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County employees prepare for “working retirement” Council approves transfer of surplus vanpool van to organizations throughout King County


Vehicles provide transportation options


Two dozen King County employees are preparing for an active retirement of helping meet the transportation needs of county residents. The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously adopted a motion transferring retired Metro Vanpool vans to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, senior citizens and young people.

“Recycling retired vanpool vans for use by local service organizations ensures that our community is getting the maximum value out of these vehicles,” said Council Chair Larry Phillips. “Vans that are no longer cost effective for Metro to operate will allow non-profits to provide transportation to low-income works to jobsites, transport kids to afterschool programs and deliver seniors to community services.”

“Lifelong, Pacific Asian Empowerment Program, and DESC will benefit from these retired vans, as well the constituents they serve,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott. “Our community is richer for their work.”

“These vans help continue to tie kids with services and opportunities from great organizations like Youth Eastside Services, Friendship Adventures and Young Women Empowered,” 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.

“It is our responsibility to provide non-profit organizations across the county with the essential resources necessary for them to operate in an efficient manner,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “Over the last two decades countless young adults, senior citizens, and disabled members of our community have benefitted from the van donation program. As the original sponsor of this program in 1995, I look forward to its future support of so many worthwhile programs in King County.”

“These vans have served a vital role in the County, but in their ‘retirement’ they will perform an even greater task,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “They will transport people throughout King County to services, to hospitals and clinics, to ball fields and gyms, destinations they may not have been able to go to if the vans were not available.”

Since 1996, the County Council has transferred more than 490 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’m always thrilled to facilitate the donation of retired county vans to non-profits in my district,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “I’ve seen first-hand how they’ve been used to do so much good for members of our communities. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

“Repurposing these vans is a great way to maximize County resources,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “Community organizations throughout the County benefit from this program and are better able to serve residents that utilize their services.”

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 Food Bank
Black Diamond Community Center
Camp Berachah
Cascade Leadership Challenge
City of Enumclaw Parks & Recreation
City of Renton
City of Shoreline
Community Network Council
Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC)
El Centro de la Raza
Federal Way Boys and Girls Club
Friendship Adventures
Graham Hill Elementary School
Issaquah Senior Center
Life Enrichment Options
Mamma's Hands
Operation Nightwatch
Pacific Asian Empowerment Program
Small Faces Child Development Center
Southwest Youth and Family Services
Sweet Pea Cottage
Vine Maple Place
Young Women Empowered (Y-WE)
Youth Eastside Services

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