I am very disappointed that Metro and the City of Seattle continue to work against low income and no income folks. Unfortunately the reality is that there are many citizens of our community that cannot afford a $1.00 loaf of bread let alone bus fare. Many residents rely on Metro as there only means of transportation and when you are low income even $2.25 is too much. By eliminating the Free Ride Zone you take away the only means of transportation for many low income/no income folks to engage in services and healthcare in the downtown core. It feels as if you are working hard to make sure only upper income folks come into the city. I hope that you will reconsider your decision and continue to support low and no income residents with a Free Ride Zone.
It sounds good. The good side: to stop crime and criminal activities on the buses . I saw bad guy came so close to the bus driver and going to hit the bus driver, stop bad people jumps on bus ,from bus to bus after committed crime, when owners of business call the police, they already jump on the bus and disappeared ,when the officers show up, it was too late to catch them. The other side ; many good people no longer can enjoy the experience of riding a bus inner city .
As a bus driver, I am fully in favor of eliminating the Ride Free Area (Metro is considering a replacement to serve social service locations with smaller vehicles). As a night driver, I would also like to see an elimination of the OWL transfers, as far too many people on my bus after midnight ride for hours at a time, using the bus for shelter when 30% of shelter beds in the County go empty each night. Having people in various states of inebriation, poor hygiene, and mental health instability pack the bus in the wee hours of the morning far from help should it be needed adds incredible stress to both drivers and passengers using the bus for legitimate commuting purposes.
I had an idea that I would like to have considered... it goes along with the free bus pass vouchers that will soon be sent out to residents who renew their tabs in or after June 2012. I think it would be great if they could have an opt-out option to donate the vouchers instead to The Compass Housing Alliance, Homeless in Seattle, or any one of a number of groups / agencies providing help to less fortunate citizens of King County. This would also be eco-friendly as it would eliminate paper vouchers going unused or being thrown away.
Eliminating the Ride Free Area in downtown Seattle will have a negative impact on the tourism industry in Seattle as visitors use the free ride zone to get around to downtown shopping, museums and other attractions and, more importantly, it will have a significant impact on our low income, homeless, and elderly neighbors in Seattle who rely on the free ride area to get to vital survival services, medical appointments, hygiene services, shelters and housing in the downtown area. If the plan moves forward to eliminate the ride free zone, we must provide alternative free transportation for people desperately in need of it and increase the amount of subsidized bus tickets for people. People need to get to vital services in the downtown area and other services not included in the Ride Free Zone, like Harborview. Offering some of kind shuttle bus to life saving services could be another solution.
Eliminating the ride free area is another short term thinking example that will make downtown Seattle a less user friendly place to live. I believe if the County follows through with this plan the low income, elderly and homeless people in our community will be severely impacted. I strongly recommend that some form of assistance is provided to address the potential harm it could do to those we should be providing assistance to.
King County Metro Transit Implementation plan for Ride Free Area elimination and transition to pay-on-entry