Our riders have embraced our on-demand services, and on March 6, we’ll unite them under our new Metro Flex neighborhood transit service.
“Metro Flex transforms and merges three popular and proven on-demand services so riders will be able to travel more seamlessly around their neighborhoods and across the region,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “Ensuring access to easy and equitable transit options is essential to helping people stay connected to their community every day, and Metro Flex is the latest way for everyone to get around King County.”
With Metro Flex (powered by TransitTech provider Via), anyone can download our app and ride anywhere within a service area, all for the same cost as a Metro bus trip. As one new service, Metro Flex replaces three others: Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit and Via to Transit.
Since 2019, King County Metro’s on-demand services have provided safe, reliable connections for people and places that aren’t near frequent bus or rail service. Metro customers use these popular services for getting to appointments, school, stores and work, as well as for transferring to bus and light rail. These services were inspired by the community asking for better connections across neighborhoods and the region.
To provide an even better, more consistent experience for riders, three existing services – Community Ride, Ride Pingo to Transit and Via to Transit will become Metro Flex. Riders can download and use the new Metro Flex app to book rides in Juanita, Kent, Othello, Rainier Beach, Renton Highlands, Sammamish, Skyway and Tukwila.
Metro Flex delivers flexible, reliable transportation for the same cost as a Metro bus fare. As with other Metro services, reduced fares are available for customers with disabilities, customers with lower incomes, and seniors. People on certain government programs and all youth 18 and younger ride free. Using an ORCA card allows all passengers to transfer for free to bus and rail. Riders may also pay with credit or debit card, but not with cash. Drivers cannot accept tips.
Some previous services required riders to start or end their ride at a transit center or community hub. Metro Flex allows riders to book rides from a location to a location anywhere in the service area, adding to their ease of travel. (Customers may be directed to a bus or light rail option instead with arrival times if they’ll be best-served by those modes.)
After downloading the new Metro Flex app from the app store on their phone, existing and new on-demand riders choose their desired destination. They’ll receive a nearby pick-up location to meet their driver and may share the ride with other passengers. Riders with mobility needs—such as using a wheelchair—can save this information within their Metro Flex profile.
Metro’s on-demand services have resoundingly woven themselves into the mobility choices of the communities they serve and advance King County’s values. Currently, Metro’s on-demand services:
- Provide nearly 6,200 rides a week.
- Deliver an average travel time of 7.5 minutes.
- Advance equity. More than 32 percent of Metro’s on-demand rides are taken by customers enrolled in reduced-fare programs. Metro’s on-demand services were created with and designed to serve priority populations.
We’re excited to offer Metro Flex, and we hope you’ll download and try the new service.
It’s critical we move riders where they need to get to, when they need to travel. Metro Flex will help us deliver for those asking for more transportation options. Metro’s popular on-demand services have proven their value over the past several years, and we are delighted to bring them together under one program. We think our on-demand services will now be even better and more convenient, and we urge riders to download the Metro Flex app.
-Metro General Manager Michelle Allison
Services like Metro Flex are part of Metro’s mobility framework principles — something that helps our agency adapt to the changing transportation landscape in an equitable and sustainable ways. We’re excited to introduce this investment to and for the community.
-De’Sean Quinn, Metro Assistant General Manager of Partnerships and Strategy
We’re thrilled that our long-standing partner, King County Metro, has chosen Via’s TransitTech solutions as the driver for a new future of fully connected, on-demand public transit. Together with KCM, we’ll introduce a next frontier of equitable mobility with Metro Flex — making it easier for the community to access more of the Seattle area than ever before.
-Krista Glotzbach, Head of Via Western U.S. Partnerships