Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The end of the Day-Pass as we know near

Thats right kiddies, effective January 1st 2011, Day Passes at Metro are out! Also gone, Family Fares. However, you will need 25 cents more to travel around town starting the same day. Since you will need a higher Pass denomination, that will be $9 more a month.

This brings me to my fares suggestions.

Its time to encourage more ORCA use. Take a look at London for this example. Cash fares should be increased as planned, transfers eliminated, and no more ticketbooks. ORCA Card users would pay the current prices for e-purse fares, providing these users with a discount for not using cash, and having a pre-paid fare instrument. ORCA Card users board faster & have exact change, they should be rewarded with slightly lower fares. In London, the cash fare is more than the Off-Peak AND Peak fares! The only other thing, which has been mentioned more than a few times out in the blogasphere, is creating a Day Pass with ORCA, and Disposable ORCA Tickets (that would provide transfers).

For this program to work effectively, the surrounding transit agencies, that is Sound Transit, Pierce Transit and Community Transit should standardize fares. Everyone has the same local fare is a good start, and the same Zone Fares. ST and CT would need to line up their commuter and county fares, Metro would need to line up with ST Zone fares structure, and everyone (except ST) has the same Local fare. ORCA Card users get $0.25 off each trip, and that comes with 2-hour transfers. Pass holders would load the e-purse discounted price for their pass value. Sounder and Link Trips would cost $0.25 more than current prices to buy a paper pass vs. using an ORCA Card.

Day Passes also need to come out for all users. For ORCA Card users, the e-purse should max out at 2X the highest fare used, for example if you travel on a $2.50 one-way Fare, a Day Pass would cost you $5. If you purchase the suggested forthcoming disposable Day Pass, its 2.5X the highest fare, except that you would need to buy the "Highest Fare" you think you might need in advance. There could be "Local" ($2.25 Value at $5.75) and an "Express" ($3.00 Value at $7.50) to avoid confusion for visitors and non-frequent users. For those that know exactly what they want, they can choose by Value.

These are just my thoughts on this, what are your ideas, which do you like, or could change. BTW, The local Off-Peak Fare Starting Jan 1 will be $2.25, Zone Fares will be $2.50 and $3.00 respectively. As mentioned above, the weekend Day Pass and Family Fares are being discontinued.

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