King County Metro will launch a pilot project that offers on-demand shuttle service to and from transit hubs throughout the region using mobile apps. The first app will be activated Oct. 23 with service to and from the Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue.
King County Metro customers will soon be able to use new mobile apps to hail an on-demand shuttle to and from transit hubs throughout the region, starting at the county’s largest park-and-ride.
Starting on Oct. 23, commuters will be able to use the first app – called Ride2 Park & Ride – to hail a shuttle operated by Chariot and Ford Smart Mobility to and from the Eastgate Park-and-Ride in Bellevue.
Metro will make similar on-demand shuttle service available to other transit hubs throughout King County over the next several months as a part of a yearlong pilot project.
“We are embracing mobile technology to provide our customers with convenient first- and last-mile service to reliable transit,” said Executive Constantine. “Our on-demand shuttle service will make it easier than ever for commuters throughout King County to get to work and home again each day without having to drive or park."
Customers will be able to board one of 15 Metro and Sound Transit bus routes at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride, which is typically full each weekday morning even with 1,600 parking spaces.
Ride2 Eastgate will operate in the 2- to 3-mile area flanking Interstate 90, including Factoria, Lake Hills, Somerset, and Lakemont neighborhoods. It will be available to an estimated 44,000 residents and 31,600 jobs.
The shuttle service will be available during weekday commute times, from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m. for passengers 18 and older.
The service will be free for the first few months and will then cost the same as a standard Metro bus ride. Passengers will be able to tap their ORCA card when boarding the Ride2 Eastgate shuttle.
How does ‘Ride2 Eastgate’ work?
- Book a ride on-demand or schedule it in advance through the “Ride2 Park & Ride” app – download the app here – or by calling 866-750-5057.
- Ride2 is offered in the defined service area only, with the Eastgate Park-and-Ride as an origin or destination for all trips. See the service area map.
- The service is available on weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m.
- Wheelchair-accessible vehicles will be available upon request.
- Expect to be picked up within an average of 10 to 15 minutes after your trip request within a short walk.
- Rides will be shared with other Metro customers, while assuring you will get to your destination within 15 to 20 minutes.
More innovative mobility solutions to come
King County Metro, which was recently named the best large transit system in North America, is also exploring other partnerships with private-sector services, such as carpooling apps and transportation network companies. These projects will build on commuter services Metro currently offers, such as vanpool, rideshare and community vans.
Metro is creating a mobility ecosystem with transit at the center, moving large numbers of people over longer distances and along the busiest corridors in King County. New mobility options complement transit – rather than compete or undercut – by delivering first- and last-mile connections in low-density areas or during off-peak times. This will result in fewer single-occupancy vehicles on the road, reduced energy consumption, lower overall system costs, and will make access to mobility more equitable.
Offering end-to-end service to people who don’t live near transit stops
Chariot, a division of Ford Smart Mobility, is a microtransit shuttle service that works closely with public transit agencies, universities, healthcare institutions, city associations, corporations, nonprofits and other organizations to design custom routes that are designed to complement existing transit solutions and give people a convenient alternative to driving alone and parking. Chariot's routes serve end-to-end service for people who don’t live near transit stops and would typically drive alone in their own vehicles, contributing to congestion and parking challenges, or serve as first- and last-mile transportation, helping bring passengers to public transit that may not have previously been easily accessible.
Chariot will use Ford Smart Mobility’s dynamic routing technology to deliver the Ride2 Eastgate service. Dynamic routing allows the service to be flexible, meaning pick-up and drop-off access points can vary depending on the location of the ride hailer. Some customers will be picked up right outside their home while others may need to walk a block to meet the Chariot shuttle on its route that day. Depending on the demand of ride requests, the route selected will reduce commute times and better balance fleet workloads.
- King County Metro's Ride2 pilot project and app links
- King County Metro's Innovation Mobility Program
We are embracing mobile technology to provide our customers with convenient first- and last-mile service to reliable transit. Our on-demand shuttle service will make it easier than ever for commuters throughout King County to get to work and home again each day without having to drive or park.
Metro at its core provides excellent bus service, and helping people reach that service by piloting new mobility options like Ride2 is how we keep pace with the needs of today’s riders. We hope that this project and others like it will help people travel more easily even as we face a critical period of major construction in the region.
No one likes it when parking isn’t available on the way to work. By delivering people to their bus without the hassle to drive and find parking, the Ride2 on-demand shuttle service at Eastgate Park and Ride will make commutes easier and more enjoyable. As a regular Eastgate Park and Ride commuter, I can’t wait to try it myself!
Eastgate is home to a critical higher education center in Bellevue College, an established commercial core and the region’s largest park-and-ride. The key to success is connecting these important community assets to surrounding neighborhoods. The Ride 2 program will help us do that and we’re pleased that King County Metro has chosen Eastgate as the first transit hub to pilot this innovative, on-demand shuttle service. We look forward to continuing our long-standing collaboration with Metro to create reliable transportation options in Bellevue.
We’re pleased that our dynamic routing technology can assist King County Metro create a transit system that is convenient and accessible for its commuters. We expect this pilot will alleviate the current challenges of its parking situation and will provide a suitable option for passengers looking to get to and from the Eastgate Park & Ride facility.
Many of our riders use Chariot to get to and from major transit hubs in cities all over the US, making us an essential service to fill first-and-last mile transportation and keep single occupancy vehicles off the road. We are excited by the opportunity to help create an easy and enjoyable option for people using Eastgate Park & Ride to get and from work each day.
For more information, contact:
Jeff Switzer, Metro Transit, 206-477-3833