On-demand access to transit hubs and work locations in the Kent Valley and parts of Kent East Hill arrives Tuesday, September 14th with the launch of Ride Pingo to Transit.
People who live, work, or go to school within the specified service area can download the Ride Pingo app or call 855-233-6043 to request an on-demand shared ride.
Trips must start or end at Kent Station or the Kent Valley Hub (S 212th St and 64th Ave S) and be within the designated service area. Riders can connect to Metro buses at both hubs, or to Sound Transit buses and the Sounder Train at Kent Station. Service is available Monday – Friday from 5am to 7pm and Saturday – Sunday from 7am to 7pm. Ride Pingo to Transit is a pilot service that provides easier access to jobs, shopping, Kent community center, services, and more.
The Ride Pingo to Transit app’s smart technology will also allow riders to select the bus or train they want to connect to and then match them with a vehicle to get them to their connection in time.
Ride Pingo to Transit will operate 14-passenger vehicles with side-deployed ramps. The cost for Ride Pingo to Transit is the same as riding the bus: $2.75 adult, $1.50 ORCA LIFT and youth, $1.00 RRFP, free for children 5 and under. You can pay using your ORCA card, a Transit GO Ticket, cash, transfer, or paper ticket. Using an ORCA card lets you transfer fares between all buses and trains and Ride Pingo to Transit; other fare payment options allow fare transfers between Metro buses and Ride Pingo to Transit.
This service was developed through community input, which began in 2018, as part of Metro’s Renton Kent Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP), designed to provide greater mobility options to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities in south King County. Metro reached out to residents, employers, and community-based organizations to understand their needs. The outreach indicated that access to swing and nightshift work at distribution centers in the Kent Valley was a primary entry-point into the workforce for immigrant and refugee populations in the Kent East Hill neighborhoods.
Ride Pingo to Transit will serve communities where 57% of residents are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, 34% were born abroad, and 43% speak a language other than English at home. The Ride Pingo app is available in Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Metro’s Mobility Framework— which helps the agency adapt to the changing transportation landscape in an equitable and sustainable way— identified these core neighborhoods as areas of opportunity due to their difficulty to be served with “fixed-route” bus and rail services, and the high unmet need for affordable access to public transit.
Ride Pingo to Transit is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy (in partnership with The Routing Company), Amazon, and King County Metro. The pilot is funded through December 2022.
“As Kent grows – and grows quickly – its transportation options must grow with it. The valley is becoming a major transit center, with both Sounder commuter rail and major bus routes, and with the Rapid Ride I line now under development. Ride Pingo to Transit will serve as an important link to the growth and development of Kent and all its dynamic, diverse communities.”
Dow Constantine, King County Executive
“The community said there was a need for flexibility beyond the current transit service available, and Ride Pingo to Transit is a very positive result. It’ll be there for people working non-traditional hours, as well for those who want a quick, convenient ride to transit hubs like Kent Station. Increased mobility options are a goal of Metro, and Ride Pingo to Transit is an example of using community input to develop a service solution.”
Christina O’ Claire, King County Metro, Mobility Director
“We’re proud to partner with King County Metro to make public transportation more convenient and accessible for people who live, work or go to school in Kent. Through this tech-powered partnership, we hope to bring communities closer together and help more people access the opportunities and essential services they need to thrive.”
Bradford Church, VP of Product at The Routing Company, makers of Ride Pingo
“Transit isn’t one size fits all. Offering innovative and flexible service options like Ride Pingo to Transit will increase options for Kent residents and enable Metro to deliver the most suitable transit services to our communities based on their specific needs.”
King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove, who represents the Kent East Hill
“Connecting our community with a diverse set of transit options continues to be a priority of ours at the City of Kent. Ride Pingo to Transit will provide much needed access to public transit for Kent residents that is affordable and flexible. This service will empower our residents to better access our transit hubs and work in the Kent Valley and beyond. I’m very excited about the launch of this new service and am looking forward to trying it out myself!”
Dana Ralph, Mayor of Kent