The cities of Duvall and Monroe are just nine miles apart along a scenic stretch of State Route 203 that winds through meadows and forests and crosses the Skykomish River.
It takes about 15 minutes to drive. But if you were riding the bus, it used to take three hours or longer to get between Duvall and Monroe — until this year.
The Duvall-Monroe Shuttle is a new service launched by the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Coalition. The shuttle, for a suggested fare of $1, provides a direct connection between the two communities and more travel options for Valley residents.
“It was like the old saying, ‘You can’t get there from here,’ such a short distance that just couldn’t be crossed, for no apparent reason,” said Amy Biggs, Executive Director of the North Bend-based Snoqualmie Valley Transportation (SVT), which operates the new shuttle service.
“People in Duvall will finally be able to get to the big box stores in Monroe as well as two hospitals, dialysis and some great parks that Monroe has. And the folks in Monroe will be able to get to the shopping and restaurants and parks in Duvall, and all without a car,” she said.
Since the two cities sit on opposite sides of the King-Snohomish County line, each is served by a different transit agencies. Up until last August, if you needed to ride the bus from Duvall to Monroe, you had to first travel to Redmond and Seattle and transfer from King County Metro service to Community Transit in Everett or Lynnwood and backtrack to Monroe.
The shuttle does a loop every 90 minutes and runs Monday through Friday. Riders can connect with the Valley Shuttle, operated by SVT to travel to Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend, or connect with Metro service. In Monroe, the Shuttle links with Community Transit Routes 270 and 271 to provide direct transit connections to Everett and locations throughout east Snohomish County.
General Manager Rob Gannon of Metro and CEO Emmett Heath of Community Transit in Snohomish County recently joined Biggs and community members to celebrate with ribbon-cutting ceremonies in both Duvall and Monroe.
One of the things that makes me especially proud about our service is this kind of Community Connection and this kind of working together, Gannon said. “It’s easy for large transit agencies to plow buses through big city corridors, connect to Link light rail, and think about how to move millions and millions of people annually. But it is a special sort of challenge for us to think about how we can connect the places that aren’t already well-connected and how we can connect the people who are dependent on those connections. That’s what this shuttle service represents and what this partnership with King County really means.”
“We are proud members of this partnership committed to improving the customer experience for people traveling in the Snoqualmie Valley,” said Heath of Community Transit. “This new service demonstrates what cities, counties, agencies and associations can achieve when they work together to provide more appealing choices for people to get from where they are to where they want to be. We’re proud to be part of the team!”
Snoqualmie Valley is home to more than 70,000 people, with most living more than a mile from current fixed-route bus service. And many need transportation to get to grocery stories, medical appointments, or jobs.
The shuttle is one of the first new services sponsored by the Snoqualmie Valley Transportation Coalition, a partnership of SVT, Metro, Hopelink, the Snoqualmie Tribe, Easterseals, and the cities of Duvall, Monroe, Snoqualmie, Carnation and North Bend. The group came together in November 2017 to increase transportation options for residents of the Snoqualmie Valley.
Metro has several similar partnerships around King County to develop local transportation solutions that are more flexible, community-driven and cost-efficient.
For more information, visit the SVT website.