Sound Transit is celebrating Tacoma Link's birthday by holding events at Tacoma train stations. Tacoma Link, the 1.6 mile light rail line in Tacoma, has now been running for a decade and has had 9.4 million trips aboard the train. Tacoma Link is 100% subsidized, as fare collection would have cost more than fare revenue would generate. But that could change.
The Sound Transit board is going to decide whether to impose fares at their next meeting in September. Sound Transit’s own resolution states that “Tacoma Link no longer meets criteria for continued operation as a fare-free service.”
Analysts have said that a 75-cent fare would reduce ridership by about 25%, from 1 million yearly passengers to 760,000. At 75 cents, it is estimated to pay off the capital cost of collecting fares in about five years. Sound Transit's estimates of fare impacts on ridership can be found here.
Sound Transit is in the process of expanding the rail network in Tacoma. Currently, a 2.3 mile extension is being evaluated through an environmental review.