Sound Transit OKs plan for BIA to cover Tacoma Link light rail fares

The Sound Transit Board of Directors Thursday unanimously approved a plan for downtown Tacoma’s Business Improvement Area to pay Sound Transit $29,000 a year for the next two years to cover net revenue from fares the agency was planning to collect beginning in September.

Tacoma Link is currently the only service in the region that does not charge fares, due to a longstanding Sound Transit Board policy that only allows fare-free service in very limited circumstances, including when the cost of collecting fares exceeds potential revenue. With recent growth in ridership, Tacoma Link no longer falls under that policy, according to Sound Transit officials.

Last year, the Sound Transit Board approved the implementation of fares on Tacoma Link to recover some of the costs of operating the system. Fares would have started this fall at $1.00 for adults, $0.75 for youth and $0.50 for seniors and riders with disabilities, with increases in 2016. Fares are now scheduled to start in September 2016 at $1.50 for adults and $0.75 for youth, seniors and riders with disabilities.