Transportation for Pandemic Response, a project created by Metro out of the need to safely transport COVID-19 riders outside of the traditional transit system, has been recognized by County Executive Dow Constantine.
Metro’s Transportation for Pandemic Response Team received the Executive’s 2020 Performance Excellence Service Innovation Award, which recognizes department teams whose projects, improvements, and ingenuity deliver exceptional, measurable results.
In partnership with King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and Public Health – Seattle & King County, Metro created a needed and unique service with its Access paratransit contractor, MV Transportation. Transportation for Pandemic Response was able to safely transport COVID-19 positive or symptomatic individuals to and from Public Health isolation/quarantine sites, medical facilities, homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, and other locations.
The program was responsible for over 5,000 boardings while in operation from April 2020 through July 2021. The program team demonstrated what it meant to help those in greatest need, and exemplified cross-county and cross-department partnership.
Christina O’Claire, Metro’s Mobility Director, said the program showed the team’s commitment to improving the quality of life in King County.
“This Transportation for Pandemic Response team was able to very quickly think of a creative solution to safely use existing resources to serve some of our most vulnerable populations,” said O’Claire. “Early in the pandemic, we identified that some symptomatic and COVID-positive people had no options for transportation to and from quarantine sites, medical facilities, homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, and other locations. Rather than leave these individuals for emergency response, we came together as One Team to find an agile and safe solution that supported the entire community, and, I am sure, saved lives.”
“We solve problems” is a core value at King County, and the Innovation Award received by the Transportation for Pandemic Response team celebrates how they met a challenge in a creative and forward-thinking way.