The move is expected to raise millions for King County Transit and cut down on the frequency of drunks having uh-ohs in their pants while riding the bus. But it is also expected to be a burden on the poor who rely on the service for basic transportation.
And it will undoubtedly have unforeseen consequences.
But wait! We're going to make some educated guesses at possible results of the new policy. That way, when they come to pass, they won't be exactly unforeseen. Rather, they'll have been predicted by the good people at The Daily Weekly, and we'll get mad cred.
Here we go:
1. A spike in panhandling
No, we're not going on an anti-homeless rant here. We're going on an anti-Canadian rant. We've known for some time that Canadians fresh off the boat have used the ride-free zone to see the wonders of the first-world without any American tender in their pocket (and then had the nerve to complain about bathroom stall privacy!). Now that they'll have to cough up greenbacks, expect to hear a lot "Spare a quarter there, eh?" talk going around.
2. DSHS Gentrification
As you no doubt have heard, 47 percent of you are leeches on our society, sucking the last drops of blood from our debt-ridden corpse of a nation. But have you ever tried to get off the 3rd and Virginia stop to go to the Department of Social and Health Services and score some of them Obama bucks? It can be an intimidating process. Now, with these services for the poor no longer served by affordable transportation, us middle-class folks will feel more safe going to pick up the government checks Mitt Romney says we say we deserve. And after that, it's make way for the Starbucks.
3. The Seattle Center - a.k.a. Seattle's Disney Land - will plummet in visitation
The Seattle Center isn't in the ride-free area. But it is close, and with enough stick-to-it-ness, even the most drug-addled Seattleite can slouch beneath that orange tower's glory, magic mono-train be damned. But not come Saturday. Come Saturday, the American promise that hard work and two feet can give you a slice of the American dream (a.k.a. Spending the day at the Seattle Center) is just that, a dream, to be wiped away when sun rises and you are still in Pioneer Square (that last part was an adaptation of an Obama speech. True story).
4. Two words: Hop ons
You're gonna get lots of hop-ons.
5. A creeping acceptance of pay-to-play government services
A year ago, there was some consternation in Washington that you had to pay $35 for a vehicle pass to state parks. What was the point of a state park, we asked, if not to offer them to all-comers in the public, be they rich or poor? But we slowly accepted it, if not before those of us unfortunate enough to own two cars successfully protested that the fee should apply to both vehicles. We've accepted that public universities should cost as much as private universities. With the end of the ride free area, we'll slowly get used to another instance of exclusive public services, that just because a service is by the people, doesn't mean it should be for the people.