Employee Transportation Program makes it easy to get around 

King County employees are saving time and money while reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions by making the most of their Employee Transportation Program benefits.  

In January 2019 alone, almost 7,300 employees used public transit at least once, saving money on gas, parking costs, and wear-and-tear on their personal vehicles. Last year King County employees took more than 2.2 million transit trips across 12 transit services, saving $3.5 million in fares.   

“Over time, the Employee Transportation Program has been adding more services so County employees have even more choices to commute to work, go to a game, or run an errand,” said Hossein Barahimi, Employee Transportation Program Manager. “Most recently, Link Light Rail, Sounder Trains, and Kitsap Fast Ferry have been providing reliable commute services for employees, decreasing commute times, increasing flexibility, and improving work/life balance. During the past five years, our employee transit ridership has grown three-percent each year.”  

Employees’ identification badges double as their ORCA Transit Pass, making it easy to carry while providing what amounts to a $2,400 annual benefit, as a comparable transit pass would cost $200 per month retail. 

King County employees may travel on buses, Kitsap foot ferry and fast ferry, Sounder train, water taxi, street car, light rail, and Trailhead Direct for free. In addition, if an employee joins a Vanpool for commuting, their King County ID/ORCA badge covers $65 per month toward their vanpool fare. 

For employees working outside of Seattle who carpool, bike, or walk to work there is a special incentive program that allows them to earn a monthly $20 REI or gasoline gift card. Employees who carpool, bike, or walk to work for at least 11 days each month and who use this mode for more than half their commute miles would qualify. 

“I feel it is appropriate that we all recognize and appreciate the fact that ETP would not have been able to provide all these extra services and commute options to employees free, if it wasn’t for the leaders we have in King County,” said Hossein. “Our leaders have been supportive of our program and they have been providing the funds necessary so employees have more commute choices.” 

According to the American Public Transportation Association, taking public transit is good for your wallet. “The average household spends 18 cents of every dollar on transportation, and 96% of this goes to buying, maintaining, and operating cars, the largest expenditure after housing,” APTA reports. “A household can save nearly $10,000 per year by taking public transportation.”  

Find out more about your transit options at the Employee Transportation Program website.