SEATTLE — King County Metro will resume fare collection on all services and routes Thursday, charging riders for the first time since March 21. The transit agency suspended fares in response to the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic, allowing passengers to board through the rear doors and limit contact.
Fares will resume for all buses, Seattle Streetcar rides, Vanpool trips and the water taxi.
According to transit officials, current ridership is about 40 percent of the level seen this time last year, costing Metro an estimated $5.5 million in lost fares each month. With higher ridership expected in the months ahead, the agency said it will need those funds to allow for more non-essential trips. The suspension on fare enforcement will continue through the end of the year.
A few new precautionary measures will be in place as fares resume, including safety partitions separating the driver from passengers. Riders are encouraged to use contactless payment, like an ORCA card or the Transit GO app, to make boarding faster and further limit contact. Mask use will continue to be mandatory, along with physical distancing requirements.
This article originally appeared on the Bellevue Patch