King County Metro plans to offer more transportation options to communities in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. Beginning on February 5th, a new Community Ride shuttle and Community Van service will be available. The programs differ significantly in how they operate: one as an-demand pick-up, drop-off and the other as a person-to-person booking system of a shared van. Metro hopes that the services will help restore some mobility to residents that was lost in past bus service cuts.
“We continue to roll out mobility innovations across the region, this time in Shoreline and Lake Forest Park,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a statement. “The new Community Van and Community Ride services offer residents new ways to get around, and build on the lessons we’ve learned to make taking transit even easier.”
Metro has several Community Ride services already operating in Normandy Park, Enumclaw, Black Diamond, and other South King County communities. The program first launched in early 2017 and allows riders to be picked up and dropped off within a designated service area during normal operating hours. Riders are required to make phone reservations at least two hours before their intended trip. All Community Ride vehicles are wheelchair accessible and equipped with bike racks.
The Shoreline and Lake Forest Park version, however, will work a little differently in that riders will be able to make trip requests on mobile devices through an app. Service requests will also be on-demand instead of advanced reservations. Riders will be able to use the service from 6pm to 11pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and 6pm to 10pm on Sundays.
The chose time periods for service is tied to service cuts made to Route 331 in 2014. Due to insufficient ridership, Metro decided to cut back hours of operation on that route after 6pm. The Community Ride service in essence replaces this.
To make service requests, riders can download the “Community Ride” app on iOS- and Android-equipped mobile devices. Alternatively, requests can be made over the phone by dialing 855.233.1880. Payment can be made with paper transfers, Metro’s mobile ticking system, or ORCA.
The Community Van program currently operates in Duvall, Vashon, and Bothell-Woodinville as a person-to-person booking system to use a shared van. The program’s expansion to Shoreline and Lake Forest Park will allow residents to reserve use of an available van at least 48 hours before a trip. Reservations can be made at any time–day or night–in advance via email.
At minimum, the reservation must include a volunteer driver and two other riders, which Metro’s community coordinator works to link together from the community by announcing a possible trip. Use of the van is flexible, allowing residents to pick up the van inside Shoreline or Lake Forest Park and make trips inside and outside those cities. Riders can pay for use of the vans through an ORCA monthly pass or Metro’s mobile ticketing system.