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