King County Council approves new life for 'retired' vans

Vanpool vehicles will provide transportation options to organizations throughout King County

Instead of a life of leisure, more than two dozen King County “retirees” are getting ready for a second career of helping take county residents to events, medical appointments and field trips. The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved the donation of 27 retired Metro Vanpool vans to provide transportation assistance to local governments, community programs, senior citizens and young adults.

“Extending the useful life of these vans provides many organizations with the mobility options they deserve,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, the sponsor of the ordinance. “Each organization now has a way of getting more people to more places.”

“Now more than ever, service organizations can put these vans — which are no longer cost effective for Metro to operate — to use serving those in need in our community during these challenging economic times,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “This is the ultimate recycling program to ensure the people of King County get as much use and benefit as possible out of our vanpool vans.”

“These organizations work hard to make every dollar stretch,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “I know these vans will have a fulfilling retirement transporting those who need them the most.”

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 and sold.

“King County’s retired van donation program is a wonderful way to provide assistance to nonprofit organizations who play a vital role in boosting the quality of life in our communities,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Gaining mobility through the program allows agencies to connect many clients to the critical services they rely on and would not otherwise have access to during these difficult times.”

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. The groups are responsible for licensing, insuring and maintaining the vehicles.

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.

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