The Intercity Transit Authority voted Dec. 4 to implement a five-year, “zero-fare” demonstration project, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The zero-fare system will eliminate fare collection on buses and Dial-A-Lift in an effort to increase access to those services, reduce travel times, and eliminate the need to replace outdated fare collection equipment.

Last year, the community approved Intercity Transit Proposition 1 to expand transit services within the agency’s service area, which includes Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm. With the passage of IT Proposition 1, Intercity Transit committed to nine specific service enhancements that would make the transit system “transformational.” The agency has already implemented 60 percent of those improvements, including earlier and later service, improved frequency, service to new areas, and enhanced facilities.

After evaluating a range of options, including new fare collection technologies, the Authority determined a zero-fare system may be the most efficient and economical way to achieve the transformational transit system voters supported in 2018. It stated that transitioning to zero-fare would not require any additional public investment or result in any service cuts.

For more information on the zero-fare demonstration project, visit this website.