March 25, 2021

Today, Metro Transit announced that the current ORBT free fare period will be extended to early summer.

“We’re glad to offer riders more opportunities to experience high quality transit without needing a fare,” said Metro’s CEO, Lauren Cencic. “We’ve seen tremendous ridership and support for ORBT so far, and it’s been a bright spot during the challenges of the pandemic.”

ORBT surpassed 130,000 rides since launching in November with higher ridership than previous Dodge Street service, reflecting the community’s growing interest in transit and showcasing the service’s resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Metro’s first rapid transit line has averaged 1,200 rides on weekdays, with weekend ridership up by 50% compared to previous Route 2 service.

The extension will continue to bring new riders into the Metro system and allow Metro to align fare collections with other system improvements.

“Before collecting fares on ORBT, we want to ensure a seamless and integrated payment experience across all Metro services,” Cencic added.

This summer, Metro will introduce new fare payment options that will streamline access across Metro’s bus, MOBY paratransit, and ORBT services. Upgrades will include ticket vending machines at transit centers and ORBT stations, updated online fare payments, and purchasing options at stores and vendors across the community. In addition to the current cash and paper fare options, riders and pass partners will be able to manage fares with online accounts and pay for rides with tap cards and a mobile app.

More details will be provided as summer approaches.