One of the vans in King County Metro’s Community Connections project. Photo courtesy of city of Kirkland

One of the vans in King County Metro’s Community Connections project. Photo courtesy of city of Kirkland

New carpooling program for Kenmore and Kirkland solidifies

The rideshare pilot is part of King County Metro’s Community Connections project.

The city of Kirkland recently announced a new transportation option for residents.

King County Metro has started a new pilot program affecting both Kirkland and Kenmore called the Community Van rideshare. The purpose of the pilot is to give city residents more opportunities for carpooling.

According to a press release, the community vans are stationed at the North Kirkland Community Center and the parking lot below City Hall, with each trip requiring a pre-approved driver and at least two passengers. Trips have to be pre-scheduled through the local community transportation coordinator (CTC), according to the city website.

All trips can be routed to any location around the greater Seattle area.

“There are so many fun options for using Community Van,” Armaghan Baghoori, CTC for Kirkland, said in a press release. “Take your out-of-town guests to Seattle for a show, attend a holiday season event or cheer for your favorite local sports team.”

Baghoori added in the press release that HOV-lane and fuel tolls are included with paid fare for the van.

Per the program, volunteering drivers are able to ride free for each trip. Passengers are required to pay a one-way Metro fare for every round trip, which is currently set to $2.75. According to the release, the community van program accepts either Transit GO Mobile tickets through the latter system’s app or ORCA passes for payment. Currently, the vans at the two Kirkland locations can be accessed every day of the week, and are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.

For larger groups, an 11-passenger (albeit not ADA accessible) vehicle can be requested ahead of time.

The pilot program is part of King County’s new Community Connections Metro project, which aims to provide alternative transportation services when bus services are applicable to a given customer’s needs. Community Connections is reliant on partnerships with local governments to develop new transportation solutions that are in line with a given city’s needs, according to the King County Metro website.

“The result of this process is the implementation of new transportation services that take advantage of innovative ideas, unique partnerships or emerging technology,” the county website states.

To become a volunteer driver, visit www.kirklandwa.gov/communityvan. The screening process takes about two weeks. Questions about the program and trip requests can be directed to Baghoori at commvan@kirklandwa.gov or 425-587-3924.

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