FOLLOWUP: Here’s how ‘free rides’ were used during West Seattle low-bridge closure, and what to do with unused points

After last week’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting, we reported on SDOT’s numbers for “free rides” offered through the Transit GO app during the last of the three weeks that the West Seattle low bridge was closed to street/path use. We also asked SDOT for a breakdown between Metro and Water Taxi usage; today we got that info from SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson:

*900 single-ride bus tickets (including about 100 reduced-fare tickets)

*70 day-pass bus tickets (including about 15 reduced-fare tickets)

*450 Water Taxi tickets (including about 40 senior-fare tickets)

If you have unused points, here’s what happens to those, and another app-related note:

Any points already earned through the “LOWBRIDGE23” code won’t expire but will become inactive after 6 months of inactivity on the Transit GO app rewards tab. At the end of each month, if your status remains inactive, 300 points will be deducted from your account and returned to the provider.

All other rewards campaigns within the Transit GO app are still available to you if you’re interested in more ways to earn rides – information is available in the app for your use as well as on the King County Metro Transit GO web page. We again appreciate the support of the voter-approved Seattle Transit Measure for helping fund these transit trips during the low bridge closure and for the collaboration of our partners at King County Metro.

13 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's how 'free rides' were used during West Seattle low-bridge closure, and what to do with unused points"

  • HarbourIslandworker January 30, 2023 (2:32 pm)

    I doubt this information exists or would ever be shared with the the public but… how many of these trips were actually used by people that use bicycles as transportation or people that perhaps walk across the bridge… how many of these trips were used by people that would actually normally use the low bridge ? And here’s the reason I ask this because if the Seattle department of transportation or Metro ever wants real statistics they need to gather the type of information that I’m talking about in my comment…

    • WestSeattleCyclist January 30, 2023 (3:20 pm)

      Ultimately, does knowing this really matter or change anything?  I personally rode the bus when I would have otherwise ridden my bike, and it was nice to see the city stepping up and making transit more available while there was a problem with a major piece of infrastructure.I’m sure people took advantage of this that would have otherwise not been low bridge users, but maybe they would have driven their car — another vehicle off the road is positive, too.  The city has no way of knowing who uses the bridge normally, so they have to extend the free transit offer to everyone.

      • Harborislandworker January 30, 2023 (4:14 pm)

        You just gave the exact response then I knew that I was going to get… these type of tax funded programs should be used for the people that need them not just anybody that wants to use them because it’s convenient

        • Foop January 30, 2023 (6:13 pm)

          Does it make you feel better to know that I took the water taxi (with my bike) during the closure and used my orca card? So while I was the intended audience for this benefit I chose not to use it and therefore am not reflected in the numbers.Transit should be free for all citizens.

        • Peter January 30, 2023 (6:21 pm)

          That would add massive administrative cost in verifying “needs” them, which would have to be paid with the tax money you claim you’re so concerned about. 

    • RickB January 30, 2023 (8:18 pm)

      You know, every person who takes the bus is doing every one of us a huge favor. You should be grateful for all those vehicles that aren’t on the road when people take transit instead.

    • Taylor January 30, 2023 (9:38 pm)

      I used the promo code to get back to WS on the water taxi after biking through the detour and not wanting to bike all the way around to return. So yeah, I was sure thankful to have that option.

  • jw January 30, 2023 (3:00 pm)

    I would also like to know how much revenue was collected from  going over the low bridge when high bridge was closed and what is it being used for? 

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy January 30, 2023 (3:12 pm)

    I was simply waived on by bus drivers a few times while the bridge was closed.  I got to the stop as the bus arrived multiple times and it takes a few seconds to open the ticket, refresh, and activate.  The moment they saw me clicking something on my phone (even if I was only 1-2 seconds away) they just said go ahead.   So I’m certain more people rode the bus using (or trying to use) these passes than the data indicates. 

  • anonyme January 30, 2023 (3:39 pm)

    You mean the free rides that were available ONLY to those who own smartphones?  I tried to get info from Metro, but there were no alternatives offered on their website and they did not answer emails.  Those not rich or tech-savvy enough to own the right devices and the most expensive data plans are being left out in the cold, with seniors and disabled folks feeling the impact.  Why should the greatest discounts be available only to those who don’t truly need them? Worse yet, this was funded with taxpayer money and should have been available to EVERYONE.  Big fail, Metro.  Again.

  • Peter January 30, 2023 (4:07 pm)

    What is not entirely clear in the above is that tickets on the Transit Go app purchases with the promo points do not expire. If you have points left, it’s best to go ahead and buy the tickets now. 

  • Sparky January 30, 2023 (10:52 pm)

    How to ride mass transit:  Get an ORCA Card and install the myORCA App.  How to get promotional free rides: Install a completely different app and then go through a multi-step process to be awarded points, then redeem your points, then activate the free ride you got from your redeemed with your points.  Then board and wave the QR code at the driver that they can’t scan anyways.  If every mass transit agency as woefully incompetent as ours?

    • anonyme January 31, 2023 (5:42 am)

      Thanks, Sparky.  The logical approach would have been to simply not collect fares for a given time period.  The only reasons I can think of for this convoluted and discriminatory exercise would be that Metro is collecting and selling personal data, or making money off of the apps.  Either way, it’s a joke.

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