Via to Transit, King County’s on-demand microtransit service, is expanding to four new areas: Rainier Beach, Renton, Skyway, and Tukwila. This service is a pilot project that connects customers to and from community spaces and transit hubs. Via, a transportation technology company, serves as the booking and routing technology provider for this pilot. The Via to Transit vehicles are King County Metro branded hybrids equipped with bike racks. Through Via to Transit, customers can request shared rides to or from designated locations, like transit stations, libraries, community centers, and hospitals. Rides can be requested in real time through the Via app or by phone. Upon requesting a ride, customers are prompted to meet the vehicle at a virtual stop near their point of origin. A standard adult fare is $2.75, the same as a King County Metro fixed-route bus, with discounts available to people with low incomes, people with disabilities, seniors, and youth. Fares can be paid through the Via app, an ORCA card, or the Transit Go Ticket app. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are available on request. Customers are also able to transfer between other modes of public transit within a certain period of time. In the Othello, Rainier Beach/Skyway, and Tukwila zones, operating hours are from 5 AM to 1 AM, Monday through Saturday, and from 6 AM to 12 AM on Sundays. In the Renton Highlands zone, Via to Transit operates from 8 AM to 6 PM every day of the week.
King County Metro’s Mobility Framework, which is focused on equity and sustainability, is being used to inform the development of this program. Specifically, Via to Transit is being used to ease first- and last-mile mobility issues for residents in diverse areas. In the new Via to Transit zones, “66% of residents are Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, 37% were born abroad, and 45% speak a language other than English at home.” The success of Via to Transit depends on ridership and whether it will go from pilot to program after December 2022.
Last updated August 10, 2021