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New fare system, free rides for youth among Spokane Transit changes

Spokane Transit riders have new ways to pay for their bus fare, plus new reduced fare and zero-fare options.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Riders with Spokane Transit now have new options to pay for a ride, or in the case of youth 18 and younger, not pay at all.

New changes took effect with STA on October 1. They include a new fare collection system, a zero-fare pass for youth, and new and expanded reduced fare options.

Connect Fare System

Spokane Transit has rolled out a new fare collection system that is account based. Passengers can pay their fare using a Connect smartcard or through the STA mobile app.

Both the physical Connect cards and eConnect cards can be created in the STA Connect mobile app. Passengers can use the app to register an account, add value, select an autoload option, check their current balance, and view ride history.

Passengers can also add fare value to Connect cards at the customer service counter at the STA Plaza.

The new Connect cards include the option of fare capping, which will only charge customers for the rides they take, without upfront costs of a month or day pass.

The new fare collection system is now in place on fixed-route buses and Paratransit cans.

Reduced fare option

New and expanded reduced fare options will be available on STA fixed route service. The reduced fares include:

  • Any rider 60 and older or individuals with disabilities qualify as Honored Riders and are eligible for a 50% fare discount.
  • The new Stars and Stripes fare category offers a 50% fare discount for active-duty military personnel and veterans.
  • A 20% fare discount is available in the existing Student fare category, for those enrolled in vocational training, apprenticeships, and any other post-high school or educational courses.

Zero-fare for youth

A new zero-fare option is now available for all youth 18 years and younger. It includes unlimited free rides on fixed routes and Paratransit services.

In order to get the free rides, youth ages 6-18 will need to apply for a Zero-Fare Rider’s License. Kids 5 and under can ride free with an adult.

Some required documentation is needed to apply for a Rider’s License, along with an application to fill out. The form is available online here or at the STA Plaza customer service counter at 701 W Riverside.

STA said there will be a grace period for youth riders through the end of the year, where those who have not yet acquired the Zero-Fare Rider’s License can simply tell the driver their age for a free ride.

The free rides are part of the Move Ahead Washington transportation package that was approved earlier this year. It includes funding for free public transit for youth across Washington state.

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