King County Metro’s Ride2 Eastgate, an on-demand shuttle to and from the Eastgate Park and Ride, will shift its operator from Chariot to Hopelink as of Monday, Feb. 25. Also beginning on Monday, riders will need to begin using a new app, “Ride2 Transit,” in order to request rides from the service. Riders can download the new app now and get registered in preparation for the change. Standard Metro fares are also going into effect as of Feb. 25, after approximately three months of free trial.
Ride2 Eastgate is an on-demand shuttle to and from the county’s largest park-and-ride located in Bellevue, Wash. Ride2 provides end-to-end service, within a specified service area, for people who don’t live near transit stops. On Feb. 25, the service will switch to a new operator, Hopelink. Riders will need to download a new app called “Ride2 Transit” in order to request rides using Hopelink’s reservation and dispatch system.
When the Ride2 Eastgate pilot launched in October 2018, Chariot, a division of Ford Smart Mobility, was selected to operate the service and users requested rides through its “Ride2 Park & Ride” app. Two months later, Ride2 West Seattle debuted, with Hopelink as the operator and a separate “Ride2 Transit” app for requesting rides.
Chariot announced in January that it would cease operations, with a final Ride2 Eastgate date of Feb. 23, 2019. Given Hopelink’s successful track record in West Seattle, Metro amended its contract with Hopelink to include service at Eastgate moving forward.
On Feb. 25, Eastgate riders can expect a seamless transition in terms of the same on-demand and reservation-based service they’ve experienced since it first launched in October 2018, plus an additional 30 minutes of operating hours in the morning and afternoon.
Additionally, Ride2 West Seattle users will now be able to schedule trips in advance, a feature that until now has only been available in Eastgate. The Ride2 Transit app will be synced across both Eastgate and West Seattle territories and offer all users the option of requesting last minute rides or booking ahead of time with Ride2.
Also as of Monday, Feb. 25, the Ride2 Eastgate’s fare-free pilot period ends, however the implications for customers are expected to be minimal. Ride2 Eastgate’s fare is the same as a standard Metro bus ride. Riders paying with cash or an ORCA card can transfer between Ride2 and a Metro bus without any additional fare due.
Riders paying with their ORCA card can simply tap their ORCA card when boarding the Ride2 shuttle, which will automatically apply as a transfer to their bus ride. Passengers can also pay for Ride2 with cash and ask for a paper transfer, which would cover the fare for the bus ride to which they are connecting.
In addition to Ride2 Eastgate and West Seattle, Metro plans to make similar on-demand shuttle service available to other transit hubs throughout King County over the next several months.
How Ride2 Eastgate works
Ride2 Eastgate connects customers with one of 15 Metro and Sound Transit bus routes at the Eastgate Park-and-Ride, which is typically full each weekday by 6 a.m. even with 1,600 parking spaces.
The Ride2 Eastgate service operates in the 2- to 3-mile area flanking Interstate 90, including Factoria, Lake Hills, Somerset, and Lakemont neighborhoods. It is available to an estimated 44,000 residents and 31,600 jobsites.
The Eastgate shuttle service hours are extending for an additional 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon. Effective Feb. 25 it will be available during weekday commute times, from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Rides are shared with other Metro customers, while assuring users that they will get to their destination within 15 to 20 minutes. Users can expect to be picked up within an average of 10 to 15 minutes after the trip request within a short walk. Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available upon request.
In addition to the app, users can request a ride by calling 855-233-1880 to reach Hopelink’s reservation system.