A Sound Transit fare ambassador checks with a light rail rider. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

A Sound Transit fare ambassador checks with a light rail rider. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Fare inspections at Sound Transit Link stations begin June 3

Passengers will need proof of payment within fare paid zones at boarding areas

Sound Transit will introduce a new fare inspection process in which fare ambassadors will check passengers for proof of payment at Link light rail station platforms and boarding areas between Angle Lake in SeaTac and Northgate in Seattle.

The first phase of the rollout will begin on Monday, June 3, according to a Sound Transit news release. Fare ambassadors will continue to conduct fare checks on board Link and Sounder trains.

Fare ambassadors will conduct fare paid zone inspections within the designated fare-paid areas of Link stations, which may include station platforms. During the first phase, fare paid zone inspections will occur only on the 1 Line (which goes between Angle Lake SeaTac and Northgate), at downtown Seattle stations at different times, and will be expanded in later phases.

Sound Transit relies on fare revenue to operate its services; the Sound Transit Board approved fare paid zone inspections as part of the updated fare compliance policy in 2022.

The new process seeks to increase fare inspections during peak ridership times and make it easier for fare ambassadors to help people obtain fares or services, according to the news release. Sound Transit expects platform checks to improve fare collection rates by enabling fare ambassadors to provide passengers found without proof of payment with options to pay rather than issuing a citation.

The first phase of the new program will run through August. During this phase, fare ambassadors will test several methods of platform inspections before the Aug. 30 opening of the 1 Line expansion to Lynnwood.

When Lynnwood Link opens, Sound Transit expects heavy ridership and crowded trains during peak periods. Fare ambassadors on platforms will be able to help new riders navigate the system and will ease the fare check process.

During the first phase of the rollout, Sound Transit will collect passenger feedback about the experience through an online survey. Survey results will influence refining the fare inspection process for the second phase, set to begin in September.

Sound Transit developed the new fare compliance approach in partnership with communities disproportionately impacted by the effects of fare nonpayment. The agency will track the program’s performance to ensure equity goals and inspection targets.

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