To support COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, King County Metro is offering essential workers the opportunity to form temporary vanpools with as few as two riders.
Metro Vanpool is a commuter service using Metro vans for small groups of people – normally five or more coworkers, friends, or neighbors – with a similar origin or destination.
In support of social distancing, ridership requirements for all Metro Vanpools have been reduced to a minimum of two people for new and existing groups, and Metro is not collecting fares on the service until further notice. Additionally, Metro has designated a limited supply of vans to provide essential workers with a rideshare option where other transit options are unavailable or unfeasible.
Essential workers interested in forming a new vanpool can email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Emergency Vanpool Formation” in the subject line to get started or for more information. Approval for Metro Vanpool is subject to a streamlined application process requiring a valid Washington state driver’s license, record check, and online orientation. As of now, the process takes seven to ten days from application to approval, so interested essential workers are encouraged to begin the application process immediately.
Expanded Vanpool eligibility is part of Metro’s ongoing work to support essential trips.
Further Details on Vanpool for Essential Workers
- During the response to COVID-19, Vanpool is being made available to essential workers whose typical transit options are unavailable or unfeasible, as well as to essential workers already within Metro Vanpool’s existing network.
- Transit options are considered unavailable if a person’s route is not running under the Reduced Schedule.
- Transit options are considered unfeasible if there aren’t enough trip options in the time frame needed, or if a person’s route has been identified as “high demand” and prone to reach social distancing capacity limits before all intending passengers are able to board. “High demand” routes are currently: A Line, C Line, D Line, E Line, F Line, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 10, 13, 14, 26, 36, 101, 124, 131, 132, 150, 168, 169, 180, and 181. This initial list is subject to expand as Metro monitors route demand during the stay-at-home order.
- Vans are kept at a driver’s house and riders determine their meet-up location, route, parking, and operating rules.
- Gas, insurance, maintenance, 24-hour roadside assistance, and a guaranteed ride home in an emergency are all included.
- Each group needs:
- One driver who is required to complete a Department of Licensing review and online orientation. Metro encourages groups to have more than one driver.
- One bookkeeper, who can also be a driver, is required to complete an online orientation.
- To get started or for more information, email email@example.com with “Emergency Vanpool Formation” in the subject line.
- Fares will not be collected until further notice. However, group bookkeepers must fill out monthly participation and mileage reports and drivers must comply with any maintenance requests.
- A sample ridership report is available online for download.
- Temporarily reduced group ridership requirements for essential workers and existing vanpools are as follows.
- One approved driver and at least one passenger may rideshare in a seven-passenger van.
- One approved driver and at least two passengers may rideshare in 12- and 15-passenger vans.
- All participants are responsible for the cleanliness of the van. Public health recommendations are highly endorsed:
- Wipe down hard surfaces and spray soft surfaces with disinfectant spray before and after trips.
- Stay home if sick.
- Wash hands often and do not touch your face. Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash hands.
- If available, wear disposable gloves and protective masks or face coverings.
Metro will provide recruiting support for groups who want to continue their vanpool or join an existing vanpool once ridership requirements return to normal and fares resume. Fares are generally based on mileage, number of riders, and size of van, and are similar in cost to a monthly transit pass. The typical monthly fare in a 5+ passenger minivan with a 45-mile round trip is $146 per person. Many employers subsidize vanpool fares.