, and Via to Transit.

Modifications on water taxis were made as well.

Riders are encouraged to use a contact-free payment method such as an ORCA card to speed boarding and protect themselves and the driver.

Fare enforcement remains suspended through the end of this year.

Metro suspended fares on March 21 to protect passengers and drivers from the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Passengers have been getting on and off transit through rear doors.

Suspending fares cost Metro an estimated 5.5 million a month. Current ridership levels are about 40% compared to last year, Metro said.

Riders are still asked to stay home when sick, practice social distancing and wear a mask.