What a sweet ride!

Several morning commuters were treated to a sweet ride Monday on the nePhoto 6-10-15w Mercer Island shuttle service. At one stop of the new Route 630, elected officials welcomed riders with donuts. Mayor Bruce Bassett was at the United Methodist Church Park and Ride to greet the 40 morning riders and celebrate the launch of the new shuttle service. King County Councilmember Jane Hague and Mercer Island City Councilmembers Debbie Bertlin, Jane Brahm and Benson Wong were also on hand to welcome riders and observe the service in action.

The new peak-hour community shuttle provides flexible service in the Shorewood neighborhood and trips to First Hill and downtown Seattle. This shuttle was a community-based project developed through Metro’s recently expanded alternative services program (Link to news article) and is jointly funded by Metro and the cities of Mercer Island and Seattle. This new service was developed in response to some of the transit service reductions last year.

Hopelink employees were also on site to make sure the inaugural rides were a success and to identify any issues with the shuttle service. Hopelink is a Redmond-based non-profit contracted to operate the new service.

The new 19-passenger shuttles are “low-floor” vehicles, which speed boarding when using a lift. The vehicles can accommodate up to two wheelchairs and space for two bicycles.

Another new service called “TripPool” will be debuting for Mercer Island riders traveling to the park-and-ride. Through a free app, users can ask for a ride in a volunteer-driven community van and get picked up at home and dropped-off at the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, where they can catch a ride on the new Route 630 or Metro routes 201, 204, and 216 and Sound Transit routes 550 and 554.