Heads up: Big bus changes in 2010

The highlights:

Another fare increase: Starting January 1st, a one-zone peak-hour trip will cost $2.25. (Note: Youth fares will not change.)
No more Puget Passes: Need a bus pass? Get an Orca card. They’re free until January 31st, and then they’ll cost $5. (Note: All passes purchased in 2009–before the December 15th deadline–will be valid until they expire, and all employer-provided passes will be accepted until the employer makes the transition.)
No more paper transfers between systems: You’ll still be able to use paper transfers within Metro’s system, but only Orca-based electronic transfers will be valid on Link and buses operated by other transit agencies.

You can find all the details in this Metro press release.

Also note: Contrary to the Council’s somewhat misleading press release, February shakeup will include some service loss. Though (thanks to added service in certain corridors) there will be no net loss of service hours, some trips (certainly far, far fewer than we feared) will be eliminated. As far as I know, there’s no way to find out which trips will be cut until the new schedules are published. I’ll post more useful information as soon as I have it.

Update, 1/2: STB posted a good summary earlier in the month.

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