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County vans sent into “working” retirement by Council


Metropolitan King County
Council News

County vans sent into “working” retirement by Council


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


More than two dozen King County “retirees” are preparing for a second career of helping take county residents to events, medical appointments and field trips. The Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved the donation of 27
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 Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee and sponsor of the motion. “Vans that are no longer cost effective for Metro to operate will allow non-profits to provide meals to those in need, transport kids to afterschool programs, and deliver seniors to community services.”

“Our van donation program is the ideal recycling program that benefit a number of unique and valuable programs throughout King County—programs that are needed now more than ever,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Without these donations, many programs would have to scale back valuable services that enhance the well being of our constituents.”

“The work these non-profit organizations do for the Eastside and our greater community is vital,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “Like everyone else, these organizations have been hit by the tough economic climate. The retired vanpool program is a smart and efficient way for King County to provide a helping hand.”

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.

“With little County funding available to support human services, these retired vans are one way we still can help non-profit organizations to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “These vans will continue to serve the public in new ways throughout their useful lives.”

“The donation of vans to these non-profit organizations is also a delivery of hope for programs that provide vital services to the people of King County,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “I am proud to be able to help these agencies, which connect people with important services like career-development, recreational activities and vital public health services.”

“The retired van program, especially in these tough economic times, is an excellent way for the county to assist these non-profits in serving our most vulnerable populations,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn.

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.

“The Council’s van donation program makes the most of County resources. It is a great way to assist local organizations and support the services they provide to King County residents,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson.

“With these donations, King County’s retired van donation program will continue to assist those non-profit organizations who play a vital role in our communities,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.

“With the economy continuing to struggle, nonprofit and community groups have stepped up to provide more critical services in our communities. But they often lack the transportation resources they desperately need,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott. “It is my great pleasure as a Councilmember to be able to contribute to the work these extraordinary and invaluable groups are doing across 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.

View the agencies and organizations receving vans
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