Vehicles provide transportation options
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today unanimously approved sending more than two dozen eager 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.
“These vans are a lifeline for social service agencies and the vulnerable populations they serve,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chair of the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee. “While no longer cost-effective for Metro to operate, the vans have remaining useful life for activities like transporting food to the hungry, at-risk youth to after-school programs, and low-income seniors to community activities.”
“In these days of shrinking community service budgets, the donated vans provide a vital service—assisting in getting people to to a medical appointment or taking kids on a field trip,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “The vans have become a tremendous asset to organizations and governments throughout the County.”
“These van donations continue to support agencies that support our youth, elderly and other underserved populations so they may get to their vital community connections,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague.
“Non-profit organizations serve an important role in our communities, and I’m glad that these vans will be put to good use,” said Council Vice Chair Julia Patterson.
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.
“King County, District 3 received so many requests for donations of surplussed vans to worthy non-profits,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “These vans will have ‘second lives’ serving a children’s’ group, a community center and senior citizens - all where large numbers of people will have access.”
“I am always proud to take part in this van donation process,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “These retired vans serve a worthy purpose and assist many organizations in our region in better serving their communities.”
“These retired Metro vans will help address the mobility needs of the local food banks, school districts, human service agencies and other organizations doing such critical work in our communities,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, Chair of the Budget & Fiscal Management Committee. “With County revenue still reeling from the recession, these van donations are one important way we can support those of our constituents most in need.”
“I am pleased we are able to support these tremendous organizations that provide great services to our community,” said Councilmember Rod Dembowski.
Since 1996, the County Council has donated more than 430 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 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:
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County – North Seattle Branch
Cedar River Montessori School
Community Psychiatric Clinic
Helping Hands for the Disabled
Korean Women’s Association
Mount Si Senior Center
Northwest’s Child, Inc. (2 vans)
Northwest Urban Ministries
Pioneer Human Services
Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA)
Renton/Skyway Boys and Girls Club
Seattle Young People’s Project
Senior Housing Assistance Group (Auburn Court)
Senior Housing Assistance Group (Courtland Place)
Senior Housing Assistance Group (North King County-North Seattle)
Si View Park District
The Sophia Way
Vashon Island School District
White Center Food Bank
Wilderness Awareness School