King County Executive moves to have free transit for people under the age of 19 by summer's end

King County Executive Dow Constantine has sent a policy to the County Council that would allow people under the age of 19 to ride transit for free starting at the end of the summer. 

The Free Youth Transit Pass builds on King County's program that provides ORCA passes to middle and high school students throughout the school year.

Now, that program will stretch into the summertime for year-round support for those who need travel support.

"Ensuring access to reliable, carbon-free transportation – especially for younger generations who will bear the climate burden – is why I am committed to providing every youth up to their 19th birthday with a free transit pass. Knowing the ease of riding transit to get around means today’s youth will be tomorrow’s transit commuters, and that’s good for traffic, the economy, and the environment," Constantine said in a statement. "Transportation is our biggest source of climate emissions locally, and choosing clean, efficient transit is good for you and the planet."

The Regional Transit Committee and the King County Council are expected to take up the proposed policy change to create a free youth transit pass in June and July. 

Metro expects to develop a program that will distribute ORCA cards across King County, with further card distribution proposed to roll out in 2023 and expanded over time.