King County Metro’s Ride Pingo to Transit, an on-demand service in Kent, is receiving national acclaim as winner of the Innovation Solutions Award. Presented by trade industry publication METRO Magazine, the honor recognizes the success of the app-based service in providing connections to job centers for residents, especially those working nightshifts and swing shifts.

The award comes at the same time that Metro is delivering more on-demand trips per month than ever, including before the pandemic. Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit and Via to Transit provide vital links to bus, rail and other destinations. On-demand trips cost the same as a Metro bus fare, and you can transfer to and from other transit modes with an ORCA card.

“Our expanding on-demand service responds to the needs of the communities who wanted greater transportation options that worked with their schedules,” said King County Metro Mobility Division Director Christina O’Claire. “We are proud of the national recognition we’re receiving, but ensuring this convenient alternative is available to the thousands of riders using it means we’re continuing to increase the equity of our regional mobility system.”

Smart technology connecting riders to transit options
The Innovative Solutions Award recognizes transit agencies and their technology partners for breakthroughs in customer experience, efficiency, operations, ridership or safety. The award highlights the smart technology of the Ride Pingo to Transit app. The Routing Company developed the app to allow customers to select the bus or train they want to ride and then matches them with an on-demand vehicle to get them to their connection on time.

Operated by Hopelink, Ride Pingo to Transit’s 14-passenger vehicles provide on-demand access to transit hubs and work locations in the Kent Valley and parts of Kent East Hill. The service was created after community outreach revealed that workers in the Kent East Hill neighborhoods, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, lacked transportation options to their shifts at distribution centers in the Kent Valley.

Transportation options for communities that need them
In recent years, Metro has expanded its on-demand services, realizing that many community members live in neighborhoods that are too far from frequent bus or rail service. As home prices and rents increase in more urban parts of King County, many people have moved to less dense areas that unfortunately lack easy transit access.

When Metro asked residents of south King County—communities that use Metro for appointments, school, shopping and work—what they needed to support their mobility needs, they called for transit options that worked with their schedules and connected to popular destinations in their neighborhoods.

Via to Transit reaches 500,000 lifetime rides
In addition to Ride Pingo to Transit, Metro also offers Via to Transit in south King County. Providing on-demand service to residents in south Seattle, Skyway, Renton and Tukwila, Via to Transit hit a major milestone in September, surpassing 500,000 passenger trips since starting as a pilot program in 2019.

Via to Transit shuttle at the Skyway Library

People who live, work or go to school within the specified service areas can download the Via app or call 206-258-7739. From there, request an on-demand ride to connect to buses and trains, or to get to select community hubs like grocery stores, parks, libraries, healthcare and more.

Community Ride doubles ridership
Another on-demand service is Community Ride, which serves the Juanita and Sammamish services areas in east King County.

Riders board a Community Ride vehicle
Riders board a Community Ride vehicle

Since June, when we added and additional vehicle in each of its two service areas, ridership has doubled. To get started, download the Community Ride app or call 1-855-233-6043.

Mobility is a human right
Metro knows mobility is a human right that allows communities and individuals to access the opportunities needed to thrive. These on-demand programs serving communities are part of our Mobility Framework— helping ensure the services we provide meets the changing transportation needs of the region, especially for people who have low or no income; are Black, Indigenous, or other people of color; are immigrants or refugees; have disabilities; or are linguistically diverse.