In the Puget Sound region of Washington State, a fare payment integration system that used joint passes to allow base fares to be transferred between agencies increased the percentage of riders that made transfers.

25 March 2005
Puget Sound,Washington,United States

Summary Information

This study presents the results of an assessment of transit service integration practices in the United States. Even though little evaluation data is available to quantify the impacts of integrated transit policies and practices, transit agencies agree that service integration supports overall agency goals and benefits customers. This report highlights findings from case studies that examine various types of service integration policies related to infrastructure, schedule, information, fare payment, and special events/emergency services.

A review of the literature was initially performed to obtain a picture of the current state of the practice of transit service integration. The second phase of the project was to gather information about current and past transit agency service integration practices. Transit properties were surveyed through a two step process. An overview survey was administered to a selected group of transit agencies. Responses to the overview survey were used to screen potential candidates for the second stage of the survey. A defined set of criteria were established to narrow down the list of transit properties to participate in the second stage of the survey. The criteria used were integration practice-based and not agency-based.

Based on the responses from the second stage survey, several service integration practices were selected for more in-depth evaluation in the form of site-specific case studies. Case study sites were selected for a variety of reasons:
  • Innovative institutional and funding arrangements between local and regional agencies.
  • Availability of data to measure impacts.
  • A complex environment where coordination efforts have focused on reversing trends that have led to fragmentation of the region's transit system.
  • The region offers a unique example of joint operation of transit services.
  • The region has unique characteristics that help promote service integration practices.
  • Local agencies pre-date the rise of a new regional entity that is attempting to engineer service integration.

    The Puget Sound region of Washington State was one of the 12 agencies that responded to the second stage survey on fare payment integration practices and was selected for case study evaluation. The Puget Sound region includes the following agencies: Sound Transit, King County Metro Transit, Pierce Transit, Community Transit, and Everett Transit. In 1999, they implemented a set of joint passes and in 2000, they agreed to accept other's transfers as payment of base fare.


    Riders have increasingly used multiple agencies for their travel in the Puget Sound region.

    Pierce Transit Survey:
    • The percent using the Puget Pass on other systems had increased from 41 percent in 2001 to 60 percent in 2004.
    • Showed that use of another transit system in the previous 30 days had risen from 19 percent in 1998 to 27 percent in 2004.
    • The awareness that the Puget Pass could be used on multiple systems increased from 65 percent in 2001 to 67 percent in 2004.
    King County Metro Survey:
    • The use of Puget Pass on other systems increased from 12 percent in 1999 to 27 percent in 2000.
    • Showed that the awareness that Puget Pass could be used on multiple systems increased from 61 percent in 1999 to 69 percent in 2000.

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Transit Service Integration Practices: An Assessment of U.S. Experiences

Author: Miller, Mark A., et al.

Published By: TPrepared by the University of California, Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH)

Source Date: 25 March 2005

Other Reference Number: Report No. UCB-ITS-PRR-2005-7


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Goal Areas


Related Metropolitan Integration Links

Link 27: Electronic Fare Payment intra-component

Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


smart cards, electronic fare payment, SmartCard, smart card, SmartCards

Benefit ID: 2008-00555