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Council approves working “retirement” for County vans


Donated vanpool vehicles will provide transportation options to organizations throughout King County


The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved sending more than two dozen King County “retirees” to second careers of helping transport county residents. The Council adopted a motion donating 27 retired Metro Vanpool vans to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, senior citizens and young people.

“Vans that are past their useful life for Metro can make all the difference for cash-strapped community organizations providing social services to kids, elders, and low-income people,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee and sponsor of the motion. “King County’s retired van program is a win-win that extends the public benefit county residents receive from these vehicles.”

“In these days of shrinking community service budgets, providing transportation to a medical appointment or taking kids on a field trip is a vital service.,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “That is the exciting future for the vans we are providing to these organizations and governments throughout the County.”

“These van donations continue to help fulfill our strategic plan by enhancing the ability of our youth, elderly and other underserved populations get to the vital services they need,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.

The retired vans have been part of Metro Transit’s vanpool fleet for at least six years and have reached the end of their service life. When the vans reach this age, they are considered surplus. The vehicles that are not donated are sold.

“Serving the mobility needs of those too young and too old to drive, as well as those with health challenges, is an important service for King County to provide,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, Chair of the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “Using our retired vanpool vans for these important transportation needs is an efficient way of serving those who do not have other options.”

“I am pleased that this year the council is able to provide vans to organizations that do great work throughout the county,” Councilmember Julia Patterson said. “Non-profit organizations serve an important role in assisting vulnerable populations; these vans will help local non-profits continue their work.”

“With the economy continuing to struggle, nonprofit and community groups have stepped up to provide more and more critical services in our communities,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. “These groups are doing extraordinary work supporting those most in need across District 8 and I’m excited to see these retired vans repurposed to contribute to their efforts.”

Since 1995, the County Council has been donating retired vans from Metro’s Vanpool program to local nonprofit organizations to provide transportation for the disabled, low-income, young adults, and senior citizens. Governments, agencies and organizations that receive the vans must meet specific requirements:

• Capacity to support ongoing van operation, including assured funding for licensing, insuring, fueling and maintaining the van;
• Ability to provide qualified and trained drivers;
• Specific plans for use of the van to transport low-income, elderly or young people or people with disabilities, and assurance that the use shall be available to those persons without regard to affiliation with any particular organization;
• Ability to support county's public transportation function by reducing single occupancy vehicle trips, pollution and traffic congestion; supplementing services provided by the county's paratransit system and increasing the mobility for the transit-dependent for whom regular transit might not always be a convenient option.

“I am always proud to be a part of the van donation program,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “These deserving organizations assist their communities in many ways and help make King County a great place to live and raise a family.”

“By assisting local organizations and the services they provide to King County residents, the Council's van donation program makes a difference in the community,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “Repurposing these vans in a way that continues to benefit the public helps make the most of limited resources.”

“This program is a tribute to King County’s ability to think outside the box and continue to give back to our communities, particularly in South King County,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “Whether it is a senior center that needs a van for events, or a non-profit taking children to an activity, these donations play a significant role in lives throughout our region.”

The vanpool program provides mobility for a diverse array of King County residents, supports the positive work of various local organizations, and relieves traffic congestion by reducing the need for single-occupancy vehicles. Interested organizations can contact the Councilmember representing their district for more information on applying for a vehicle.

The organizations, agencies and governments receiving vans:

Auburn Youth Resources - ACAP Program
Boys & Girls Club of King County/Ballard Branch
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County - Joel E. Smilow Clubhouse & Teen Center at Rainier Vista
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue
Camp Korey
Communities in Schools of Federal Way
Compass Housing Alliance - Shoreline Veteran Center
Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation
EX3 Ron Sandwith Teen Center (Federal Way & Auburn Boys & Girls Club)
Franklin High School
Greater Maple Valley Community Center
Jubilee REACH Center
Kid'sQuest Children's Museum
Maiwut South Sudanese Refugee Services
Mary's Place Seattle
Neighborhood House (2 vans)
Parkview Services
PUSH International
Rainier Beach High School
Renton Fire and Emergency Services Department
SeaTac Police Explorers
Seeds4Success - Vashon
Senior Housing Assistance Group ("SHAG") (2 vans)
Skihawks Racing Team
Vision House – Jacob’s Well

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