Riders will have to pay to use the Tacoma Link in 2022. Here’s what it could cost

TACOMA, Wash. — Since 2003, riders of Tacoma’s light rail link haven’t had to pay fare for their trip.

That will change next year.

Sound Transit decided in 2016 to develop a fare proposal that will take effect when the Tacoma Link expands service into the Stadium District and Hilltop neighborhood.

The expansion, called the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project, is expected to open in May 2022, adding 2.4 miles to the route with six new stations.

Tacoma Link rides have been free thanks to a $29,000 annual subsidy from the Tacoma Downtown Partnership, formerly known as the downtown Business Improvement Area. When the link expands in 2022, the light rail will travel outside of the Tacoma Downtown Partnership boundaries.

The public has a say in what the new fare will be. Sound Transit has proposed two options.

The first option is $2 for adults, $1.50 for ORCA LIFT holders, and $1 for youth, senior and disabled riders.

The second option is $2.25 for adult, $1.50 for ORCA LIFT holders and youth, and $1 for senior and disabled riders.

“Option 1 is similar to Pierce Transit’s fares for adults, youth, seniors and passengers with disabilities,” according to a Sound Transit news release. “Option 2 aligns with Sound Transit’s lowest fare for Link light rail. Both options propose a $1.50 ORCA LIFT fare for low-income adults.”

The public can comment in a survey online at soundtransit.org/TFares. The survey closes July 25.

People can also email their comments to fares@soundtransit.org or call 1-800-201-4900.

A virtual public hearing will also be held at 9:30 a.m. July 15. Information about how to sign up for comment and how to join the meeting is available at soundtransit.org.

This story was originally published by The News Tribune.