The Transportation Access Programs are gearing up for our fall programming!

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Quick bites of our Transportation Access Programs (TAP) stories below! 

  • All Seattle Promise Scholars are eligible for a fully subsidized ORCA card 
  • We’re talking to seniors about transit changes resulting from the three new North Seattle Light Rail stations 
  • The Youth Ambassadors Program is returning this fall, giving youth the opportunity to learn about equitable transportation and practice skills like community organizing 
  • Welcome to SDOT’s new Director, Greg Spotts! 
  • ORCA LIFT fares are lowering across participating transit agencies in the Puget Sound region 
  • Free Youth Fares for folks 18 and younger are officially in effect 

Story of the Month

Photo of a SDOT Transportation Access Programs employee tabling for Promise Scholar ORCA card distribution at South Seattle College

We’re Proud to Support the Seattle Promise Scholars 

School is back in full swing this fall! This year, the Seattle Promise Scholars Program welcomed new students into their cohort at North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, and South Seattle College. The Seattle Promise Scholars Program changes lives by offering Seattle public high school graduates two years of free tuition at any of the Seattle Colleges, equity scholarships, and student support and advising. 


TAP is proud to support the Promise Scholars by providing them with fully subsidized ORCA cards during their time with the program. Earlier in September, the TAP team tabled at the Promise Scholars orientations to set incoming scholars up with their new ORCA cards, reaching over 500 Scholars in person! We are continuing to mail out ORCA cards to Scholars who were unable to stop by during their orientation.  


Scholars that were 19 or older at the time of the orientation received new fully subsidized Promise Scholars ORCA cards. Scholars that were 18 or younger are eligible to take transit for free under the recently passed Move Ahead Washington transportation package and should continue using their ORCA Youth cards that they received in high school, regardless of the expiration date on the back. TAP will mail students their Promise Scholar ORCA cards prior to their 19th birthdays.  


Scholars that didn’t receive a Promise Scholar ORCA card or are 18 and younger and don’t have an ORCA Youth card can request one by filling out our online application form. For more information, please visit our TAP Promise Scholars Program webpage. 

Program Updates

We’re Talking to Seniors About What They Think of Recent Transit Updates 

Seattle welcomed three highly anticipated Link Light Rail stations last October in North Seattle! These new Light Rail stations did not come alone; they were accompanied by other changes to transit, including several northern bus line reroutes. All these changes last fall had reverberating effects among all transit users in Seattle, including our seniors. Now that these changes are running smoothly and folks have had time to adjust, we want to ask our seniors if these transit updates are working for them and how we can improve. 

We reached out to seniors at four different senior centers last year and heard from them that while the new stations were exciting, they would need time to learn how to navigate them, and the accompanying bus reroutes reduced their mobility and added to travel times. In response, TAP will be hosting a set of in-language focus groups this fall to better understand how seniors are responding to the transit changes after the initial adaptation period with the help of partners like the Lake City and Northgate Senior Centers. We’ll take their feedback to see how SDOT can work with King County Metro and Sound Transit ensure service updates benefit everyone in our community. 

 The Youth Ambassadors Program is Returning! 

The Youth Ambassadors are back this fall! Our Youth Ambassadors Program creates opportunities for youth to learn about topics like mobility justice, transportation access, climate justice, and transportation equity. Youth Ambassadors can look forward to practicing community organizing, advocacy, and outreach skills in this paid role.  

This year, TAP is partnering with the Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to put on the Youth Ambassadors Program. SYEP supports youth ages 16-24 from qualifying-income households and communities that experience racial, social, and economic disparities by connecting them with meaningful careers. 

Applications for SYEP’s Foundations and Pathways will close soon on October 19; successful applicants will be placed in various career-oriented positions based on the interests they express and will be considered for placement with the Youth Ambassadors Program! 

Please visit our Youth Ambassadors Program webpage for more information.

Welcome, Director Spotts! 

The TAP team is happy to say hello to Greg Spotts, the new SDOT Director! Greg left Los Angeles, his home of nearly a decade, to help build a more connected Seattle. “Spott” him out and about; he’s committed to a car-free lifestyle over the next few months to get to know our streets, and the challenges and opportunities for improving Seattle’s transportation landscape! If you’re interested in inviting Greg to a listening tour in your neighborhood, please fill out his Listening Tour Request Form. You can also follow all of Greg’s Seattle escapades through his Twitter account. 

Partner Updates 

ORCA LIFT Fares are Changing! 

Following several board approved measures throughout the Puget Sound transit agencies earlier in the fall, fares for ORCA LIFT have been lowered. ORCA LIFT cardholders can now take one-way trips on the Link Light Rail and King County Metro Buses for $1 instead of $1.50. Please see below for the full list of fare updates for ORCA LIFT: 

Fares with ORCA LIFT 

Participating Transit Agencies 


  • Everett Transit 
  • King County Metro Buses 
  • Kitsap County Buses 
  • Seattle Streetcar 
  • Sound Transit LINK Light Rail 
  • Sound Transit Buses 
  • Sounder Trains 

Variable reduced fares

  • Community Transit ($1.25 local, $2 commuter) 
  • King County Water Taxi ($3.75 West Seattle, $4.50 Vashon Island 

Full fare 

  • Pierce Transit ($2) 
  • Washington State Ferries ($9.25 for walk-ons) 

ORCA LIFT is a type of reduced fare transit card offered by King County Metro to qualifying low-income individuals. To learn more or apply, please visit King County Metro’s Reduced Fare Portal.

Youth Ride Transit for Free in Washington! 

Free youth fares have begun! Riders 18 and younger can take transit on services run by King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, Via to Transit, and Washington State Ferries for free.  

Vehicle passengers and those walking on the Washington State Ferries will need to have a valid ORCA Youth card or ask for a ticket at the ticket booth as youth tickets will no longer be available online or at self-serve kiosks. Drivers 18 and younger will be required to pay the adult vehicle and driver fare.  

The Seattle Center Monorail will not offer free fares at this time unless you are a student at The Center School. If you tap your ORCA card on the Monorail you will be charged a youth fare.  

If you are a Center School student, an additional barcode sticker will be provided to you. You can tap this barcode sticker to take the Seattle Center Monorail for free. Please contact Center School admission specialist Kathy Webb if you still need a sticker.

For more updates on Washington free youth fares, please visit King County Metro’s webpage for Free Youth Fares.

Looking for More Information?

Email us at or visit our TAP webpage!