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King County Council Member Dave Upthegrove: Free Youth Transit


Free public transport for young people

Dear neighbour,

With the end of school and summer fast approaching, the children will be out in the community to enjoy a break from their studies. Being able to ride a bus to your local pool or park will be free this summer for low-income students in grades 8-12 who order an ORCA Summer Youth Pass.

Passes will work on the bus, light rail, water taxi and more to help young people get around this summer! Students can go online to order their free pass at card/.

This free summer pass for low-income youth is a big step forward, but we need to do more.

That is why I am sponsoring legislation to create a new permanent free bus pass for ALL young people, regardless of income. This new pass should be available for the start of the new school year for all young people up to the age of 19. The pass will operate year-round on King County Metro transit services.

The free bus service for young people will be an important and interesting improvement. This will ease the transportation burden for many families and remove barriers for many children. This change will likely encourage more young people to use the bus – and hopefully continue into adulthood – reducing traffic congestion and pollution for everyone.

The county funds local parks and pools

As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to enjoy the local parks, beaches, trails and pools. Being in nature is great for our physical and mental health, but not everyone has easy access to open spaces and safe places to play. Recognizing the need to maintain and expand our parks system, voters recently renewed a parks tax, and the first round of funding has just been approved by King County Council.

Grants included:

    • $3.5 million to the City of Renton to fund projects at the Henry Moses Aquatic Center, Hazen High School Pool and Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park;
    • $1 million for three projects in the City of Kent, including the renovation of Salt Air Vista Park, the renovation of Morrill Meadows Park, and improvements to trails and signs along the Green River Trail and the Intercity Trail;
    • $100,000 for the Des Moines Metropolitan Pool District;
    • $100,000 for the City of Tukwila for its study of the Tukwila Youth and Seniors Center;

These significant investments in South King County will help ensure that more people can be active, relax in nature and enjoy the beauty of our community.

Empower young people

I recently joined students from Foster High School for a community discussion hosted by Teens for Tukwila. We broke into small groups to discuss topics chosen by the teenagers as important to them. We talked about their concerns about the rising cost of rent and the need for a living wage for them to thrive, not just to survive. They shared their fears about sexual assault and their enthusiasm for the community center for young people and seniors offered by Tukwila – a place where they could meet up with friends outside of school hours. I have been encouraged by the thoughtful discussions led by these students and I remain committed to ensuring that young people continue to have a voice in civic decisions.

That’s why I’m also continuing my Youth Advisory Council and I look forward to welcoming a new cohort of young people this fall. More details on how local youth can get involved will be available soon.

Now is the perfect time to engage in our work and share your thoughts on the legislation before us. My team and I are available by email at [email protected].

You can watch Council meetings via live broadcast on the Councils website or on KCTV Channel 22. We take feedback from the general public on the 4e Tuesday of each month.

To learn more about testifying before the Council, visit:


Dave Upthegrove

Member of King County Council
District 5

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