Last Updated: July 15, 2022. Report error / Make suggestion
What is public transportation and how do I use it?
Public transportation (i.e. buses, trains, etc.) is generally the most affordable way to get around. Most public transit is run by counties. You can find information about local transit agencies on the WSDOT website and at the end of this page.
How can I get reduced bus fare?
Most counties in Washington have reduced fare programs for seniors and people with disabilities. If you have a disability, you will need a doctor’s verification (such as from your prison doctor). Some regions provide transit passes to agencies serving homeless and/or low-income people. Contact your local transit authority to find out what programs exist and if you are eligible.
What can I do if I am banned from public transit?
Check with your Classification Counselor before you are released about possible public transit restrictions. If you know you have a public transit ban, you can write a letter to the transit authority asking them to reconsider the ban, or to the judge if it is court-imposed. Your letter should describe: when and why you were banned; what you need public transit for (for ex, school or work); and changes in your life that allow you to use public transit responsibly. Along with the letter, include any relevant evidence, like proof of income, employment, school enrollment, rehabilitation, etc.
Are there other ways to get around without owning my own car if public transit is not convenient?
If you have a smartphone with data, you can download ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. They are like taxis, except drivers use their own car. These services are more expensive than riding the bus, but they are faster and can be useful if you lack other transit options. You will need a credit or debit card to use these services.
What if I can’t get to my medical appointments?
If you have Apple Health (Medicaid) and limited transit access, you may be able to get financial help or even get actual transportation for medical appointments. To qualify, you must have: a current ProviderOne services card; no other way to reach your appointment; and insurance coverage for your appointment. Contact the WA State Health Care Authority (1-800-562-3022) one to two weeks before your appointment to request non-emergency medical transportation.
What if I want to drive my own car? What should I know before buying a car?
To drive your own car, you will need: a valid driver’s license and auto insurance. If you want to buy a car, make sure to do research. In general, check a potential car’s Vehicle Identification Number. If you take out a loan, remember that interest payments can sometimes cost you much more in the long run. If you buy from a private party (not a dealer), you will have 15 days after purchasing to transfer ownership into your name, and you will need to submit relevant forms and fees to a WA Department of Licensing office.
How do I get a disabled parking placard?
If you are temporarily or permanently disabled, you may be eligible for a disabled parking placard. Eligibility rules and application.
Do I need auto insurance in order to drive in WA?
Yes. Under Washington’s mandatory auto insurance law, you can either carry auto insurance, carry self-insurance (if you own more than 26 vehicles), or obtain a certificate of deposit by making a deposit of at least $60,000.
Auto insurance is the most frequent choice and provides coverage for property, medical expenses, and liability. If you get auto insurance, you will be issued an insurance card. You should be prepared to show it anytime you are driving and you may be issued a ticket if you are pulled over and do not have your card.
More Basic Needs Guides
Many organizations offer help with clothes for daily living in addition to job interviews.
Food banks offer food to take home and eat while meal sites provide hot meals at specific times.
Programs helping low-income people access phone and internet service.
Options for transportation and reduced public transit far programs.
Get answers to questions about access to public transit, parking, getting to medical appointments, and car ownership.