Metro Transit establishes free Magic Carpet zone in downtown Seattle in September 1973.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 2698

In September 1973, at the suggestion of Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman (b. 1935), Metro Transit establishes a 24-hour downtown "Magic Carpet" zone within which patrons could ride any bus for free. The zone replaces a "Dime Shuttle" service previously operated by the Seattle Transit system. The zone has since been expanded, and free hours restricted.

The idea for the ride-free zone was conceived by Uhlman aides Don Munro, who later became head transit planner for Metro, and Keith Kirkpatrick. New Metro Transit director Carle Salley liked the idea, but he had no idea how to budget the cost of transporting non-paying passengers on short downtown hops. Finally, Metro accepted the City's proposal to subsidize the service at the cost of the old Dime Shuttle: about $64,000 per year.



Walt Crowley, Routes: A Brief History of Public Transportation in Metropolitan Seattle (Seattle: Metro Transit, 1993).

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You