Skip to main content
King County logo

Use your mobile phone to find and book trips with participating vanpools.

The reassurance of a monthly reserved seat is not for everyone. Many commuters would love to vanpool on a more casual basis.

The Metro Empty Seat Pilot allows commuter van drivers and groups to provide rides to drop-in riders on their existing trip when seats are available, all coordinated via the iCarpool mobile app.

Features

Book trips when needed. Smart Match technology helps find groups.

Low drop-in fares displayed in the app with ORCA card monthly-pass benefits. No charge to regular vanpool riders.

iCarpool app coordinates payment, pick-up location, and on-the-fly messaging.

Generous participation incentives!

Pilot areas

There are a few ways you can be eligible as a rider or vanpool group.

You work in:

  • Eastgate / Factoria
  • SODO
  • Des Moines Creek Business Park

Or, your vanpool (or the one you want to ride in) starts in:

  • Sammamish area
  • Issaquah area

Please note that specific boundaries apply.

See how it works & get started

For groups

Interested groups in the pilot area simply need to confirm eligibility to get started. A Metro rideshare services representative will verify eligibility and provide further details. Please note:

  1. Groups are NOT expected to change their routes or to pick up drop-in riders at their home. We may ask groups to add a convenient stop along their existing route where riders can join; however, groups ONLY need to stop if a drop-in rider has requested a ride and seats are available.
  2. All coordination is handled via the iCarpool app. Group bookkeepers do not need to report drop-in riders on monthly reports. Drop-in riders do not submit a program application.
  3. All eligible groups volunteering to participate will receive a $25 gift card to share. Additional incentives are available for groups providing repeat trips—up to $150.
  4. Existing riders may also use the app—at no charge—to book trips with other participating groups. They may also use in-app messaging to communicate with each other and the driver.

FAQ for groups…


For drop-in riders

If your commute goes along I-90 past Eastgate or if you work in Eastgate, SODO, or the new Des Moines business park, there might be a van going your way!

View the select five groups helping to pre-test the pilot. If you might be able to ride with them, follow the steps below to see if you match with their exact location and times.

  1. Download the iCarpool app from the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Create your account and add a trip from home to work.
  3. Enter ICARPOOL25 into the promotions and discount codes box of the payment screen to get $25 in FREE ride credits just to get started. After successful pre-test, nearly 200 groups will be providing trips across the pilot areas from all across the Puget Sound area.

That is all there is to it! iCarpool uses a 'Smart Match' process to notify riders when there are matching trips going their way—once in the evening for their morning trip, and once in the afternoon for their evening trip. Riders can also manually search for trips in the app any time of the day.

FAQ for drop-in riders…


For drivers

After your group eligibility has been confirmed, Metro will coordinate your trip information with iCarpool and notify drivers that they may begin offering trips to drop-in riders. Driver steps to offer trips, pick-up / drop-off riders, and finish trips are listed below:

  1. Offer seats for your morning trip. Open your morning work trip before 8:00pm the night before and select "Accept Ride Requests". Evening return trips should be opened before 3:00pm.
  2. Confirm riders before every trip. Before you start the van, select "View Ride Requests" to see which stops on your route riders will be meeting you at.
  3. Start the trip. Select "Start Trip", put the phone down, start the van, and begin your commute.
  4. Pick up / drop off riders:
    1. While in park at each stop, select "Pick Up" to sign riders into the van after they show their boarding pass (select "No Show" for any riders who booked a trip but are not at the stop).
    2. If a rider leaves, select "Drop Off" to sign them out of the van before you begin driving again.
  5. Finish the trip. After parking at the final stop, select "Finish" to end that trip. Pro Tip: Open your return work trip right then and there to allow Smart Match to help find riders!

For any questions
about the pilot

Email us

For technical support
for the iCarpool app

Email iCarpool

Connect with Rideshare

Local Calls: 206-625-4500
WA Relay: 711
Fax: 206-684-2166

Mailing Address:
Rideshare Operations
KSC-TR-0812
201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104-0770


Translation disclaimer