Guest Post by Snoqualmie Valley Transportation
Free transportation for youth is already available throughout summers in the Snoqualmie Valley, but starting Sept. 1, it will be here, and on all King County Metro transit options, year-round.
A new Free Youth Transit Pass will replace the use of ORCA cards on Metro routes, and in the Snoqualmie Valley, riders 18 and under will just do what they’ve done all summer, take the bus anywhere they need to go, at no cost.
Snoqualmie Valley Transportation launched its Summer Freedom program in 2019, particularly to help families with children manage their busy summer schedules and provided more than 1,200 rides to youth in its first year. The program has grown in ridership, and each year, youth ridership between June and July increases substantially as teens spread the word about the service.
“We are really excited that now it won’t just be ‘Summer Freedom’ and will be more like ‘Forever Freedom’ since the buses will be free for 18 and under all year,” said SVT Executive Director Amy Biggs.
King County Metro announced this change on the Metro buses on their site, which can be viewed here: Click here for King County announcement.
The impact of the change on daily operations at SVT will be minimal since their Summer Freedom program already included all of the SVT routes.
Biggs estimated that extending free fares to youth for the full year might cost the service about $300 per month in lost fares. However, she felt the benefit to the community, especially to working parents and other residents, was worth it. The Valley Shuttle, funded by King County Metro, is a donation-based service to start with, she said, “and no SVT bus ever charges a fare to connect folks to the larger Metro regional network.”
About Snoqualmie Valley Transportation: Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT) is a public bus service in Snoqualmie Valley. Funded by King County Metro Transit, Snoqualmie Tribe, WSDOT, and donations, SVT provides a variety of local-only bus services in North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City, Preston, Carnation, Duvall and Monroe. More information about Snoqualmie Valley Transportation can be found at: http://svtbus.org or by calling 425-888-7001